ne of the most recognisable and popular members of
the Synodontis genera is "Alberts Synodontis"
or "Bigeye Squeaker", Synodontis alberti,
recognisable of course by its huge eyes, long maxillary
barbels the large adipose fin and its almost straight
It is listed in
the IUCN Red list of threatened species as of least
concern. It is widespread or without major threats
throughout the Central Africa assessment region.
close up of mouthand barbels
showing the large eye
alberti tends not to swim or feed upside down
as with some other species in
this genera. Hinged teeth in the lower jaw are used
as rasps to remove algae.
genus Synodontis sports three pairs of barbels
1pair: maxillary, 1 pair: outer mandibular and one
pair of inner mandibular barbels that are branched
(filaments). There are only three species that have
filaments on their maxillary barbels as well as the
mandibular, and they are, S.
Dem Rep. Congo. Type locality: Kinshasa,
Eye large, 3 to 3½ in
length of head. Maxillary barbels simple, reaching
caudal peduncle or caudal fin. Mandibular barbels
with slender barbels, outer mandibular barbels 1.2/3
to 2 times length of head, inner mandibular barbels
half as long as outer. Dorsal fin spine almost straight,
as long, or longer than head, anterior edge smooth,
posterior edge feebly serrated. Pectoral fin spine
as long as, or a little shorter than head, strongly
serrated on both sides. Caudal fin deeply forked,
upper and lower lobes may be produced into filaments.
Ventral fin not quite reaching to anal fin.
Body olive to brown, spotted
with dark brown. Caudal,
dorsal and anal fins with numerous small spots arranged
in series. The colour pattern is variable, in some
specimens the dark spots on the body predominate,
making the olive base colour appear as reticulations.
Care & Compatibility
plenty of hiding places such as caves and root work
with plants also an advantage with a sandy or fine
gravel substrate. Nice
temperament and will do well in the larger community
tank alongside surface schooling fish as the exploration
around the tank feeling with its maxilaary barbels
may upset other lower tankmates. This is a somewhat
timid and nocturnal species and as such should not
be housed with aggressive fish such as large Cichlids.
It is likely that the sexes
can be externally differentiated by females having a
proportionately wider and deeper body than the males.
There may also be differences in the vent area.
Can be fed a varied diet of
good quality flake, tablet food, pellets, worm foods
and frozen food such as bloodworm. Will benefit also
to a vegetable diet such as cucumber and courgette
Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed
dorsal fin. Anal fin: The median, unpaired, ventrally
located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on the
posterior half of the fish. Caudal fin: The tail. Caudal peduncle: The narrow part of
a fish's body to which the caudal or tail fin is attached.
Dorsal: The primary rayed fin(s) on
top of the body. Maxillary barbels: Pertaining to the
upper jaw (maxillary barbels). Mandibular barbels: Pertaining
to the lower jaw (mandibular barbels). Pectoral fin:
The paired fins just behind the head. Ventral fin: The paired fins, between
the pectorals and the anal fins.
Syn = together; odontis = teeth
(fused tooth plates). alberti: Probably named for
Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria.
Mochokidae. p. 105-152. In J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse and
D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Check-list of
the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ISNB, Brussels,
MRAC, Tervuren; and ORSTOM, Paris. Vol. 2. Moelants,
T. 2010. Synodontis alberti. The IUCN Red
List of Threatened Species 2010.
R. and H.A. Baensch,
1987. Aquarien Atlas. Band. 1. Melle: Mergus, Verlag
für Natur-und Heimtierkunde, Germany. 992 p.
Poll, M., 1971. Révision des
Synodontis africains (famille Mochocidae). Ann. Mus.
R. Afr. Centr., Sci. Zool., 191:1-497.