Writing for us this month (August 2009)
is regular contributor Chris Ralph. He is having a look at a member
of the Mochokidae family and one of the more impressive looking
Syno's, Synodontis clarias. I now hand you over to Chris
for his in depth look at this African catfish.
belongs to the family Mochokidae from Africa; namely Cameroon,
Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Nile,
Senegal and Sudan and is documented as being found in lakes and
rivers. This catfish is also documented as being found in the
Gambia and Volta basins; Niger including the Bénoué
Synodontis clarias is easily recognised
by its distinct colour pattern and long dorsal fin spine. I would
suggest that you would expect to pay around £25- £50.00
per fish (2008 U.K. prices) depending upon size.
It prefers to be kept in water which has
a pH in the range of 6.5-7.5 and a hardness of 18ºdGH. This
catfish is ideally suited to temperatures in the range of 21-24ºC
I would suggest a minimum tank size of
60” x 18” X 18” for one or two of these stunning
catfish, with plenty of hiding places amongst bogwood and plants.
The ideal aquarium substrate to use with these catfish is aquarium
sand such as BD Aquarium. As with all other species of fish, water
quality and general husbandry is very important, and I would recommend
that a minimum of 25% water is changed on a weekly basis.
The body and head shape of Synodontis
clarias is described as being compressed. The head shield is
described as being pitted and granulated. The mouth is described
as being sub-terminal. The body is described as being naked. This
catfish has three pairs of barbels with the maxillary barbels having
a small membrane at the base and small slender ramifications. The
dorsal fin spine is described as being smooth anteriorly, with the
top half being serrated posteriorly ending in a short filament.
The pectoral fin spine is described as being finely serrated on
the outer edge, with the inner edge being strongly serrated in the
middle, becoming finer towards each end, and ending in a short filament.
The caudal fin is described as being forked with each lobe forming
a point, the top lobe being the longer turning downwards.
The base colour of the body and head is
described as being blue/grey, with the ventral region being whitish
in colour. There are a number of dark spots present on the body
and fins, which vary greatly in numbers and concentration. The
caudal fin is red, whilst the remaining fins are the same colour
as the body. Juvenile specimens are described as being dark bottle
green in colour, with many dark coloured spots, and a blood red
coloured caudal fin.
Wherever possible I would recommend that the
aquarist keep these catfish in a community aquarium with slightly
larger fish such as large barbs, large tetras and cichlids, just
as long as the other occupants are not too aggressive.
There are no documented reports of aquarium
spawnings of Synodontis clarias as far as I am aware,
most likely due to the fact that this catfish is not commonly
imported. They are documented as forming distinct pairs during
spawning scattering their eggs over the substrate.
Synodontis clarias prefer a mixed
and varied diet which includes frozen bloodworm in addition to sinking
catfish pellets and tablet foods to name but a few.
|As with most other species
of catfish the males tend to be more slender than the females.
When viewed from underneath they exhibit external genital
is defined as the tail fin.
Pectoral fins are defined as paired lateral fins.
Dorsal fin is defined as the medial fin
on top of the back.
Adipose is defined as a second dorsal fin.
Anal fin is defined as the medial fin immediately
posterior to the anus.
Ventral fins are defined as the paired
fins between the pectoral and anal fins.
Dorsal is defined as being top or above.
Mandibular is defined as being in relation
to the mandible or lower jaw.
Maxillary is defined as being in relation
to the maxilla, the bone of the upper jaw
Ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile (Cuvier
derived from ‘clarus’ meaning clear or shining.