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
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 River.
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
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.
Synodontis, Red-Tail Synodontis, and Red Tail Syno.
Niger (including the Bénoué River),
Senegal, Gambia and Volta basins, also in the
360mm s.l. (standard length
– this is the measurement of the fish from the
tip of the snout to the base of the caudal peduncle).
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.
Care & Compatibility
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.
As with most other species
of catfish the males tend to be more slender than the
females. When viewed from underneath they exhibit external
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.
defined as a second dorsal fin. Anal fin is defined as the medial fin
immediately posterior to the anus. Caudal fin is defined as the tail fin.
Dorsal is defined as being top or above.
Dorsal fin is defined as the medial fin on
top of the back.
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.
Pectoral fins are defined as paired lateral
fins. Ventral fins are defined as the paired
fins between the pectoral and anal fins.
Syn = together; odontis = teeth
(fused tooth plates). clarius:Probably derived from ‘clarus’
meaning clear or shining.