is one of my favourite Syno's and I have had this
specimen in the following photograph for about 10
years, from a striped juvenile in 1992 to around the
7" SL. mark now.
When young, these
fish are sold here in the U.K. as Synodontis
'network' and are quite common. They have a striped
pattern when youngsters but gradually lose this trait,
and this disappears to be replaced by spots over the
top half of the body.
The first thing
you do notice as adults is of course the magnificent
dorsal fin with each ray extending into long filaments
which can vary in different individuals, hence the
common name of 'feather fin' catfish. You can see
this trait in the second photograph.
The only aggression
that I have witnessed with this species is when I
introduced a Synodontis
membranaceus to his
6' 0" tank ( its a male) and all hell broke loose.
I then moved him to another tank which included a
Synodontisgreshofi and they get on
just fine. I think with most Synodontis you
have to watch them, and who you put in to their quarters
with them, as some can be more aggressive than others.
These fish can be territorial, so give them caves
to make them feel
eupterus is one of these Syno's which can become
quite tame and can appear to the front of the tank
at all times of the day looking for food and just
showing to the rest of the tank inhabitants that he/she
is boss. The colouration is not startling but never
the less it is an impressive fish which I think, being
a bit bias, the vast majority of the Synodontis
genus are anyway.
I have a good
friend who has been keeping around 14 of these fish
together in a 4' x 2' x 2' tank for the last 5 years
and trying to breed them. He has had eggs of them
only once, but they didn't amount to anything. He
finds them quite aggressive, especially a big female
who has killed fish that he has introduced to the
tank. I think this is the exception to the rule as
his fish are in a so called breeding colony, and would
view introduced fish as a threat to their territories.
The 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.
decorus and S.
Nile, Chad, Volta and Niger basins including the Bénoué.
Dorsal 1/8; Pectoral 1/9; Mandibular
teeth;40-56. Mandibular barbels reaching the base
of the pectoral fin. Large sail-like dorsal.
Darkish brown/grey body and
dotted all over with small black spots, ventral parts
lighter. Head and upper half of body and adipose fin
spotted (spots vary from fish to fish). Remaining
fins are liberally covered with black spots. In young
specimens the caudal fin is striped and, as the fish
matures, the stripes seperate forming spots.
Care & Compatibility
Can sometimes be quarrelsome
depending on the individual fish so would be better
in a larger tank with other fish such as larger barbs
and tetras such as the "Congo Tetra". Will
try and establish itself as the boss of the tank,
then once the hierarchy is sorted out things should
settle down. Make sure there are plenty of hiding
places for this fish so it does not feel under threat
from the other tankmates.
Not reported but
would be a prime candidate for hormone production,
if that is not being done already. Sexing can be quite
easy in well fed individuals as the females can get
quite heavy while the males stay comparatively slim.
You can sex them of course by the genital papilla
which drops down in the male to a point while the
females are blunt.
The adults will eat a wide
variety of foods and that is the key to keeping Syno's
fit and healthy, a wide varied diet. They will take
flake, tablet food, prawns, shrimps and frozen bloodworm.
Syn = together; odontis = teeth
(fused tooth plates). eupterus: Good fins.
Area Catfish Group; Information Sheet 46. Holden, M. & Reed, W.,West
African Freshwater Fish. Poll, Max., Revision Des Synodontis
Africains (Family Mochokidae).