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Synodontis flavitaeniatiatus Boulenger, 1919

his months factsheet centres on one of the most beautiful members of the Mockikidae family and perhaps maybe the nicest looking catfish on the block!

Synodontis flavitaeniatus


I don't apologise for revisiting Africa again, and to my mind, along with the Corydoras species from South America, the Syno's are a very special and interesting group and hopefully we will see an upsurge in interest again in these wonderful cats. We will perhaps not return to the days of the early eighties again when Synodontis like this months subject would cost you an arm and a leg and quite possibly a full weeks wages to own this beauty above.

This Synodontis is only one in three species in this family that has filaments on their maxillary barbels as well as the mandibular, the other two are,
S. clarias and S. decorus.

Synodontis flavitaeniatus


Synodontis flavitaeniatiatus is basically an easy species to keep as it won't uproot your plants and as such can be kept in a planted aquarium. They are not aggressive so you can keep a few of them in a large community tank along with larger tetras such as the Congo Tetra from the same continent. As with all members of this family they can be territorial so must give them places to hide during the day such as rockwork, pipes or driftwood, then you will see them venturing out during the day for sorties.




Map above shows the area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Stanley pool now known as the Malebo pool which is a widening of the Congo River about 570km from its confluence to the South Atlantic Ocean.

The Pyjama cat is well named due to its rather garish outfit but I stress that I don't own Pyjama's of this nature :-) It also goes under another common name of the Orange Striped Squeaker owing to the colouring and the common name of "Squeakers" given to the Synodontis genus by the native people's, due to the sounds made when taken out of the water.

Body compressed, head slightly depressed. Three pairs of barbels. Maxillary barbels with tiny ramifications, mandibular barbels with small ramifications. Dorsal fin spine smooth anteriorly occasionally with 2 - 4 serrations at the point, strongly serrated posteriorly, ending in a short filament. Pectoral fin spine with many small serrations on the outer edge; inner edge with large serrations in the middle, decreasing in size towards each end. Caudal fin forked with the upper lobe usually being longer.

The head and body are marked with wide dark sinuous horizontal brownish bands, separated by light yellowish stripes. The ventral region is lighter with small irregular blotches. Dorsal, pectoral, ventral and anal fins are marked with a transverse series of large black very contrasting spots. Adipose fin dark except for the extreme top which is lighter. Caudal fin with dark bands in both lobes where the bands in the body continue through the fin, light on the extreme edges and light in the centre except for a few black spots.

Good community catfish in a larger setup but as with all Syno's will need their own space, meaning their own bit of bogwood, PVC pipe or rockwork to reduce the territorial behaviour of this genus.

No reports on the breeding of this species in captivity but has been hormone bred by Slovakian aquarist Petre Posel in 1994.

As with most members of this genus it will eat most foods such as good quality flakefood, tablets, whiteworm, pellets and frozen food such as bloodworm.

Synodontis: Ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile (Cuvier 1816).
: Yellow stripes.

Catfish Association Great Britain; Volume 1, p 111-112

Photo Credits
Julian Dignall @ Planet Catfish 
Factsheet 106

Synodontis flavitaeniatus
Common Name:
Pyjama Catfish
Democratic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Kinshasa, Stanley Pool, in the upper Congo River. near Brazzaville.
15.5cm. (6¼ins)
23-28°C (73-83°F)
6.5 - 7.5.
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                                                                                                                                  Factsheet 106 = updated February 17, 2021 , © ScotCat 1997-2019  Go to Top