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Synodontis granulosus Boulenger, 1900

most sought after species from the Mochokidae family is the very stunning looking Synodontis granulosus. This Synodontis is not very abundant in Lake Tanganyika as it lives in a deep water habitat with a solitary lifestyle so the price in your LFS will always be high if you are lucky enough to see this beautiful species.


Synodontis granulosus



There are hybrids around pertaining to be this species but the price will be the first warning sign as cheaper fish means there is a good chance that it is not S. granulosus but a hybrid hormone bred in the Czech Republic, where they have been very adept at producing hormone bred injected hybrids for many years for the aquatic trade. As in the above image you can see the true trait of Synodontis granulosus with all fins black with a white margin and (according to the light source) a blackish/brown body.





Synodontis granulosus


Above is a specimen showing a lighter body colour due to the stress or bright light with small black spots. A large aquarium of at least 60ins x 24ins x 24ins (150cm x 60cm x 60cm) would be better as they do not do well in small aquaria.




Africa: Burundi, Tanganyika. Type locality: North end of Lake Tanganyika



In the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species it has a tag of Least Concern. Lives in areas of shells, sand and mud/silt, over a wide depth range, but more often between 20–40m. Thought to feed on invertebrates.



Deep body with the caudal peduncle fairly shallow. Humeral process is long and narrow, keeled below, and pointed at the tip. High and long adipose fin which originates just behind the dorsal fin. Caudal fin is deeply forked.

Adults have a grey-brown body which they are small indistinct dark spots. Fins are black/brown with white margins to the posterior parts. Barbels white. Juveniles are lighter with a pattern pf distinct dots and spots.

Aquarium Care

Usually better to keep as a lone specimen as two individuals will fight. Either that or keep five or six in a large biotope lake aquarium as this will dilute the aggression. Will be okay with other species of Synodontis. Keep as with all members of Synodontis from Lake Tanganyika, with a higher p.H. value.



Would do well in a large lake biotope aquarium with hard water cichlids but would pick of any small juveniles at night.

Oviparous. Distinct pairing during breeding

Sexual differences
The genital papilla on males is well developed and pointed, while the females have only a lightly raised, rounded protrusion and also a stockier looking body.


Omnivores: Will eat most aquarium fare, vegetable, meaty and prepared foods.

Glossary of Terms

Caudal peduncle: The narrow part of a fish's body to which the caudal or tail fin is attached.
Caudal fin: The tail.

Humeral process: Bony extension of the pectoral girdle.
Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Hybrid: The progeny of two individuals belonging to different species; the progeny of two individuals belonging to different subspecies of the same species are not hybrids.
Dorsal fin: The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body.


Synodontis: From the Greek syn, meaning together, and odontos, meaning tooth; in reference to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth.



Ntakimazi, G. 2006. Synodontis granulosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T60809A12410670. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2006.RLTS.T60809A12410670.en. Downloaded on 26 November 2018.
Seegers, L. 2008 The catfishes of Africa. A handbook for identification and maintenance. Aqualog Verlag A.C.S. GmbH, Germany. 604 p.

Photo Credits


Top: ©  Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library

Bottom: © Allan James @ ScotCat

Factsheet 270

Common Name:
Granular Synodontis


Africa: Burundi, Tanganyika. Type locality: North end of Lake Tanganyika
25.0cm. (10ins)
23-26°C (73 -79°F)
7.5 -8.5.
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                                                                                                            Factsheet 270 = updated December 20, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018  Go to Top