of the Synodontis side of the hobby, this is
a gregarious fish which is well suited to a community
tank of mid sized individuals and does well on a varied
diet, so well in fact that it starts to resemble an
implement that you hit with a No.1 wood, namely a
golf ball!. I don't know why they enjoy their food
so much but if there is a snack about, they won't
be too far away.
There seems to
be quite a few variations on the body pattern and
colour of this species and one fish that it seems
to get confused with, in colour pattern anyway, is
aterrimus which is roughly
half the size of S. schoutedeni.
The two pictures
above show the different colour patterns in S.
schoutedeni. There is also Synodontis
greshoffi which is also
very much alike but the marbled pattern is not so
well defined in this species and has a duller pattern
Below is a comparison
between Synodontis schoutedeni and S. aterrimus.
top line drawing (fig1) depicts S. aterrimus
The bottom line drawing (fig2) depicts S. schoutedeni
the difference in the maxillary (largest) barbels,
the shape of the dorsal and also the shape of the
humeral process (the long bony plate just behind the
is one of the few Synodontis to be able to
swim upside-down and its body colouration continues
around the body. It is particularly fond of flake
food which can be fed first thing in the morning before
lights on and it will feed, as mentioned, upside-down
from the surface.
If kept with a number of the same individuals they
can become very territorial so you should present
them with plenty of caves such as large pipes or rockwork.
All in all, a pretty patterned Synodontis which
comes in periodically to the aquatic establishments
and if you are keen on this family of catfish, snap
genus Synodontis sports three pairs of barbels
1 pair: 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.
Democratic Republic of the Congo.
pairs. Maxillary reach to origin of ventral fins.
Mandibulars with simple ramifications. Body: Slightly compressed. Caudal fin: Forked. Dorsal fin: Spine smooth anteriorly
occasionally with 1-4 serrations at the tip. Posteriorly
with very little serrations ending in a small filament. Pectoral fin: Spine finely serrated
on the outer edge, heavily serrated on the middle
of the inner edge decreasing in size towards each
end with a smaller filament at the end.
Ground colour cream with brown
mauve marbled pattern on head, body and adipose fin.
All other fins spotted. Maxillary barbels dark. Mandibular
Care & Compatibility
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. Tankmates
should be large enough not to become harassed by this
species, such as small tetras.
Not reported but
is probably being bred in Eastern Europe using hormone
Will take most prepared aquarium
foods such as frozen bloodworm, whiteworm, shrimp,
prawns, tablet food, a good quality flake food, pellets
and a bit of veggy food now and again. . A wide
varied diet will provide a healthy (and fat !) specimen
for many years.
From the Greek syn, meaning together, and odontos,
meaning tooth; in reference to the closely-spaced
lower jaw teeth. schoutedeni:In honour
Area Catfish Group; Information Sheet 10. Poll,
Revision Des Synodontis Africains (Famille Mochokidae)