Occurs in deep water close
to the shore and is similar to Synodontis batensoda
but lacks the fin and body spots and has membraned
maxillary barbels. Was always known in the early years
of the hobby as Hemisynodontis membranaceus
with the monotypic genera by Bleeker in 1862 but it
is now being excepted as Synodontis (Lévèque
et al., 1992, Willoughby 1994 and Danke et al., 1999).
Description: Dorsal spines (total):
1; Anal spines: 0. Diagnosis: gill slits extending
downwards beyond pelvic-fin insertions to the midline
of isthmus; maxillary barbels not longer than head,
lacking tubercles and ramifications, but with a broad,
black membrane extending over their entire length;
mandibular barbels with a broad black membrane; outer
and inner mandibular barbels with few and simple ramifications,
and membranous at tips; mandibular teeth short, numbering
8-16; pectoral-fin spines more strongly denticulate
on inner than on outer margin; dorsal-fin spine smooth,
except for weak serrations present on posterior margin
in some specimens; humeral process deep, short, granular
and not keeled ventrally; adipose fin high, long and
contiguous to rayed dorsal fin. Colouration:
typically inverted colour, the back being uniformly
whitish-grey and the belly black; fins greyish, without
spots; maxillary and mandibular barbels (particularly
the outer pair) bordered by a broad, black membrane.
Aquarium Care: It is a peaceful and
hardy fish even though it does grow quite big, but
I have found that it really is a gentle giant. Do
give it a decent size tank and I would suggest a 4ft
being the minimum with an aquascape consisting of
rockwork or pipes for it to retire too, and large
plants such as Giant Valis (Vallisneria gigantea)
that grow partly along the water surface, and then
you could witness it eating in its inverted position.
Diet: The usual feeding for Synodontis
species, being good quality flake food, tablet food,
frozen bloodworm, shrimp and prawns. In its natural
habitat it feeds on plankton and detritus. May also
feed on surface insects, chironomid larvae, benthic
crustaceans, and mollusks.
Chad, Niger (including the Bénoué) Senegal,
Gambia and Volta basins; also the Nile in northern
Africa. Type locality: Fl. Nil (Egypte).
1989 An atlas of freshwater and marine catfishes.
A preliminary survey of the Siluriformes. T.F.H. Publications,
Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey (USA). 784 p. Dankwa, H. R., E. K. Abban and G. G. Teugels
1999. Freshwater fishes of Ghana: identification,
distribution, ecological and economic importance.
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique
de Belgique v. 283: 1-53. Froese, R. and
D. Pauly. Editors. 2019. FishBase. World
Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org,
( 08/2019 ). Lévèque, C., D. Paugy and G.
G. Teugels 1991. Annotated check-list of
the freshwater fishes of the Nilo-sudan river basins,
in Africa. Revue d'Hydrobiologie Tropicale v. 24 (no.
2): 131-154. Northern Area Catfish Group;
Information Sheet 01. Olaosebikan, B.D. and
A. Raji, 1998. Field guide to Nigerian freshwater
fishes. Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology,
New Bussa, Nigeria. 106 p. Seegers, L.
2008 The catfishes of Africa. A handbook for identification
and maintenance. Aqualog Verlag A.C.S. GmbH, Germany.
604 p. Willoughby, N. G. 1994. The taxonomy
of the genus Synodontis (Pisces: Siluroidea) in Lake
Kainji, Nigeria. The African Journal of Tropical Hydrobiology
and Fisheries v. 5 (no. 1): 25-30.