Synodontis Catfish for agressive Chiclid tank

Bottom Dweller fish for Malawi tank, Synodontis Catfish:
Synodontis Catfish are the best bottom dweller suitable for a aggressive cichlids tank. They are gorgeous, colorful, active and more importantly they can defend themselves from a more aggressive tankmates. They are one type of catfish. These fishes actual habitat is in Africa, and most of them are native to the two great african lakes, lake Malawi and lake Tanganyika. Most of these fish species are nocturnal, so provide good hiding spots for their daytime hiding mode.

About half of the total species variety of the Synodontis catfishes move upside down, and are commonly known as upside down catfish. Synodontis catfish are part of the Mochokidae catfish family, more commonly known as the 'naked catfishes', as they do not have the usual body armour or traditional scales of catfishes. These fishes typically have quite strong and spiny dorsal and pectoral fins, so be cautious when you move this fish from the tank. I have seen incidents where one high fin synodontis damage one's finger. They have three pairs of barbells, used for scavenging amongst the substrate. These barbells are very sensitive so provide sandy substrate is the best option, else they can damage their barbells.

Synodontis in my 5-2-2 cichlids tank

There are many species of synodontis available in the ornamental fish market, and there are too many hybrids, crossbreeds between the species as well. Synodontis appear to quite happily and readily crossbreed. Unless you have a very common species, it may be difficult to tell if what you have is a hybrid or not. There are currently well over 100 different identifies species of synodontis.

Feeding the catfish:
These fishes loves insects, but they usually do good with most of the quality flake foods, small pieces of meat, shrimps etc.

Compatibility of Synodontis catfish:
Most of the synodontis are compatible with almost all fishes, from smaller tetras to the giant cichlids. The exception would be the three predatory species: S. acanthomias, S. notatus, and S. schal which are still not agressive fish, but will eat smaller fishes.

Size of the Synodontis catfish:
Size of these fishes depends totally on the species, this ranges from 4" to 24". So choose your fish accordingly.

Tank required for synodontis:
Like most other catfish these fishes are bottom dweller, and to keep them healthy big tank is required, with bigger the better. Different species of Synodontis comes from a vast range of habitat in the wild, with some from the hard water African lakes and others live in softer, vegetated waters. In the aquarium synodontis species are highly adaptable. But good filtration is highly necessary, as they can not manage nitrate spike. External filtration, regular water changes, and plenty of flow are best for larger fish. Since the fish are scavengers and have sensitive barbells, the substrate should not have any sharp elements; rounded pea gravel or sandy substrates are ideal. Plants will be used as hiding spots although some of the larger species can be destructive and may damage delicate plants. Dark, cave like hiding places are good for them.


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