How to Successfully Keep Synodontis petricola
Aqualand’s inside info on Synodontis petricola
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Just a little note to remind you that LA will be speaking at the Midwest Cichlid Association's EXPO 2006 (May 5-7). Go to midwestcichlid.com/expo06 for details and information about the other speakers. My topic? Synodontis catfish -- the perfect tank mates for African cichlids. LA
These little guys are CUTE – plain and simple cute, very
active, and quite capable of taking care of themselves in a community of
Le Difference. Synodontis petricolaa strongly resemble Synodontis multipunctatus at first glance -- except they sport a white trim on the front of their dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins.
Drawbacks. Scarcity and price keep their numbers limited. We just took note of these little guys this year (2005) when Chuck Bremer gave us six as a surprise going away present. He was going away, not us. He was on his way back to Switzerland that afternoon. Anyway, they cost 20 to 30 times more than cories.
Size. Really big ones might hit four inches. Most top out at 3.5. All are very slow growing.
Space. Like African cichlids, petricolas prefer larger tanks – the bigger the better.
Groups. Most people keep petricolas as singles because of their high price. Petricolas prefer to hang in groups. The more the merrier, but their high price keeps their numbers low for most people.
Water. Since petricolas came from Lake Tanganyika, you know they prefer a high pH. Word of caution: Organics (ammonia and nitrite) present a huge problem at high pH levels. Make frequent and large water changes if you expect to keep these guys. Ditto with your African cichlids. Since both these types of fish eat (and digest) great quantities of food, they can be their own worst enemies. Change their water often.
Tank Decor. Unlike many catfishes, Synodontis petricolas prefer to spend their days cruising. They enjoy rockwork and caves as much as the next catfish (and African cichlids). Petricola means rock dweller. They accept flower pots with or without notches in them also.
Tank Mates. Keep your petricolas with African cichlids – especially the Tanganyikans. They like the same water conditions. Or, keep them with regular community fishes.
Food. In Lake Tanganyika, petricolas apparently devour snails. In captivity they eat nearly any food offered. They eat food from the floor of their tank (and from the surface).
Breeding Reports. We’ve
never bred petricolas ourselves. Others
have bred them as “cuckoos” like the S.
multipunctatus a very similar Synodontis from
Breeding Setup. You need a bare tank and two containers – a clear one on the bottom full of dark marbles and the other on top as a lid. Of course, you need an opening in the top one for the breeders to access this catfish boudoir. You need two of these so you can change them daily – partially checking for eggs, partially for getting rid of their waste products.
Fry Survival. Eggs hatch in 24 hours. Due to their small size, they will need infusoria and microworms their first week or two. You can then add newly hatched brine shrimp which they will need for two or three months. Then start converting them to larger foods -- live, frozen, flake, etc. They grow very slowly.
Last Comments. Clean water is essential to keeping most Synodontis
catfishes – especially if you keep them at the 8+ pH levels found in
Lake Tanganyika. And
petricolas like to travel in schools.
They stay most active in larger groups.
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