Misc Frogs II
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Pet World Visit
Squeaker Name. Not until this year (2004) did we learn why synodontis are called “squeakers.” We were moving a large Synodontis eupterus to a potential spawning tank at the other end of the room. It was in a 1.5-inch PVC tube with no water, when it started squeaking -- a little like a talking catfish but more of a squeak. Squeaker is shorter than synodontis, but we plan to keep calling them synodontis for a while.
Upside-Downers. Synodontis nigriventris, the littlest guys in the group, make perfect community scavengers. They stay cute, eat well, swim around upside down. Who could ask for more?
Aqualand Logo: When Aqualand selected the Synodontis multipunctatus as our logo (decades ago), these critters were much more common and sold for considerably less money. They’re still available today, but most sell at the $100+ level – even the two inchers.
Single Drawback. Price. Most synodontis species (except lace and upside-downers) get kind of expensive. We don’t stock many Synodontis multipunctatus these days because they now cost so darn much.
Size. Maxing out at six inches after about four years in a large tank, Synodontis multipunctatus fit into your African cichlid or other community tank for the long haul.
Space. Like African cichlids, all synodontis catfish prefer larger tanks – the bigger the better.
Groups. Most people keep these guys as singles (because of the price?). Synodontis multipunctatus prefer to hang in groups. The more the merrier. Unfortunately, their high price keeps their numbers low for most people.
Water. Since multipunctatus 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 Décor. Like most catfishes, Synodontis prefer to spend their days in seclusion – in the nooks and crannies. They even like PVC pipes and flower pots with notches in them.
Tankmates. Keep your Synodontis with African cichlids. Don’t trust them with small African cichlids.
Andy Liu, March 24, 2006 Mystus leucophasis.
Andy Liu, March 24, 2006 juvenile Synodontis eupterus
Andy Liu, March 24, 2006 Synodontis nigrita
Food. Happily, synodontis catfishes love nearly any food – and lots of it. Like most catfishes, they prefer to work the night shift. Also like other catfishes, they quickly adapt to your feeding schedule. If the food is always served during the day, they learn to mix it up with the cichlids during the day to get their share.
Intriguing Breeding. Mature multipunctatus come into breeding condition when triggered by the spawning of mouthbrooding African cichlids. In the wild, a group of these spotted catfish will chance upon a pair of Haplochromis in their mating ritual. The catfish rush in and eat some of the cichlid eggs while at the same time leaving their own eggs. The cichlid female picks up the catfish eggs and whatever’s left of her own eggs and protects them in her mouth. Under normal conditions, she would hold them for three weeks.
Fry Behavior. The faster-hatching synodontis then cannibalize the much larger cichlid eggs. They grow very fast on the nutritious cichlid eggs. If they run out of cichlid eggs, they may cannibalize each other.
Fry Survival. Serious breeders shuck out the fry before they start eating each other and rear them in breeding nets. They feed them frozen baby brine shrimp to wean them off their egg diet as soon as possible. The babies need lots of water changes to keep them viable.
Last Comments. Clean water is essential to keeping most Synodontis catfishes – especially if you keep them at the 8+ pH levels found in the Rift Lakes. They adapt just fine to normal pH levels LA.
Go to Upside-Down Catfish for more Synodontis info.
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