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Impressive large-growing catfish, with banner-like dorsal fin and bold colour pattern that takes on the appearance of jaguar markings. Ideal for community tanks containing larger species. Provide some hiding places. They are commonly found in the lakes of the Great Rift Valley, making it a great addition for Rift Lake Tanks.

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Features of Synodontis Catfish:

  • Flat bellies and a shark-like silhouette
  • Light base body with large irregular spots, much like a jaguar
  • Three pairs of fleshy barbels from the mouth
  • Lacks scales
  • Nocturnal species
  • Care level: Easy
  • Grows to 20cm


The Best Aquarium Size for Synodontis Catfish:

Synodontis catfish do well in a tank of 75L or larger. If keeping a community aquarium consider a larger aquarium. 

After an Aquarium for your fish? Browse Aquarium Tank Selection here.

Tank Mate Compatibility:

Synodontis catfish make great additions to Rift Lake Cichlid aquariums, and should be kept in groups of 4-5. This helps limit aggressive behavior. Avoid smaller fish it may eat, or large fish that may bully it.

Great tank mates include:


Synodontis catfish are omnivores and are not fussy eaters. They spend most of their time searching for food on the aquarium floor and will eat anything it finds. Feed a daily diet of sinking pellets and catfish wafers. Their diet can be supplemented with live, frozen or freeze dried bloodworms, blackworms, and brine shrimp. 

Check out our extensive range of aquarium fish foods.

Synodontis catfish Tank Setup:

Aquarium Filtration

Synodontis catfish enjoy clean, well oxygenated water. Ensure your filter has an adequate flow rate for your aquarium size to effective remove waste and debris while offering good movement. For extra oxygenation, add an air pump.

Shop our comprehensive range of aquarium filters here.

Plants for Synodontis catfish

Synodontis catfish are known to dig and uproot aquarium plants. This species can be housed in a plant free fish tank.

Interested in live plants for your aquariums? Browse live plants here.

Decorations for Synodontis catfish

Driftwood is excellent for Synodontis catfish as this provides lots of structure for the fish to hide in. Other decorations include caves and ornaments the fish can swim and hide in. Stack rocks and create the perfect hideaways. 

After more nice quality decorations? Check our Aquarium Ornaments.

Aquarium Lighting

These fish enjoy lower light levels with lots of shade and dark spaces to hide. Dimmable LED lighting offers the ability to change to moonlight modes and encourage more activity. 

Shop aquarium lighting here.

Aquarium Substrate

Aquarium sand is perfect for this species. As it is a bottom dweller it will spend its time on the aquarium floor searching through the substrate for food.

A variety of Substrates are available at Coburg Aquarium. 

Additional Information

Fish Keeping Snapshot :

Preferred Water Parameters :