Alternative species (click on the thumbnail to see the card)
None (for the moment!)
Origin: Africa: Lake Tanganyika and tributaries of the Malagarasi River
Difficult to see, you have to catch them and turn them over to observe their orifices. The disc of the female is round.
600 L / 130 imp gal / 160 US gal
T°: 23 à 26°C or 73 to 79°F
pH: 7.5 to 8.5
Hardness: 15 to 30°dGH
12 cm (5")
10 to 15 years
How to feed the Cuckoo catfish?
This carnivore is easy to feed: it greedily accepts live food or frozen. You can also offer dry food that it will accept too, but with less enthusiasm. In its natural environment, it eats mainly snails and molluscs. Do not hesitate to make it an important part of its diet, even in captivity.
Vary the menus for better health, but also for fun!
Pay attention to the amount of food you distribute to this particularly greedy fish. Avoid overfeeding it to avoid obesity and related health problems.
What kind of behavior does the Cuckoo catfish have?
The Cuckoo Catfish is a peaceful fish, neither too calm nor too active. It is constantly swimming in the lower part of the aquarium.
Who can live with the Cuckoo catfish?
Young fish enjoy living in small groups. Growing up, they are more independent and become territorial. To dilute this aggressive behavior with its congeners, keep at least 5 or 6 fish of this species (you will need an aquarium of at least 600 liters or 132 Imperila Gallons or 158 US Gallons). Note, however, that it is sociable and its aggression is moderate. However, they are never aggressive with the other occupants of the aquarium.
In order to avoid conflicts, it is wiser to have no other bottom species in their aquarium.
This Synodontis will particularly find its place among African Cichlids. To stay in its natural biotope, opt for Lake Tanganyika fish such as Cyathopharynx, Tropheus or Haplochromis.
How to breed the Cuckoo catfish?
Even if it is not very difficult to achieve, the Synodontis’ breeding is quite rare and can be a real challenge for enthusiasts. It will be necessary to foresee the presence of Cichlids with oral incubation, which will themselves have to breed (in general, Haplochromis).
Note that the Synodontis’ breeding can only be done when the fish are at least 2 or 3 years old.
Indeed, its name «cuckoo» comes from its breeding mode. Indeed, just like the bird with the same name, this catfish will spawn among African cichlid eggs that are oral incubators. The host fish will pick them together with their own eggs. Eggs will incubate in the adoptive parent’s mouth. The Synodontis fry are the first to be born (an incubation of 3 days is enough) and remain in the mouth of the fish. They feed on the unhatched eggs of the cichlids. In general, Cichlide spawning is completely devoured in 5 days. It may seem cruel, but this breeding mode is very effective: the fry have food available and are perfectly protected.
To prevent the fry from attacking each other after spawning, you can manually take them out of the surrogate’s mouth 2 to 3 days after hatching. Start feeding them immediately with Artemia.
Which aquarium for the Cuckoo catfish?
Like all catfish, this fish lives near the ground. It is therefore necessary for the substrate to be non-cutting. The ideal is to provide a layer of sand or other non-cutting substrate.
Rocks will also be welcome: arrange them for hiding (pay attention to the stability of the stack, you can stick the stones together to avoid collapse). Complete the set with driftwood. Be careful, however, to leave enough free beach for swimming.
On the vegetable side, choose mainly floating plants.
As for the water quality, a filtration of at least 3 or 4 x the volume of the aquarium per hour will ensure a good mixing and a good water recycling. Make regular and important water changes: 100 to 150 liters or 22 to 33 Imp Gal or 26 to 40 US Gal per week or more depending on the volume of your aquarium.
Good To know
Good To know
Find all additional information!
It can be difficult to find specimens sold commercially. Get closer to specialized clubs for your acquisition.
Please login to post comments