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Lace Synodontis

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Lace Synodontis (Synodontis nigrita)

Photo of: Lace Synodontis (Synodontis nigrita)

Scientific Name(s): Synodontis nigrita, Hemisynodontis nigrita, Synodontis fascipinna, S. ornatus


Common Name(s): Lace Synodontis, Common Syno, Syno, False upside down catfish, Lace Catfish


Family: Mochokidae


Species Type: African Catfish


Maximum Size: 7 inches


Life Span: 11 years


Natural Habitat: African rivers and streams.


Minimum Tank Size: 29 gallons


Tank Region: Bottom.


Possible Tank Mates: African species - does well with african cichlids.


Description: Commonly misidentified in the trade. Contaminants often include S. nigriventris and small juveniles of many West African Synodontis species. S. nigrita has a dark gray background with black spots on the body and fins, giving it a ''lace-like'' appearance, hence the common name: ''lace catfish''. Humeral process ends in a point, sweeping up in a curve on the bottom edge. Sometimes swims in an inverted position.


Temperature Range: 70°F - 79°F



pH Range: 6 - 7.8

pH 5.0
pH 6.0
pH 7.0
pH 8.0
pH 9.0


Hardness Range: 5° - 15°



Breeding Information: In nature, breeding occurs during flood season. It is uncertain if bred commercially by hormone injection or if it has been bred in the aquarium.


Sexing Information: First lay the fish in your hand with its head toward your palm and the tail toward your fingers. Hold the dorsal spine between your middle and ring finger so the fish is belly up and you won't get stuck (Which by the way, hurts like crazy!). The genital pore is in a small furrow of tissue (in healthy fish) and will be obstructed by the pelvic fins. Pull down on the tail gently to arch the fishes spine and the pelvic fins will stand and the furrow open to display the genital pore and the anus of the fish. The male has a somewhat ridged genital papillae on which the spermatoduct is on the back side, facing the tail fin. A gravid female will also show an extended papillae but the oviduct is on the ventral side of the papillae (And may also show a little redness if really gravid). A thin or emaciated female will have just two pink pores, the oviduct and the anus.


Diet: Omnivorous - does well with sinking pellet food but also enjoys insect foods like worms or mosquito larvae.


Temperament: Relatively peaceful, though older specimens can become territorial.


Common Diseases: None specific to species.


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African Catfish


Keith Pardee

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