Catfish Logo Full
Catfish Logo Half
Catfish Logo Head logo
Please visit Amazonas Magazine, proud sponsors of

CotM Cat-eLog Shane's World Forum

Books Cool Search Help!

Cat-eLog Right Arrow Mochokidae Right Arrow Mochokinae Right Arrow Synodontis  var. 

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Synodontis decorus  Boulenger, 1899
Common Name(s) Clown Syno
Schmuck-Fiederbartwels (Germany)
Type Locality Nouvelle-Anvers, Zaire.
Synonym(s) Synodontis decora, Synodontis vittatus
Pronunciation sin oh don tiss - deck oh rus
Etymology Synodontis: From the Greek syn, meaning together, and odontos, meaning tooth; in reference to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth. Decora means decorated.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 270mm (10.6") SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp. []
Identification All species in the genus Synodontis have a hardened head cap that has attached a process (humeral process) which is situated behind the gill opening and pointed towards the posterior. The dorsal fin and pectoral fins have a hardened first ray which is serrated. Caudal fin is always forked. There is one pair of maxillary barbels, sometimes having membranes and occasionally branched. The two pairs of mandibular barbels are often branched and can have nodes attached. The cone-shaped teeth in the upper jaw are short. S-shaped and movable in the lower jaw. These fish produce audible sounds when disturbed rubbing the base of the pectoral spine against the pectoral girdle.

Juveniles have a long filament on the leading dorsal fin ray.
Tan background colouration with black spots.
One of only three Synodontis species (with S. clarias and S. flavitaeniatus) with filaments on both maxillary barbels and mandibular barbels.
Sexing 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.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Congo basin except Luapula River system. One of the many interesting Synodontis species found in Malebo Pool.
African Waters, Congo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Congo, Lower Congo, Pool Malebo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Show it on a map (Click the map-icon to show/hide map of species distribution)
IUCN Red List Status Least Concern
pH 6.0 - 8.0
Temperature 22.0-28.0°C or 71.6-82.4°F (Show others within this range)[]
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
Feeding Eats crustaceans, algae and insect larvae in the wild. Is not a fussy eater in the aquarium. Will accept flakes and tablet foods. Periodically supplement with frozen food (e.g., krill, brine shrimp and bloodworm) and live food.
Furniture Rockwork, driftwood, sections of pipe with a diameter of 10-12 cm. Grows to about 30 cm, so will need at least a 200 litre tank when it reaches adulthood. This fish does not like bright lights, but with sufficient cover, such as floating plants, it will make the occasional appearance with the lights on. With bright lights, it will sometimes dash out for food, but will otherwise keep itself hidden until the tank is dark.
Compatibility Compatible with all but tiny fish. Can hold its own with large, aggressive fish, but best kept away from fin-nippers which might be tempted to pick at the filament on its dorsal fin.
Suggested Tankmates Large enough to hold it's own in any American cichlid tank, larger individuals will even adapt to African rift lake cichlid tanks. Best kept with larger African characins and barbs.
Breeding Not reported in the aquarium.
Jump to next section Further Information
References Ann. Mus. Congo (Ser. Zool.)v. 1 (fasc. 3) - pp49 - Pl. 25
Registered Keepers (1) synoguy (k: 4), who also notes: "The original Gentle Giant, big but hardly ever boistrous. Pattern tends to fade later in its life, however this is not always the case as I have an adult that is more defined in colour and pattern than any of my younger ones and is by far my mos", (2) natefrog, (3) Lornek8, (4) Silurus, (5) Dave Rinaldo, (6) oldfish, (7) clunkster, (8) synodont_fan (k: 2), who also notes: "Spectacular coloration, even when large (6 inch specimen). Mine have not developed a very long streamer on the dorsal fin, just barely noticeable. Not very active.", (9) Tulio, (10) Occellatus, (11) ranmasan, (12) kvnbyl, who also notes: "a big gentle fish, he is at least 12 years old and very handsome", (13) invaderwithkey, (14) RickieH, (15) Junttis, (16) Gump, (17) amazonfishman, (18) syno-kev, who also notes: "stunning fish 8 inch and now bigger than notatus and i think this one is the tank boss judging by its feeding habits ,even comes to the surface to fed when the lid goes up !", (19) jippo (k: 2), (20) derrickrscott (p: 2), (21) Plunt, (22) vriesea, who also notes: "Bought single Synodontis decorus at San Francisco Aquarium Society for $12.", (23) synodontisjack, (24) mini-fée (p: 2), (25) mante-religieuse, who also notes: "about 15 cm long,no filament on dorsal is always hiden under a driftwood.It's in my tank for only a week and a half.Very shy for now... Now(July 2008),it doesn't seem shy anymore,always showing up when I feed them!It loves shrimp pellets mo", (26) amergim, (27) glyde (k: 2), (28) LowCat, (29) Marduk (k: 2), (30) MatsP (p: 3, k: 4), who also notes: "Got two more to go with my slightly larger single individual.", "Got a "return" from MA in Bourne End.", (31) Kampfer, (32) Wraith (k: 2), (33) fleahound (k: 2), (34) Moomoo, (35) synofreak (p: 2), (36) earth intruder, (37) scotty105, (38) ariefputranto (k: 5), (39) oliv67 (k: 4), (40) SoCalDiscus, (41) jprp, (42) naturalart, (43) Viktor Jarikov, who also notes: "suspected true species but no dorsal extention?; bands in place of spots; good-looking, active during feedings, not shy to attempt steal food from bigger fish", (44) Tony, (45) theviper06, (46) mrfishydude, (47) tspaceace68, (48) tijani, (49) N0body Of The Goat (p: 2, k: 7), who also notes: "Passed over to MatsP 23/9/2012", "Whole group lost to massive Ich infestation, still cannot believe it :(", (50) Sam, (51) snowball (k: 4), (52) arapaimag, who also notes: "Owned for 23 years and 8 months and still very youthful looking. Among the first Syns out to eat when the 15,000 gallon tank is being fed.", (53) maas (k: 3), (54) tutters187, (55) TheCichlidKid15, (56) toby (k: 2), (57) Alisana (p: 2), (58) Apostolis, (59) oneoddfish, (60) lasteeves, (61) BernieEcht (p: 2, k: 3), (62) 2poc, (63) Brisch, (64) Bellady, (65) Laelori, (66) nötter (p: 2, k: 6), (67) Mreque, (68) m1ke715m, (69) november (k: 4), who also notes: "Decora are still in quarantaine and quite skinny too. after a day of fighting all are doing well now.", (70) Jass, (71) mcaquatic, (72) in_the_seance, (73) slayer5590 (p: 2, k: 2), (74) TimO93, (75) camillajakobsen93 (k: 4), (76) kalija, (77) Tanganyikafreak (k: 5), (78) jodilynn, who also notes: ""Comet" is now about 6 inches long, tries to bully my Eupterus and my Hybrid (to no avail). Lost the trendle on his fin at some point. The least active of my synos, just now comes out to feed at dusk, but rushes back into his log as soon as he is done. HUGE mouth, very nice coloration, beautiful striped tail fin.", (79) victoriaz24, (80) jamesyboy, (81) mikey, (82) GreenSynoMan (k: 2).

Click on a username above to see all that persons registered catfish species. You can also view all "my cats" data for this species.
Breeding Reports None.
Article - CotM 2002 March
Search Planet Catfish Search Planet Catfish for more on Synodontis decorus
Look up Look up Synodontis decorus on
BBCode (for use in linking to this page from forum posts)
Link (for use in linking to the species from anywhere on the web)
Look up Fishbase Look up Synodontis decorus on Fishbase
QR icon Get or print a QR code for this species profile, or try our BETA label creator.
Hits 7350 hits.
Last Update 2014 Dec 02 12:42 (species record created: 2001 Apr 21 00:00)

© 1996 - 2015, part of the Aquatic Republic Network group of websites. All Rights Reserved. By accessing this site you agree to our Terms and Conditions of Use.