Did you know fantastic help is an anagram of Planet Catfish? This forum is for those of you with pictures of your catfish who are looking for help identifying them. There are many here to help and a firm ID is the first step towards keeping your catfish in the best conditions.
About 6 months ago my daughter bought what was supposed to be three small Plecostomus from a local pet store, only one didn't look like a pleco. I decided to keep it to see what it turned out to be. I have searched countless images online and the closest thing I can find that it might be is a synodontis ocellifer. Can anyone confirm this or help with the proper identification?
As you can see, it's sort of a yellow color which most of the images I've seen the fish are more gray colored. But it does have the spotted tail which is similar to the ocellifer. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I'm trying to decide what tank mates to keep & what I can buy to replace any that I need to remove.
He is currently in a 75 gallon tank with 2 angelfish, 2 plecos, 1 betta and 3 neon tetras. There were more tetras but I'm thinking "spot" ate them, though he hasn't touched the remaining 3 and they've been in there about 6 weeks now.
A really good way to tell with these is the behaviour...ocellifer will hide as low as they can go often digging under something if they can and are fairly reclusive...most ocellifer will not roam the tank much at all.
We have two hollow logs. His favorite stands upright and is probably 2 feet tall. He sleeps towards the top with his head pointed down because we always see his tail poking out.
He is pretty active, coming out for short periods of time during the day to scout for food. Of course, he's more active in the evenings. He's a little skittish towards us, slightly territorial with the plecos but other than that, he never bothers the angelfish, betta or remaining 3 tetras.
That is his real color. Actually he's a little brighter yellow if I pull him out of the tank. This is why I wasn't sure if it was an ocellifer. It does look like one and the description on the site catelog data sheet says they can be yellowish-brown but I'm just not sure.
Welcome to the forum, Melody. Must compliment you for finding the identity (or a very close ID at least) for this fish starting from scratch. Looks much like an ocellifer. The unusual white gravel is probably behind the lighter than usual coloration. But Birger is an expert in synos.
What intrigues me with the color is that many different syno's come out of the wild with more olive/yellow color but almost always will lose it fading to more of a brown in the aquarium, this is usually considered to have something to do with diet.
In this case I suspect the white gravel but I am wondering if you are feeding anything unusual to your fish?
Not knowing for sure what he was, I've been feeding everything tropical flake food, plus every few days I rotate giving them 3-4 bottom feeder tablets or algae tablets. We originally had brown river rock in the bottom (what came with the tank when it was given to us) but I felt the stones were too large for the bottom feeders to eat properly so we switched to the white gravel (which I think is unnatural and ugly but was the only color the pet store had enough of at the time to cover the bottom well).
I'll be moving him to a new 150 gallon tank with a sand bottom as soon as the tank cycles properly. I'd also like to start feeding him a better diet, which I'll be researching this weekend.
Considering the size he'll be as an adult, do you have any recommendations for good tank mates?
Sounds like an excellent plan. Hopefully, a new picture from the new tank will clarify the color issues. All my synos, ~20 different kinds, ate various kinds pellets (catfish, koi, etc.), flakes, sometimes small pieces of fish, shrimp, etc., bloodworms too were given when they were small. They appeared not fussy.
Tank mates mostly depend on his aggression habits. Synos can be mellow or can be aggressive towards other synos. They usually leave other fish alone. I've never had an ocellifer alone without other synos in a tank - always a community of various synos.
As for predation, synos are only known to snatch small fish, something that can fit in their small mouth, which is not built for predation but for scavenging and rasping the bottom and other surfaces - that's why they swim often up side down, I imagine, because they feed off of the surfaces of vegetation, driftwood, etc.
BTW, they grow slow. Ocellifer will reach a full adult length perhaps only in 10-15 years.