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

Down Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Synodontis nigriventris  David, 1936
Common Names Upside Down Catfish
Rückenschwimmender Kongowels (Germany), Sortbuget Rygsvømmermalle (Denmark), Vändmal (Sweden)
Type Locality Buta, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Pronunciation sin oh don tiss - nig ree VENT riss
Etymology According to Cuvier, Synodontis is an "ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile". It is not derived, as often reported, from syn-, together and odous, tooth, presumed etymology of the lizardfish genus Synodus and refers to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth of both genera. nigri mean dark, ventris meaning belly. Alluding to the reversed counter-shading.
Article Link - CotM Right 1999 Right April
Down Species Information
Size 96mm or 3.8" 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.

A common import; although occasionally confused with the similar S. contracta which has a larger head and much larger eyes.
Sexing Female is larger, plumper and with old age more pale.
Down Habitat Information
Distribution Africa: Central Congo basin.
African Waters, Congo, Middle Congo (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Category Least Concern, range map and more is available on the IUCN species page. Last assessed 2009.
pH 6.0 - 7.5
Temperature 22.0-28.0°C or 71.6-82.4°F (Show species within this range)
Down Husbandry Information
Feeding Will eat the vast majority of prepared and live foods. User data.
Furniture Over hanging structures or tunnels - either rock, wood or large broad leafed plants. These are all to provide shady places of rest while upside down. Choice of substrate is unimportant.
Compatibility An ideal catfish for the smaller aquarium. Peaceful with both its conspecifics and other residents. To get the best out of this fish it should be kept in small shoals as you would keep Corydoras.
Suggested Tankmates Any small to medium sized community fish.
Breeding In the North American Catfish Society Vol. 1 No. 1 Jan. 1996 there appeared an article entitled ''Luck In A Bucket'' by Jay and Mary Ann Angros. The authors keep some of their fishes outdoors in the summer. The catfish were placed in a five gallon bucket full of clay pots and PVC pipe from their regular tank. One author, Jay, took the bucket outside and promptly forgot about it for two days! When the bucket of fish was remembered and checked, the authors found fifty eggs in one piece of PVC. The fish were then brought back inside and placed in a tank that was completely full of crockery and PVC pipes. Sometime later this tank was broken down for cleaning and seven S. nigriventris fry were found. The spawning tank had pH 6.8 and the temperature fluctuated between 78F and 82F. The tank had about an inch of gravel over an under gravel filter. Tankmates included skunk Botia and other Synodontis spp. The fish were fed mainly frozen brine shrimp, bloodworm, and ProGreen (a mixture of green, clams, and shrimp). Based on the account above, it would seem that any attempt at spawning the USD Catfish requires, at a minimum, the following:

A well-rounded high quality diet
Drastic temperature drops to initiate spawning
Soft acidic water
Suitable spawning sites
Breeding Reports There is but a single breeding report, read it here.
Down Further Information
Reference Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines v. 28 (no. 3), pp 417.
Registered Keepers There are 199 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
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There are 4 wishes to keep this species, see who wants what.
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There are 40 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
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Last Update 2020 Sep 19 01:46 (species record created: 2001 Apr 21 00:00)