Cat-eLog Right Arrow Mochokidae Right Arrow Mochokinae Right Arrow Brachysynodontis

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameBrachysynodontis batensoda  Rüppell, 1832
Common NameGiant Upside Down Catfish
Type LocalityNile, near Cairo
Pronunciationbat en soda
EtymologyBrachysynodontis: From the Greek brachys, meaning short, and synodontis; in reference to the shape. 
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 175mm or 6.9" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationThere is continuing debate as to whether this fish belongs in the separate monotypic genus Brachysynodontis or in Synodontis. Over the years, its placement has moved back and forth between the two genera. Until a phylogenetic revision of the three related genera (Synodontis, Brachysynodontis and Hemisynodontis) is done, we suggest continuing use of the three different genera and, as such, have placed this fish in Brachysynodontis.
Body is short and deep. Eyes are large. Coloration is gray-black tinged with brown, with a faint network of dark black spots. Maxillary barbels have membranes, though these are not as wide as in Hemisynodontis
The major differences from Synodontis species are:
(1) it has 39-42 gill rakers (for filter feeding of plankton), a much larger number than the 7-33 typical of Synodontis spp., and
(2) the adipose fin is large and contiguous with the dorsal fin.
Like a small number of Synodontis species (e.g., S. nigriventris), B. batensoda almost always swim upside down. It is believed that the species' large adipose fin and compressed body help it to maintain stability while inverted.
Some sources claim it grows as large as 270 mm. [Fishbase lists 500mm TL]
SexingFirst 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
DistributionWidely distributed across Africa, from the Nile through the Chad, Niger, Sénégal and Gambia basins.
African Waters, Nile (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Nigeria Waters, Niger (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Chad (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Sénégal (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Gambia (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 StatusLeast Concern
pH6.4 - 7.8
Temperature24.0-28.0°C or 75.2-82.4°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersIn its natural habitat, occurs in slow moving pools and marshes bordering large rivers.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingOmnivore. In nature, feeds on plankton, algae and detritus, and may also feed on surface insects, chironomid larvae, benthic crustaceans and molluscs. In the aquarium, will readily accept flakes, but appreciates the occasional treat of brine shrimp, bloodworm, etc.
FurnitureSince this fish both rests and swims in an inverted position, driftwood with horizontal branches and broad leaf plants like Anubias spp. are to be recommended.
CompatibilityA peaceful species that poses no threat to even small fish. May be harassed by more aggressive Synodontis species.
BreedingNot reported in the aquarium.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesFortsetzung der Beschreibung und Abbildung meherer neuer Fische, pp 6, Pl. 3 (fig. 2).
Registered Keepers(1) Dave Rinaldo (k: 3), (2) Chrysichthys (k: 2), (3) Oliver D. (k: 4), (4) synoguy, (5) unblinded, (6) doesdavid, (7) woofdoc, (8) coelacanth, (9) lasteeves, (10) jippo (k: 3), (11) corybreed, (12) chalamala, (13) Long Barbels, (14) Sabaji, (15) Schall, (16) protopterus, (17) caninesrock.

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Breeding ReportsNone.
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Last Update2014 Jun 05 10:24 (species record created: 2002 Jan 14 00:00)