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

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameSynodontis petricola  Matthes, 1959
Common NamesPygmy Leopard Catfish
Kuckuck-Fiederbartwels (Germany)
Type LocalityLake Tanganyika.
Pronunciationsin oh don tiss - pet ree kola
EtymologySynodontis: From the Greek syn, meaning together, and odontos, meaning tooth; in reference to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth. Petricola: From the Latin petra meaning rock and cola meaning living. In other words a rock dweller.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 130mm or 5.1" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationAll 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.

Similar to four other described catfish from the lake. The cuckoo catfish, Synodontis multipunctatus, is the most common import and you, occasionally, may also encounter S. polli, S. dhonti and S. tanganyicae. All sport the distinctive white barbels and are spotted as juveniles to some degree or other and thus another form of quick identification prevails - S. petricola and S. lucipinnis, are the only species with a solid white leading dorsal and pectoral fin ray and the spotted body pattern. S. petricola can be differentiated from S. lucipinnis by the former having smaller spots on the head than the body spots.
All in all. this species (as presently defined) is highly variable and likely to contain more than one valid species in the long run.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionNorthern Lake Tanganyika, DRC, Africa
African Waters, Western Rift Valley Lakes, Tanganyika (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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IUCN Red List StatusLeast Concern
pH7.0 - 8.5
Temperature22.0-24.0°C or 71.6-75.2°F (Show species within this range)
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingA very easy fish to feed. All prepared foods are accepted and the fish will eat heavily thus making conditioning a relatively simple task.
FurnitureBogwood is utilised although rock clusters appear more preferable. Seems to enjoy long, tall, flowing plants such as giant Vallisneria.
CompatibilityA social species tolerant of their own kind and unimposing.
BreedingBecause of the similarity with S. lucipinnis, it is unclear if this species is the one many aquarists have spawned.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesFolia Sci. Afr. Centr.v. 5 (no. 4) - pp78
Registered Keepers(1) worton[pl] (k: 5), who also notes: "Keep mine in 240l tank heavily decorated with sand-rocks. I love them. I get them 2 years ago and they were tiny - really, really very small - 1cm long or even less. Now they are around 4cm long (you think your cichlids grow slow? Try these guys!).", (2) Ak Viking (k: 23), (3) dorycora, (4) Richard B (k: 4), who also notes: "1 is 60 mm the other 90 mm (approx) ", (5) Tulio, (6) Barbie, (7) Trident2004, (8) Lornek8, (9) Oliver D., who also notes: "Spawned...", (10) amergim, (11) fishfarmer (k: 36), who also notes: "Breeding report on my web page", (12) caudalis (k: 2), (13) synodont_fan, (14) vernonlarge (k: 2), (15) Cicolid (k: 7), who also notes: "Bought from TC @ 25mm $150", (16) cwm, (17) smithrc, (18) spot86t (k: 2), (19) AngJo, (20) thebirdofprey (k: 24), (21) nuth88 (k: 12), (22) teknikAL (k: 2), (23) jollysue (k: 2), (24) kagal, (25) unblinded, (26) moi_eater (k: 7), (27) joepleco (k: 2), who also notes: "Unfortunately the fire dept. pronounced them dead Thankgiving morning when I woke up thinking my house was burning. My heater fried my fish and released toxins into my tank. Only survivor L114.", (28) vriesea (k: 18), who also notes: "Bought initially 6 from Mainly Cichlids. Bought rest at several club auctions. Currently in grow out tank. Will breed in 2008, summer.", (29) Gump, (30) Plunt, (31) synosteve, (32) uknavynigel, (33) Julie, (34) daryn39 (k: 4), (35) LowCat, (36) JimHitchiner (k: 2), (37) koter73, (38) Clammage (k: 5), (39) flowaz (k: 3), (40) NetsuaiAngel, (41) bcb (k: 13), (42) fishbguy (k: 2), (43) shaunypoo (k: 5), (44) arzerkle, (45) Travis_Conklin, (46) Azarak, (47) Camaroahopp, (48) winbill, (49) ariefputranto (k: 14), (50) tank_girl, (51) badtaz30, (52) jha61, (53) oliv67 (k: 14), (54) Birger (p: 2, k: 6), (55) KnaveTO, who also notes: "Lost 3 on 21 Oct 09 - Tank crash", (56) theonetruepath (k: 4), (57) niallborwell, (58) leej24 (k: 5), (59) daniel4832, (60) Barracuda518 (k: 16), (61) judeblackburn, (62) fleshgear, (63) bongthecgb (k: 7), (64) XufoX (k: 5), (65) Miss Dib Dabs, (66) cpfc (k: 8), (67) minifoot77 (k: 10), (68) mrfishydude (k: 3), (69) jules a birnbaum (p: 2), (70) rayfong, (71) john_d (p: 2, k: 10), (72) zebra1 (k: 6), (73) speakerman3, (74) retroculus, (75) Andypex (k: 9), (76) arapaimag, (77) maas, (78) feesh (k: 4), (79) jimlaroche83 (k: 2), (80) Anthonyck (k: 2), who also notes: "Added one to make sure water quality and feeding routine would be acceptable. May add more soon. Added two additional around January 2012. All doing well. Feb 14 2015 - One was lost in 2014. Two remaining are well in the 75 gal.", (81) jsalas623 (k: 6), (82) Redcatman (k: 4), who also notes: "These were obtained from a local dealer who has had a pair of these fish breeding regularly in an 18 inch tank in his shop for the past 15 years or more. Spawns of several hundred fry are common. One unusual feature is that the spawning adults are almost black in colour which the dealer reckons might also be something to do with the fact that we are in a soft water area with a pH below 7.0. The juveniles though have the normal pattern. They are quite slow growing but otherwise seem content in our water.", (83) ellohcee, (84) nooneknows, (85) fleahound (p: 2), (86) transporter42, (87) richard501, (88) shooter50014 (k: 109), (89) theviper06 (k: 2), (90) tamara (k: 2), (91) markmoten (k: 3), (92) Ostafrika-Barsche, (93) redtigrinus, (94) Brisch, (95) BarryA (k: 2), (96) Jason Pawloski, (97) tonyp5467, (98) m1ke715m, (99) wirikwiri, (100) fahaka, (101) montivar (p: 3), (102) Old MacDonald, (103) jjmagnificent, (104) Goodeid608, (105) Marklar (k: 2), who also notes: "Housed in a 450L with Tanganyikan cichlids (various sand fish). Water naturally very hard and buffered to pH 8.2 Sharp-sand substrate, a few scattered rocks and "moss balls". Food as per cichlids i.e. New Era green and red sinking rift pellets, Tanganyika cichlid flake.", (106) jorgehdzy, (107) RedLiz, (108) p44236, (109) summoner2183 (k: 7), (110) christopher, (111) Jacksta, (112) Divinehammer, (113) Sylvain (k: 7), (114) Natey22, (115) 660Dave, (116) CL27, (117) PlecosAndLoaches (k: 7), (118) DEZ, (119) Nabobmob1 (k: 3), (120) Bioaquatix (k: 552), who also notes: "I have been keeping and breeding this fish for over 10 years. I still have some of my original brood stock and they still produce eggs and fry.I produce this fish on a commercial scale.", (121) bethscofield (k: 2), (122) Johnny579, (123) bassgenie, (124) matt1628 (k: 6), (125) Long Barbels (p: 2), (126) DRay, (127) Nolapete, (128) monsterfishkeeper (p: 5), (129) NeilB, (130) Sugeknight (k: 2), (131) Ambull (k: 8), (132) jimpearson, (133) Cheep-Cheep (k: 3), (134) DavidNMaddieHaveCats, (135) datfish, (136) iSynoCat (k: 2), who also notes: "Very active gets along with everything, captive breds adapt to anything,survived at least one heater failure. Greedy eater.", (137) Fish777 (k: 6), who also notes: "3 in 75gal. 3 in 20 long with peacocks m m f. . I have not tried to spawn.", (138) armyoffoo, (139) jmw975 (k: 6), (140) Flatdog, (141) Domaku, (142) Mistyotis, (143) sturiosoma, (144) Bradcc, (145) timd (k: 6), (146) Jr.marks, (147) angerygrover, (148) kelynrowan, (149) d3n2 (k: 5), (150) CatfishKeeper93 (p: 2, k: 2), who also notes: "Further identification required- sold as petricola", (151) Glauce.

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Breeding Reports(1) Nabobmob1 (b: 40), (2) catfanatic (b: 0).
Article - Shane's World Species Visually comparing Synodontis petricola & S. lucipinnis
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Last Update2014 Oct 29 05:28 (species record created: 2002 Jun 10 00:00)