Catfish of the Month Right Arrow June 2005 • Article © Yann Fulliquet, uploaded June 01, 2005

Brichard's Syno, Brichards Fiederbartwels (Germany) - Synodontis brichardi   Poll, 1959

This month, our appreciation goes to Yann Fulliquet who introduces a sometimes seen slender beauty from the racy parts of the Congo Basin in Africa.

Alongside the Pyjama Syno, S. flavitaeniatus, Brichard's Syno is certainly one of my favourites in the genus Synodontis. At first glance, they look unusual for a Synodontis; their body is very cylindrical, with a huge sucking disc as a mouth, demonstrating a clear adaptation for their natural biotope. Indeed, when housing this species, it is important to remember their natural biotope is life in and around rapids

So it is important to recreate such current in the aquarium, you also need to provide plenty of hiding places constructed with driftwood and rocks. Unlike Rift lake Synodontis they do not shoal together much. Although they are indeed territorial towards each other, especially when defending their resting place, I have yet to see a real injury due to such a conflict. Such skirmishes only produce nipped fins or teeth marks on the skin of an individual. I've not witnessed any territorial behaviour towards another fish.

They need a good water quality as they are less tolerant of water pollution, so a healthy water change on a weekly basis is a good idea, they will reward you by being more active after that and will display their brightest colours.

Feeding is not too difficult; they have an omnivorous requirement, the vegetable matter aspect of which seems important. In just a matter of a few weeks, my group of five managed to destroy a beautiful Anubias baterii I had in the tank with them. Otherwise they seem to eat anything.

Breeding is very rare and has been managed only once as far as I know, but the success was not as great as due to water a bit too hard and the pH a bit too basic, resulting in the loss of most of the eggs and fry. They had laid the eggs under rocks and cave. For a successful spawn, soft and acid water is a good way to start with.

This is one species of Synodontis that has been commercially farmed using hormone techniques, particularly in Eastern Europe. If you have any doubts about the quality of the stock for sale, you should enquire as to its origins. While such techniques take any pressure off wild stocks, they have been known to produce undesirable hybrids in the sad quest to produce "something different" and make a quick buck. This is really unnecessary in the case of our featured fish as it is such an unusual and attractive Synodontis anyway!

In closing, if you ever come across this species for sale some day, I would jump at the chance, as they are so unusual for a Synodontis. Their price has also well dropped considerably and a small group won't impact off your wallet in the way it would have years ago.

Copyright information for the images used in this article can be found on the species' full Cat-eLog page.

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameSynodontis brichardi  Poll, 1959
Common NamesBrichard's Syno
Brichards Fiederbartwels (Germany)
Type LocalityRapids at Kinsuka, Kinshasa, Zaire.
Pronunciationsin oh don tiss - brish hard eye
EtymologySynodontis: From the Greek syn, meaning together, and odontos, meaning tooth; in reference to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth. Named after Pierre Brichard, a famous Belgian ichthyologist and student of African fish.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 200mm or 7.9" 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.

Slender, tubular body and sucker-like mouth, both adaptations to the turbulent water flow of its native habitat. Brownish to dark bluish background coloration with roughly vertical creamy stripes. Colouration appears to fade with age. Short barbels.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionLower Congo rapids, an area of heavy and turbulent water flow.
African Waters, Congo, Lower Congo (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 StatusVulnerable
pH6.0 - 8.0
Temperature22.0-27.0°C or 71.6-80.6°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersNeeds good oxygenation. The use of a power head or canister filter with spray bar is recommended. Otherwise, not very particular as to water quality.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingOmnivore. In nature, feeds on filamentous green algae as well as insect larvae. In the aquarium, readily accepts flakes as well as live food. Condition with spirulina flakes and brine shrimp.
FurniturePlenty of driftwood and rocky areas exposed to strong water flow. A tight crevice formed with pieces of slate makes a good home.
CompatibilityA peaceful fish that is nevertheless capable of self-defence.
BreedingNot reported in the aquarium.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesAnn. Mus. R. Congo Belge (Ser. 8), Sci. Zool.v. 71 - pp100 - Pl. 17 (figs. 2A-2C)
Registered Keepers(1) synoguy, (2) Yann (k: 3), (3) Lornek8, (4) Oliver D. (k: 4), (5) Tulio, (6) synodont_fan, who also notes: "Nice coloration and unusual elongated body shape for a Synodontid. These don't do that well in my tank - either they don't like the high nitrates or perhaps it's not riverine enough for them. Or perhaps too much competition from the", (7) Redcatman, (8) ranmasan, who also notes: "Seems to oddly enjoy "suctioning" itself to the aquarium glass.", (9) unblinded, (10) Junttis (k: 6), (11) jippo (k: 7), (12) syno-kev, who also notes: "had this one for about 3 years and at 6 inches long makes a daily trip out to feed but only see it about once a day like to hide amoungst the slates", (13) synosteve, (14) pressureflip, (15) Liam50LB, (16) fleahound, (17) kvnbyl (k: 5), (18) Moomoo, (19) shadowcat, (20) oliv67 (k: 2), (21) jprp, (22) fuzzytigerbird, (23) N0body Of The Goat (k: 3), who also notes: "Trio growing well in 6-footer, taken to claiming some floating food that is against the tank sides", (24) Birger (k: 5), (25) FunkyFredFrog (k: 2), (26) MatsP, (27) Clown Crown (k: 2), (28) TheCichlidKid15, (29) toby (k: 3), (30) rsyno (p: 2), (31) transporter42, (32) theguy40267, (33) Cornuta, (34) BMLDN, (35) Bioaquatix, who also notes: "I bought a small group of 6 WC fish from an importer in Miami. I lost most of the fish over the past couple of years, causes unknown. I have one female left and would like to find a male to use for spawning.", (36) chalamala, (37) NeilB, (38) slayer5590, (39) Ambull, (40) Long Barbels, (41) pleconut (k: 2), (42) WadeNCreeks, (43) Schall (p: 2), (44) protopterus, (45) faxling, who also notes: "Tigern", (46) jodilynn.

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Breeding ReportsNone.
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Last Update2014 Jun 09 09:33 (species record created: 2005 Jun 01 11:22)

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