Synodontis angelicus (also known as Polka-dot Synodontis) belongs to the Family Mochocidae (Naked Catfishes). Its adult size (30 cm) makes it ideal for larger tanks with sand bottom and rock caves. It is characterized by the white spots on an overly black body. The tail has black bars on a transparent background. A nocturnal species which, unlike Synodontis decorus is not seen very often during the day. This can be attributed to the fact that it is the smaller (in size) Synodontis in my tank, although it is clearly far more aggressive than Synodontis notatus and Synodontis ocellifer (which he constantly chases despite their larger size). It will happily eat any left-over food and this is amply provided by the messy cichlids. As with other Synodontis sp. it adds a variety of action to any African cichlid tank. These is no reason to feed it frequently. I have noticed that one tablet once or twice a week is enough (per Synodontis).
Apart from their beautiful appearance, Synodontis species should be preferred for African cichlid tanks for two reasons : First, they are Africans themselves and second, with their spines they can easily defend themselves. It is true that most cichlids will try to chase or bite it, but it can hold its own. Of course, providing many hiding places (caves and crevices) is a must. Synodontis angelicus needs a place to hide and rest during daytime. Taking into account its large final size (can grow to 30 cm) the caves must be of a considerable size. Many times it can be seen resting in an upside down position. In a rocky environment, this position makes it almost invisible. Many times I have looked in a cave missing it even if it is resting right at the opening of the cave. Water parameters should be pH approximately 7 and a GH = 8, although they can live happily in a hard, alkaline environment (pH=8.4, GH=12)
Minimum tank size : 150 cm. If a second individual is to be kept a 200 cm tank should be used and many hiding places provided for the day. Plain sand recommended for gravel. Remember to feed at night. Note: this is a very territorial and aggressive fish ! See next page for more.
This shot was taken immediately after feeding my cichlids. The Synodontis angelicus in the photo is ready for a very quick trip around the tank and will return in its cave shortly after. The fish has a length of about 12 cm now.
Photos taken in November 2000.
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