Belongs to the Family Mochocidae (Naked Catfishes). The commercial name of this fish is "Decorative Synodontis" and this tells a lot about its appearance. Its adult size (24 cm) makes it ideal for larger tanks with sand bottom and rock caves. A nocturnal species but, unlike Coolie loaches and Horse-face loaches, you can see it very often during the day searching for food. Usually you can tell where it is by its large, "zebra" colored tail. It will happily eat any left-over food and this is amply provided by the messy cichlids. The sight of a large Synodonitis searching for food is a very interesting one and adds a variety of action to any 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. I really enjoy watching this fish when the tank lights are turned off and there is just ambient light in the room. Under these lighting conditions you can see it coming out of its cave and patrol for food. You can only see the outline of its body and the transparent fins (especially the "zebra" tail). Ok, I admit this photo doesn't show much of this species (though quite interesting as a shot) so I have to search for it again - not an easy fish to find. This is always the problem if you insist in showing your own photos. Simply put, you can't always get the right shot or meet the deadlines. Extra care should be taken when transferring this species. Its long spines (on the pectoral fin) will stick in the net and injury may occur.
Minimum tank size : 150 cm. If a second individual is to be kept a 200 cm tank should be used and some hiding places provided for the day. Plain sand recommended for gravel. Remember to feed at night.
Both shots were taken after the lights were turned off. Ambient light allowed me to see where the Synodontis decorus was and then I used my camera with a flash unit to shoot it. The fish has a length of about 18 cm now.
Photos taken in January 2000.