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 Upside Down Catfish

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Location : Devonshire (Nr Hobbiton)
Registration date : 2007-12-12

PostSubject: Upside Down Catfish   Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:35 am

Who can resist a fish that swims upside down? They’re flat out cute. They mix well with other fishes. They eat whatever you feed them. And unlike many catfishes, Synodontis nigriventris come out during the day. They not only come out, they very actively feed during the day – off the bottom and off the top.

Size: Max 100mm (about 4") You find them for sale at about two inches or less. They grow up to average about three inches and occasionally reach four.The Upside-down catfish is an odd catfish, as you can tell by its name. It swims upside down, which helps it eat mosquito larvae off the surface. The body is dark brown, with speckles of lighter brown. The fish is shaped in the usual Synodontis fashion, with a slender snout pointed downwards.This catfish is recommended for community tanks, and is peaceful even with its own species. The tank should contain many hiding places and
caves made with driftwood and plants. The fish likes exploring the undersides of caves and plant leaves in search of food. Amazon Sword
plants are recommended.The Upside-down catfish is one of the few Synodontis catfish that has been successfuly bred in captivity. Females have a more rounded body and pale coloring.

(Note By Rich - Females on maturity are bigger in all respects than males)

Habitat: Provide caves or ledges for your nigriventris to loaf in. If you don’t, they will stack up behind your filter tube. Better yet, give them an arching piece of driftwood.
They’ll line up along the underside of the wood arch like a Lionel railroad. If you give them a ledge or cave, put it up front so you can watch these intriguing little characters. These are very socialble fish and like to remain in groups - it is recommended to keep in shoals

(Note By Rich - I have read many different group numbers for these shoals - anything from 2 - 22 ; I personally have 3 and they get on fine and have happily survived several major water quality failures too, mine seem to prefer resting amongst the bogwood - they are well hidden colour wise)

Good Mixers: Upside-downers don’t bother regular community fishes. Oddly enough, they will also get along with some ol’ African cichlids, because they have enough sense to maintain a low profile when housed with bullies. The lace catfish mix better with African cichlids, than S.nigriventris.

rigins: As far as we know, all upside-down catfish are still directly imported from Africa. They come from the Zaire river basin.

Water Conditions: Don’t worry too much about pH. We like to add one teaspoon of salt per gallon. Some references insist catfish hate salt. Lots of African catfishes come from high pH water with salt in it.

Why Upside Down? Some fish keepers have theorized that Synodontis nigriventris swim upside down to enable them to eat mosquito larvae that congregate at the water’s surface.

(Note By Rich - These fish will happily swim 'the right way up' to feed from the substrate using their barbels to find food - for this reason - much like corydora - I would strongly suggest that the substrate be smooth to prevent erosion and or damagae/infection of the whiskers. Watching these fish at night, they will check out the under surfaces of anything at all levels and are not afraid to move objects in order to get at smaller fish etc (namely livebearer fry))

Lots of people keep catfishes on their clean-up crew. Upside downers will scavenge for food. However, they also come right out front and compete with the other fish at feeding time. They are not picky eaters or intimidated by most fish.

Foods: Upside-down catfish eagerly eat whatever you feed them. They love foods with meat in them. They also love live foods and frozen foods. As you might expect, they go nuts for live California blackworms. Their whiskers make them great “worm finders” – live, frozen, or freeze-dried.

(Note By Rich - Mine go nuts for beef heart and brine shrimp flake, as well as the usual dried and frozen live foods but especially blood worm - they also have an rather anoying taste for livebearer fry)

Filtration Note: Upside-down catfishes love to explore small places in search of snacks. That’s their job. If you use a power filter, make sure you put a strainer on the end.
They will also explore your under gravel filter stems, if you leave out the carbon cartridges.
Latin Name: Synodontis means “dog-toothed.” (We don’t get it either.) All the Synodontis have “root-like” whiskers and good ol’ catfish stabbers in their pectoral and dorsal fins. Nigriventris means “black-bellied.” They are usually lighter colored on what would be their top if they were not upside down.

Scientific Name Synodontis nigriventris David, 1936
Common Name(s) Upside Down Catfish
Type Locality Buta, Zaire.
Pronunciation sin oh don tiss - nig ree VENT riss
Etymology Synodontis: From the Greek syn, meaning together, and odontos, meaning tooth; in reference to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth. nigri mean dark, ventris meaning belly. Alluding to the reversed counter-shading.
Identification A common import; although occasionally confused with the similar S. contractus which has a larger head and much larger eyes.
Sexing Female is larger, plumper and with old age more pale.
Distribution Africa: Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Congo, Middle Congo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
pH 6.0 - 7.5
Temperature 22.0-28.0°C or 71.6-82.4°F (Show others)
Feeding Will eat the vast majority of prepared and live foods.
Furniture Over hanging structures or tunnels - either rock, wood or large broad leafed plants. These are all to provide shady places of rest while upside down. Choice of substrate is unimportant.
Compatibility An ideal catfish for the smaller aquarium. Peaceful with both its conspecifics and other residents. To get the best out of this fish it should be kept in small shoals as you would keep Corydoras.
Suggested Tankmates Any small to medium sized community fish.
Breeding In the North American Catfish Society Vol. 1 No. 1 Jan. 1996 there appeared an article entitled ''Luck In A Bucket'' by Jay and Mary Ann Angros. The authors keep some of their fishes outdoors in the summer.
The catfish were placed in a five gallon bucket full of clay pots and PVC pipe from their regular tank. One author, Jay, took the bucket outside and promptly forgot about it for two days! When the bucket of
fish was remembered and checked, the authors found fifty eggs in one piece of PVC. The fish were then brought back inside and placed in a tank that was completely full of crockery and PVC pipes. Sometime later
this tank was broken down for cleaning and seven S. nigriventris fry were found. The spawning tank had pH 6.8 and the temperature fluctuated between 78F and 82F. The tank had about an inch of gravel
over an under gravel filter. Tankmates included skunk Botia and other Synodontis spp. The fish were fed mainly frozen brine shrimp, bloodworm, and ProGreen (a mixture of green, clams, and shrimp). Based on the account above, it would seem that any attempt at spawning the USD Catfish requires, at a minimum, the following:

A well-rounded high quality diet Drastic temperature drops to initiate spawning Soft acidic water
Suitable spawning sites
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