Bugeye Synodontis Catfish

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Synodontis contractus - Vinciguerra, 1928
Bugeye Synodontis Catfish

A comical appearance makes this a popular Synodontis species. Aaron Norman


A smaller Synodontis catfish with prominent eyes, this is a personable species thats put on a continuous show when kept in groups. Generally peaceful. Keep in groups of at least three.

Family: Mochokidae

Other common name(s):

  • Bugeye Squeaker

Native range:

Habitat: Provide lots of "caves" (i.e., piles of rocks with holes throughout, inverted flowerpots, large PVC pipes), and include fine-grade rounded gravel substrate. Plants are optional.

Maximum length: 10 cm (4 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 114 L (30 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom.


Carnivore. In the wild, often feed heavily on snails and will do the same in the aquarium. Accept a wide range of aquarium fare, including tablet and pellet foods, and a wide variety of flakes. In addition, live and frozen foods, such as brine shrimp and bloodworms, are appreciated. Feed in the morning and at lights-out time at night.

Aquarium Compatibility

Synodontis catfishes are perfect tankmates for African Rift Lake Cichlids, as well as larger tetras and other characins.


Synodontis breeding events in aquaria are not common, but if properly conditioned (daily feedings of live black worms and Spirulina flakes have been used) and provided a flowerpot spawning cave, they may reward the aquarist with fertile eggs.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: AN
Text credit: KW