Marbled Synodontis Catfish

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Synodontis schoutedeni - David, 1936
Marbled Synodontis Catfish

An exceptionally handsome member of the Synodontis genus. Aaron Norman


Boldly patterned and sometimes fetching high prices, this is a peaceful catfish that puts on a continuous show, especially when kept in groups.

Family: Mochokidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

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

Maximum length: 17 cm (7 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.


Generally peaceful. Keep in groups of at least three.

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