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Synodontis multipunctatus - Goin' Cuckoo!

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Synodontis multipunctatus - Goin' Cuckoo!

PostAuthor: Didgeridoo » Tue Jan 04, 2011 15:07

Here's a species profile I wrote last night on one of my fave aquarium fish with my pictures from when I was breeding them!

Hailing from East Africa’s Lake Tanganyika, this active and attractive catfish is a popular occurence in the hobbyist aquarium. With attractive spotting and a take-no-crap attitude they’re a perfect addition to the african cichlid aquarium. They grow to a modest 5 inches in the aquarium and require only a 40-gallon tank to be happy and healthy. You can even breed them in tanks of this size.

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These catfish are relatively easy to sex when they’re mature. The fish take two years to mature before they will start spawning successfully. The male are generally more elongate with a visible genital papillae. Females are more stout and rounded with no visible genital papillae.

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Male, notice the visible genital papillae and overall body shape.

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Female.

Breeding is where these catfish really stand out. They practice brood parasitism which is unique to this species. Often referred to as Cuckoo Catfish, these catfish rely on spawning mouthbrooding cichlids as hosts for their young. They are triggered to spawn by mouthbrooding cichlids which they seek out by smell. The catfish form a single file line and storm into the pair of spawning cichlids. In the chaos, the female cichlid tries to recover her eggs and in the midst of the comotion, she picks up the catfish eggs. The catfish rely on panic and numbers. They spawn best in small groups instead of a pair. The non-spawning catfish act as decoys for the aggressive male cichlid who attempts to protect his spawning area.


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The catfish eggs are larger than the cichlid eggs and hatch within three days. The young catfish are highly predatory with a very large mouth. They ingest the cichlid eggs one by one within the confines of the female cichlid’s mouth. They will even cannibalize eachother if there isn’t enough food to satisfy their appetites.

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Catfish fry mixed with Labidochromis perlmutt fry.

The catfish fry grow very quickly and this growth can be seen on an almost daily basis. It’s important to provide them with plenty of food and clean water. Because they require so much food it’s more likely to foul the water, and thus water changes are a necessity every few days. I like to do daily 25% water changes and siphon out as much feces and mulm as possible.

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The fry can grow up to 2 inches in just 8 weeks if provided with plenty of food and clean water. Spawn sizes are entirely dependant on the female cichlid. A young female may only hold a few eggs, while adults can carry substantially more.

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Good hosts include Astatotilapia/Haplochromis species from Lake Victoria, and Haplochromis, Aulonocara, and less-aggressive Mbuna from Lake Malawi like Gephyrochromis and Labidochromis. All these fish have similar water parameter requirements to these catfish and thus there’s no discrepancies. A sufficient amount of caves should be proved to the catfish, typically with a cave available per catfish. They are territorial and will fight if their tank is cramped or there aren’t enough hiding places. The more places they can take refuge and feel safe, the more they will be out cruising around.

Their diet is relatively undemanding. Catfish pellets or disks are sufficient with the occasional treat of frozen mysis or bloodworms to keep them in top condition. They will also nibble at vegetable based foods like spirulina disks.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a fun new fish to work with I highly suggest trying out the Cuckoo Catfish.

Didgeridoo
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Re: Synodontis multipunctatus - Goin' Cuckoo!

PostAuthor: Clare » Tue Jan 04, 2011 18:00

Excellent write up. :good: :good: :good:

Clare
 

Re: Synodontis multipunctatus - Goin' Cuckoo!

PostAuthor: matt_harry_harrison » Tue Jan 04, 2011 21:02

Brilliant ! Great write up with great photo's :good: :cool

makes me wonder how much tank space I have...........

Matt
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Re: Synodontis multipunctatus - Goin' Cuckoo!

PostAuthor: Didgeridoo » Tue Jan 04, 2011 22:04

Thanks! :wink:

I've worked with a lot of different species and so far the multies are the most fun to breed. Although you don't get the parental care of say Central American cichlids, the rate at which the fry grow and their quirky behaviour is too much fun. My adults will pick squabbles with the cichlids randomly. Pretty funny seeing a catfish doing the wave at a cichlid. lol

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Re: Synodontis multipunctatus - Goin' Cuckoo!

PostAuthor: catwoman » Wed Jan 05, 2011 07:07

that was a really good ready & fantastically written :good:

i have a single cats fish in one of my tanks, i dont know what species it is but it is a real pain when my malawis spawn,

it lives in a cave at the far end of the tank & every time my fish spawn he must sniff them out & gets in the middle of them trying to eat the eggs,

the male malawi will chase him off & nip at him but he just swims round the back & gets straight back in there,

they are very feisty & is not bothered in the slightest about the male malawi having a go at him,

he is really very pretty to look at, jet black body with white edging to his fins but i cant find any pics online to id him,

he is a cool character & quite active swimming upside down along the water surface & quite often, i do really like him but i am going to give him to my cousin as i dont like my malawis being interupted when trying to spawn all the time :roll:

i will be sad to see him go though as he was one of my first fish :(
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Re: Synodontis multipunctatus - Goin' Cuckoo!

PostAuthor: SHAQS77 » Sat Jan 29, 2011 14:58

ive got some f1 syno fry growing on. wild group bought from col at natural worl many years ago. they have used my asto.calips as hosts. planning to add them to main tank and sell the 3-4 on.

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Re: Synodontis multipunctatus - Goin' Cuckoo!

PostAuthor: Didgeridoo » Sun Jan 30, 2011 20:12

I've slowly been collecting more and more and now have two colonies going from a number sources. I have a large pair of wild grandiops together with one younger F1 grandiops. The wild male is over 7 years old and the female is atleast 5 years old.

I then have a second colony of 2 males and 3 females of all younger F1 grandiops/multies. I'm not 100% sure yet as they're a tad young to tell. There are two (male and female) that have very different spotting from the rest. So I'm not sure yet if those are grandiops and the other three are multies!?

Anyways, I have the cats in with female heavy groups of Labidochromis caeruleus and a group of F1 Stomapedia pindu (2m 4f)

None of the cichlids are breeding yet so it's just a waiting game at this point. I'll try to get some pics of the fish and setups.

Nick

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Re: Synodontis multipunctatus - Goin' Cuckoo!

PostAuthor: matt_harry_harrison » Sun Jan 30, 2011 23:58

Your's are still babies ! :lol: :lol: Syno's are just amazing fish, I brought one when I started keeping fish (20 yrs ago +/-). He is still with me now, old and very tatty but still going strong !!

One day I must take some pictures !!

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Re: Synodontis multipunctatus - Goin' Cuckoo!

PostAuthor: Didgeridoo » Mon Jan 31, 2011 03:28

Twenty years! Wow, nicely done. My buddy brought in a pair of granulosus from Laif DeMason and they're approx 15 years old. Stunning pair and I just don't have the room to properly house them.

Nick

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Re: Synodontis multipunctatus - Goin' Cuckoo!

PostAuthor: Mickey P. » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:42

"I imagine that fish have no word for water."
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