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Keeping and breeding aquarium catfish Synodontis catfish

In the world there is a huge variety of species of catfish, most of the small specimens have long been loved by aquarists. Not so long ago, the cuckoo catfish, or the multi-spotted synodontis, joined the ranks of the general favorites.

This species has an attractive bright color and interesting character and habits.

Som cuckoo has an attractive bright color and interesting character and habits.

The multi-spotted synodontis is an endemic representative of African freshwater rift lakes Victoria, Tanganyika and Malawi. In these natural water reservoirs there are a huge number of fish, including the family Cichlids.

Som cuckoo is so named because of its amazing tendencies to nesting parasitism – he lays his eggs in nests to cichlids, which are distinguished by an enviable care for their offspring, which this synodontis successfully uses.

The overwhelming majority of species from the Cichlid family – and there are about 1800 of them in African lakes incubate eggs in the mouth, which guarantees protection against those who wish to feast on it, and also ensures that the necessary conditions are maintained throughout the entire incubation period.

Multi-spotted catfish is the only representative of fish that throws its eggs in the nests of other species. In general, in the animal kingdom, such behavior is inherent only to certain insects and birds.

Som cuckoo is so named because of its amazing tendency to nest parasitism.

The multi-spotted catfish differs from the rest of the synodonts, of which there are several dozen species, the light yellow color of the oblong dense body, which is also covered with black spots of various sizes and shapes – from pinpoint to round and elongated. That color was the origin of its name.

The skin is covered with a mucous layer, has a rather dense structure and small scales. The eyes of this species of catfish are rather large, round, located on both sides of the head.

A mustache grows around the wide mouth at the bottom of the head, helping to navigate and performing the function of probes when the synodontis swims in the dark.

Sex differences are mild, but it is possible to distinguish the male from the female by looking closely at the dorsal fin. In males, it has a pointed shape, while in females it is rounded, its size is also slightly different.

In addition, the body of females is denser and thicker, the males are slimmer and have brighter spots.

Under the conditions of aquarium maintenance, catfish synodontis multi-spotted can reach more than 12 cm and live for about 20 years.

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Despite the fact that synodontis are in principle undemanding to conditions and rather unpretentious in their care, there are still certain rules of maintenance. This concerns both the technical equipment and the requirements for the composition of water and its temperature.

In addition, be sure to require additional installation of shelters from different materials.

Aquarium arrangement and temperature. Aquarium for catfish must be selected appropriate to their size.

As they grow, it is advisable to move them into large containers.

  1. For specimens no longer than 10 cm, a volume of at least 50 liters is required.
  2. Individuals that have reached 15 cm will feel great in an 80-liter aquarium.
  3. Fish 20–25 cm long need to be kept in a 150 l tank.

In addition, it is recommended to keep 4-6 synodontis in the aquarium, as this is a schooling fish. If catfish lives alone, he will be shy and hidden.

The tank will need to be planted with algae such as echinodorus, anubias, or cryptocoryne, as well as equip with additional shelters, which should be the same as individuals. An important condition is through holes in ceramic pots, wooden snags, as well as in stone constructions, so that fish can freely swim and get out of them.

Breaking the ground in search of food, catfish can damage the roots of plants, so it is advisable to install them in special pots.

Capacity for catfish will need to be planted with algae such as echinodorus, anubias or cryptocoryne,

As the soil is better to use fine gravel or coarse quartz sand. Before laying it in a container, it is well washed with boiling water, and then poured in a layer of 7–8 cm thick.

Aeration and filtration requirements are standard. Heating should be carried out to a temperature of 23−28 ° C.

The water should be non-rigid, as a last resort, acid-base balance at the level of 7−8 units.

The lighting needs to be set to be muffled, it can be natural, in case of too bright light, the cuckoo’s synodontis will hide in shelters. The thing is that these catfish are mostly nocturnal, so they will sleep most of the day.

Every week in the aquarium you need to replace a quarter of the total amount of water with fresh.

When capital cleaning in the tank should not wash the soil with chemical detergents. Toxic substances are badly washed out and can harm the health of the inhabitants of the aquarium.

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Synodontis are considered omnivorous fish, and they are also called medics and sweepers. They are happy to clean the green layer of microalgae, appearing on the walls of the tank, eat small fish, snails, worms and other insects.

Do not disdain and carrion.

Approximate ration for catfish Synodontis catfish make up such ingredients:

  • dry and frozen animal feed – bloodworm, tubule, daphnia, cortex, gammarus and others;
  • live insect larvae, worms, small fish;
  • vegetable component – vegetables (peas, cucumber), lettuce, dandelion, oatmeal scalded with boiling water.

The main condition for balanced feeding – 70% of the daily diet should be live food, 30% – vegetable and dry. Due to the fact that catfish are very voracious, with excessive feeding it is very easy to cause obesity.

Therefore, you should only feed once a day for 2−3 hours before the end of daylight, and give as much food as a flock is able to eat in 3 minutes, the rest must be caught and removed from the aquarium so that the water is not contaminated and the fish do not overeat.

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Cuckoo cats are quite peaceful and therefore get along well with other types of fish. However, if the “neighbors” are much smaller than the catfish itself, he can take them for food and eat.

For this reason, with the Synodontis, they usually lodge fish of the same size or larger.

Soma practically do not conflict with other fish, but in their own pack, differences may arise on the basis of the struggle for the most attractive shelter. But this does not pose a danger to representatives of this species, since conflicts are not violent in nature and quickly end.

Cuckoos cannot hurt each other, but often they damage their body covers and fins on their own, clinging to particles of soil or protruding parts of the aquarium.

The cuckoo’s synodonts are usually settled in cichlids, imitating the natural conditions of African lakes, this contributes to their active reproduction.

Cuckoo synodonts are usually settled in cichlids, imitating the natural conditions of African lakes.

Som synodontic cuckoo is a breeding parasite in its biological behavior, therefore it is indifferent to its offspring. If only representatives of this species live in the aquarium, then they most likely will not breed successfully.

Therefore, breeders lodge other fish with well-developed maternal instinct in the tank. Under artificial conditions, a synodontis can adapt to the spawning period of practically any fish, but under natural conditions a nursery usually becomes a cichlid for its fry.

Som cuckoo has a kind of biological mechanism that allows him to calculate the beginning of the mating season of these fish and produce in his body small portions of eggs for the so-called adaptation. Spawning a cichlid lasts only 1 hour, so it is very important for synodontis to get into this particular time period.

Sexual maturity of catfish reaches two years of age. Stimulate the breeding process can by creating special conditions:

  1. In an aquarium, it is necessary to maintain the temperature at 25 ° C, the hardness is 10 ̊, the acidity is pH 7. In the natural environment, the spawning period begins with the onset of the rainy season, at home you can simulate this moment by lowering the temperature by 2–3 degrees from normal.
  2. Often change the water – every 2−3 days. Substitute half of the total volume of water.

Spawning a cichlid lasts only 1 hour, so it is very important for synodontis to get into this particular time period.

Som cuckoo is one of the few representatives of synodontis who successfully breed in captivity. Other species, such as som-shifter, wide-angle, flag, marble and voiley, cannot produce caviar in domestic conditions without an additional hormonal injection.

Laying eggs is as follows. Seeing spawning cichlids, the synodontic females begin to rush past them, simultaneously spawning.

After the end of the cichlid process, it collects its eggs in the oral cavity, however, it does not do so very carefully, therefore grains of sand and other particles fall along with them, as well as catfish eggs, which are much smaller in size than its own. So begins the process of incubation.

Small catfish hatch a little earlier than cichlids and at first feed on their eggs, so only they survive. The cichlid fry of synodontis are still kept in the oral cavity for some time, but they are much larger than their own. In this situation, cichlids practically do not have time to multiply, so the catfish, parasitizing, destroy their offspring.

Therefore, in order to preserve the home population, it is recommended to periodically remove a couple of cichlids before spawning in another aquarium for the successful breeding of their fry.

Synodontis babies are fed 4 times a day with live dust, artemia, daphnia, and nematode. They grow quite quickly.

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Under all conditions of keeping the catfish, the cuckoo will grow up healthy, mobile and hardly affected by various diseases. If his behavior has changed and synodontis has become sluggish, and the color has turned pale, it is necessary to urgently reconsider the diet, as well as the composition of the water, its acidity and temperature.

In addition, the poor health of the fish can be caused by stressful situations that can be triggered by the lack or uneven distribution of food between individuals of the pack, an insufficient number of shelters, which will contribute to the development of conflict situations between catfish, as well as changes in water parameters.

In any case, it is necessary to find out as soon as possible the reasons for the indisposition of fish and eliminate them. In addition to exposure to stress, synodontis are prone to fat accumulation.

If a breeder notices that the fish has gained more weight than he needs, he can arrange weekly fasting days, This will help to normalize body weight without harm to the catfish.

In addition to exposure to stress, synodontis are prone to fat accumulation.

Sometimes you can observe such a situation, as the catfish cuckoo collapses on its side and begins to breathe convulsively. This indicates a lack of saturation of water with oxygen.

To correct the problem, you need to check aeration.

Due to the fact that the catfish predominantly lives in the lower layers of the water reservoir, it may have such a disease as fin rot. For treatment, prepare a separate vessel with streptocide diluted in water, in which the catfish should be immersed for half an hour.

Any violation of a habitual way of life promises troubles for the health of fish, and may even cause the development of serious diseases. Therefore it is necessary carefully monitor the conditions of detention cuckoo catfish – the correct feeding, arrangement of the aquarium, the stability of the composition of the water and the quality of diffused lighting.

These catfish are considered unpretentious – they are omnivores and get along with most aquarium fish. Therefore, for beginner breeders and lovers, it will be quite easy to keep them in home aquariums.

The conditions for their care are fairly standard, this type of fish is relatively hardy, and with good circulation, the catfish will delight the owner with a long life of 15–20 years.

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