A catfish shifter

synodontis nigriventris
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The shifter catfish (Synodontis nigriventris) is the smallest member of the genus Mochocidae. The relatively small size and unusual normal body position make this fish interesting for keeping in a room aquarium.


Sinodontis stays upside down most of the time. That’s just the way he likes it.

Why did this position become normal for a shifter? What plans evolution had for this remains to be guessed. Anyway, belly down Sinodontis turns quite rarely. In particular, it can take an unnatural position for him to pick up a moth that fell to the bottom. Features of the position of the body imposed some imprint on the coloration of fish. The belly, facing upward is colored brighter and more contrasting than the back, hidden most of the time from prying eyes.

The back of the fish is colored in light gray tones with faint dark streaks. Sometimes, depending on the conditions of maintenance on the body of the catfish may appear white pigmented spots. They can disappear as unpredictably as they appear. The maximum size of the fish is about 9 centimeters. But more often especially in aquarium conditions sinodontis have smaller sizes. Sexual maturation is reached only in the second year of life.

Catfish shifter content

A spacious aquarium is preferred for keeping catfish shifter. Its bottom can be covered with coarse well-washed river sand. At the bottom must necessarily be present caves and grottoes made of large stones. This is necessary to make the fish feel more comfortable having the opportunity to hide in a cozy cave from the daylight. Dense benthic vegetation will also be a very welcome refuge. Like most other catfish sinodontis show the most activity at dusk and night darkness. And during the day they prefer to sit in some secluded corner away from bright light and prying eyes.

The water in the aquarium should have the following physical and chemical parameters: pH about 7, Hardness 10 -15. The temperature is about 25 degrees Celsius.

Catfish shifter feeding

Feed sinodontis can be different types of live food – moths, trumpet fish, earthworms, enchytrae, chopped lean meat. It should only remember that sinodontis like to lead a sedentary lifestyle and therefore prone to obesity. Obese fish is very difficult to return to normal. Therefore, overfeed them should not be. You should also regularly give them plant food – scalded with boiling water crushed leaves of lettuce nettle, dandelion. One twice a week sinodontisov can be left without food at all. These unloading days will prevent the development of obesity. However, it should be taken into account that hungry sinodontis can go on the hunt and in the morning. Then you will not count the small fish. Adult sinodontis can easily swallow such little ones as guppies, neons, danio rerio. Although with fish of commensurate size sinodontis prefers not to contact and quite peacefully coexists with them, even when hungry.

Shifter catfish breeding

There are problems with breeding catfish shifter. Equip the spawning tank and create in it suitable conditions for spawning (which are observed in the reservoirs of its natural habitat during the spawning season) is not difficult. As a spawning tank can be used aquarium of about 50 liters. The pH of the water should be set at about 7, the hardness is about 10 German degrees. The temperature is 25 to 27 degrees Celsius, the aquarium should definitely be shaded. Since the fry synodontis and even the eggs have a negative reaction to bright daylight. If the aquarium is not shaded, then even if spawning occurs, the eggs are likely to die. But all this is often not enough to stimulate spawning sinodontis.

Most often to achieve spawning from the catfish shifter in captivity is possible only by resorting to pituitary injections. Moreover, some literary sources indicate that the drug and its dosage should be selected individually for each producer. This of course complicates the receipt of offspring from sinodontis in the amateur aquarium farm. However, who can tell them these sinodontisov, to what they will react with a passionate desire to reproduce?

Maybe there is a magnetic anomaly in their natural habitat. And to make them reproduce without hormone therapy need to stick a magnet under the aquarium? Or maybe they react to a certain spectral composition of natural light and need to select the appropriate light source? Or take into account the phase of the moon when planting for spawning? Who will figure it out? Maybe you? As you can see riddles and mysteries catfish shifter has a lot. And amateur aquarium fish farming with an inquisitive mind is where to apply their strength, skills and ingenuity.

If you do manage to achieve spawning in the shifter, it will occur in the evening twilight in the water column or near the surface. Both producers will be in the normal position for them – down their backs. From time to time they will press against each other. At this point, the female will hatch several eggs. Although according to other literary data spawning sinodontisov occurs in their dear to their heart grottoes and caves. The role of which can perform sanitary polymer pipes. As well as not used laid on the side of the pottery flower pots. Most likely both options are possible. Especially in fish stimulated by hormones. Against hormones, you know, you can not go against and without the mainsail spawning …

Incubation of eggs lasts about five days after which appear fry, which the first few days should be fed infusoria. Then you can switch to Artemia nauplii. Further fry can be offered grindal with the subsequent transition to “adult” feed.

This is such a mysterious fish in many ways – catfish shifter.


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