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Synodontis notata

Synodontis notata


    These stunning fish resemble dominoes with one or more distinct black spots on their light-colored sides. Some fish may have as many as 12 spots along their midlateral lines while others have no spots at all. It is often mistaken for Synodontis ocellata whose spots are more randomly distributed. A squeaker cat, Synodontis notatus can brush the base of it's pectoral spine against it's pectoral girdle to make audible sounds when distressed.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: 10.5 inches (26.5 cm)
    Tank: Individual: 55 gallons (210 liters) or larger.
    Strata: Will go everywhere but predominantly bottom. Likes Sand - Fine Gravel.
    PH: 6.0 - 7.5
    Hardness: Medium, dh range 4 to 15dH
    Temperature: 71°F to 79°F (22°-26deg; C)


    Order: Siluriformes
    Family: Mochokidae
    Genera: Synodontis
    Species: Synodontis notata


Common name:

    Domino Synodontis, Domino Syno, Onespot Squeaker, One-spot Synodontis

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Africa: Congo River basin. The Chiloango River, Pool Malebo and the Kasai and Ubangi drainages.

General Body Form:
    A moderately-rounded fusiform body with a flattened ventrum, and a hardened head cap attaches to the humeral process (a bony spike located just behind the operculum, rests above the base of the pectoral fin and points posteriorly.) Fins are long and sail-shaped, including the forked caudal fin. The first ray of the dorsal and pectoral fins are hardened and serrated. One pair of long, filamentous maxillary barbels and two pair of mandibular barbels, which are often branched into multiple, feathery nodes. The upper jaw features short, fixed, cone-shaped teeth whereas the teeth in the lower jaw are S-shaped and movable. Eyes are large.


    Primarily silver-brown to pale olive-brown on the dorsum of the head and body with a cream-colored ventrum. Fins are a translucent version of the base color with occasional fine black striations or speckling on the caudal fin. Maxillary barbels are the base color, mandibular barbels are cream-colored. May have anywhere from one to three distinct large black spots (ocelli) on each side of it's body along the midlateral line and one spot on the terminus of the caudal penduncle. Some fish may lack spots completely whereas others may have a differing number of spots from one side to the next.


Synodontis notata


    Very clear, well-oxygenated water with a moderate to fairly strong current replicate their native habitats. A powerhead, circulation pump or canister filter with a spray bar return attachment can create the amount of water movement needed. Prefers longer tanks with a soft, sandy substrate or fine gravel, numerous caves, plenty of open-water space for swimming and floating plants to help dapple the light. These playful fish enjoy darting between hiding places that can be composed of bogwood, driftwood, pipes, rocks, roots and a few plants (the plants won't be eaten, but may be disturbed during playtime.) In large aquariums, they are gentle and energetic companions to barbs, larger cichlids, ctenopoma, gouramis, knifefish, mormyrids, larger rasboras, larger tetras. Best kept as a single specimen in a species-only or community tank with robust fish. It should also be kept as the only Synodontis in the community as adults can be territorial. Fish small enough to fit into Synodontis notatus' mouth may be eaten. Unusually active in the daytime for a nocturnal fish.

    Ominivorous, Enjoys fresh, frozen and dried foods including clams, brine shrimp, blackworms, bloodworms, sinking catfish pellets, large flake food and algae tablets. Supplement with cucumber, shelled peas and zucchini.

    Susceptible to bacterial and fungus infections, which frequently occur in the bottom substrate. Regular vacuuming needed.

    Slow-moving sections and side streams of the Congo River basin and surrounding drainage.

    Difficult. Egg-scatters that provide no parental care. Sexual dimorphism: Adult females are fuller-bodied than males and the dorsal fin of males may display a rosy blush prior to spawning. In nature, spawning occurs during the rainy season and microorganisms are the primary diet of the fry. Spawning has been unsuccessful in captivity. Sexual maturity is attained in 2 or more years.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.








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