Synodontis are omnivorous and are most unfussy in terms of feeding. Frozen, live and dried foods are all accepted. It also relishes vegetable matter in the form of shelled peas, cucumber etc., which it will rasp at with the teeth in its lower jaw.
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Behaviour and CompatibilityTOP ↑
Not recommended for the general community due to its large adult size. It is quite peaceful with fish it cannot swallow however, and makes a good bottom dweller for a larger community tank. It is not as territorial as many Synos and can even be maintained in a group in a suitably sized tank. Good tankmates include larger barbs and characins, large cichlids and Loricariids. Do not keep with any species that may nip its dorsal filament.
Adult male fish are slightly darker in colouration and are smaller than females. It can also be sexed by examining the genital papillae. This is not for the amateur however. The fish should be held ventral side up in the palm of your hand. The dorsal fin should be taken between your middle and ring fingers in order to avoid being pierced by the sharp dorsal fin rays. The genital area you are looking for is concealed beneath the pelvic fins. This can be exposed by pulling (gently) on the caudal fin. A male fish will exhibit an extended papillae which should be pointed and ridged. The spermatoduct can be seen on the caudal side. Females also have a clearly visible papillae but this is more rounded and the oviduct is on the opposite side to the male’s spermatoduct.
Most species of medium/large Synodontis can be sexed using this method but it should be noted that most species take 2 years or more to reach sexual maturity.
Not achieved under natural conditions in aquaria although captive breeding has occurred in Eastern Europe via the use of hormone injections. Many of the young fish that come onto the market may have been produced in this way. In nature S. decorus breeds in areas of seasonal flooding that are rich in micro-organisms. They are egg scatterers and exhibit no parental care.