Cuckoo Catfish (Latin Synodontis Multipunctatus, (multipunctata))

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cuckoo catfish Synodontis multipunctatus, (multipunctata)
Wikipedia/Mario Rubio Garcia /CC BY 2.0
SpeciesCuckoo Catfish
Other namesCuckoo Synodontis
Latin NameSynodontis Multipunctatus, (Multipunctata)
Length 15 cm
Temperature22 - 26°C
Water Hardnessmedium hard - hard
pH7.5 - 8.5
Aquarium Size100 L
Foodlive, frozen, dry

Cuckoo Catfish (Synodontis Multipunctatus, (Multipunctata))
Other names: Cuckoo Synodontis


This is freshwater fish which lives in Tanganyika lake. It swims on the great depths, near the bottom.

Body description

Colour of the body is light beige. There are dark spots on the sides of the fish. These spots are smaller on the head. The pectoral, caudal and dorsal fins are dark with white-creamy border. The coloration become more intense with age. The fish has 3 pairs of barbels, wide fat fin and forked tail. Male is a bit smaller than female.

Temperament and behaviour

This is shoal, shy and peaceful fish. It may be more aggressive with age, when it is in too small group or when it doesn’t have too many hiding-places. This is a fast swimming fish.

Aquarium decoration

This species prefers spacious tanks with a lot of hiding-places, floating plants, effective filtration system. A partial water exchange should be done regularly. You should keep these fish with other African species e.g. cichlids or mouthbrooder fish.


This is an oviparous species which likes to toss its offspring. The smell of spawning cichlids or mouthbrooder fish stimulates it to spawn. As the cichlids lay eggs the Synodontis Multipunctatus will eat it and spawn and fertilize their own eggs. Female of cichlid will hastily try to collect all the eggs – her and Synodontis eggs. The larvae of Synodontis hatch after 3 days - faster than larvae of cichlids. They eat the cichlids roe and larvae. This may lead to all offspring of the cichlids will be killed and only few of Synodontis will survive because they will it each other too.