Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Synodontis acanthomias

Synodontis acanthomiasSynodontis acanthomias
Photos by Andy Rapson


Synodontis: Greek, syn, symphysis = grown together + Greek, odous = teeth

General Notes:

Synodontis acanthomias is a very large and aggressive fish which is best left for those with the knowledge to properly care for it. Wild specimens are reported to reach almost 60cms (24 inches) in length but captive raised specimens normally only reach half of this which is why a minimum tank size of 675 litres has been recommended and not one which is considerably larger. They are very aggressive to other fish in their aquarium but will tolerate others of their own kind. Large cichlids should be robust enough to house with Synodontis acanthomias if you want to try to keep them in a community situation. It would be a wise precaution to have a plan b with this fish as it may need to be kept separate from all other fish if problems arise. Synodontis acanthomias has a habit of swimming upside down as shown in the photos of this fish, and resting below branches or in caves upside down, this behaviour is quite normal behaviour. is a very tolerant fish regarding its water chemistry providing that real extremes are avoided.


In captivity Synodontis acanthomias is very easy to please, they will eat almost everything offered. Ideally they should be fed with catfish pellets, spirulina flake/pellets, worms, blood worms, frozen lancefish, and some fresh greens like processed peas with the skin removed. They will also eat any tank mate which is small enough to be swallowed.


There are no visible external differences between the sexes as adults


There are no reports of Synodontis acanthomias being bred in captivity

Wild status

The wild population of Synodontis acanthomias is widespread throughout the Congo river basin and is under no immediate threats and so is listed as Least concern.

Information at a glance

pH: 6.5 - 8
dGH: 5 - 19
Temperature: 22 - 24°C (72 - 75°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 59cm (23.5in)
Min tank size: 675 litres
Difficulty level: Difficult
Aquarium type: Species
Swimming level: Lower

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Synodontis acanthomias

Origin: Africa: throughout the Congo River basin

Habitat: Around sunken branches and other objects in large rivers


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Mochokidae
Genus: Synodontis
Species: S. acanthomias, Boulenger, 1899

Common name:

Synonyms: Synodontis pfefferi