What can I do with my Synodontis "zebra" hybrid??? Didn't know his attack potential:( - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-14-2011, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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What can I do with my Synodontis "zebra" hybrid??? Didn't know his attack potential:(

I purchased him when he was under an inch from a local pet store. I did not realize their aggressive potential. He was marked as a community fish, and I suckered into the purchase. He was living in my 55 gallon community tank with a baby elephant nose, kuhli loaches, and some glass cats and blue tetras. He is now close to 4 inches long. I've had guppies go missing over the months. Never found the bodies, but I figured it was the khuli loaches cleaning up. Last night I noticed circle bites on my elephant nose, so I pulled the syn out. What are my options for him, I don't have a cichlid tank, I set up a brackish green spotted puffer tank instead. The puffers are still small, maybe about 2 inches. I also have a freshwater dwarf puffer tank, they are still babies, maybe a little bigger than a fat pea. I know I can trade him in, but I do like him.

I was concerned for my small elephant nose and pulled him out last night. I put him in a large vase (not the one pictured, that was right after I pulled him out while I was thinking what to do for the night) with a well rooted peace lily for hiding, a heater (78 degrees) and air pump for the night. Today I'm looking at my options for him. I have a snail tank with some male guppies growing up. I may be able to move them to the community tank and hope he don't eat all the puffer's snails if he can't go in with either puffers. My GSP were bullied by a mollie I put in there to help with algae... not sure he will be a good tank "friend" and it's at 1.005 with the salt. Am I looking at another well planted tank for just him??? I do like cichlids... but the puffers cuteness won me over at that time.

Thanks for your help!

Here are some pictures, sorry for the quality. I'm 90% sure he is a syn hybrid.

Last edited by ReneeB; 01-14-2011 at 10:31 AM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-14-2011, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Well.... he ended up with his own tank. Pry seeing a jeweled goby cichlid in my near feature... but I wanted to keep him.

Still would like some help with his ID if anyone has an idea of what he is or crossed with. Thanks!
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-15-2011, 01:09 PM
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Identifying many catfish is not easy; in nature the patterning can be very variable even within species, and many species seem so closely similar. Common names used in almost all stores are more than likely made up just to sell the fish; these days any fish with a "Zebra" in its common name attracts interest, as the true "Zebra" catfishes are indeed beautiful.

I would readily bow to a higher opinion, but it seem possible that your fish is Synodontis ornatipinnis. Checking some of my "reliable" reference sources, they give varying maximum sizes up to 15 inches (Planet Catfish says 15.6 I believe). They agree that this is a predator, and will readily eat any smaller fish.

Here's a link to a photo-only site of catfish, you may find something more closely resembling your fish.
Freshwater Fishes -> Synodontis etc :: Hippocampus Bildarchiv

Here's a link to info on the species I have suggested:
White-Barred Synodontis | Synodontis ornatipinnis

A Google image search of this species will bring up an amazing array of varying photos, though all of them may not be this fish of course.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-15-2011, 01:21 PM
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Catfish look harmless scrounging around on the bottom, but many are among the most predatory fish in aquariums. I have seen them kill and try and swallow something almost as big as themselves and swim around with it hanging out of their mouth for hours. I once had a tiny (an beautiful) Pictus catfish nearly wipe out a community tank of fish as big as himself in a week before I understood what was happening and traded him back to the store. I only keep Cory catfish now.

38 years in the hobby and counting
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-16-2011, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thank u so much! I've googled and googled, but not looking in the right spot. I agree with the white barred synodontis... They have the pattern on the phase, and are almost identical to his body shape. The burichardi seems a little to long. Thanks again! Now I can read up on what I'm in for.
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