General information – The Synodontis petricola is an amazing
member of the catfish group but it is more recognized with cichlids
due to its origin and its dependence on cichlids to breed and thrive.
It is known to be the smallest Synodontis species in Lake Tanganyika.
The name Synodontis is from Greek, syn = together, odontos = tooth,
its name refers to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth. Synodontis
petricola has an extremely developed scent, according to recent
researchers the petricola can smell even a small amount of food from
Common Name - Petricola
Scientific Name - Synodontis petricola
Photo by: Martin Wood
Family - Mochokidae (catfish)
Origin - Lake Tanganyika, East Africa
Size – Up to 13cm (5.1 inches)
First discovered - Matthes, 1959
Nutrition – Omnivores, in the wild the petricola feeds on crustaceans but in home aquarium the petricola
will accept all commercial foods with no problems, flakes, pellets and frozen foods are welcomed.
Behavior - Calm
Maintenance and care – The Synodontis petricola should be kept in large tanks with free swimming
spaces, as substrate it is highly recommended to use fine gravel or sand to protect the barbs of this
magnificent fish. Synodontis petricola will thrive with its own species. It can be kept with larger and more
aggressive tank mates including cichlids. Like other Synodontis species the petricola is an excellent
scavenger eater. Avoid keeping it with small fishes otherwise they can be eaten.
Water Parameters – Temperature: 22C-26C, pH: 7-8.5
Breeding - Synodontis petricola have a unique way to breed, it can be bred only if mouth breeding cichlids
are present. At the time the cichlids start breeding the petricola female secretly deposit some fertilized
eggs in between the cichlid eggs. The cichlid female will collect her own eggs but will also collect without
noticing the Synodontis petricola eggs. The petricola eggs will hatch before the cichlids eggs and
immediately will start eating these eggs and after hatching in the cichlid female's mouth they will benefit
from the cichlid fry as well.