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Lace catfish - Synodontis nigrita

Lace catfish - Synodontis nigrita

Scientific name: Synodontis nigrita

Common name: Lace catfish

Family: Mochokidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 22 - 24 cm (8.66 - 9.45 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 6.7 - 7.8

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 8 - 17°N (142.86 - 303.57ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 20 - 26 °C (68 - 78.8°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: Africa

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels


Africa; Lace catfish are found in the Senegal and many other African countries including Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana ans Sudan where they inhabit small ponds or other small areas of water.


The expected life span for Synodontis nigrita is 5-8 years.

Short description

As juveniles Lace catfish are peaceful but some mature adults may become territorial. Add plants, driftwood and rock to the tank to provide hiding places. Sometimes this fish is called the false upside down catfish. They will be fine in planted tanks but the choice is yours, the key aspect is to make sure that the lighting is not too bright, this can make them unsettled and hide away a lot.

They should not be housed with smaller species of fish, only keep them with fish of a similar size as they will predate on smaller tank mates, several can be kept together in the aquarium but each specimen should have sufficient room to create its own small territory to reduce any conflict. If more than one specimen is housed then it is advised not to add any more bottom dwellers to the aquarium.

As with any species of fish they should be given the highest water quality, perform regular water changes and make sure that the substrate is free from detritus which can also lead to disease.

Food and feeding

Use quality flake or tablet food for the staple diet. Live or frozen foods should also be offered in the form of blood worms or brine shrimp. Do not over feed Lace catfish as they have a ravenous appetite. Overfeeding of these fish is quite easy to do but it will lead to bloating and digestive problems, fish are very good at looking like they are hungry all of the time but stick to strict feeding times and only add enough food that can be consumed in a five minute period.


As juveniles these fish are almost impossible to sex but as they mature the females will have a plumper body shape.


There are no reported cases of Synodontis nigrita breeding in the aquarium but it is believed that they are substrate spawners.


Bought by from Other pictures were provided by Bobbi.

Lace catfish, picture 1 Lace catfish, picture 2 Lace catfish, picture 3 Lace catfish, picture 4 Lace catfish, picture 5 Lace catfish, picture 6 Lace catfish, picture 7 Lace catfish, picture 8 Lace catfish, picture 9

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