Genus name: Synodontis Nigriventris
Distribution: Central Africa: Congo Basin
Length: up to 3.2″ (8cm)
Minimum Tank Length: 24″ (60cm)
Water Temperature: 73-81F (23-27C)
Diet: crustaceans, insects, dried food, plant matter
Water: not critical
Lives: near the bottom of the aquarium, and under leaves
Breeding: Egg layers
The Upside-down Catfish is squat, scaleless, and only slightly laterally compressed. It has three pairs of barbels, one smooth pair on the upper jaw, and two feathered pairs on the lower jaw. The general colouration of the Upside-down Catfish is cream to pale grey, with dark brown or black markings.
The fins of the Upside-down Catfish are colourless, with dark markings, and the belly is black. The light-coloured back and black belly, in accordance with its usual upside-down position, gives the fish its popular name.
The Upside-down Catfish is a peaceful fish which is generally active at night, and they like to swim in shoals. By swimming upside down the Upside-down Catfish is able to browse algae from the underside of leaves.
The aquarium should be furnished with rocks and roots, and a number of plants with large leaves, to give the Upside-down Catfish plenty of places to swim upside down.
The Upside-down Catfish has not bred in home aquariums very often. If they do, shortly before spawning the colour of the Upside-down Catfish changes from brown to yellowish white, making the marking on the fish more conspicuous, and they lay pale yellowish eggs, with a diameter of about 0.1″ (2.5mm). The eggs hatch in seven or eight days, and the fry live for four days on the contents of the yolk-sac, before becoming free swimming.
The young Upside-down Catfish will swim belly downward for the first eight weeks of life, and after that will start to swim upside down.