Cuckoo Catfish (Synodontis multipunctatus) Species Profile & Care Guide
The Cuckoo Catfish is one of several species of upside-down catfish. These catfish are medium-sized, hardy and good looking but can be very aggressive and territorial towards other catfish species. This fish is quite sociable, so it is advisable to keep them in groups of three or more to avoid the rivalry between two. However, they are relatively peaceful and do very well in a mixed African Cichlid tank if given suitable cover and cave-like structures for them to hide.
They seem to be active both day and night and can prove quite energetic. If you keep them in larger groups, territorial issues are less likely.
The Cuckoo Catfish has an elongated body that is usually gold, white or tan with black patches that increase in size from the head, back towards the tail. Their pectoral, dorsal and caudal fins are predominantly black with white to transparent edges. The two anal fins are also pale, with small black triangles and are positioned close to the body. They have three pairs of sensory barbels which are typically white.
|Scientific Name||Synodontis multipunctatus|
|Other Names||Cuckoo Squeaker, Multi Punk|
|Aquarium Level||Bottom - Middle|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Trios|
|Lifespan||up to 15 years|
|Temperature||74 - 81 ℉ (23.3 - 27.2 ℃)|
|PH||7.5 - 8.5|
|GH||15 - 35|
Natural Habitat of the Cuckoo Catfish
The Cuckoo Catfish is found in Lake Tanganyika, one of the lakes in the Great Rift Valley system in east-central Africa. They inhabit freshwater rocky shores with depths of up to 65 feet with typically muddy, shells or sandy substrate.
Other Catfish of interest
The Cuckoo Catfish is most unfussy when it comes to feeding. However, they do prefer meat-based foods over vegetable-based food.
Live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, krill and plankton, as well as dried foods such as catfish wafers, flakes, pellets and granules are all accepted.
It also enjoys vegetable matter such as shelled peas, and cucumber, which it will grate at with the teeth in its lower jaw.
Breeding the Cuckoo Catfish
The Cuckoo Catfish is a brood parasite. The smell of spawning cichlids stimulates these catfish into producing, and as the cichlids lay their eggs, the catfish will quickly move in and eat its eggs before the mother can collect them. While doing so, they also release and fertilise their own eggs.
The female cichlid will hastily attempt to gather up her eggs and, in doing so, will also collect eggs from the Cuckoo Catfish. These eggs will then hatch inside the unwilling adoptive mother's mouth, and proceed to eat the cichlid eggs present before being released by the cichlid.
This technique removes the burden of parental care from the Cuckoo Catfish and allows them to breed again quicker.