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Featherfin Squeaker Catfish

(Synodontis eupterus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 8"
• Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-82° F, KH 4-15, pH 6.0-8.0
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Africa, Zaire, Chad, Cameroon   • Family: Mochokidae
• Species: Catfish   • Aquarium Type: Community / African Cichlid

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Species Information

Featherfin Squeaker Catfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Featherfin Squeaker Catfish (Synodontis eupterus) originates from the White Nile, Volta and Chad river basins and surrounding feeder rivers and tributaries. They live in areas where the bottom of the river has an abundance of rocks and wood and relatively sparse vegetation. The Featherfin Squeaker patrols inside every rocky cave and crevice and around submerged logs and roots for any type of edible plant, algae or meaty item that it can find.

They received their common name of Featherfin Squeaker Catfish due to their ability to communicate with one another via a squeaking sound. This aids them in communicating with others in their groups when they are down in dark caves, in between rocky crevices and in and around submerged logs and tree roots. While this is less needed in the brightly lit home aquarium, it does make for an enjoyable quirk that many hobbyists find quite enjoyable and does set the Featherfin Squeaker apart from other similar catfish species.

While in their native river habitats it is not unusually for this species to grow upwards of 12 to 13 inches (31 cm) in length, aquarium specimens rarely exceed 10 inches in length with a max size of 8 inches (21 cm) being much more common.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Featherfin Squeaker Catfish in the home aquarium.

The Featherfin Squeaker Catfish is considered a moderately difficult species to keep in the home aquarium due to its relative large size and the need for the aquarium hobbyist to at least partially replicate their native river habitat within the aquarium environment. While they only reach about 8 to 10 inches in length in the aquarium, the Featherfin Squeaker Catfish is a thick bodied fish who between their size and semi-aggressive temperament are not suitable for community aquarium environments with smaller fish species, delicate fish species or small ornamental shrimp.

Featherfin Squeaker Catfish do best when kept with African Cichlids, New World Cichlids or moderately sized community fish. They will often become territorial towards other Catfish when kept in smaller aquariums; however, when kept in larger aquariums (125 gallons or more) they are generally pretty easy going towards their tank mates.

While it is not necessary to keep this species in a river biotope, it is important to provide them an aquarium environment that has plenty of water flow, quality water conditions and lower levels of dissolved nitrate. Hobbyists will want to employ a powerhead or high-end canister filter in order to provide adequate additional water flow.

Synodontis eupterus will appreciate a soft substrate like sand or rounded, small gravel as they enjoy rooting around and digging in the substrate in search of food items. They also need plenty of rocks and submerged wood or tree root in which swim in and about and search for leftover food items. They will see larger rocks and submerged wood as a major part of their territory, thus the more of this type of decor will afford them a suitable amount of territory without trying to claim the entire aquarium. This is especially important if one plans to keep the Featherfin Squeaker Catfish with other Syndontis or similar sized Catfish species.

As this species originates from the river systems connected to Lake Malawi, they make excellent additions to African Cichlid aquariums. They enjoy the same water parameters and aquarium design as African Cichlids and they are robust enough to easily handle the somewhat aggressive nature of many of African Cichlid species.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Featherfin Squeaker Catfish and provide a healthy diet.

Featherfin Squeaker Catfish are robust feeders who will readily consume a wide range of food items. They are an omnivore, thus they will consume both plant and animal based foods. While they may consume floating foods like flake or freeze-dried items from the waters surface, they should really be provided sinking foods that will make it down to the aquarium substrate, which will give them a much more natural feeding experience.

Provide a mix of sinking foods like pellets and wafers designed for omnivores, along with some plant based foods like algae wafers or foods with spirulina algae included in them. Additionally, the Featherfin Squeaker will be more than happy to scavenge for any flake, freeze-dried or frozen foods that make their way down the substrate of the aquarium. Provide daily direct feedings, with additional feedings being determined by the amount of food they are able to scavenge and supplement their diet and the overall girth of the fish.

Breeding Information

How to successfully breed Featherfin Squeaker Catfish in the aquarium environment.

Synodontis eupterus are not known to be bred naturally within captivity. Specimens found within the aquarium hobby are wild caught from their native African rivers and river basins.

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