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Not really one of the more popular families, the Mochocidas
are an interesting addition to any aquaria. Most commonly
seen in African Cichlid tanks fulfilling the role of
scavengers. All the family members are found only in
Africa, south of the Sahara desert. To view some statistics on many individual fish, just click on any picture.
They are similar in shape to the Armored Catfishes, but
they are scale-less with no boney plates. Synodontis grow
to be quite large. They have a large Adipose fin with
spiny dorsal and pectoral fins. Their face has three sets
of pairs of barbels. The upper jaw pair are the longest,
with the other two pairs being shorter and smooth. Most
members are brightly colored when young, but tend to fade
The Mochocidas are a hardy fish very active in their search
for food. As I said they can become quite large so a big
tank is in order. As the fish are twilight feeders the tank
should have subdued lighting. Too much exposure to bright
light, the fish will become shy and hardly be seen. The
tank should be decorated with rock-caves or large driftwood
of a fine texture.
In the aquarium they are easily kept and will accept any
kind of stock fish food. Some addition of a plant based
supplement food is beneficial.
They require water with a higher pH than neutral and a high
hardness (gH) level. The water temperature should not fall
In the wild the Mochocidas live in lagoons and other
slow-flowing waters, often forming good sized groups. They
are fish of the twilight and darkness and spend much of the
day hidden under submerged tree trunks or river-banks.
They are a nonaggressive fish, which will get along well with other fish, although they have a habbit of constantly touching the fish with their Barbels. All members live a long time.
Very little is known of their breeding habbits.