As the name suggests this Upside Down Catfish spend a lot of time upside down. It belongs to the catfish family and its scientific name is Synodontis nigriventris.
I have two Upside Down Catfish and I have to say they are some of the strangest fish I have ever kept. I brought mine about six months ago. I was quite excited to get my new fish home. I have a soft spot for catfish and in my view these are particularly odd catfish, with their upside down swimming and strange looks.
Shortly after adding the new fish to my tank they disappeared. I didn’t think this was odd at first. My tank is very heavily planted and it can be difficult to see all my fish. The weeks went by and I didn’t see my new fish. After about two months I came to the conclusion my catfish had died without me knowing. A little while later I was cleaning my tanks. I moved some of rocks in order to clean under them and low and belong out swims an upside down catfish, I was thrilled. One of them has survived. After that a few months passed without any sighting, I worried I had accidentally killed it while cleaning. I thought perhaps I had dropped a rock on it by accident. I am very careful not to hurt my fish and I have never killed one while cleaning, but I guess there is first time for everything.
Then one day I was watching my Keyholes cichlids swim round the back of a large rock and I saw it. It was hiding in one of the holes in the rock. That day I kept going back to have another look to see if it was still there and while I looking I saw the second larger catfish, which I hadn’t seen since the day I bought it six months ago.
From my experiences I can draw the conclusion that these fish are very shy, probably not a good choice if you like fish you can watch swimming around. From reading about other fish keepers experiences with this fish I can say the shy behaviour is a common aspect of this breed.
These fish have lifespan of around 5 years and are said to be a hard species. In the wild they catch food such as insects by swimming upside down just under the water’s surface. However in the aquarium they will eat anything you give them.
The best environment for these fish is a well planted aquarium with lots of rock and bits of wood, they love swimming along the underside of these. They are not too fussy regarding water conditions, ideally they like a pH of between 6 and 7.5. They grow to around 4 inches, which is really small for a catfish. They also good community fish, meaning they are peaceful and not aggressive