will often extend backward past the caudal
fin. Although large adults approaching
8 inches in length are known, most
aquarium specimens rarely reach this size.
S. alberti is large eyed and high bodied
with a well-lengthened dorsal fin spine.
The base color is silvery brown (often
with a purplish cast) and larger, round to
irregularly shaped brown spots adorn the
body. This is a peaceful species fitting well
into a mild-mannered aquarium.
S. ANGELICA SCHILTHUIS 1891
This fish has always been one of the
mystical Synodontis species of the hobby. S.
angelica is typically a black fish with white
spots, but a good amount of variation
exists. The spots on the body and head
may at times be yellow, bluish, or even
(albeit rarely) light orange. In some fish,
scattered winding lines the color of the
spots may be seen. The body color may
also vary (again rarely), and on occasion,
chocolate brown individuals may be seen.
As with many Synodontis, juveniles and
younger adults tend to be more strongly
and attractively patterned. Although it is
not an overly aggressive fish, S. angelica
can nevertheless take care of itself.
S. BRICHARDI POLL 1959
This species has a limited distribution in
the wild and is only known from Malebo
Pool and sections of the rapids below
it. S. brichardi is a long and flattened
species with a noticeably small adipose
fin and a large caudal fin, all of which
are suited for its life in fast-moving water.
As fitting with this natural habitat, this
species benefits from increased aeration
and water movement in the aquarium.
Additionally, more frequent water changes
are recommended. The base color is dark
brown and the body has a series of thin
contrasting lighter bands (less in juveniles)
that are yellow to whitish in coloration. S.
brichardi is a peaceful species that does
well in groups. Most available information
lists it as reaching around 6 inches, but
I have personally measured some large
females that were 8 inches.
S. CAMELOPARDALIS POLL 1971
This species, the description of which
was based on one specimen from the
central Congo Basin, is now known to be
found in the vicinity of Malebo Pool and
the rapids below it. It co-exists in some
areas with S. soloni, a similar species,
and it appears that the latter name is
often commercially used for this fish. It is
beyond the scope of this article to get into
this situation, but it is a ripe one for a later
time—when hopefully some more fish are
available to work with.
S. CAUDALIS BOULENGER 1899
For many years it has been generally
accepted that the fish usually seen under
this name was correctly identified.
For the most part this still holds true,
but there have been some published
photos using the name that somewhat
muddy the waters. In the Aqualog Photo
Collection Book One (Glaser, 2000) there
is a more or less typical S. caudalis, but
there are additional photos that use the
name and add a suffix of “Variante” [sic]
I, II, III, and V. This in itself is fine and
can certainly serve a useful purpose,
but these photos of the variants have
been used on a Website ( www.scotcat.
com), where only the name S. caudalis
is attached. I think that the use of the
variant designation, as published, would
be a better way to go. The “Variante II” is
interesting and certainly brings to mind