The Synodontis multipunctatus is native to Lake Tanganyika in Africa. In the wild, these catfish are found in large schools, at depths of 122 ft or more. It appears that they like the lower lighting of this depth; however, they are not absolutely nocturnal, even though it might appear this way in your tank. Until lately, I have had several Multipunctatus. They spent the most of their time in a cave, but they would come out shortly after I began to feed the Cichlids. When out of their caves, they swam very quickly and without much purpose, as if they are fearful of being attacked by the Cichlids. As a consequence, they were almost impossible to get a good picture of. They will take a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, brine shrimp, plankton, bloodworms, and krill. A temperature between 74 and 78 is prefered. This catfish does really well with African Cichlids. It is also one of the very few African catfish that have been bred in captivity.
The most interesting thing about this catfish is its unusual spawning ritual, which includes using mouth-brooding Cichlids as foster parents for their fry. Unlike Cichlids, who spawn at very young ages, it takes about a year once S. multipunctatus have reached their adult size about 3 years, before they will spawn. When 2 Cichlids begin to spawn, these catfish will come rushing out of their caves.
The unsuspecting Cichlids will continue to spawn, while the male Cichlid will attempt to drive the cats away. The catfish will grab up a Cichlid egg each time they are dropped, faster than the mother can pick them up. And, as they eat the Cichlid eggs, they drop their own. In her haste to pick up her eggs, the female Cichlid will pick up the eggs of the catfish and incubate the catfish eggs along with whatever eggs of her own she was able to pick up.
While it takes almost two weeks for most Cichlid fry to hatch, The multipunctatus will hatch after 3 days. And once they hatch they begin to feed on the Cichlid eggs. How's that for sneaky! By day 5, they will normally have eaten the entire Cichlid brood. The miniature catfish will grab onto the eggs and suck them dry. If left to their own devices, they will even begin to prey on each other. Thats why it is wise to strip the mother cichlid after 2-3 days and immediately begin feeding the catfish fry baby brine shrimp.
An Interesting Catfish
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