- Min. Tank Size: 50 gallon
- Max. Size: 8 inches
- Temp: 75°-83°
- pH: 6.5-8
- KH: 5-15
Synodontis ocellifer, known as the ocellated synodontis, is a species of upside-down catfish native to the rivers of northern and western Africa. It has been reported in 10 countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal. It was first described by Belgian-British zoologist George Albert Boulenger in 1900, from specimens collected in Kunchow Creek, in Gambia. The species name ocellifer comes from the Latin word ocellus, meaning “eye”, and the Latin word ifer, meaning “to carry”, which refers to the black spots, possibly with white centers found on the sides.
Like all members of the genus Synodontis, S. ocellifer has a strong, bony head capsule that extends back as far as the first spine of the dorsal fin. The head contains a distinct narrow, bony, external protrusion called a humeral process. The shape and size of the humeral process helps to identify the species. In S. ocellifer, the humeral process is long, narrow, and sharply pointed.
The fish has three pairs of barbels. The maxillary barbels are on located on the upper jaw, and two pairs of mandibular barbels are on the lower jaw. The maxillary barbel is straight without any branches, and has a thin membrane at the base. It extends 1 1⁄2 to 1 3⁄4 the length of the head. The outer pair of mandibular barbels is about twice the length of the inner pair, and both have long, slender branches.