It’s not a brand new entry to the aquarium trade, but today’s photograph of a hybrid Synodontis catfish, the blending of Synodontis (eupterus X angelicus), was extremely eye-catching! Joe Hiduke of Nautilus Tropical Fish Wholesale shared the photo, and I felt compelled to put it out there for all of you to enjoy!
Not a fan of hybrids? That’s OK! I just ask people to remember that many of our beloved aquarium fishes (e.g. the many varieties of platies, swordtails, and mollies) are all conglomerations of multitudinous species. So long as hybrids are fully disclosed as what they are, there is little room for them to cause deception or problems with other captive-breeding efforts; particularly in this case, since many Synodontis species are not readily breedable by home hobbyists!
Says Hiduke, “Hybrid Synos are one of my new Florida fish this week and they look fantastic. These are a eupterus/angelicus cross. Super hardy, good size, and with a great pattern, these fish are always popular. They make great African cichlid tankmates as they’re more than capable of fending for themselves. Wasn’t fun getting that pic, their spines are pretty painful.”
Based on some quick Internet sleuthing, the first online mentions of this hybrid occurred in 2018, likely denoting the first time this variety was marketed. Most online photos show younger, smaller individuals, with less vibrant coloration, but the specimen showcased today illustrates the remarkable potential that individuals may have, particularly once they’ve grown up a bit.
Ultimately, these hybrid Synodontis have the potential to attain a large size, which may not always be at the forefront of an aquarist’s mind when seeing only small, cute specimens at a local shop or online. S. eupterus has the potential to grow to nearly 12 inches (30 cm), and S. angelicus an ever larger 22 inches (55 cm) SL! So, while most online references and retailers suggest that these hybrids might only reach 8-10 inches in length (20-25 cm), know that larger sizes are certainly possible!