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Readers Respond: Have you kept a Upside Down Catfish?

Responses: 95


Synodontis nigriventris are the best

I bought the real Synodontis Nigriventris that are non-aggressive and have remained the same size (1.5" to 2") for the past 5 years in my 100 gallon tank. They are a joy to watch, when they come out of their hiding spaces, and aid in keeping the tank clean of food that the fish can't get to. They live with neon tetras, glow tetras, zebra danios, bumble bees, mollies, platys, guppies, angels, a dwarf rubber-nosed pleco, and ghost shrimp. No issues with them and definitely hardy fish. Be sure to get the right one as mentioned earlier in the posts and you'll enjoy them. I've seen others at the pet store that were surrendered because of their aggressiveness and size, they looked the similar, but had no white or pale markings, which could explain why they are about 5". They aren't Synodontis Nigriventris, but another kind. Mine are cute little pot-bellied guys that never bother the other fish and are actually playful amongst each other and with my pleco that is 3". Good luck!
—Guest cogata

Older than 10, bigger than 6"

My upside-down catfish (not a hybrid) is more than 10 years old and bigger than 6" long. He/she does not eat or bother small fish. During the 10+ years he/she lived in a 10 gallon tank, he/she mostly stayed in his/her cave during the day and came out at night. In the new 38 gallon tank with many companions, he/she really likes the more powerful water filter and usually stays near or under it rather than in the cave. A nice long-term companion.
—Guest Michelle

Cats attacks

I have 2 Catfish and 7 black Mollys. Now I have 2 fat Catfish and 1 Molly. Never get cats.
—Guest tank man

Hide n go Seek

My catfish keeps on hiding in the tower of my castle. It also has little white spots on it. Is it ich or spines on him
—Guest logan

Black Upside Down Catfish

I have a Black Upside Down Catfish. He/she is 7 years old. I bought it in Walmart for $6.00. It is the only fish in a 29 gallon tank, does not play well with others. Sleeps all day swims all night. Will only feed at night. I named it Devil.
—Guest pconklin

True vs hybrid Catfish

It sounds like a lot of folks commenting here have a hybrid upside-down catfish -- true upside down catfish are not very big nor are they aggressive. I bought two of these hybrids and this was not the best - one bullied the other to the point where I had to separate them. These hybrids can be very territorial. Make sure that the fish you buy is a true upside-down catfish.
—Guest Little Cat

No problem but not always upside down

My upside down catfish isn't always upside down. I find this odd because when I saw him at the store all of them were upside down! Then I didn't see him for about a month! Lights on or off! He is becoming a lil more social now and is out at night. Which does make me happier because he is very interesting. He is in a large tank with mostly larger fish that are semi-aggressive. I have another very large catfish in the same 55 gal tank, and that one loves to lay upside down on a large driftwood. Very interesting characters these catfish are!
—Guest KRod


My upside down cat fish is just too much and I don't understand it's behavior!! It chases after my Pacus and my Red Devil. They don't fight him back. But he continues to chase and harrass them especially at night I am trying to figure out why he is doin this. My fish are in a 30gallon tank
—Guest VJ

So that's what it is.

I was given what I thought was a big brisel nose, but after reading these post and wondering where the angelfish/shrimp/beta/neon ect have gone it is clear I have an Upsidedown fish. Hedoes change colour, he was black when the rocks were black, spotty black gold with the natural rocks and once when I put him in a red bucket iI though I killed him because he went red like smoked salmon.
—Guest Binky


I have an Upsidedown and a Raphael catfish in a 55 gal. tank. We've had both for about 6 years and they are both real troopers. I hand feed the Upsidedown who is about 8-9 inches long. It sucks though because I can't put anything in this huge tank! It kills everything in there and he's too big to buy any buddies for him. I've tried different sharks, catfishes, and oscars. Sadly they were all killed except the Raphael. Probably because he hides in a corner and is actually growing algae. The Upsidedown Cat is very friendly, we've moved him to tanks with our hands and never got stung. When we clean the tank we have to literally move him ourself or work around him. He has no fear of humans. I know this sounds wierd but does anyone know if he will turn upside right when he dies? lol. This is the black upside catfish that we honestly bought from walmart years ago. They are super low matinance. I feed mine like once every 2 weeks and they havent had a filter for almost a year.
—Guest kirschsands


My upside down is on the larger side, about 10 inches. I woke up in the middle of the night and saw him with my glass fish dead in its mouth.
—Guest K.ressler

Upsdie-down catfish

My upsidedown has a personality. He laps aroung my tank during the day time. He lets the other fishes know who is in charge. He and my Bumle bee catfish usually go for three rounds. I love it. I still think they are going at it,while I am at work.
—Guest catman

Eats snails

I bought my upside catfish a week ago with a trio of cory cats. The other occupants of the tank were 4 neons and at least a hundred small snails from a snail that I found in a local river. It has been only one week and all of the fish are doing great so far. The corys seem to want to socialized with the upside down but he is a bit of a snob and chases them off. The snails however have all but dissapeared. I haven't seen him do it but I can't imagine a cory eating a snail. Definitely a fascinating fish.
—Guest Steven

Upside down catfish and tiger oscar

I have an usdc for about three or more years and he lives in a 55 gallon tank with my oscar who is about 2 yrs old and about 8-10 inches long. Believing the Oscar would eventually eat the cat fish, I was surprised to see them acting like friends. The Oscar will eat anything you put in the tank but seams to be the cat fishes best friend. Im not sure if the catfish beat up the Oscar as a baby or not but they seam to do really well together.
—Guest albertK

Black Upside Down Catfish - Nite Terror

I have a black upside down catfish there are never any pictures of this guy just the small brown ones. Mine is black and very big. He has sparkles on the left side of him. I've been watching him for 2 years this fish stays hidden during the day and comes out at night. He terrorizes all the other fish when they try to sleep. I have transfered this fish to many different tanks he is now in a 65 gallon hexagon with 2 large blue channel cats and 2 very large goldfish. I put 30 minnow feeders in last night and they are all gone. This upside down catfish was attacking my smaller guys in the other tanks it looks like he was trying to swallow them and biting their faces causing eye and jaw damage. He is not afraid of people at all and is surprisingly very easy to handle.

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