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What is a featherfin catfish?

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The featherfin catfish, also known as Synodontis eupterus, is a species of the Mochokidae family named for its large, fan-like dorsal fin. Native to freshwater African rivers and lakes, wild specimens reach nearly 12 inches in length, while captive fish grow to 6 or 8 inches. The catfish is a grey to brown color, with dark spots decorating the entire body and fins for an appearance well-accepted by aquarium enthusiasts.

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For those considering keeping one, a tank of at least 50 gallons is strongly recommended, with plenty of rocks and caves for hiding and at least moderate plant growth. While the featherfin is known to be a territorial fish, gobis and African cichlids of similar size work particularly well as tank mates.

The catfish is a hardy eater and readily accepts algae, insects and larva. Sinking pellets, flakes and blood worms are also appreciated. Occasional snacks of brine shrimp or earthworms may also be given.

Also called the "squeaker catfish," the featherfin produces a unique squeaking sound to ward off both predators and competitors during spawning time. The species is also known for its unique ability to swim upside-down.

Adaptable to most any water condition, the featherfin is long-lived. The average fish in captivity has a life span of 8 to 10 years, with some reported to live as long as 25 years.

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