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I just got the cutest little Cats....

7613 Views 33 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Desi<3
Ok, Ok.. they aren't cichlids, but I just got 2 tiny (could only get 1 inch) S. Petricola for my Mbuna tank. They are just adorable and so active. I didn't think that I would enjoy them that much, but they are simply a blast to watch, and very pretty with the white highlights. I think I am gonna have to name them Pepsi (Pepsicola, get it?) and Coke though...
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I am trying to take a pic... They are fast little guys and don't sit still though.. any suggestions to get a pic?
Are they S. Petricola which is what was most mot people thought they had, or re they S. Lucipinnis which is what most have been redefined and are much more common in the hobby, there are extremely few petricola's in the hobby right now from what I've been reading.. so post a pic!
Try closing all of the blindes and make it as dark as possible, w/o turning the tank lights out see if they calm down (sometimes making it dark around the tank will calm them). If this doesnt work keep the blinds closed and turn the tank light out for a few min and then flip them on really fast, if the cats are out then the light might stun them long enough to take a few pictures (then on the other hand they may run and hide really fast, all has to do w/ the fish). you may just have to try new things, its different w/ every fish, food may keep them in one place for a few then again it may make them move more!

Just try what ever you can think of!
OK.. I got some very poor pictures... I promise to get better ones in the future.

I am still not sure how to load pictures, so here are the sites: ... otostream/ ... otostream/

I think they are true petricolas because they came from a reputable fish store which in the past has refused to state what varient a fish was unless they had the paperwork to prove it. Unfortunately, being so small, I don't really know how I could tell. Any suggestions for distinguishing them????[/url]
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You have a Synodontis multipunctatus.

I think these are what are in you pictures, my LFS has them all of the time!
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I don't think they are multis... They have very distinct white edging to their fins and tail and a rather short nose. I wish I had better pictures to show you.

I am still trying to determine if they could be Lucipinnis, but the distinction is very difficult "Synodontis lucipinnis can be distinguished from petricola by the lack of an axilliary pore and the presence of light-coloured windows at the bases of the rayed fins." I think they do have the light-colored windows, but when I look at pictures of both, they both look like they do to me, so I am very unsure of this.

I won't be upset if in fact they turn out to be Lucipinnis as I really want them to stay rather small. But, I wish there was more accuracy in what is sold in stores. I am always a little scared of what I buy and that it could entirely disrupt my tank.
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Me 2!

For those pictures of yours they look like the pictures I posted!

I cant tell from yours.
Can you go back and get two more? Although I don't know your tank size . . . I have four multipunctatus and they are very, very active. They do like to be in bigger groups . . .
I am trying. I have never had such an issue taking fish pictures, although not all my pics are great, at least I get them.. these guys are so little, so fast, and hide a lot. When I do see them, they are inside caves and so they turn out so dark and blurry that they are hard to see. And to add to the dificulty, they are very very camera shy, while my africans stick their face right in front of my camera the second they see it.. I snap the picture and end up with an african instead! I will post some just as soon as I can.

I am concerned that I could have ended up with multipunctatus. I see a clear white outline of the entire dorsal fin, not simply the one side and so am still thinking they are either petricolas or lucipinnis.
Those are multies, petricolas have a white leading edge on the fins.
Once again I think the issue is the pictures... They have a white leading edge on all fins, including the dorsal. If you look closely in the pictures you can make it out on some. Unfortunately the background is white, making it hard to see this.
One other very notable thing is that at the base of their tail, there is a white line as well. I am thinking this might suggest they are Lucipinnis..

I am planning to try and get some better pictures (well, let someone else try and take some pictures tonight) so check back please....

I am also a little concerned as I only saw one of them last night and this morning when they ate. Previously, both would make their usual fast appearance. I am thinking they are simply hiding, but is this anything to worry about?
By leading edge, the entire dorsal spine should be white. The bottom picture of your fish shows that the spine is black. Hence, S. multipunctatus.

This is S. lucipinnis: ... age_id=228
and this is S. petricolas: ... ge_id=4195
and this is S. multipunctatus: ... age_id=212

Note the dorsal spines on all three fish and then look at your fish again.

Post your pics at, they have many catfish experts over there.
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Sorry. They were such poor pics I ended up deleting them and will try and post better ones tonight.

Another update. I called the store I got them from. After much discussion with three different people, they told me that they came from "Tangled up in cichlids" in NJ and were marked as Petricolas. I am currently waiting to hear back from this supplier and will see what I can find out.

The more I look into it, they definitely have white outlines on both edges of all fins and thus seem to be either Petricolas or Lucipinnis, but not Multis. The store also has multis and they do look different than these.
Stores are notorious for labeling their fish exactly as they come in, regardless of whether or not the label is correct. Many of us have been to our LFS and told them such and such a tank was labled wrong. Some will change them and some will not.

S. lucipinnis is not any where near as common in the hobby as petricolas. Often S. petricolas and S. multipunctatus fry will be raised up together, since a trained eye can easily tell the difference between the two. It is possible that a few of the wrong species were shipped.

BTW, the body and head shape are wrong for either S. petricolas or S. lucipinnis. Your pictures also clearly show a black dorsal spine. We are not looking for a faint white edge, but rather looking for a white dorsal spine. Your fish do have white trailing edges, but they do not have the white leading edge. The same holds for the pectorals as well.

I encourage you to do some reading over at
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Hi Dave,

I think you might have been looking at the pictures posted by Desi to illustrate what a multipunctatus looks like. I had a link to my pictures on my Flickr site, but removed those pictures because they were so poor it was impossible to see anything in them.

My fish have an entirely white dorsal spine and lead edges and that is one of the reasons I am so sure they are not multis. My pictures are simply that poor (and I appologize for that) that you can't see it properly. I was so frustrated with taking pictures yesterday I simply gave up and posted those. In retrospect I should have waited until I could get some adequate shots.

I recongnize there is so much confusion and the fish are sold under wrong names which is why I called my LFS and finally got the name of the breeder/distributer (not sure if they actually were breed there) to look further into it.

I already checked out planetcatfish prior to deciding which fish I wanted.. I had looked into the matter considerable before settling on petricolas. I wanted the right cat fish for my tank.

In any case, I appreciate your trying to figure this out with me and please check back and I will ahve some pictures.. Hopefully tonight if the kitties will let me.


I promise I will work on getting better pictures where you see their fins.
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I got 9 petricolas in my T-Dub tank...get at least 4 more and they are off to the races, chasing each other... :D
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