Cuckoo squeaker Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: October 25, 2022

Cuckoo squeakers are a freshwater fish that are native to Africa. They’re a member of the Synodontis family and are closely related to the better-known Syno catfish.

Cuckoo squeakers get their name from their unique “cuckoo” call, which they make when they’re happy or excited.

These fish are relatively peaceful and make a great addition to any community tank. They’re also very easy to care for, which makes them a great choice for beginner fishkeepers.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about cuckoo squeaker care. You’ll learn about their diet, tank requirements, and more!

Species overview

The cuckoo squeaker (Synodontis nigriventris) is a type of catfish that’s native to the Niger River in Africa.

This fish is nocturnal, meaning that it’s most active at night. During the day, they like to find a hiding spot where they can rest and avoid the light.

They are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything they can find. This includes other fish, invertebrates, and even plants.

Cuckoo squeakers are a relatively peaceful species of catfish, but they can be aggressive toward fish that are much smaller than them.


Cuckoo squeaker

The Cuckoo Squeaker is a small freshwater fish that is very colorful. The body of this fish is orange with black vertical stripes. The fins are also orange with black stripes. The tail is forked and has a black tip. The eyes of this fish are red.

Cuckoo Squeakers are small fish, but they are very active. They are constantly swimming and exploring their tank. They are also very social fish and do well in groups.

Cuckoo Squeakers are not difficult to care for, but they do require a tank with plenty of hiding places. They are also known to jump, so a tight fitting lid is a must.


The average lifespan of a cuckoo squeaker is around 5 years. This can obviously fluctuate based on a number of different factors.

The quality of the water is very important for these fish. If the water is too dirty then it can shorten their lifespan significantly.

They’re also susceptible to disease and parasites. If they contract something then it can obviously also reduce their lifespan.


The average size of a cuckoo squeaker is about 2.5 inches.


Tank Size

The recommended tank size for a cuckoo squeaker is at least 30 gallons. This is assuming you’re keeping them in a school of at least 5 or 6 fish (which you should).

We personally recommend a slightly larger tank if you can accommodate it. Every extra space will make a big difference and allow you to keep a larger school or more tank mates if you’re interested in a community tank.

Water Parameters

The cuckoo squeaker is a peaceful freshwater fish that is perfect for beginners. They are very adaptable and can thrive in a wide range of water conditions.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to their water parameters is consistency. Even though these are very hardy fish, they can be sensitive to sudden changes just like any other freshwater species.

Even though they’re still a bit more durable in this regard, you should use this as practice. Challenge yourself to see how consistent you can keep the water parameters and how easily you can make an adjustment if needed. These skills will come in handy with other species you keep in the future!

  • Water Temperature: 72°F to 82°F
  • pH Levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: 5 to 20 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 2-12 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Cuckoo squeakers are a bit of an unusual fish, but they’re still a freshwater species. This means that they have the same general needs as other fish when it comes to setting up their tank.

The substrate in their tank can be anything from gravel to sand. It’s really up to you and what you prefer. Just make sure that it’s not too rough or sharp.

These fish like to hide, so you’ll want to include some plants or other decorations that offer them some places to do that. Driftwood, rocks, and caves are all good choices.

It’s important to give them some open space to swim as well. Don’t go overboard with the decorations or you’ll end up with a cramped aquarium.

A good rule of thumb is to use 1-2 pieces of decoration per 10 gallons of water.

Common Diseases

Cuckoo squeakers are a fairly hearty fish, but they are still susceptible to a few common diseases.

The most common one is ich, which presents itself as white spots on the body of your fish. This is a very contagious disease that can quickly spread through an entire tank, so it’s important to act fast if you notice it.

Other potential diseases include hole-in-the-head, mouth fungus, and gill flukes. These are all less common than ich, but they can still affect your fish if the conditions are right.

The best way to prevent these diseases is to maintain a clean and stable tank. This will keep your fish healthy and reduce the chances of them getting sick.

If you do notice any signs of illness, the best thing to do is to consult a vet or experienced fish keeper. They will be able to properly diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of treatment.

Behavior & Temperament

The cuckoo squeaker is a peaceful and mellow fish that does best in groups. They are social creatures that enjoy the company of others and are often seen swimming in schools.

While they are not aggressive, they can be territorial when it comes to their food. They can be nippy when they are hungry, so it is best to feed them smaller meals more often throughout the day.

These fish are active and playful, but they do need some hiding places in their tank. They are not shy, but they do like to have a place to retreat to when they need some down time.

Overall, the cuckoo squeaker is a great addition to any community tank. They are easy to care for and make a great addition to any aquarium.

Tank Mates

The cuckoo squeaker is a peaceful community fish that does well with most tank mates. They’re not particularly fussy and can adapt to a wide range of water conditions.

This species is also on the small side, so they’re not a threat to most fish. In fact, they might even be at risk of becoming someone’s dinner!

That said, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing tank mates for a cuckoo squeaker.

First, these fish come from slow-moving waters in Africa. As a result, they’re not the best swimmers and might have trouble keeping up with more active fish.

Secondly, cuckoo squeakers are bottom-dwellers. They prefer to stick to the bottom of the tank where they can forage for food.

This means that you might want to avoid fish that occupy the same space in the water column.

Here are some compatible tank mates for cuckoo squeakers:

  • Molly Fish
  • Platy Fish
  • Guppies
  • Swordtails
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Plecostomus
  • Otocinclus Catfish
  • African Dwarf Frog
  • Ghost Shrimp


The cuckoo squeaker is an unusual fish that gets its name from the way it sounds when it’s out of water. When it’s time to breed these fish, you’ll need to set up a special breeding tank.

The breeding tank should be at least 30 gallons and have a sandy bottom. Add some live plants, a piece of driftwood, and a few hiding places. The water should be well-filtered and have a moderate flow.

When everything is ready, add two males and four females to the tank. The males will compete for the attention of the females, so it’s best to have a few.

The cuckoo squeaker is a mouth-brooding species. The female will lay her eggs in a hidden area, and the male will pick them up in his mouth. He will then carry them around until they hatch.

Once the fry have hatched, the male will spit them out into the plants. At this point, you can start feeding them baby brine shrimp and other small live foods.


The Cuckoo Squeaker is a great fish for beginners and experienced fishkeepers alike. They’re relatively easy to care for and are very entertaining to watch.

If you’re looking for a fish that will add some personality to your tank, the Cuckoo Squeaker is a great choice.

Just be sure to do your research before you buy one, as they can be a bit difficult to find.