The upside-down catfish is a peaceful, schooling species that should be kept in small groups (i.e., three to six individuals) with other peaceful community tank residents. It should be housed in a large tank that is decorated with lots of broad-leaved plants, such as Echinodorus species, as well as overturned flowerpots and hollowed-out roots. Because this species habitually swims upside down as its normal position, it enjoys browsing the undersides of the plant leaves and the tops of the roots and flowerpots for insect larvae and algae.
The upside-down catfish will accept a wide variety of foods, including small live foods, such as brine shrimp, insect larvae, terrestrial insects, bloodworms, Tubifex worms and earthworms. In the wild it also browses on filamentous algae and vegetable debris, so its diet must be supplemented with vegetable-based foods, such as Spirulina, algae wafers and any of the tablet and pellet catfish foods available in pet stores.
This is one of the few Synodontis species to have spawned in the home aquarium, although few details are available. The sexes are difficult to differentiate, so it is best to buy a group of three or more and let them pair up.