Striped Raphael Catfish (Platydoras Armatulus)
The Striped Raphael Catfish is a unique and fascinating species that brings a touch of the exotic to your aquarium. This fish is known for its rounded body shape, pointed heads, and tails. It has a striking appearance with a striped silver and black body and a flat belly. The Striped Raphael Catfish is adorned with three sets of barbels on their mouths, which act like taste buds and help them find food in murky waters. They also have spines on their backs and sharp fins, serving as a form of defense against predators. Striped Raphael Catfish will grunt or squeak when out of water. For this reason, some keepers of these fish even refer to them as talking cats.
Striped Raphael Catfish go by many names, such as the Chocolate Doradid, Talking Fish, Humbug Catfish, and Thorny Catfish.
The Striped Raphael Catfish can grow anywhere from 8 to 9.5 inches at full maturity. They have a rather slow growth rate, growing around 1 to 2 inches per year in captivity. In the wild, they can live for roughly 15 to 20 years, while in captivity, they have been known to live closer to 10 years. Their lifespan greatly depends on the conditions that they are kept in.
Striped Raphael Catfish is not considered aggressive so much as they are territorial. You will not see them actively going after other fish unless they are a threat to their territory. This territorial behavior increases the closer they are to spawning. They are not poisonous fish, but they do possess defenses in the form of tough scales on their bodies that act as a kind of armor defense against predators and spiky spines on their bodies. These can inflict injury and pain to the unlucky recipient of the sharp end of their spines.
The best tank mates for Striped Raphael Catfish are other fish of the same species. They do best when they live in a small grouping together. Since they occupy the bottom of the water column, choosing other fish to cohabitate with them that occupy the middle or the top would be a good idea. Tetras and Plecos are a good choices for tankmates. Avoid smaller fish and pet snails as the Striped Raphael Catfish will consider them food and eat them. Also, avoid fish that are aggressive, territorial, or competitive for food.
These fish are omnivorous, opportunistic feeders who will eat almost anything they can find. In the wild, they feed on crustaceans, mollusks, and plant debris that settle at the bottom of the substrate. In captivity, they readily accept high-quality sinking pellets, frozen, live foods, leftover fish food, and any detritus or waste material. They are also known to eat snails and algae, making them helpful for controlling snail populations and keeping your aquarium clean. Feeding times for Striped Raphael Catfish should be late in the evening and early morning to accommodate their nocturnal lifestyle.
The ideal tank habitat for Striped Raphael Catfish should mimic a riverbed. A soft, sandy substrate is best to minimize injuring their sensitive belly. They also enjoy exploring their environment and relaxing in their personal hiding spots. Use smooth river rocks, caves, and driftwood to make interesting places to visit and sleep. Plants can be added, but they should be robust species as the Striped Raphael Catfish is an active swimmer and may disturb delicate plants. Striped Raphael Catfish also need plenty of open space for swimming. Since they are nocturnal, the lighting should be kept dim to mimic their natural habitat and encourage daytime activity.
The ideal tank for Striped Raphael Catfish should be at least 50 gallons and mimic their native habitat. The water temperature should be maintained around 75F-80F, with a pH range of 6.0-8.0, and water hardness around 8-15 dGH. Regular water changes and a good filtration system are essential as these fish produce a lot of waste.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.