June 22

Sarah Robertson

A Freshwater Gem for Your Aquarium : Spotted Raphael Catfish

The Raphael catfish is a species of fish that has earned the reputation for being one of the most gorgeous and popular in the aquarium world. It's also known as the Talking or spotted raphael catfish, and it's a common choice for freshwater tanks.

It has a distinctive coloring scheme with black spots on a brown or tan body. The lovely black catfish with white dots are shy during the day, but you may observe their sociable behavior once the moonlight comes on!

The black Spotted Raphael Catfish (Agamyxis pectinifrons) is a hardy and easy-to-care-for species that work well in mid to large freshwater and planted aquariums. The Spotted Raphael Catfish is among the most distinctive catfish species, with a kind disposition and an intriguing appearance. In captivity, they are too simple to maintain, and they make a good tank companion for other fish.

The Amazon River basin, across Bolivia, Peru, Columbia, and Brazil is home to these fish. They are best kept in a group and have a distinctive spotted appearance. These fish are too simple to maintain in a 35-gallon tank. They can live for at least 15-20 years if properly cared for.

They have a cylindrical body that looks like an arrow's shape and a flattened belly. The females are larger than the males, with a more complete structure. Their large heads with tiny eyes appear comical.

Quick facts about Spotted Raphael Catfish:

  • Scientific Name : Platydoras armatulus
  • Common Names: Spotted Talking Catfish, Spotted Raphael Catfish, Spotted Humbug Catfish, Whitebarred Catfish, and Raphael Catfish.
  • Family: Doradidae family
  • Level of Care: Very easy
  • Tank Region : Bottom layer
  • Appearance: Dark brown, or bluish-black colored body, along with a very irregular pattern of smaller spots
  • Temperaments: Peaceful
  • PH: 6.0-7.5
  • Temperature: 20ºC - 26ºC
  • Life Expectancy: 15-20 years
  • Size: 6 inches
  • Diet: Omnivores
  • Ideal Tank Size: 35-45 gallon
  • Tank Environment: Neutral water with low hardness and dense vegetation
  • Tank Mates: Very peaceful

Spotted Raphael Catfish Appearance 

The Spotted Raphael Catfish is a stunning freshwater fish that has a black body with white markings. The fish's long, thin body tapers towards the tail and has a flattened head and belly.

The spotted Raphael catfish profile is one of the most beautiful and interesting among all existing aquarium fish. The belly of females is larger than that of males and more rounded. Both genders have two pairs of barbels on the head, which they employ to aid in the detection of food in the dark. Spotted Raphael catfish male or female can reach a maximum length of 6 inches.


The body of these fish is dark brown or bluish black, and it has a very odd pattern of smaller spots. The patches can be white or pale yellow, depending on the species. white spotted Raphael catfish have a more uniform coloration.

Furthermore, the fins of these fish are a darker shade with spots and stripes. The belly, on the other hand, is much lighter with specks. Their color becomes more intense as they mature.


They are, however, smaller than other catfish.

The average length of these fish is 5.9 inches (15 cm). As a result, they will be simple to aquascape with any modest or medium-size community aquarium.

Spotted Raphael Catfish Lifespan 

This type of fish is robust by nature. In the wild, this species may live for ten years.

However, in captivity under good care, they can live up to 15-20 years, making it well worth the investment.

spotted raphael catfish

Spotted Raphael Catfish Behavior & Temperament 

These are a type of fish that have a lot of energy, and they can flourish with their own species. They're also very tranquil by nature.

Furthermore, catfish that are kept in groups are usually quite friendly with one another. As a result, they make excellent community fish.

Spotted Raphael Catfish Tank Requirements 

These are generally small in size. As a result, choosing the appropriate aquarium size for them will not be difficult. They'll do best in a 35 to 45-gallon aquarium. For them, a medium-sized home aquarium will be perfect.

Also, it's critical to make sure the aquarium has enough light since they enjoy more brightness. Furthermore, this fish is a little reserved. So, you must make sure to provide them with the best hiding spot possible.

To ensure that their living environment is stable and balanced, fish require an ample supply of oxygen in the water. They prefer water with a low hardness level and a slightly acidic pH. In addition, live plants, twisted roots, and driftwood are excellent tank decors for your agamyxis pectinifrons.

The gravel beneath must be fine enough and soft enough so that they don't get harmed in their barbs. For them, slow water circulation will be fantastic. Some floating coverings are also desirable for these fish; therefore, you may add some floating plants to the tank.

Tank Setup 

Care for spotted Raphael catfish is simple if you give them the right tank environment.

A suitable tank arrangement will assist them in growing properly and getting adequate nourishment. So, here's how you can guarantee that your aquarium is set up correctly.

Tank Size 

They will require a tank with a capacity of at least 35 gallons. If you wish to pet a larger group, consider keeping the fish species in a 45-gallon freshwater aquarium.

Water Parameters

Maintain a pH range of 5.8 to 7.5.

Because they dislike saltwater hardness, these fish do not need a lot of it. As a result, keep the hardness level between 2 and 20 dGH.


The water temperature in the tank should not be too hot or cold. The ideal temperature range is between 68 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.


To give your fish a proper location to burrow, select a substrate of sand or tiny gravel. Other substrates, such as large rocks or coral, are not suggested since they may injure the fish's barbels.


Ensure that the lighting is dim or subdued, as it will make them feel more secure inside the tank. High or bright lighting will make them feel uncomfortable and stressed.

Tank decoration 

To give fish ample places to hide, add dense vegetation in aquariums. For aesthetics, you may add a variety of aquatic plants, driftwood, or twisted roots to the aquarium. It dislikes eating plants. So, you don't have to worry about them destroying your aquascape.


You may add an under gravel filter or a power-head to the tank of your spotted Raphael catfish in order to provide adequate oxygen and water flow. Without adequate filtration and oxygenation, these fish are not likely to survive.

Water changes 

To ensure that your fish are getting the best possible care, conduct water changes on a regular basis. Depending on the size of your aquarium, you may need to change 10-15% of the water each week.

Spotted Raphael Catfish Tank Mates

They are bottom feeders that live in harmony with other fish. As a result, they may be easily maintained in a decent aquarium community. Also, they will quickly befriend other lovely tank mates.

Despite the fact that it is possible to keep it alone, it's best to maintain them in a group for their mental well-being. Keeping them in a group of four individuals will allow them to display more vibrant hues.

They may be easily housed with other similar-looking catfish; they will not display any aggressive behavior. Furthermore, keeping them with aggressive tankmates is not dangerous since they have their own sharp protection. These fish aren't poisonous, but their spines are sharp enough to cause harm to other fish.

If you're housing them with semi-aggressive, aggressive, or extremely aggressive fish, however, be sure to observe them on a regular basis. Here is a list of tankmates that can be added to the community tank of a spotted talking catfish;

  • South and Central American cichlid: They are semi-aggressive fish that can be kept with other aggressive fish. Since Spotted Raphael catfish are peaceful by nature, they can be easily housed with these fish.
  • Pimelodus: These are also known as "South American Dwarf Catfish." They have a peaceful nature and can be easily added to the community tank.

  • Trichogaster: These are a genus of "Gourami." They are semi-aggressive by nature and can be easily added to the community tank with Raphael Catfish.

  • Larger characins: They are peaceful by nature and can be easily kept with Raphael Catfish.
  • Spiny catfish acanthodoras: They are a genus of armored catfish that have sharp spines on their body. They are peaceful by nature and can be a good tank mate for Raphael Catfish.
  • Platydoras hancockii: They are also known as "Blue-eye catfish" They are peaceful by nature and so they can be easily kept with Raphael Catfish.

Spotted Raphael Catfish Food & Diet

The diet of spotted Rafael catfish is quite simple. These are commonly omnivores. They are also not picky about food when it comes to feeding.

It's also simpler to feed them since they'll quickly have their meal if it includes fish foods like worms, insects, plant tissues, crustaceans, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, and other such things. This fish species is commonly a bottom feeder. So, you must ensure that the nutrients are delivered to them appropriately.

Nonetheless, it is critical to maintaining a proper balance of food in their diet. As a result, you may offer them other things like freeze-dried bloodworms or other tubifexes. Catfish prefer sinking pellets, as well. You can also add live, frozen, and properly prepared items like flakes to provide more variety to the meal.

These fish, on the other hand, require improved development. So, in the diet of spotted Raphael catfish, add adequate amounts of protein foods. Occasionally, earthworms may be offered as nutritious food. Furthermore, snails are popular additions to their dinner platter. As a result, you may put some snails in the aquariums so that they may easily find their snacks.

spotted raphael catfish

Spotted Raphael Catfish Care 

When it comes to caring for talking catfish, there are no difficulties. They are a hardy species that will not put aquarists in difficult situations. Spotted catfish have dangerous spines, which you should bear in mind when handling them.

So, be careful not to put your fingers in danger while swapping out the old water for new. Also, while cleaning the aquarium, your fish may be harmed by fishnet or shipping.

As a result, you must be especially cautious and careful while filming them. It is critical to alter 30% of the water in your Raphael catfish's aquarium once a month to ensure it receives adequate care.

In the wild habitat, these catfish live in shallow floodwaters, where the temperature drops dramatically at night. As a result, these fish can easily withstand temperatures as low as 15 °C for a short period of time. However, when stroking them in your aquarium, it's not necessary to provide them with extreme water conditions.

Remember to vacuum your driftwood, plants, and other décors to keep the tank clean and assist your fish in getting the greatest care possible.

Spotted Raphael Catfish Breeding & Reproduction

It's a bit uncommon for spotted Raphael catfish to breed in captivity, and it's usually unintentional. They're generally bred via artificial means or with the help of hormone injection methods.

However, success in raising these freshwater fish species at home is not guaranteed. These fish are expected to build bubble nests with eggs resting on top of floating plants. Because all of the Doradid species in this genus construct bubble nests, it is assumed that they did so as well.

In an aquarium, these fish most likely gather debris or discover a place with leaf litter and woods and attempt to hide beneath them. Then, the other fish of the same species then swim around this nest. However, whether catfish agamyxis pectinifrons can reproduce in this manner or not is still a mystery.

Spotted Raphael Catfish Fry

As with most other fish species, Raphael's fry is quite small and vulnerable. For this reason, it is essential to keep the fry in a different tank from the adults. When you notice that your talking catfish are spawning, you may move them to another aquarium with similar water quality and temperature. To ensure that the fry receives adequate food, you must also install a breeding trap in the new aquarium.

The fry of Raphael catfish is extremely small, so you must be careful not to overfeed them. Overfeeding can result in health problems and even death. As a result, it is essential only to provide them with what they can consume within a few minutes. It is also essential to ensure that uneaten food is removed from the aquarium so that it does not pollute the water.

To care for Raphael's fry, you must maintain high levels of water quality and temperature. The fry is also highly susceptible to ammonia and nitrites. So, you must perform regular water changes to prevent these toxins from accumulating in the water and harming the fry.

As the fry grows, you must provide them with a varied diet of live, frozen, and dried foods. Artemia nauplii, daphnia, and bloodworms are all excellent choices for Raphael's fry. You may also feed them high-quality dry foods designed for a small fish fry.

As the fry grows and matures, you must slowly introduce them to the adult fish. It's best to do this by moving them to a larger tank with more hiding places. spotted Raphael catfish hiding behavior will help protect the fry from being eaten by the adults. This will help the fry acclimate to their new surroundings and reduce the stress of being in a new environment.

Spotted Raphael Catfish Diseases

Although spotted Raphael catfish are not usually afflicted by diseases, make sure the tank water is kept clean. The Spotted Raphael Catfish are robust once they grow up, but they're susceptible to the same ailments as other tropical fish. The disease is not a concern in an aquarium that has been properly maintained, and these catfish are quite hardy.

The most typical problem faced by these fish is injury from fishing nets and transportation. When catching and removing these fish, be extremely cautious. High nitrate levels might also induce diseased barbels in these catfish, making it difficult for them to feed normally. This is why, for an aquarium with a regular water change, it's critical to keep the nitrate level below 20 ppm.

Because they are scaleless, catfish can be treated with pimafix or melafix, but not potassium permanganate or copper-based medicines. At one-half to one-fourth the recommended amount, malachite green or formalin can be used. When treating disease, be cautious since the Raphael Catfish is highly susceptible to medicines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Spotted Raphael Catfish Aggressive? 

This fish is not aggressive by nature. Instead, this species is quite docile and maintains a solid friendship with other tankmates. So, if you're looking for a peaceful community fish, the spotted Raphael catfish is an ideal option.

However, it is not advised that you add aggressive species in your tank. Although the Striped Raphael is a tiny fish, it is capable of defending itself against the catfish. If they attack the Striped Raphael, you may wind up with severely injured or dead fish.

Where Can I Buy a Spotted Raphael Catfish?

These are generally simple to come by at any pet shop or aquarium dealer market. Spotted catfish are also known as spotted Raphael catfish or spotted talking catfish in aquarist shops.

In addition, they may be found in most hobbyist shops. There are also online stores for pet fish that delivers this spotted fish at a reasonable price and offers a wide range of options.

Do Spotted Raphael Catfish Eat Other Fish?

No, they don't consume other fish in a community aquarium. They are not predators by nature. However, they do consume snails. So, if you're looking to get rid of the snail population in your fish tank, this is an ideal candidate.

How Big Do Spotted Raphael Catfish Get? 

Striped Raphael catfish reach a length of 7 to 9 inches. The growth rate of this fish is exceptionally sluggish, growing only an inch or two each year until it reaches full maturity.

Do Spotted Raphael Catfish Eat Other Fish?

No, they don't consume each other in a community aquarium. They are not predators by nature. They are peaceful fish who can get along well with other tank mates.

Do Spotted Raphael Catfish Eat Algae? 

The Stinkbait, as the name suggests, is a spotted Raphael Catfish that primarily feeds on algae. However, spotted Raphael does not have a specific food preference. As a result, the quantity of algae supplied varies each time the fish is fed, and the fish attempts to adapt.

Do Spotted Raphael Catfish Eat Snails?

Striped Raphael Catfish eat snails that they find in the substrate in their natural environment. In captivity, you can anticipate them to perform much of the same activities. They're particularly skilled at eradicating snails if you have one.

How Fast Do Spotted Raphael Catfish Grow?

The growth rate of this fish is quite slow, growing only an inch or two each year. To be a full-grown spotted Raphael catfish it takes several months to years. Once they reach their full-size potential, they will stop growing.

spotted raphael catfish

How Many Spotted Raphael Catfish Should Be Kept Together? 

A group of 5 is the recommended number for keeping these fish together. If you have a smaller aquarium, it's best to keep only 3 in a group.

What Do You Feed Spotted Raphael Catfish? 

You can give them a wide variety of foods, including live, frozen, and dried foods. Artemia nauplii, daphnia, and bloodworms are all excellent choices for Raphael. You may also feed them high-quality dry foods designed for them.

Make sure that you sink the food to the bottom of the tank, as these fish are bottom-feeders. If you don't see them eating, it's essential to remove any uneaten food since it will quickly decompose and pollute the water.

Are Spotted Raphael Catfish Venomous?

No, the Spotted Raphael Catfish isn't poisonous, but it does have a pair of spines sharp enough to damage the hand of an aquarium keeper.

How Much Do Spotted Raphael Catfish Cost?

The price of a Raphael Catfish depends on the size and age of the fish. Generally, they cost between $5 and $10.

How Long Do Spotted Raphael Catfish Live?

The Spotted Raphael catfish has a ten-year lifespan, which is somewhat shorter than that of the Striped Raphael catfish, which can survive for up to 15 years. However, in order to live long and healthy, they require the appropriate water conditions and a nutritious diet.

Wrapping Up 

Spotted catfish are unquestionably a great choice for a home aquarium. By nature, they are quite robust, making them an excellent pick for any fish keeper. They are relatively easy to care for and are compatible with a wide variety of tank mates.

They are also quite sociable and don't make other fish's lives difficult. There is also no requirement for regular water changes when compared to other aquarium fish. While they are a peaceful species, they are also known to be excellent snail eaters. So, if you're looking for a fish that can help control the snail population in your tank, the Spotted Raphael catfish is an ideal candidate.

However, watch out for their sharp spines while handling them. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned aquarist, the Spotted Raphael catfish is a great addition to any community tank.

Sarah Robertson

I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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