June 23

Sarah Robertson

Striped Raphael Catfish: the Underrated Aquarium Fish

Catfish are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They are hardy, peaceful, and relatively easy to care for. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and striped raphael catfish are no exception.

The Striped Raphael catfish is a member of the Doradidae family. It may be called "talking catfish," "chocolate doradid," "chocolate catfish," or "thorny catfish." It is a nocturnal fish that is shy and reclusive during the day. It prefers to hide in caves or among rocks. If you want to know more about the care of Striped Raphael Catfish, read on.


The Striped Raphael Catfish's range is enormous. However, they are indigenous to South American streams. They are also sighted in Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, and other areas of South America.

It's great that these fish live in such huge numbers in the wild. Unlike other freshwater catfish, they don't reproduce well in captivity. As a result, the majority of the animals you see for sale at aquarium shops are collected from the wild.

Striped Raphael Catfish Appearance 

These bottom-dwelling fish have a distinctive appearance. They are shaped like torpedoes. Their heads are big and broad, although their profile tails off toward the tail.

Striped catfish are named after their distinctive stripes, which run down the length of their bodies. These stripes are generally white, which makes them stand out against their black or dark-brown bodies. Some fish, on the other hand, may have yellowish stripes.

The stripes run laterally. There's one on the top of their head and a thicker stripe on each side of their body, with one running down the middle of their back. The head stripes join together at the end. The belly of the fish is white, giving it the appearance of a third stripe that connects to the pectoral fins.

The Striped Raphael is well-protected, as are other freshwater catfish species. These fish have curved spines all over their bodies. The rays are powerful and sturdy. When the fish senses danger, it raises its fins for protection. You must be cautious when transporting the fish!

The rays are extremely sharp, and they can inflict a lot of pain if they pierce your skin. The pectoral fins are another example of this. The front ray of the pectoral fin is serrated and features a hook on the end. These fish have been observed to become caught in traps. As a result, when moving them, it's critical to utilize a glass or plastic container.

The Striped Raphael Catfish has three pairs of barbells. There are three pairs of barbels in all. The longest pair is on the top maw. The other two sets are a little shorter and are positioned on the lower jaw.

Gender Differerences

The easiest way to differentiate striped Raphael catfish male or female is by looking at their pectoral fins. The males have larger, more colorful fins. They also have a noticeable hook on the end of the ray fin.

The female fish is not as brightly colored. Their pectoral fins are shorter and lack the hook.


The average Striped Raphael Catfish size is around 7.9–9.4 inches long when fully grown. However, they may develop much larger than that in a big tank if properly cared for.

However many aquarists have noted that their size tends to differ depending on the geographical location they were collected.


The Striped Raphael Catfish lifespan is around 10 years in captivity. However, they may live much longer if they're well-cared for. Some of the factors that affect their lifespan include water quality, diet, and tank size.

Striped Raphael Catfish Behavior

Striped Raphael Catfish Behavior 

The Striped Raphael Catfish is a peaceful fish. They do well in community tanks as long as they're with other fish of a similar size. These fish are nocturnal and prefer to stay hidden most of the time. However, once the lights go out, they will begin searching for food in the tank actively.

Owners frequently report that nocturnal behavior fades away after a while. During the day, some fish will emerge from hiding and begin to explore more. They may be observed playing with other fish!

The Striped Raphael Catfish is a very calm fish. They have never been observed to attack other fish. But they may consume smaller fishes, such as minnows and shrimps (because they mistake them for food).

Striped Raphael Catfish Tank Setup 

The Striped Raphael Catfish is a freshwater fish. They are hardy fish that can live in a wide range of water conditions. However, like any other aquarium fish, they too require special care to thrive in captivity.

The following are some of the requirements for a Striped Raphael Catfish tank:

Tank Size 

The minimum tank size for a Striped Raphael Catfish is 30 gallons. However, a larger tank is always better. The Striped Raphael Catfish is a relatively large fish that grows up to 6 inches in length. They are also active fish and require plenty of space to move around.

As they mature, these fish will require more room. It'll be tough to provide enough space in a smaller aquarium, which will also stunt their development potential. You must be generous in terms of how much swimming area you give these fish owing to their large rayed fins.

Water Conditions

The Striped Raphael Catfish is a hardy fish that can adapt to a wide range of water conditions. However, you still need to stay within acceptable ranges to avoid stress and disease.

These fish live in tropical regions. They are most often found near the sandy bottom of streams and rivers. Their habitats are usually filled with plants and vegetation. They've also been spotted around tree roots in waterways.

You'll need to maintain your fish tank's water temperature and hardness, as well as its pH, at the same levels that they were in that ancient desert oasis. Here are some range recommendations:

pH level:

6.0 – 8.0


75°F to 80°F

Water hardness:

4 to 20 dKH

Ammonia and nitrite levels should be at 0. The nitrate level should be below 20 ppm.

The Striped Raphael Catfish is a fish that's used to living in well-oxygenated water. They often live in fast-flowing rivers and streams. As such, you need to make sure that your fish tank has plenty of oxygen.

You can achieve this by using a good quality filter and making sure that there's some water movement in the tank. You can also add an air stone to help aerate the water.

Tank Decor 

The Striped Raphael Catfish is a nocturnal fish. They prefer to stay hidden during the day and only come out at night to look for food. As such, you need to provide plenty of hiding places in their tank.

You can use rocks, driftwood, and plants to create hiding spots in the aquarium. Make sure that there are plenty of places for the fish to hide. You can also use cave-like structures, such as inverted flower pots, to provide hiding spots.

Plants are also a good idea. Not only do they provide hiding spots, but they also help to oxygenate the water and keep the water quality high. The Striped Raphael Catfish is a bottom-dwelling fish. As such, you don't need to worry about the plants that you put in their tank. They won't uproot them. You can use any type of plant that you want in their tank. Some good options include Java Fern, Anubias, and Hornwort.


The Striped Raphael Catfish is a bottom-dwelling fish. As such, you need to choose a substrate that's soft and sandy. They like to burrow in the substrate to create their own little homes. Good quality sand or gravel will work well.

You also need to make sure that the substrate is non-toxic. Some substrates, such as certain types of gravel, can release toxins into the water that can harm your fish.

Striped Raphael Catfish Tankmates 

Because these catfish are so tiny, you should avoid eating any fish that may see them as food. Stick to similarly-sized docile species if you want to keep your Upside Down Catfish healthy. It's not just the health of your Upside Down Catfish that you have to worry about when dealing with powerful, aggressive fish, but sometimes the delicate balance of your aquarium's ecosystem could be at stake.

In addition to other Upside Down Catfish, the following are some excellent tank mates:

  • Jaguar Cichlid
  • Oscar Fish 

  • Bichir 

  • Congo Tetra

  • Black Skirt Tetra

  • Bristlenose Pleco

  • Pictus Catfish

  • African Butterfly Fish

Keep an eye on your fish and make sure they're getting along. If you notice any animosity, remove the aggravating fish from the tank right away.

Striped Raphael Catfish

Striped Raphael Catfish Diet 

In the wild, these fish are omnivores. They eat a wide variety of foods, including both plant matter and small invertebrates.

You should try to replicate their natural diet as much as possible. You can do this by feeding them a variety of foods, including live food, frozen food, pellets, and flakes.

  • Live food, such as brine shrimp and bloodworms, is an excellent way to give them the nutrition that they need. Frozen foods are also a good option. You can find a variety of frozen foods at your local pet store.
  • Pellets and flakes are also a good option. There are a variety of pellets and flakes on the market that are specifically designed for bottom-dwelling fish.
  • The plant matter is also an important part of their diet. You can either grow your own plants in their tank or you can purchase them from a pet store.

You should feed them 2-3 times per day. Give them as much food as they can eat in 2 minutes. Remove any uneaten food from the tank to prevent it from polluting the water.

Striped Raphael Catfish Diseases 

Like all fish, these catfish are susceptible to a variety of diseases. The most common diseases that they're prone to include:

  • Ich: This is a parasite that attacks the fish's skin. The fish will develop white spots on their body. Ich can be treated with a variety of commercially-available treatments.
  • Fungal Infections: These are caused by a variety of different fungi. The fish will develop white patches on their body. Fungal infections can be treated with a variety of commercially-available treatments.
  • Bacterial Infections: These are caused by a variety of different bacteria. The fish will develop ulcers on their body. Bacterial infections can be treated with a variety of commercially-available treatments.
  • Dropsy: This is a condition that causes the fish's body to swell. The fish will have trouble swimming and may eventually die. Dropsy can be treated with a variety of commercially-available treatments.
  • Velvet Disease: This is a parasite that attacks the fish's skin. The fish will develop yellow spots on their body. Velvet disease can be treated with a variety of commercially-available treatments.
  • Columnaris: This is a bacteria that attacks the fish's skin. The fish will develop ulcers on their body. Columnaris can be treated with a variety of commercially-available treatments.
Symptoms of Disease

Symptoms of Disease 

The following are some symptoms that may indicate that your fish is sick:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Gasping for air
  • Clamped fins
  • White spots on the body
  • Ulcers on the body
  • Swelling of the body

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take proper action right away. The sooner you treat the disease, the better the chances are that your fish will recover. You need to quarantine the fish in a separate tank and treat them with a commercially-available treatment.

Preventing Disease 

The best way to prevent disease is to maintain a clean and healthy environment for your fish. You should do the following:

  • Change the water regularly
  • Clean the filter regularly
  • Remove any uneaten food from the tank
  • Don't overfeed your fish
  • Quarantine new fish before adding them to the tank
  • Checking the water parameters regularly

If you do all of these things, you will create a healthy environment for your fish and reduce the chances of them getting sick.

Striped Raphael Catfish Breeding 

These fish are not easy to breed in captivity. They have specific spawning requirements that are difficult to replicate in the home aquarium. The following are the spawning requirements that must be met in order for them to breed:

Select the Breeding Pair 

The first step is to choose a pair of upside-down catfish for breeding. It's ideal to choose a male and female that are around the same size. The female should be larger than the male by a little. You also want to make sure the fish are in good health and free of disease.


Once you've selected the breeding pair, you need to condition them for breeding. This involves preparing them physically and mentally for the spawning process. The following are some things you can do to condition them:

  • Feed them live foods
  • Change the water regularly
  • Create a spawning mop or cave
  • The conditioning process usually takes 4-6 weeks.

Tank Setup 

Setting up the tank is the most important part of the breeding process. The following are the requirements for the tank setup:

The tank must be at least 30 gallons in size. The water must be soft and acidic. A pH of 6.0-6.5 is ideal. The water temperature should be between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit. The tank should be heavily planted. There should be a lot of hiding places for the fry to hide. You should use a spawning mop or piece of java moss for the fry to attach their eggs to.


When the time comes for the fish to spawn, the male chases the female. They will eventually discover a suitable location to deposit their eggs. The female will then lay her eggs on top of the cave's roof. After laying her eggs, the father will fertilize them. The parents must be removed from the aquarium so they don't consume the eggs. The eggs will hatch in 3-5 days.

Striped Raphael Catfish Fry care 

After the fry has hatched, they need to be fed a diet of live food. They should be fed several times a day. After a few weeks, you can start to wean them onto a diet of pellets or flakes. The fry needs to be kept in a separate tank until they're big enough to be added to the main tank. This will take about 2-3 months.

Striped Raphael Catfish Breeding


What is the possibility of Striped Raphael Catfish eating other fish?

Although it is not common, there have been reports of Striped Raphael Catfish eating other fish. If you are worried about your fish being eaten, you can try feeding them live foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia.

What do Striped Raphael Catfish eat? 

Striped Raphael Catfish are omnivores. They will eat a variety of foods such as pellets, flakes, live foods, and frozen foods.

Do Striped Raphael Catfish eat snails? 

Yes, Striped Raphael Catfish will eat snails. Even though they are not common, there have been reports of them eating other small fish.

How long do Striped Raphael Catfish live? 

Striped Raphael Catfish can live for 10-12 years if they are properly cared for.

Do Striped Raphael Catfish need a filter? 

Yes, Striped Raphael Catfish need a filter. A good rule of thumb is to choose a filter that is twice the size of your tank.

How big can a Striped Raphael Catfish get? 

Striped Raphael Catfish can grow to be about 7.9–9.4 inches in length.

How fast do Striped Raphael Catfish grow? 

Striped Raphael Catfish grow relatively quickly. They can grow up to 1 inch per month.

Are striped catfish poisonous?

No, striped catfish are not poisonous. They are peaceful fish that are great for beginners.

Are Striped Raphael Catfish Aggressive? 

No, Striped Raphael Catfish are not aggressive. They are peaceful fish that get along with other tank mates.

Final Thoughts 

The striped Raphael catfish is a beautiful and unique fish that can be a great addition to the home aquarium or community tank. They're hardy fish that are easy to care for. They're also peaceful fish that get along well with other tank mates.

They have a lifespan of 5-10 years and can grow to be up to 7.9–9.4 inches in length. Everything about them is unique, from their appearance to their breeding habits. If you're looking for a unique and interesting fish for your aquarium, then the striped Raphael catfish is a great choice.

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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