Striped Raphael Catfish Care: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

If you’re looking for a unique and interesting addition to your aquarium, look no further than the Striped Raphael Catfish. This species of catfish is native to South America and is known for its distinctive black and white stripes that run the length of its body.

Striped Raphael Catfish is a freshwater fish species that requires a minimum tank size of 50 gallons. They prefer a pH range of 6.5-7.5 and moderate water flow. They are omnivorous and should be fed a varied diet of pellets, flakes, and live/frozen foods. Regular water changes and proper filtration are necessary for their well-being.

Not only are Striped Raphael Catfish visually striking, but they also have a reputation for being hardy and easy to care for.

They are generally peaceful and can be kept with other non-aggressive fish in a community tank. However, it’s important to note that they can grow quite large – up to 8 inches – so they will need plenty of space to swim around in.

Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by the Striped Raphael Catfish. Their unique appearance and easy-going nature make them a great choice for beginner and experienced fish keepers alike.

With proper care and attention, these catfish can live for up to 10 years in captivity, making them a long-term and rewarding addition to your aquarium.

Striped Raphael Catfish 2

Species Summary


The Striped Raphael Catfish, also known as Platydoras armatulus, is a freshwater fish species that is native to the Amazon River Basin in South America. They are commonly found in slow-moving rivers, streams, and tributaries.


The Striped Raphael Catfish has a relatively long lifespan for a fish species, living up to 10 years in captivity.


The Striped Raphael Catfish is a unique looking fish with a flat, armored body covered in bony plates.

They have a distinctive striped pattern on their body, which is where they get their name. Their fins are long and flowing, with a black and white coloration.


The Striped Raphael Catfish can grow up to 8 inches in length, making them a medium-sized fish species.

Growth Rate

The growth rate of the Striped Raphael Catfish varies depending on the conditions they are kept in. They can grow relatively quickly when provided with a healthy diet and optimal living conditions.

Behavior & Temperament

The Striped Raphael Catfish is a peaceful and social fish that does well in community aquariums. They are active swimmers and enjoy having plenty of hiding spots and caves to explore.

They are also known for their scavenging behavior, often scavenging for leftover food at the bottom of the tank.

Male vs Female

It can be difficult to distinguish between male and female Striped Raphael Catfish. However, females tend to be slightly larger and rounder than males.

I remember the first time I saw a Striped Raphael Catfish in a friend’s aquarium. I was immediately drawn to its unique appearance and peaceful demeanor.

After learning more about the species, I was impressed by their long lifespan and social behavior. If you’re looking for a peaceful and interesting addition to your aquarium, the Striped Raphael Catfish is definitely worth considering.

Tank Setup

Tank Size

When it comes to Striped Raphael Catfish, a larger tank is better. A minimum tank size of 55 gallons is recommended for a small group of these catfish.

If you plan to keep more than one, add an additional 20 gallons for each additional fish. A larger tank will provide ample swimming space and help prevent territorial aggression.


While Striped Raphael Catfish do not require any special lighting requirements, it is important to provide a consistent day and night cycle. A timer can be used to simulate natural light cycles and help regulate the catfish’s behavior.

Filtration & Aeration

Good filtration is essential for the health of your Striped Raphael Catfish. A canister filter or a hang-on-back filter is recommended for larger tanks.

In addition to filtration, aeration is also important as it helps to oxygenate the water and provide a healthy environment for the catfish.


Striped Raphael Catfish are tropical fish and require a consistent water temperature of 75-82°F. A good quality heater is essential to maintain a stable temperature in the tank.


A sandy substrate is ideal for Striped Raphael Catfish as it resembles their natural habitat. Avoid sharp or coarse substrates that can damage their delicate barbels.


Provide plenty of hiding places for your Striped Raphael Catfish. Driftwood, rocks, and caves are all great options. Remember to avoid sharp or rough decorations that can cause injury to your fish.


Live plants can provide additional hiding places and help to oxygenate the water. Striped Raphael Catfish are known to uproot plants, so choose hardy species such as Java Fern or Anubias that can withstand their activity.

Personally, I found that adding a few floating plants, such as Water Sprite, not only provided additional hiding places but also helped to diffuse the lighting and create a more natural environment for my Striped Raphael Catfish.

Water Quality

When it comes to keeping Striped Raphael Catfish, maintaining proper water quality is crucial for their health and well-being. Here are some key factors to consider:

Water Temperature

The ideal water temperature for Striped Raphael Catfish is between 73-82°F (23-28°C). It’s important to keep the temperature consistent as sudden changes can be stressful for the fish. You can use a heater to maintain the temperature and a thermometer to monitor it.

Water pH

The optimal pH range for Striped Raphael Catfish is between 6.5-7.5. It’s important to keep the pH stable as fluctuations can cause stress and harm to the fish. You can use a pH test kit to monitor the pH and adjust it as needed with a buffer solution.

Water Hardness

Striped Raphael Catfish prefer slightly hard to moderately hard water with a range of 5-15 dGH. Soft water can cause stress and make the fish more susceptible to disease.

You can use a water hardness test kit to measure the hardness and adjust it as necessary with a water conditioner.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are essential for maintaining good water quality. You should aim to change 25-50% of the water in the tank every 1-2 weeks.

This helps remove harmful toxins and waste products that can accumulate in the water. When doing water changes, make sure to use a gravel vacuum to clean the substrate and remove debris.

From personal experience, I’ve found that maintaining good water quality is key to keeping Striped Raphael Catfish healthy and happy.

By monitoring the water temperature, pH, hardness, and doing regular water changes, you can provide a clean and stable environment for your fish to thrive in.

Tank Maintenance

Maintaining a clean tank is crucial for the health and well-being of your Striped Raphael Catfish. Here are a few tips to keep your tank in top condition:

  • Change 25% of the water every week to prevent the buildup of harmful toxins.
  • Use a gravel vacuum to remove any uneaten food or waste from the bottom of the tank.
  • Test the water regularly for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels to ensure they are within safe parameters.
  • Keep the pH level between 6.5 and 7.5, as Striped Raphael Catfish prefer slightly acidic to neutral water.

It’s also important to keep an eye on the equipment in your tank. Check the filter regularly to ensure it is working properly and clean or replace it as needed.

Additionally, make sure the heater is set to the appropriate temperature and functioning correctly.

Personally, I have found that adding a few live plants to the tank not only adds aesthetic value but also helps maintain water quality. Plants absorb nitrates and provide oxygen to the water, creating a healthier environment for your fish.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish Species

If you’re considering keeping Striped Raphael Catfish in your aquarium, it’s important to choose compatible tank mates. You’ll want to look for fish that are peaceful and won’t nip at the catfish’s fins.

Good options include tetras, dwarf cichlids, and peaceful barbs. I’ve personally had success keeping my Striped Raphael Catfish with neon tetras and cherry barbs.

Incompatible Fish Species

On the other hand, there are some fish species that should be avoided as tank mates for Striped Raphael Catfish. These include aggressive cichlids, large predatory fish, and fin-nipping species like tiger barbs.

These fish can stress out the catfish and cause them harm. It’s important to research any potential tank mates before adding them to your aquarium.

Can You Keep Striped Raphael Catfish Together?

While Striped Raphael Catfish are generally peaceful, they can sometimes show aggression towards their own kind. If you want to keep multiple catfish in the same tank, it’s important to provide plenty of hiding places and territories.

A larger tank with lots of hiding spots and decorations can help reduce aggression and give each catfish their own space.

In summary, when choosing tank mates for Striped Raphael Catfish, look for peaceful species like tetras and dwarf cichlids, and avoid aggressive or fin-nipping species.

If you want to keep multiple catfish together, make sure to provide plenty of hiding places and territories to reduce aggression.


If you’re considering adding Striped Raphael Catfish to your aquarium, it’s essential to know what they eat.

Proper nutrition is crucial to keep your fish healthy and happy. In this section, we’ll discuss what to feed your catfish, how often to feed them, and some tips to ensure they get the nutrients they need.

What To Feed

Striped Raphael Catfish are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. In the wild, they feed on insects, crustaceans, and plant matter. In captivity, you can feed them a variety of foods, including:

  • High-quality fish flakes or pellets
  • Frozen or live foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia
  • Fresh vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, and lettuce

It’s important to provide a balanced diet that includes both protein and plant matter. Variety is also essential to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients.


How often you feed your Striped Raphael Catfish depends on their age and size. Younger fish need to eat more often than adults.

As a general rule, feed your catfish once or twice a day. It’s best to feed them small amounts that they can consume in a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to health problems and water quality issues.


Here are some tips to ensure your Striped Raphael Catfish get the nutrition they need:

  • Remove any uneaten food after a few minutes to prevent it from decaying and polluting the water.
  • Feed your catfish at the same time each day to establish a routine.
  • Consider using a feeding ring to keep the food in one place and prevent it from spreading throughout the tank.
  • Rotate the types of food you feed your catfish to provide variety and ensure they get all the necessary nutrients.

I’ve found that my Striped Raphael Catfish enjoy a mix of fish flakes and frozen bloodworms. They’re always eager to eat and seem to be thriving on their diet. Remember to observe your fish and adjust their diet as needed to keep them healthy and happy.

Common Diseases


Striped Raphael Catfish are generally hardy fish, but they can still be susceptible to a few common diseases. One of the most common diseases is Ich.

Ich is a parasitic infection that causes small white spots to appear on the fish’s body. Another common disease is Fin Rot, which is caused by bacterial infection and can cause the fins to deteriorate.

Dropsy is another disease that can affect Striped Raphael Catfish. Dropsy is caused by bacterial infection and can cause the fish to appear bloated and have trouble swimming.


If you notice any of the following symptoms, it could be an indication that your Striped Raphael Catfish is sick:

  • White spots on the body
  • Fins deteriorating or rotting
  • Bloating
  • Difficulty swimming
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abnormal behavior


If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to act quickly. The first step is to isolate the sick fish from the others to prevent the spread of disease.

You can treat Ich with medication that can be found at your local pet store. Fin Rot can be treated by improving water quality and adding medication.

Dropsy can be treated with antibiotics, but it’s important to note that this disease is often fatal.


The best way to prevent diseases in your Striped Raphael Catfish is to maintain good water quality. Make sure to perform regular water changes and keep the tank clean.

It’s also important to avoid overcrowding the tank and to quarantine any new fish before introducing them to the tank. By taking these steps, you can help keep your Striped Raphael Catfish healthy and happy.

Personally, I have had success in preventing diseases in my Striped Raphael Catfish by keeping the water clean and avoiding overcrowding.

It’s important to pay attention to your fish and act quickly if you notice any signs of illness. By taking good care of your fish, you can help ensure that they live a long and healthy life.

Signs of a Healthy Striped Raphael Catfish

If you’re a fan of aquariums, you know how important it is to keep your fish healthy. Here are some signs that your Striped Raphael Catfish is in good health:

  1. Active and Alert: A healthy Striped Raphael Catfish is active and alert. It should be swimming around the tank and exploring its surroundings. If your catfish is lethargic or hiding, it may be a sign of illness.
  2. Clear Eyes: The eyes of a healthy Striped Raphael Catfish should be clear and bright. If the eyes are cloudy or have a film over them, it may be a sign of an infection or disease.
  3. Smooth Skin: Check your catfish’s skin for any bumps, lumps, or lesions. A healthy Striped Raphael Catfish should have smooth, unblemished skin.
  4. Good Appetite: Striped Raphael Catfish are bottom feeders, so they may not always be visible during feeding time. However, a healthy catfish will have a good appetite and will eat its food without hesitation.
  5. Clear Gills: Check your catfish’s gills for any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge. A healthy Striped Raphael Catfish will have clear, healthy gills.

I remember when I first got my Striped Raphael Catfish, I was so worried about keeping it healthy.

But with a little bit of research and some careful observation, I was able to make sure that my catfish was happy and healthy. By keeping an eye out for these signs of good health, you can do the same for your Striped Raphael Catfish.

Signs Your Striped Raphael Catfish Is Sick

If you’re a proud owner of a Striped Raphael Catfish, it’s important to keep an eye on their health. Here are a few signs that may indicate your catfish is sick:

  1. Loss of appetite: If your catfish is not interested in eating or is eating less than usual, it could be a sign of illness.
  2. Abnormal swimming behavior: If your catfish is swimming erratically, swimming upside down, or having trouble staying upright, it could be a sign of a swim bladder issue or other health problem.
  3. Visible signs of disease: Look for any sores, discoloration, or other visible signs of illness on your catfish’s body.
  4. Gasping for air: If your catfish is gasping for air at the surface of the water, it could be a sign of poor water quality or a respiratory issue.
  5. Unusual feces: If you notice any changes in your catfish’s feces, such as discoloration or unusual texture, it could be a sign of a digestive issue or other health problem.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take action quickly to help your catfish recover.

Consult with a veterinarian who specializes in fish health or a knowledgeable aquarium professional to determine the best course of action.

Personally, I once noticed that my Striped Raphael Catfish was not eating as much as usual and seemed lethargic.

I immediately tested the water quality in my aquarium and found that the ammonia levels were high. I did a partial water change and added some beneficial bacteria to help reduce the ammonia levels. Within a few days, my catfish was back to normal and eating normally again.


Striped Raphael Catfish

Breeding Setup

To breed Striped Raphael Catfish, you need to create a breeding setup that mimics their natural habitat. You should have a separate breeding tank with a capacity of at least 30 gallons.

The tank should be well-aerated and have a temperature of around 78-82°F. You should also include some hiding places, such as caves or PVC pipes, for the catfish to lay their eggs.

How To Breed

Breeding Striped Raphael Catfish can be quite challenging, but not impossible. To start, you need to introduce a male and female catfish to the breeding tank.

The male will chase the female around the tank, and they will eventually spawn. The female will lay her eggs in a hiding place, and the male will fertilize them.

Once the eggs are fertilized, you should remove the adult catfish from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs will hatch within 4-7 days, and the fry will become free-swimming after another 4-7 days.


Caring for Striped Raphael Catfish fry can be quite challenging. You should feed them small amounts of food several times a day, such as brine shrimp or crushed flakes.

You should also keep the water in the breeding tank clean and well-oxygenated. It’s important to note that not all Striped Raphael Catfish will breed successfully.

Some may not be sexually mature, while others may not be compatible as a breeding pair. It’s also important to be patient and not rush the breeding process.

I have found that breeding Striped Raphael Catfish can be a rewarding experience. It’s amazing to watch the fry grow and develop into adult catfish. With the right setup and care, you can successfully breed these beautiful fish in your own home.

Product recommendations for Striped Raphael Catfish:

  1. Hikari Sinking Wafers – These sinking wafers are specifically designed for bottom-dwelling fish like Striped Raphael Catfish, providing a balanced diet that is high in protein and essential nutrients.
  2. Seachem Prime – This water conditioner is perfect for Striped Raphael Catfish, neutralizing harmful toxins and chemicals in the water and keeping your fish healthy and happy.
  3. Aqueon LED Aquarium Light Fixture – This high-quality LED light fixture is perfect for Striped Raphael Catfish, providing bright and energy-efficient lighting that will help your fish thrive.
  4. API Freshwater Master Test Kit – This comprehensive test kit is perfect for Striped Raphael Catfish owners, allowing you to monitor the water quality of your aquarium and ensure that your fish are healthy and happy.
  5. Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter – This powerful and efficient canister filter is designed for small aquariums and is perfect for keeping the water in your Striped Raphael Catfish tank crystal clear.
  6. Tetra Whisper Air Pump – This powerful and reliable air pump is perfect for Striped Raphael Catfish, providing a steady flow of oxygenated water that will keep your fish healthy and happy.
  7. API Stress Coat – This aquarium conditioner is perfect for Striped Raphael Catfish, reducing stress and promoting healing in your fish by forming a protective slime coat on their skin.


Overall, the Striped Raphael Catfish is a fascinating and unique addition to any aquarium. With its distinctive stripes and peaceful nature, it can make a great addition to a community tank.

While they do require some specific care, such as a varied diet and plenty of hiding places, they are generally easy to care for and can thrive in a well-maintained tank.

If you’re considering adding a Striped Raphael Catfish to your aquarium, be sure to do your research and make sure you have the appropriate setup and equipment to provide them with a happy and healthy home.

Personally, I’ve found that my Striped Raphael Catfish has been a great addition to my tank. Watching it swim around and interact with the other fish is always a joy, and its unique personality and behavior never fail to amaze me.

So, if you’re looking for a peaceful and interesting fish to add to your aquarium, the Striped Raphael Catfish is definitely worth considering.


If you’re considering getting a Striped Raphael Catfish, you may have some questions about their care and behavior. Here are some frequently asked questions:

Q: What do Striped Raphael Catfish eat?

A: These catfish are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including pellets, flakes, frozen or live foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp, and even some fruits and vegetables.

Q: How big do Striped Raphael Catfish get?

A: These catfish can grow up to 8 inches in length, so it’s important to make sure they have adequate space in your aquarium.

Q: Do Striped Raphael Catfish get along with other fish?

A: Yes, these catfish are generally peaceful and will get along with most other fish. However, they may become territorial during breeding season.

Q: How often should I clean my aquarium with Striped Raphael Catfish?

A: It’s important to maintain good water quality for your catfish and other fish in your aquarium. You should perform regular water changes and clean your filter as needed. The frequency of cleaning will depend on the size of your aquarium and the number of fish you have.

Q: Can I keep Striped Raphael Catfish with plants?

A: Yes, these catfish are generally not known for eating plants, so you can keep live plants in your aquarium with them.

Personal Anecdote: When I first got my Striped Raphael Catfish, I was worried about their nocturnal behavior. However, I soon learned that they are actually quite active at night and can be fun to watch with a flashlight. I also found that they are quite hardy and have been a great addition to my aquarium.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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