The Striped Raphael Catfish, a freshwater species native to South America, is known for its unique physical features, peaceful demeanor, and longevity.

The Striped Raphael Catfish, scientifically known as Platydoras armatulus, is a popular fish in the aquarist world due to its unique physical characteristics and docile behavior. Known by numerous common names such as the Southern striped Raphael, talking catfish, and chocolate doradid, this nocturnal freshwater fish is native to the Amazon river basin and other regions of tropical South America.

The Striped Raphael Catfish possesses a distinctive and eye-catching appearance. Its flat, elongated body has a dark, nearly black coloration punctuated by thin, white or yellow stripes running laterally from its gills to the base of its tail. This striking contrast enhances the fish’s visual appeal. The catfish’s pectoral and dorsal fins are equipped with strong, bony spines for protection against predators.

Its striking dark body with white or yellow stripes, combined with its peaceful nature, makes it an excellent choice for multi-species aquariums.

In Aquarium

Maintaining the Striped Raphael Catfish in an aquarium requires special attention to its needs and habits to ensure its health and longevity. These fish are native to South America’s slow-moving or still waters, making a serene and stable aquarium environment essential.

One of the first considerations when setting up an aquarium for a Striped Raphael Catfish is tank size. Given that these fish can grow up to 9.5 inches (24 cm) in length, a minimum of a 30-gallon tank is recommended to provide sufficient space.

In terms of tank setup, they prefer hiding places to mimic their natural habitats. This can be achieved by incorporating various caves, rocks, or pieces of driftwood for them to retreat during the day. Substrate should ideally be soft, such as fine sand, to prevent injury to the fish’s sensitive underside.

Lighting conditions should be dim or subdued, as these catfish are nocturnal and shy away from bright lights. Some aquarists also use floating plants to create shadowy areas and help the fish feel more secure.

The Striped Raphael Catfish is a relatively hardy species, but it still needs proper water conditions. The water temperature should be kept between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20-25 degrees Celsius). The pH should range from 6.0 to 7.5, with the water hardness between 5-19 dGH. Regular water changes and monitoring of these parameters are important to maintain a clean and stable environment.

In terms of diet, the Striped Raphael Catfish is omnivorous and can eat a wide range of foods. A balanced diet includes high-quality sinking pellets, flake foods, frozen or live foods, and occasional fresh vegetables. It’s important to feed them during the evening or at night when they are most active.

These catfish are known for their peaceful nature and are great for community tanks. They can coexist with a wide variety of species as long as the other fish are not small enough to be considered prey. Also, because they are armored with strong spines, they can defend themselves against larger or more aggressive tank mates.

Finally, it’s important to note that while the Striped Raphael Catfish is a hardy and low-maintenance species, it needs careful attention and commitment from its owner. With the right care, it can live for up to 15-20 years in captivity, providing a long-term, rewarding companionship for aquarists.


Raphael Catfish are bottom-dwelling fish, so they will need a tank with plenty of rocks and plants for them to hide in. They are also nocturnal, so they will be more active at night.

  • Care: Easy
  • Tank: At least 30 gallons
  • Temp: 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20-25 degrees Celsius)
  • pH: 6.5-7.5
  • Life: live for 15-20 years in captivity
  • size: Maximum 20–24 cm (7.9–9.4 in)
  • Feed: Omnivorous eat a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, and live food such as brine shrimp and bloodworms. They should be fed two to three times a day

By fishexp