How to Succeed with Your New Raphael Catfish
Striped, Spotted, Chocolate, Talking, and maybe the Turushuki
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Barb Motter, November 21, 2008
We have a Raphael catfish that is 22 years old. At least that's how long he has been with us. My son got him while at college in l986, and he has been with us all these years. How long do they live? Thank you,
A: Up till now I would have said 10 years. Be sure to inform me if and when your Methuselah expires. Thanks. LA
Leona Headsley, Sapulpa, OK, August 10, 2009
Just wanted to let you know my spotted Raphael catfish I have had for 15 years. Very nice website.
A: Thanks. I'm adding your info to my Raphael page. LA
Lisaann Darmody, January 27, 2010
Hi. Was just reading your page on Striped Raphael Catfish to see how long they live. I bought mine over 17 yrs ago and he is still going strong.
A: Thanks for your input. I'm adding it to my Raphael page. LA
Lisaann Darmody, January 27, 2010
Cool. Here are a couple of jpegs of Raphael, my striped Raphael cat.
A: Thanks. LA
Lisaann Darmody, August 3, 2010
Our Striped Raphael Catfish catfish died -- just made it to 18 yrs old.
A: I'll add your report to my Raphael page. LA
Heather Beveridge, February 5, 2010
I love your website. The information on Raphael catfish was helpful although I wish I had it about 3 weeks ago. I didn't realize Raphael's "overeat". Before walking out the door I dropped food into the fish tank. The cover came off and about 1/4 of the can came out. It wasn't enough that the shrimp pellets would kill them by making the tank dirty so I figured I'd clean it the next morning. I didn't realize they would just keep eating. I lost my 2 striped Raphaels that I had for approximately 17 years. They were 7 or 8 inches long. I felt so guilty. I also lost a giant danio. My Spotted Raphael survived although I thought he was dead too and put him in the trash. He let me know he was not dead. He started making noises and I saw his fin moving. I put him back in the tank. I didn't realize not to use nets to catch him. I used nets for them when we moved here 4 years ago and never had a problem but now that I am setting up a new take I'll try to find another way to move him.
I'm going to save this site to favorites. Very informational and I love the pics. Thanks,
A: I very much dislike shrimp pellets. They dissolve and go down into the gravel where they feed bacteria. I'll add your cautionary note to our Raphael page. LA
Priscilla Benbrook, March 17, 2010
Hi, I know that one part of your site was talking about the lifespan of Raphael cats & you thought it to be 10 years until you came across folks w/ much older ones. I just wanted to let you know that I have a Raphael cat, Moo, who is at least 20 years old. I got him in 1992 & he was already quite large. I also have a Yo-Yo loach, Jester, who is 18+ years old. I'm thinking Jester may be abnormally old as well.
Finally, I have 4 blind cave fish who are at least 8 years old. Regarding the latter, do you know *where on earth* you can get blind cave fish nowadays? I don't see them *anywhere* and am getting really nervous that I soon won't have any. I had blind cave fish in the first batch of fish I ever bought, back in '88 or so, and have had some ever since. Is there a reason that they are "unfindable"-- legal or otherwise.
Another aside, are head-tail lights out of style at the moment or am I just not looking at the right places?
Again, do you know where I can get blind cave fish? Help!!!!!
A: I'm adding your longevity report to our Raphael page. Blind cave fish and head and tail lites have always been available at Aqualand. We occasionally run out for two or three weeks (but only because I forget to re-order them). Are you just looking in one of those chain stores? LA
Barb Motter, January 30, 2011
Thought I would give you an update on the Methusela Raphael catfish I wrote you about in 2008. He is still hanging on now and should be 28 years old now. He is the only fish in the 20 gallon tank. My two old goldfish finally expired. Everyday I check when I feed him and he always comes out but that is the only time I see him. He wedges himself into a castle I have in there, and that's where he stays. Don't know if he is coming out at night or not. I am trying to find someone to take him but they all fear he will die if we move him. Would really like to get rid of tank. Will let you know if and when he goes.
A: Now that's a really old Raphael catfish. LA
Origin: Looks like these guys come from around the top of the Amazon River. No particular breeding info available, so Raphael catfish evidently all are captured from the wild.
Armored Catfish: Not exactly shell-covered, but these poky (spiny not slow) fishes ward off predators with rows of spines that protrude the length of their body. Plus the outside and inside of their pectoral fins are serrated. If you get your fingers between their body and pectoral fin, they can give you a pretty good pinch. They waggle back and forth until they gotcha.
Catch them Carefully: And on the ends of their pectoral fins they have more poky spines that usually hook into whatever net you catch them in. They will stay wedged in your net until they decide to relax and swim away unharmed. You probably want to move yours with a plastic cup.
Sheryl and Floyd Six, Iowa, March, 5, 2010
RE our first visit to your store.
I was so impressed, we will be back for sure! We could spend hours browsing. I was reading an article about Raphael catfishes. I had one for 13 yrs and I got it in a tank that was established so I don't know how much older it was than 13 yrs, but that is how long I had it. I gave it away 3 yrs ago with my 20 gal long tank to a guy that was a fish lover like me. It wasn't long I saw him again, but he said my little talking catfish had died. We lived in same town, the transition wasn't that stressful I didn't think. I would enjoy getting another now I know where I can find one. My husband and I are looking for good used tanks, bigger than 55 gal if anyone comes into your store wanting to get rid of one. email us and let us know. Thank you!!! What a wonderful store you have! Sincerely,
A: I'm adding your report to our Raphael page. We have several small striped Raphaels right now if you can find them. They like to hide. As I was leaving for lunch, Mike said he thought we have a used 80 coming in tomorrow. Give us a call tomorrow afternoon. We do have a LARGE used one by the front door. I can't remember its size. LA
Talking Catfish: Several different but very similar catfishes fall into the fairly large category of “talking catfish.” Lots of catfish grunt or croak when you pick them up. Raphaels grunt fairly loud. If you’re holding them, you can feel them vibrate.
Temperature: Take into account where Raphaels come from and you know they require tropical temperatures. That means they fall into that 75F to 80F degree requirement of typical community fish.
Temperament: Raphaels get along just fine with fishes that do not fit in their mouths. And predators such as large cichlids quickly learn to leave them alone. In a tank with large fish in it, you probably won’t see your Raphael very often. They like to hide anyway, and pesky threats will keep them well hidden behind or under something. Lean a flat rock against your front glass. They usually slide into this instant cave. Lots of other fishes will probably want that cave also.
Substrate: If you put Raphaels over natural browns or over black gravel, you’ll strain your optic nerves to detect them.
Security: Since Raphaels like to hide, if you don’t give them a hiding place, they usually find one on their own. At the very least, they will line up behind your filter stem.
Foods: Careful. Some catfish keepers consider Raphaels scavenger fishes only. In other words, they expect these cats to clean up what the other fish miss. Raphaels tend to overeat. Use a very small shovel when you feed yours. Flakes, pellets, frozen, live -- if it fits in one of those categories or more, your Raphael will eat it and over eat it.
Potential Threats: It doesn’t take a whole lot of stress to trigger an ich outbreak on these critters. In spite of their “armor,” Raphaels are further stressed by most ich medications. Read the directions carefully.
never tried to breed these little croakers. If we did, we’d start
with several two-year-old Raphaels. We’d put them in a half-filled
low tank with lots of different size PVC tubes. About every other
week we’d toss in several ice cubes to drop the water temp. We’d
alternate this with filling their tank up with cold water. They
could spawn like plecos or like corys. Who knows? LA
Rick Berry,Tennessee, March 7, 2011I saw your posted e-mail fish comments, questions and answers on your website, so I decided to add this information.
I have a White Spotted Black Raphael catfish. I've had it for 11 years and it's still going strong. I keep it in a 3 gallon tank with only a dwarf crawfish (1" long). I've never had castles, hollow logs, nor plants (plastic or alive) in the tank for the Raphael catfish to hide in, but not having a hiding place for the Raphael catfish hasn't seemed to bother him all these years. The dwarf crawfish inhabits one of the 3 small sea shells which are the only items in the tank other than the catfish, crawfish, and gravel. Both creatures get along fine. I like the crawfish in there because he always digs through the gravel eating waste, so I don't ever do any water changes or cleanup maintenance on the tank other than just adding Tetra Aqua Easy Balance water conditioner once per month. Sincerely,
A: You are so in trouble with the "experts" that insist specific fish need lots and lots of room. And in trouble with the "geniuses" who insist you need to clean your tank like clockwork. Thanks for your report. I'll add it to my Raphael page. LA
Michael D. Wynne, Washington, D.C., August 15, 2012
RE Raphael catfish life span
Noted you were collecting inputs here. My Spotted is 24 this year and showing no signs of slowing down.
He's quite large, little pig on food and always has been. Lives in a well planted Amazon tank with Discus, Rams and tetras. Has weathered new world cichlids, and a Pacu, as well as community fish in his many years.
A: Thank for the input. I'm adding it to my Raphael page. LA
Yeo, March 23, 2013
A: Thanks for your info. I'm adding it to my Raphael page. I'm not sure there's any official records kept on fish, but it's handy to know. LA
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