How to Succeed with Your New Raphael Catfish

Striped, Spotted, Chocolate, Talking, and maybe the Turushuki 

 
Amphibians
Axolotls
Caecilian Worm
Chaco Toad
Mud Puppies

Newts General
Newts Eastern
Newts Golden

Newts Mandarin
Salamanders
Suriname Toad
Tadpoles
Terrarium I
Terrarium II
USA Toads
Water Dogs
Misc. Toads

Frogs
Bull
Clawed
Dumpy
Dwarf
Fire-Belly
Floating
Green Tree
Leopard
Pac Man
Pipa pipa
Pyxie
Red-Eyed Tree
Tomato
Misc Frogs 
Misc Frogs II
Misc Frogs III
Misc Frogs IV

Misc Frogs V

Animals
Bunnies
Bunnies II 
Chinchillas
Degus
Ferrets
Ferrets by BOB
Gerbils
Ground Squirrels
Guinea Pig
Hamsters I
Hamsters II
Hamsters III
Hamsters IV
Hamsters V
Hedgehogs
Kittens
Kids & Kittens
Mice
Mice Pets II
Parasites
Rats I
Rats II
Rats III
Rats, Hairless
S-T Opossums
Siberian Chipmunks
Sugar Gliders
Sugar Gliders II
Water Bottles

Bugs
Crabby 500
Crab 04 Results
Centipedes
Cray/Lobsters
Crayfish II
Crayfish III
Cray, Yucatan
Fiddler Crabs
Shrimp, Algae
Shrimp, Aqua
Shrimp, Red
Shrimp, Flower

Shrimp, Ghost
Shrimp, Rudolph
Hermit Crabs
Hermit Crabs II
Madagas Roach
Mantids
Mini-Clams
Mini-Crabs
Patriot Crabs
Giant Millipedes
Red Claw Crabs
Reiman Butterfly
Snail, Apple
Snail, Colombian
Snail, Land
Snail, Malaysian

Snail, Mystery
Snail, Trapdoor 
Scorpions
Tarantulas
Tarantulas II
Tarantula Night 2006
TarantulaWeen VII
TarantulaWeen 9
Misc. Bugs
Misc Bugs II  

Birds
Breeding Tips

Button Quail
Canaries

Cockatiels
Dove, Diamond
Dove, Ringneck
Finches
Love Birds
Parakeets
Pelleted Foods
Quaker Parrots

Parrot Pictures
Parrot Pix II

Parrot Pix III
Dave's Parrots


Lizards
Alligators
Anoles
Bearded Dragon

Beardies II
Calotes
Chamel, Jackson
Chamel, Panther
Chamel, Veiled
Crested Geckos
Gecko, Golden

Gecko, House
Gecko, Leopard
Gecko, Tokay
Horned "Toads"
Iguana New
Iguana Dragons
Iguana Q&A I
Iguana Q&A II
Iguana Training
Iguana Update
Cool Iguana Pics
Knight Anoles
Monitors, Nile

Monitors, Savana
Monitors, Water

Salmonella
Skinks
Skinks Blue-Tongue
Tegus
Uromastyx maliensis
Water Dragon
Misc Lizards
Misc Lizards 2
Misc Lizards 3
Misc Lizards 4
Misc Lizards 5

Misc Lizards 6
Misc Lizards 7
Misc Lizards 8
Misc Lizards 9


Snakes
Anacondas
Boa, Rosy

Boa, Red-Tail
Corn Snake
Garter Snake
Green Snake
Kids/Corn Snakes
Kids/Red-Tail Boas

Kids at Pet Expo 1

Kids at Pet Expo 2

Kids at Pet Expo 3

Kids at Pet Expo 4

Kids at Pet Expo 5
King & Milk
Python, Ball
Python, Burmese

Snakes Alive
Snakesgiving
Snakesgiving II

Misc Snake Pix
Misc Snakes II

Misc Snakes III  

Turtles/Tortoises
Box, Asian
Box, USA
Races
Snapping

Sulcata
Water

Western Painted

Live Foods
Blackworms
Blood Worms
Br Shrimp I
Br
Shrimp II
Crayfish 1
Crayfish 2
Crayfish 3 
Crickets
Daphnia
Earthworms
Feeder Goldfish
Fruit Flies
Ghost Shrimp

Glass Worms

Grindal Worms
Infusoria
Mealworms
Microworms
Rosy Reds

Super Worms

Wax Worms
White Clouds

 

Decorating
Bubbles
Driftwood
Gravel
Plastic Plants
Rocks
Slow Growing Plants

Miscellaneous
Bob's Acclimation

How to Start
How to Add New Fish
How to Keep Healthy
Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
Under Gravel Filters

Sponge Filters
Cloudy Water

Cool Water Tanks
Gravel Vacuums
Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
Frozen Foods
Green Water
Nasty Chemicals
Overfeeding
Power Filters
Rift Lake Salts
Quarantine Tank
Mini-Tank
2nd Av Bait

Pet World Visit
Dandelions

Aquatic Plants
Amazon Swords
More Swords
Sword Plants III

Anubias
Aponogetons
A. boivinianus
A. fenestralis
A. ulvaceous
Aquarium/Bog
Banana Plant
Bolbitis
Bunch
Bunch Plants II
Cryptocorynes
Crystalwort
Dwarf Lily
Grassy
Grassy II
Hornwort
Hygrophila
Lace
Java Lance Fern
Java Moss
Moss Balls
Onion
Vermiculite

Watersprite

 

Raphael Catfish Factoids

Origin

Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay

Maximum Size

About six inches (5 to 7)

Schedule Prefers the night shift

Temperature

Very flexible

Temperament Do not trust with small fish

Substrate

Immaterial

Security

Typically wants to hide .

Foods

Very flexible

Threats

Malachite green

 

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.

LD

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

LA
Striped Raphael catfish.

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.

LA
When you grab him, he tries to grab you back.

LA
The bigger the Raphael, the bigger the pinch.

LA
Most Raphaels want to hide under anything.

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.

LA
This striped Rahael's snagged into the net in three places.

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.

LA
Big guys grunt pretty good.  Note how the fingernail keeps him from pinching.

LA
This guy is more commonly called the talking catfish.

LA
Hard to believe a fish could "blend" into red gravel.

LA
About the same in the face as the Raphael. 

LA
They'd look cooler with that dorsal fin up. 

LA
He audibly protests when handled.
 

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

 

LA
Two-incher called a royal hassar.

LA
Get that dorsal fin up!

LA
Not real proud of that top fin except when swimming.

LA
Called a turushuki.

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.

LA
Bottom feeders, yes, but ... Striped Raphaels learn to eat off the top very quick.

LA
And some spotteds will get out there and mix it up.

LA
And some just like to hang around the top for the heck of it.


Night Shift:  Raphaels, like most catfishes, are nocturnal.  The little guys quickly learn to eat whenever you feed them.  Most catfish are bottom feeders.  Raphaels pop to the top when you toss the food in.  They can smell it and come a runnin.’

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.

LA
These 1.5-inch spotted Raphaels slid right under a shale cave against their front glass.

LA
Soon to be followed by another half-dozen Raphaels.

LA
Another ventral view of the spotted Raphaels.

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.

LA
Striped Raphaels stand out very well over colored gravels

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.

LA
Not a huge mouth, but don't trust him with small fish.

LA
Chubby striped Raphael catfish at six inches.  Watch out for those pinching pectorals.

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.

 

LA
Considered a "chocolate" Raphael.

LA
Chocolates look much like the striped Raphael.

LA
Every chocolate trying to hide in the furthest corner.

LA
Chocolates like to hide.

LA
Dorsal and ventral view of chocolate Raphaels.

LA
Same guy cruising his tank.

LA
Same guy.

LA
hard to pick these guys up.

Breeding:  We’ve 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, 2011
I 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
Hi there, I recently did a search to find out how long a Raphael Cat would keep on going. In 1988 we moved from Massachusetts to Florida my 2 year old Raphael came with us along with a few friends in a cooler. In 1990 I finished building my 250 gallon tank where he still resides in his semi private cave shared with 4 full size clown loaches. He has also survived a couple of incidents that I'm sure no other type of fish would; during a tank tear down to repair a leak I swore I had everyone accounted for, well after an hour and a half after I had removed the rocks and carried them out to the garage, I walked by his rock and heard him croaking inside it. Besides being mad he showed no adverse effects from the incident.
These are the ages of some of my older family tank friends.
    Raphael cat 27 years
    Clown loaches 16 years
    Giant Gourami expired at 12 years
    Pigeon discus 6-7 years old
    Bala sharks  13, 6, & 2 years old
    Synodontis Cat 8 years old

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

 

© 2004, © 2005,  © 2011,  © 2012, © 2013  LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

515 283-0300

Home

Fish

Other Stuff

 

Anabantids
Betta Leaf 
Betta Breed 1
Betta Breed II
Betta Info
Betta  Housing
Betta Pla Kat
Choc Gourami
Climbing Perch
Gourami Pix
Kiss. Gourami
Osphronemus
Pearl Gourami
More Pearls
Paradise Fish  
Snakehead
Spawn Gourami
T. trichopterus

Catfish  
Banjo
Bullheads
Bull Sharks
Channel  
Corydoras
Cory Pics
Electric
Glass
Hoplos
Otocinclus
Pangassius
Pictus
Plecostomus
Pleco Bristle
Pleco Costly I
Pleco Costly II
Pleco Costly III
Pleco Costly IV
Pleco Costly V
Pleco Costly VI

Pleco Costly VII
Raphael
Red-Tail
Shovelnose
Sun
Synodontis
Synodontis petricola
Turushuki Catfish
Upside-down
USD Gold Flake
Misc Catfish
Misc Catfish II
Misc Catfish III

Misc Catfish IV
Misc Catfish V

Cichlids
African I
African II
African III
African IV

Af. Furniture
Amer. Small
Amer.  Med 
Amer. Large
Angelfish I
Angelfish II
Angelfish III
Angelfish IV
More Angels
Buttikoferi

Chocolate
Chocolate Spawning
Cichlid Decor
Cichlid Food
Convicts
Convicts 2
Convicts 3
Convicts 4
Dempseys
More Dempseys
Jack Dempsey Spawn
Discus
Dither Fish
Flower Horn
Green Terror
Jaguar
More Jaguars
Jaguar Spawning

Jaguar Spawning II
Jewel Fish
Keo's Flowerhorns
Keo's Flowerhorns II
Kribensis

Odd Couple Spawn
Oscars 1
Oscars 2
Oscars 3
Oscars 4
Oscars 5
More Oscar
More Oscar II
More Oscars III
More Oscars 2007
More Oscars 2007.5
Oscar Spawn
Peacock Bass
Red Devils
More Red Devil

Red Parrots

Red Parrots Spawn
Red Parrot Spawn II
Pikes
Pink Tilapia
Rams
Red Bay Snooks
Red Bay Snook Spawn
Roger Stephen's Cichlids
Severums
More Severums
Severums III

Tanganyikans
Texas Cichlid
Texas Spawning

Texas Spawn II
Uarus
Misc Cichlids I
Misc Cichlids II
Misc Cichlids III
Misc Cichlids IV
Misc Cichlids V
Misc Cichlids VI
Misc Cichlids VII
Misc Cichlids VIII
Misc Cichlids IX

Livebearer  
Guppies
Half-Beak
Mollies
Moons/Platys
Swordtails

Minnows/Tetra 
Barbs
Barbs, Black
Barbs, Gold

Barbs, Rosy
Barbs, Tiger
Barbs, Tinfoil

Danios

Danio Egg Saver
Distochodus
Fathead Minnows
Headstanders
Killies, Econ.
Killies, Golden
Killies, Peat
Killies, Plant
Misc Mini-Fish
Pacús 

Piranha, Black
Piranha, Red
Rainbowfish

Rainbowfish, Dwarf Neon
Rainbowfish, Irian

Silver Dollar
Tetras, Larger
Tetras, Smaller
Tetras, Spawn
Tetra, Vampire
White Clouds

Pond Fish
Carp
Channel Cat
Gold. Comets
Gold. Fantails
More Fantails
Gold. Oriental  
Gold Oriental II 
Gold. Spawn
Kloubec Koi Farm
Koi
Koi II

Koi III
Oranda Spawn
Plecostomus
Shubunkins

Oddballs  
Af. Butterfly
Af. Lungfish
Af. Mudskippr
American Eel
Archer Fish

Arowana
Bichirs
Borneo Suckers
Brackish I
Brackish II
Brackish III
Brackish IV
Brackish V
Michael Troung's Pix
Butterfly/Wasp
Chameleon Fish
Chromides

Chin Alg Eater
Crazy Fish
Crocodile Fish

Datnioides

Dojo
Dwarf Puffers
Electric Cat
Electric Eels

Elephant Nose
Exodon paradoxus
Flounder
Gars
 
Glassfish
Goby Bumble
Goby Butterfly
Goby Dragon
Goby Misc.
Half-Beak
Knife African
Knife Clown
Knife Ghost
Loach Botias
Loach Clown
Loach Kuhli
Loach Weather

Longear Sunfish
Moray Eel  
Peacock Gudgeons
Polypterids
Puffers

Ropefish
Scats
Siam Algae Eater
 
Spiny Eels 
Snakehead
Stingray
Stonefish
Wasp Fish
Wolffish
Wrest Half-Beak
Misc Mini-Fishes
Misc Odd
Misc Odd II
Misc Odd III
Misc Odd  IV

Misc Odd V
Misc Odd VI

Sharks  
Bala
Black
Bull
Chinese Hi-Fin Banded
Iridescent
Red-Tail
Siam Algae Eater

Pond Info 
Blank Park Zoo
Bob Humphrey's Ponds
Cattails
Maffett Reservoir
DMACC's Pond
D.M. Botanical Center
D.M. Water Works
Dr. Ervanian's Garden
Duckweed

Dwarf Lily
Ewing Park "Pond"
Jan & Chris's Water Garden
John McDonald's Pond
Hall's Four Acres
Klines' Water Garden
Landscaper Effects
Mini-Pond Pics
Pioneer Corn's Pond
Pond Fish Predators
Pond on 38th Street 
Pond Pics
Pond Plants
More Pond Plants
Pond Plants III
Reiman Ponds
River Scenes
Riverview Island
Selin's Water Gardens
Selin's Japanese Garden
Tom's Used Cars Pond
Urbandale Duck Pond
Water Hyacinth
Water Lettuce
Wild Ponds