Striped Raphael Catfish (Platydoras Costatus) Several months ago, I had written about ths sparkling gourami, also known as the talking gourami because of the woodpecker-like noises they are capable of producing. Today, we have another ‘talking’fish. The whole group of Platydoras catfish are collectively known as Talking Catfish. They are capable of making 2 distict and clearly aydible sounds. One is a buzzing noise and the other is a loud grunting, the latter being a distress signal as it is often heard when the fish is netted. As interesting as it might be to hear the sound, you should avoid netting this fish as much as possible. The pectoral fins and the entire side of the body following the lateral line are covered with spikes. Not only are these very painful if you are jabbed by them, they are very likely to become stuck in the mesh of a net and could result in the fish being injured. However, spikey wounding aside, these catfish are ideal for both beginners and experts. They are a great choice for novices because they are very hardy and will forgive many water quality issues a beginner is likely to have. And they can provide a challenge for the experienced fishkeeper as they have never been bred in captivity. They make ideal candidates for inclusion in a tank mid-sized, peaceful community fish. Because of the size of these catfish, they are not a good choice to keep with smaller fish. Adults are not very active and can be kept in a 30 gallon/110 liter tank. They are not territorial so a group can be kept together in larger tank. The fish will even share their daytime sleeping spots with each other. In nature, the striped raphael has a symbiotic relationship with the carnivorous wolf fish and plays the same role as the saltwater cleaner wrasse.
Origin: most of the northern half of South America.
Size: Stays around 15cm/6″ in captivity but can get to 24cm/10″ in nature.
Temperature: 24-30°C/ 76-86°F
Feeding: Likes any sinking food but because they are nocturnal, it is advisable to feed them after the lights have been turned off.
Habitat: These fish like a lot of cover. Their tank should have plenty of hiding spots that will keep them out of the light. Thet love caves and flowerpots but will also rest under large pieces of driftwood. Floating plants also help to reduce the light and might be necessary if you are trying to spawn this fish.
Breeding: Not yet accomplished in captivity, but they have been reported as laying eggs among floating plants in the wild.