Name: Platydoras costatus|
Known commonly as the 'Talking' Catfish, as it has the ability to make clearly audible noises similar to a croak, especially when it has been caught. Lots of adjectives can be used to describe this fish, and most of them are positive: peaceful, hardy, charming, long-lived, amusing. The fish however, is nocturnal, and may be rarely seen. For this reason I would not recommend this fish for a beginner. Other than that, there are few caveats, the only other one being 'do not place this fish with other fish that are small enough to fit in its mouth', as you may find your neons or whatever being quietly swallowed in the night. Fairly tolerant of different water conditions, although it prefers slighty soft, acid water. Provide fine gravel that it can bury itself in, and plenty of hiding places under rocks and roots. Grows to approximately 5"/12cm in an aquarium, and two fish can easily be housed in a tank 36" long. Because of the serrated dorsal and pectoral fins and thorny body, do not use a net to catch this fish, as it will become hopelessly entangled. A glass or plastic container should be used instead. Omnivorous; feed sinking pellets, earthworms, or shrimp/brine shrimp after turning out the light in the evening.
I have had a Raphael Catfish for almost 2 years now. It is very passive and calm towards the other tank mates. It is very easy to care for, but sometimes I wouldn't see him for months at a time. It seems to be very tolerable to most kinds of medication, including high doses of salt (short-term salt bath for a parasite problem). I recommend sinking foods such as algae wafers, pellets, tablets, and granules as a supplement for them. They seem to be very hardy, but definitely should not be for beginners.
I have had my Raphael Catfish for about 6 months and he seems to be doing fine. You have to be careful not to overfeed them though. I once fed mine a whole spirulina tablet (about 2.5 cm in diameter) and he must've eaten the whole thing, I watched him fight it until it fell apart. The next day he looked like a whale! His stomach was so swelled up I thought he was going to die! His stomach was bigger than he used to be! That happened again when my African Dwarf Frog came to an early demise in his jaws. He stays in his hiding spot most of the time but he comes out occasionally.
I've had the pleasure of keeping my "little humbug" as the wife calls him for 1 year now, and he's getting really fat and quite big (about 8 cm). I drop pellets in for him at night but my Oscar (25 cm) seems to always get there first. He's certainly not frightened by the Oscar, he's the most handsome fish I have the pleasure of keeping. Top marks to this hardy little fellow.
I agree Talking Cats don't know when to stop eating. Mine will feed on pellets, freeze dried food and frozen, usually taking them from my fingers. With a well planted or even reasonably well planted tank mine has never been all that nocturnal. One thing's for sure, they are characters, mine took the huff for a few days after being moved from the 60 cm tank over to the 150 cm tank, simply because the tiny old cave - that he's too small for - was not there, but when the cave was added he was in it before it got to the bottom, and is now feeding fine.
I have had my striped raphael for about 5 1/2 years now. By far he is my favorite type of catfish. It is so cool to see him and my spotted raphael swim around the tank. They look so much like sharks when they swim because they just slowly swim around in the water. They will try to get inside anything in the tank, even if it's way too small for them. The raphaels share a home with 2 clown loaches. When the loaches want in, it signals the raphaels that it is time for them to come out. When the cats go back in, the loaches come right out. I recommend them to everyone because they can be kept with almost all kinds of freshwater fish.