I couldn't agree more; the Raphaels are lovely, interesting catfish. I have had mine for 12 years now, it's incredible when I realize for how long I have had this fish. Contrary to what others comment, I got this fish as a beginner: it has survived through different aquarium settings, different houses and apartments (throughout my college life) and with different fish companions; from tropical fish, other catfish and loaches, and currently with 24 cichlids. I have seen him grow from a rounded belly guppie to a full 15 cm Raphael now. At times, I thought he had died since I wouldn't see him for month. He will only eat like once a week, sometimes less, but when he ate, he filled up to capacity. Now, I am enjoying the whole experience again with a baby spotted Raphael.
I have one of these beautiful catfish - he has been living with a Red-bellied Piranha in a 1700 L tank for the last 5 years. He is great at cleaning up left-overs and is completely unphased by his much larger tank-mate - they even swim together! He displays 'mostly-nocturnal' habits. I guess the lush planting makes him feel secure enough to take a look around. He has made his home in a spacious boulder arrangement covered in Java Fern and Java Moss and has required very little extra care. As my tank has plenty of greenery, his diet is made up from plant matter and left-over meat. I have a Spotted Talking Catfish in my other tank - both have eradicated my snail populations extremely efficiently!
We got our Raphael Cat when our daughter was 3 years old. She named him Ugly. Our daughter is now 28 and the mother of two. Ugly is 25+ years old and still going strong. He has outlived four of our dogs, one horse, and hopefuly not us!
I was given my Striped Raphael in 1981 when he was around 3 years old. So expect along term commitment if you get a Raphael. Mine is over 13 cm long and his eyes have clouded over, probably from cataracts. He has lived in the same 225 L aquarium all this time and I built a cave for him 17 years ago. I rarely see him, unless it is to grab food to bring into his cave. I moved the aquarium for the first time in 18 years last week, so I had to take him out. He had a hard time finding his cave once I put him back into the tank, so I nudged him to it's location. I was worried he'd get too stressed, but he is doing fine. He and a Yoyo and Clown loach have shared the cave for 12 or more years. It's one big happy family.
A great fish, tough, hardy, able to go into a slightly larger tank setup (nothing smaller than adult rainbowfish in my opinion) and able to live off almost any kind of food given. I think most of the other posters before me hit it pretty well on it's care and almost exclusive nocturnal behavior. However, it and its relative, the spotted Raphael, should be watched carefully in tanks with Angels (no matter their size) as well as any other flowing finned fish (bettas, paradise fish, gouramis, etc.) as they will find these long fins quite nutritious. I've tried adding more variety to their diets in hope of stemming such nocturnal nibblings, but to no avail. The only action that seemed to work was leaving a low wattage light on during the night to allow the Angels and all the chance to flee when the cats finally decided to feed. As one can guess, this arrangement wouldn't work forever, so they (the striped and spotted raphaels) were subsequently moved from that tank and placed into another with a black ghost knifefish and clown loaches, and the cories from there went to the angel/gourami/betta tank. No more problems and everyone is happy. Oh, on a side note, these fish seem to enjoy an occasional dash to the surface for a gulp of air, even in pristine tank conditions, so don't be surprised if you see (or more likely hear) this occur.
I have a few humbugs, one is about 15 cm long. They come out all the time, day or night. Grow them from really small, keep them in a tank on their own for the first month. This tank should contain only fine sand and dead oak/beech leaves, nothing else, usual South American water parameters, they will come out when fed. After one month or so, move them to the tank they are to be living in. They will now come out when they are fed or if they are hungry or sometimes just for a look about. I keep a number of different dorads (spotted, megalodoras) 11 in total and this has worked with all of them.