I have two striped ones, one resides in the skull the other in the castle. I was reluctant to take them home, but working in a pet store and seeing such cute little fish (along with most of the fish I own) made me take them in. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for me) they didn't seem to get along at all with my dempseys. In fact, they put up quite a fight for two males that have killed every pleco I've ever tried to put in their tank. So bad that I had to move them to my barb tank. They somehow managed to rip the big male a nice tear in his dorsal fin...I have no idea how they did that, since he eats goldfish their size whole. I put them in my 450 L barb tank and they're doing great. I can't believe how well they clean the rocks. These fish might not be for beginners, but I wouldn't discourage people from buying them at my store. I just let them know that they're very into being the underworld bosses. Along with the yoyo's, they keep my tank cleaner than I could ever do with a gravel vac (I don't even use one anymore - they move those rocks around like you wouldn't believe!). As for a pleco, they killed (or eradicated its food source) my 20 cm one within a week of putting them in the barb tank. I've found that the more timid Chinese Algae Eaters are better. Granted they love the slime coats on fish when they get bigger, but it's all that I can seem to keep without them being slashed to death in the night over who knows what. Besides, CAE's are prettier than normal pleco's anyway. My tinfoils and rosey's don't put up with the CAE's atitude anyway and the raphael's don't seem to care whether they intrude or not. I think it has to do with the freeze technique used by the CAE's. I recommend raphaels to anyone with a big tank (150 L or more), but try to do them in pairs if you can - no one wants to be alone!
Today I awoke to discover my Raphael catfish ate my Koi, Mickey. Raphael,as we of course call him, had lived happily for ten years with our Oscar named Albert, until the latter's passing in March. We decided to put Koi in our large tank for our children to view and quickly purchased a blue one, Mickey and a gold one, Goldie. For the ten years Raphael had lived with Albert there was never an incident and honestly we thought Raphael ate algae. Sadly we were incorrect and now I am honestly not sure what to do because I do not want any more dead pets. When we placed the Koi in the tank two months ago, Raphael suddenly grew triple his size, I guess from eating their food, and now I am thinking he isn't the gentleman I thought he was.
Not long after starting with tropical fish, I asked one of my local pet shops if they could get me a scavenger catfish for my tank and they got me a striped talking catfish. We found a little information on the fish in one of our books and it said that, to survive, this fish would need to be given live food every few days. As we could not get a regular supply of live food, I did not expect to have this fish for long. Well, that was over 17 years ago and he's still going. He's lived with various types of fish and has survived some tank disasters. Disease treatments, a heater failure when the tank overheated (which killed most of my other catfish) and another heater failure when the temperature dropped too low. He's currently living in the tank with discus and angels. It was previously stated that these fish could be fin nippers. However, I have not had this problem with my fish. In my view, the only major disadvantage of this fish is that you very rarely see them. Mine currently lives in a pipe and very rarely comes out. In fact, I think the only time he comes out is to feed, when he is stressed or when he is sick. Once mine started coming out and I was really pleased that he had started coming out. Then a couple of days later the tank got white spot. Once the white spot was cured, the catfish disappeared again. Several years later, he started coming out again. After a few days, we realised that one of the other fish had chased him out of his hiding place and wouldn't let him in. We added a few more hiding places and he disappeared again. I would say that this fish is one of the hardiest fish available. It seems that they will survive almost anything.
I have had my guy for seven years. He lived for four of those years with a Black Moor, which everybody said would be a bad thing because he would hurt her. He didn't do so until she became ill. I then put a divider in the tank to keep them apart. She has just died and so now the tank is rather lonely as it was just the two of them. I'm reluctant to get another fish, but looking at the seemingly empty tank is sad. As has been reported, I rarely see this fish except when he is hungry and even then if the food settles in a way that he can eat it without emerging from his space, he will do that. All told, however, I adore this fish! He is a character. I don't know that he is a problem for a beginner. He was in the first batch of fish I ever got and he is the only remaining fish of those original ones...and I hadn't a clue what I was doing then! He is a great fish, oddly behaved, with lots of character!
The Striped Raphael catfish is fine with fish that it can't fit in its mouth. They will eat smaller fish, as most catfish will if they can catch them. They're fairly hardy fish. They'll eat shrimp pellets, and whatever other food falls to the bottom of the tanks (they're bottom feeders, like most catfish). They're spiny and can give you a little sting, so most fish won't try to eat them (or if they do, they'll learn their lesson). They donít get extremely large like some other catfish (channel cats for example). So theyíre excellent for smaller aquariums, maybe 100 liters or larger. They like to hide, so make sure you give them a place to hide. Donít be surprised if you donít see them all the time, I often have to look in the little hidey holes for him. They can also make a little noise, so donít be started if they do!
I find this catfish very interesting to look at, although not to watch. This is a very kind fish. My Platydoras costatus is named Stu, and he sits in his little cave, being a complete gravel rug, as he allows my four Peppered Cory Catfish lay on him. He is quite a peaceful fish, and I would strongly suggest this peaceful fish.
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