Striped Raphael

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Platydoras costatus - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Striped Raphael

A handsome, boldly striped catfish, but one with an appetite for small fishes.


The Raphael Catfish is a handsome fish with interesting burrowing behaviors. It needs to be kept with larger fishes or it will pick off smaller tankmates in its nocturnal hunting rounds. Its stout pectoral fin spines can inflict a painful wound and may lock into the open position and are easily caught up in nets (use tight weave net). Handle with care.

Family: Doradidae

Other common name(s):

  • Raphael Catfish
  • Humbug Catfish
  • Chocolate Talking Catfish

Native range:

Habitat: This species likes to burrow in the sand during the day, so provide a fine-grade or rounded gravel substrate. In nature, they hide among plant cover and hollows of roots, so include plenty of hiding places. Will not bother plants, although the plants may become covered in silt from the Raphael’s constant digging.

Maximum length: 24 cm (9 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 114 L (30 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom.


Carnivore. Provide meaty catfish fare, including flakes, pellets and sinking wafers with shrimp, as well as live and frozen foods. They love snails and will consume them with relish, shells and all. Feed first thing in the morning and at lights-out time.

Aquarium Compatibility

If keeping more than one Raphael Catfish in the aquarium, they may squabble with one another and even similar catfish over the best hiding spots and could do damage with their pectoral fin spines. Keep only with fishes of similar size.


No aquarium cases reported.


The Raphael does not talk, but can grind its pectoral bones in their sockets to produce a noise.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW