Striped Raphael catfish

Aquarium fish: Striped Raphael catfish (Platydoras armatulus)
Size: 20 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 23-30 ° C
Aquarium volume: 112 l

Striped Raphael catfish (Platydoras armatulus ) – medium-sized bottom aquarium fish of the cuirass family. For decades it has been confused with Platydoras costatus . A similar species of Orinocodoras eigenmanni is also found commercially , but it has an elongated snout and fat fin, and a darker color.


South America . Widely distributed, it is found in the Amazon basin in Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, as well as in the Rio Orinoco basin in Colombia and Venezuela and in the Rio Essequibo basin in Guyana.

It lives in the slowly flowing or standing waters of streams, streams and floodplains. Most often found hidden between sunken tree roots or dense vegetation.

Characteristics and disposition

In the wild, they can be up to 24 cm long. Usually less than 16 cm in an aquarium. The body is dark brown or black in color.

Clear white stripes run along the side line. The lower part of the muzzle and head, and the front edge of the pectoral fins are also white. With age, the striped pattern fades away and becomes less visible. Large head with large eyes and a wide mouth. There is a pair of whiskers next to the lower and upper jaw.

As in the case of related species, their body is covered with a solid armor made of bone plates , and their specific arrangement creates additional protection along the torso in the form of small spines. The first rays of the pectoral and dorsal fins also have sharp spines. Be careful when you catch fish. The mesh can become tangled easily and its detangling will create additional stress. Plastic or glass containers are recommended for transport.

Sexual dimorphism is poorly visible. Mature females are usually wider, more massive (viewed from above). Interestingly, line sums can make characteristic screeching sounds created by rubbing the pectoral fins against the body, emphasized by the swim bladder. In the wild, they live in larger groups. They can also be kept individually in the aquarium.

In a greater amount, harmless territorialism is visible. They lead a nocturnal, bottom-line lifestyle. During the day, they may not be visible. Under favorable conditions, they live up to 20 years.

Nutrition and feeding

Omnivorous and unrefined.

In natural habitats, they feed on molluscs, crustaceans and other organic matter. In the aquarium, you can give them good-quality dry food that sinks to the bottom, regularly replenished live and frozen, e.g. bloodworm, tubifex, earthworm. They have no moderation in their food and should not be overfed.


An aquarium for one individual should fit min.

112 l of water. Sand, in which the fish like to dig, works best for the bottom. Dry roots, twisted twigs and leaves will provide them with the desired shelter. At your discretion, you can also insert ceramic pots or pieces of PVC tubing. Lighting should be poor, preferably additionally muffled by floating vegetation.

Tough fish, tolerate a wide range of water parameters, but prefer soft and well-oxygenated fish. Mildly disposed towards other species, but smaller fish that fit into their mouths will sooner or later be eaten. They can be kept with larger tetras and other tetras, carp, catfish, labyrinths and other benign species, and thanks to their armored structure even with the more aggressive Cichlids of Central and South America .


It breeds very rarely in captivity and there is little information about it. Commercial fish come from breeding farms where special hormones are injected for stimulation.

In nature, they reproduce in rivers and streams, scattering their spawn to the ground between decaying leaves and other matter.


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