Giant Raphael Catfish
Quick Care Facts
• Care Level: Moderate • Temperament: Semi-aggressive • Maximum Size: 18"
• Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons • Water Conditions: 72-79° F, KH 0-25, pH 5.8-7.5
• Diet: Omnivore • Origin: Amazon, South America • Family: Doradidae
• Species: Large Catfish • Aquarium Type: Large-Bottom-Dweller
Giant Raphael Catfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.
Giant Raphael Catfish (Megalodoras uranoscopus) are a popular northern Amazonian catfish species that are found in a variety of slow moving streams and tributaries throughout Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. They are found within the aquarium hobby under a variety of common names including: Giant Raphael Catfish, Mother of Snails, Giant Talking Catfish, Megalodoras Catfish and Megalodoras uranoscopus.
The Giant Raphael Catfish is also known for its ability to produce sounds by locking its spiny pectoral fins into their sockets and grinding them against the inner portion of the socket; as well as, resonating their swim bladder through the use of a muscle attached to the back of their skull which produces a deep clicking tone. Giant Raphael Catfish are well suited for hobbyists with large aquariums, as their docile nature makes them a good tank mate for a wide variety of larger tropical fish species and Cichlid species.
How to successfully keep Giant Raphael Catfish in the home aquarium.
As with other large Catfish and Cichlid species a large aquarium is needed to properly house Giant Raphael Catfish. With an adult size of around 18 inches and a preference for schooling with other Giant Raphael Catfish, a hobbyist will need an aquarium with at least an 8 foot length and 2 foot width in order to properly house adult fish of this size.
Larger fish eat larger meals and produce more waste, which means that excellent biological and mechanical filtration is required to maintain good water quality. High end canister filters or wet/dry filters are recommended for aquariums housing large Catfish and Cichlid specimens.
Due to the large size and strength of the Giant Raphael Catfish, aquarium decor like plants, driftwood and root structures should be well rooted or secured to prevent them from being moved or disturbed as the Giant Raphael Cat moves about the aquarium. A sand or mix sand/gravel substrate is recommended for this species; however, an all gravel substrate or no substrate at will work as well.
With its large size and protective suit of armor the Giant Raphael Catfish is capable of being housed with even the most aggressive Cichlid species. Despite this fact, the Giant Raphael Catfish is actually a very peaceful species that will not bother tank mates unless they are extremely small and seen as a food item.
They prefer to live in groups and prefer an aquarium habitat with a mix of submerged root and hardy plants. Dimly lit and moderate to low water currents will further replicate their native jungle stream habitat. Overall, they are a great addition to most any tropical Amazon aquarium setup whether with Cichlids, Rays, Cichla or even larger community fish species. The Giant Raphael Catfish is both an interesting looking specimen and provides a functional addition to the aquarium environment as a substrate scavenger.
Feeding & Nutrition
How to properly feed Giant Raphael Catfish and provide a healthy diet.
An omnivorous species, the Giant Raphael Catfish requires both meaty and plant based foods in its diet in order to maintain a healthy immune system. In their natural habitat they eat mostly snails and palm fruits that fall into the water ways in which they live. However, they will quickly and easily adjust to eating a wide variety of commercial aquarium foods and foods commonly fed to other aquarium fish.
It is best to provide them a mix of sinking commercial pellet foods, worms, prawns, snails, blanched vegetables and vegetable wafer foods. They will scavenge the aquarium substrate and will take food directly during feedings.
Hobbyists should watch the overall girth of the fish and feed accordingly. Begin by providing direct feedings 2 to 4 times per week, then adjust the frequency of feedings based on the growth rate and girth of the fish.
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