How Many Striped Raphael Catfish Can Go in a 55 Gallon Tank?

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StripedRaphCat1234$

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Hey everyone, I was wondering how many Striped Raphael Catfish can go in a 55 gallon tank? I've heard they do better with schools and I've noticed behavior with my singular Raph that suggests it would like to be in a school with more of its own species.

For an example of the behavior, it likes to hang out with other breeds of catfish I have in my tank like my Zamora Wood cat and my late Green Phantom Pleco (the pleco and my Raph were best friends always resting next to each other).
 

fishorama

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I like planetcatfish for really good info on catfish. I "think" I looked into wood cats (of some species) & they like a group AFAIR. & they're pretty small to mix with big cichlids. Do you just have 1 55g tank? Seriouslyfish is also a very good site.

Raphaels may like to be in groups too but may need a "good mix" of sexes. I don't know what that might be or how to tell. With corys 2 males :1 female but with at least 6 fish...& then that will cut into the bioload with your desire for large cichlids. You need to look at the big long term stocking picture based on adult sizes & temperaments of fish. There is only so much room & fish crap any tank can handle. & the most devoted aquarist can keep up with. It may seem doable to need change water 2 or more times a week but that will get old after a short while...I prefer to stock my tanks more lightly so there is much less chance of bad drama...but I also have a few tanks if I need to reshuffle.

The bottom line Do More Research!
 

StripedRaphCat1234$

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I only have one 55 gallon tank, I'm probably going to get a 30 gallon saltwater later this year but for now, just my 55. I don't believe I'm going to keep my wood cat, so I don't think it will be a problem if I get larger Cichlids. Unfortunately with my situation, even though I would love too, I can't stock or have a bunch of tanks at my disposal.

As for the Raph...my tank could easily handle a few more as long as I keep other bottom dwellers to a minimum. I have an extensively filtered tank, so with my situation, if I wanted to slightly overstock the tank, I could with very little to no problem. But I wouldn't overstock it honestly in the first place.
 

fishorama

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Think hard, even us old timers with several tanks can't keep up with all your fish. Cichlids vs catfish...You're not making good choices for your 55g long term...& it should be for long term! You're not looking ahead in a good way. Healthy fish live for 5-12 years or more & continue to grow. You're not focused on the future...but you should be...

Do more research, the 30g salt tank won't help overstocking the 55g fresh. Apples & oranges...Pick a water parameter & stop goofing around to "maximize" your fish load. You've lost the entire idea of tank "balance" but it's a basic principle of aquaria keeping...
 

StripedRaphCat1234$

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Here are my main goals for the tank: 1. To provide a cool "living centerpiece" for my bedroom. Therefore an aesthetically pleasing tank with fish that I love. and 2. A good home for whatever fish I choose to put in the tank.

I tried to edit my previous post about the saltwater tank, I'm not going to do saltwater. My friend who does saltwater showed me what he does for his setup and he convinced me it is not a stress I need in my life.

I don't believe I've mentioned anything about water parameters, but I haven't changed anything about my water parameters. They have remained the same since my tank first got healthy months ago. I don't plan on overstocking the tank, I just mentioned that to help provide a better picture of my current tank setup.

I understand the idea of balance in fish keeping and that is why I'm struggling to find fish that fit what I want. I am taking into consideration everything about my tank and what stock I have in it. I know history about all my fish and what they need, and I do extensive research on everything related to fish keeping.

I'm also taking into consideration the future, but because I have such an unbalanced and unstable future as a teen on the brink of college age I don't know what could happen. For all I know, I may get a smaller tank and get rid of my larger one, or entirely get rid of my fish (worst case scenario) tank period.
 

fishorama

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I'm sorry I sounded so harsh yesterday. When we first started keeping fish as young adults we could often add 1 more (used) tank to our small uni apartment. Traded in fish that didn't work for store credit like you've done.

It's just that small juvenile cichlids are SMALL no matter how big they grow in a couple years. Many people keep oscars as a single "pet" (people interactive) fish in a tank larger than a 55g. Maybe that's what you should aim for. A pet 6-8 inch cichlid for daytime & a raphael for night? A quick search said they grow to 8 inches...Golly, that's bigger than I thought! Maybe our rehomed 1s were not full adults or were stunted (eek!). I think they must grow slowly...In a 55 you won't have room for a medium large cichlid & more than 1 raphael...

A side note: have you ever caught your raphael & had it "talk" (vibrate loudly). LOL, it was always a surprise! Ours did not do it in the tank that we ever heard but in a net it did.
 

StripedRaphCat1234$

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I accept your apology :).

As for the fish, I've been going through all my options. Cichlids are still hot on my mind, but I've also started to research ornamental goldfish as well. There are just so many dang fish I want in my tank lol. I think the Oscar may be too large for my tank. I've been going back to the Green Terror or Blood Parrot ideas.

Yes I have caught my Raphael before and had it talk XD. One time I picked him up and he used his sharp fin to clasp his body and fin around my finger and I had to put him back in the water to make him let go (it hurt!!). He didn't draw blood though.
 

StripedRaphCat1234$

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Oh and also, Raphael's are some of the slowest growing catfish you can buy. It takes them roughly two years to attain full size, so if I understood your above comment about rehoming the Raphs correctly, they were most likely juvenile lol. As for size, 8-9 inches is max, more commonly they get around 6-7 inches. Mine is currently somewhere between 4-5 inches, not entirely sure lol.
 

fishorama

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We had our raphs for several years each time & they maxed out during that timespan, starting at 3 or 4", at 5 or 6 inches at most in 55g. So maybe they grow very slowly, were stunted when we adopted them or could not grow to their full size potential in our care for some reason (tank size? water quality? foods?). Sometimes there are gender size differences too. Thinking back ours were not at "female catfish" chubby size but I don't know it that is the same for raphs as some catfish species...cichlid females are smaller than males almost always...but juvenile cichlids are almost impossible to sex for a long time...

Luckily my husband was the 1 who got the painful "spiny pinch" between body & pectoral fin ;)
 

StripedRaphCat1234$

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I have to admit, mine may have health complications later in life because I accidently stepped on it >_<. What happened was as I was cleaning my tank, I took out my decor and put the on the floor so I could better vaccum the tank and apparently, my Raphael somehow hitched a ride on the wood. I walked out of the room and came back and felt a slight crunch under my feet along with a grunt. My soul left my body when I realized that I had stepped on my favorite fish (Thank God that I was barefoot and I had felt him before I completely crushed him). He bled a lot and not knowing what to do, I first put him in a bowl to get him back in water and let the blood get into that water, and then I put him back into the tank.

To this day, he is eating and swimming well and he has thrived in my tank. Another reason I love Raphs is that they are literal tanks. It has survived all of my stupid mistakes and being crushed partially alive. I also had a Green Phantom Pleco for many months (it was best friends with the Raph, they used to hide/sit together) that unfortunately passed away because of one of my stupid mistakes, but it survived through many of them.

Also regarding gender differences between Raphs, I don't believe there is an easy visual way to tell if they are male or female. One source I read said that males are slightly darker and a yellowish tan between the dark stripes while the female was lighter and has almost white between the stripes. But I don't know if that is true or not.
 
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