Everyone heard the proverb “dumb like a fish.” But, as practice shows, certain types of fish are very “talkative” and are able to make a wide variety of sounds. This is especially famous for the group of Doradidae catfish, which are often called “singing catfish.” And why they got such a name, you can find out from our article.

Scientific namePlatydoras armatulus
Common namesPlatydoras, Striped Raphael catfish, catfish, singing catfish
Natural range
Rio Orinoco basin, Colombia and Venezuela
Sizenot more than 15 cm or 6 inch in aquarium
Tank sizerecommended 100 L (23 gallon ) for adults
Life span15 - 20 years
24-26 C. or 75-79°F
pH 5.8 - 7.5
GH 2 - 20
Colordark brown or black
Foodomnivorous and unpretentious in food
Breedingvery hard / poorly understood / hormonal injections
Temperamentpeace-loving fish
at age of 1 to 2 years
Eggsalmost not possible in home

General information

Platydoras (Platydoras armatulus) – a freshwater fish from the family Doradidae catfish. The first scientific descriptions date back to 1840, while the fish was called Platydoras costatus. But in 2008, scientists revised the systematic position of the fish and separated it into a separate species.

The genus name consists of two Greek words: “platys” – flat, wide, and “doras” – the carapace, which indicates the serious protection that nature gave to the soma: strong skin, developed occipital shield, and bone growths along the lateral line with prickly bone scutes.

Platidoras are not picky about the conditions of the aquarium and are good orderlies for the aquarium, eating up the remains of the feed falling to the bottom.

An interesting feature of these catfish is the ability to make sounds. They can do this in two ways: by rubbing the pectoral fins against the grooves in the shoulder joints (a chirping sound is obtained) and by quickly contracting and relaxing the muscle attached on one side to the skull, and on the other to the swimming bladder. Due to this “spring” sounds similar to drumming are obtained.

Platydoras sounds: Be careful this video has SOUND! 

Platydoras armatulus - Talking catfish
Catfish make sounds when they meet other individuals or when frightened. They can be heard if caught from the aquarium or even just listening (it is advisable to do this after turning off the light).

Long spikes on the body and fins can easily break the net, so be careful when catching catfishes.

Often, young Platydoras can be found in the company of larger predatory fish, for which they act as “cleaners,” eating parasites and dead scales on the body, although this behavior is more typical for marine fish than for freshwater ones. Adult catfish have no such desire to help their neighbor.

Platidoras are mainly nocturnal and love to bury themselves in soft soil.


Platydoras fish have a dense, arrow-shaped (when viewed from above) body. In aquariums, the size of the fish usually does not exceed 15 cm, although natural individuals can grow up to 24 cm. On the head are large eyes and a large mouth surrounded by three pairs of sensitive whiskers: two on the lower jaw and one on the upper. Pointed bone plates are located along the lateral line, creating a reliable “shell” for protection against enemies. The fins also participate in the defense. The dorsal and pectoral fins are distinguished by enlarged first rays, which are covered with small, but very sharp notches. They can easily break the net and even injure a person, therefore it is necessary to catch catfish very carefully.

Body-color is dark brown or black. On the sides of the body are white or yellowish stripes starting at the tail and connecting on the head. Abdomen and margin of pectoral fins pale. A small white border is also found in the dorsal fin. Thus, a pattern of alternating dark and light stripes is obtained, especially bright in young individuals. With age, the pattern becomes less clear.

Life expectancy is 15-20 years.


Catfish Platydoras are widespread in South America. They can be found in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia.

Fishes prefer slowly flowing and standing reservoirs, where they arrange shelters among the flooded roots and thickets of aquatic plants. They prefer sandy soil so that in case of danger it was possible to dig into it. In the rainy season, they migrate to flooded forests, where it is easier to find food. Fishes are territorial, but to protect themselves from predators in nature they gather in schools.

Care and maintenance

For a comfortable content of 1-2 Platydoras, an aquarium of 100 liters or more is recommended. You can have both one catfish and a group. In the latter case, skirmishes between males are possible but do not lead to serious consequences.

Particular attention should be paid to the ground and the scenery. At the bottom of the aquarium, it is best to pour sand or small rounded pebbles. Catfish is very fond of digging the ground in search of food. In the aquarium, it is necessary to provide a large number of different shelters. These can be grottoes, ceramic tubes of a suitable size, flower pots (ceramic) laid on their sides, plastic, and natural driftwood. In the daytime, catfish usually hide, and at night they begin to examine the bottom of the aquarium for food.

Platidoras are quite secretive and shy fish, so in the afternoon it is recommended to dim the lighting, for example, using floating plants. To watch your pets at night, in peak activity, it is recommended to use a special night illumination in blue.

Catfish platydoras prefer pure oxygenated water, so you need to take care of effective filtration and aeration. Do not create a strong current, in nature, fish prefer stagnant water. You will need a temperature regulator because catfish are quite thermophilic.

In aquariums with platydoras, you can use live plants, because catfish do not bite them. But given their love of digging the soil, it is better to fence off plant roots with stones or use species with a powerful root system – cryptocorynes, echinodorus.

Aquarium maintenance is standard – regular water changes (20% once a week), siphon of soil, cleaning the filter.

The optimal parameters of water for the content: T = 24-26 ° C, pH = 5.8-7.5, GH = 2-20.



Platidoras are a peace-loving fish. However, given their size, settling catfish with small species is strongly discouraged, because after night you may not be able to count some fish. Therefore, it’s better to choose fish in the neighbors that can’t fit the catfish in your mouth: medium Characidae, cyprinids, gourami, Xiphophorus, mollies, ancistrus, Megalechis thoracata.

Enhanced armor on the body allows you to contain platydoras even with large predatory fish, for example, South and Central American cichlids.

Feeding platydoras

In nature, platydoras feed on various bottom invertebrates and some algae.

Catfish are omnivorous and unpretentious in food. Best quality dry feeds for bottom fish are suitable for feeding. The use of live and frozen food carries the risk of infection of the aquarium, and their imbalance and lack of vitamins will not allow the fish to develop properly.

Platidoras feed exclusively at the bottom of the aquarium, so it is advisable to pick the food for them that drown quickly. Tetra tablets for bottom fish are a good choice: Tetra Tablets TabiMin, Tetra Wafer Mix, Tetra Pleco Spirulina Wafers. These are fully balanced feeds that will satisfy all the nutritional needs of platydoras. Due to the special formula, the tablets retain their shape for a long time, while remaining accessible to catfish.

It is best to feed the fish after turning off the light. Platidorases are prone to overeating, so keep an eye on the amount of food given and keep in mind that these “orderlies” of the bottom eat not only their food but also all the residues after feeding other fish. If you find a strongly convex abdomen in platydoras, then most likely this is a consequence of overeating. In this case, it is better not to feed the fish for several days.

Breeding and breeding

Unfortunately, the natural process of breeding catfish platydoras is still poorly understood. There are only a few reliable cases of spontaneous spawning in aquariums. Most of the fish are sold for sale from special fish farms, where platydoras are bred using hormonal injections.

Sexual dimorphism in this species is not expressed.