Peppered Cory Catfish (Corydoras paleatus) Species Profile: Our Favorite Cory You Have to Try

Pepper Cory Fish Species Profile

Looking for a peaceful, small fish with tons of personality? Look no further! The peppered cory catfish, or Corydoras paleatus, is one of our most recommended community fishes for aquarists of all experience levels.

Here’s why:

They’re super friendly, easy to breed and make excellent clean-up crew members in community tanks. 

In this care guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about this adorable bottom dweller. Species profile, tank size, diet, tank mates, and more FUN facts. It’s all here!

Species Profile

peppered cory catfish

The peppered cory catfish (scientific name: Corydoras paleatus), also known as Blue leopard corydoras, peppered catfish, or mottled corydoras, are naturally found in the Amazon basin in South America.

The majority of this species can be found in the La Plata River in southeast Brazil and the lower Paraná River basin and coastal rivers in Uruguay and Brazil. [1] However, wild-caught specimens almost never get imported; most fish in the aquarium trade are bred in captivity.

As you may know, the Corydoras genus currently has 161 recognized species [2]. The C. paleatus remains the most well-known fish among those who maintain biodiverse community tanks ranging from 20 to 55 gallons

Scientific Name:Callichthys paleatus, Corydoras maculatus, Corydoras marmoratus, Corydoras microcephalus
Common Name:Peppered cory catfish, Peppered Cory, Peppered Catfish, Blue Leopard Corydoras, Mottled Corydoras, Paleatus Cory, Peppered Cat, Pepper Cory, and Salt and Pepper Cory.
Care Level:Beginner
Origin:South America
Lifespan:5– 10 years
Max Size:2.3 inches (5.9 cm)
Tank Level:Bottom dweller
Temperature:72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C)
PH:6.0 to 7.0
Water hardness:4 to 18 dKH
Minimum Tank Size:15 gallons

Peppered Cory Lifespan

Believe it or not, the lifespan of peppered corys is usually 5-10 years in captivity, like other corysWhile some sources report a lifespan of up to 15 years, that number highly depends on the quality of care they receive.

As with other captive-bred species, always buy from a reputable dealer to ensure you get a group of healthy fish.

Colors, Patterns & Identification

Corydoras paleatus
Photo: drofimil

Peppered corys are aptly named after the high contrast pattern of dark and light spots that covers their bodies. The armor-like bony plates that run along its body act as a shield from predators, and the flat underside allows for quick movement in the water- both of which have allowed these stocky fish to adapt well to living at the bottom of rivers and streams.

They have rounded heads that are also covered with bony plates and an underturned mouth that they use to scavenge the substrate for food. You will notice two pairs of barbels on the jaw can help them “feel” around for food as they through the substrate.

Pay attention to the sharp rays on their fins. They usually offer protection, but you may have difficulty trying to catch this small catfish in a net.

In addition, peppered corys are shipped in packs of multiple fish like the other members of its family. One thing to be mindful of is that these sharp spines could harm the eyes of other fish during shipping. To avoid any issues later on, check for damage around the eyes as soon as they arrive.

Peppered corys come in two colors – the normal colored type, which has a pale olive to tan base color with dark markings, and the rare albino or gold morph, mostly white or light yellowish.

The colors and patterns of wild-caught fish vary depending on where they come from, but they generally have a more defined iridescent pattern. Of course, as previously mentioned, they are not commonly seen in the hobby.

Albino peppered corys are similar to other albino Corydoras species, but they have a small pink patch on the back near their dorsal fin.

A lesser-known fact about peppered cory catfish is that they can make sounds [3]. They do this by abducting their pectoral fins. Male fish use this sound during courtship and communication, while both sexes and juveniles use it when stressed.

Peppered Cory Catfish Size

The average peppered cory catfish size is roughly 2.3 inches (5.9 cm) in length when fully grown. These are small fish, which is one reason they make an excellent starter species for those wanting to try their first corys.

Behavior & Temperament

First, like other corys, C. paleatus need to be able to get close to the surface of the water so they can gulp some air every few minutes [4]. Therefore, there is no need to worry if you see them dart to the surface of your aquarium – this is completely normal behavior. But a lip or hood is necessary to prevent skittish jumpers.

As a relatively small, peaceful fish, they feel safe in numbers, so it is best to keep Corydoras paleatus in groups of at least six individuals. They are very shy and stressed when kept alone.

These fish are universally loved for an interesting behavior- they can wink at their owners; Sometimes, they roll their eyes back around without moving their head to look for predators or food, which can seem like winking or blinking. This gives them a lot of personalities.

Peppered Cory Care

Peppered corys are rather hardy that anyone can handle. You just have to know what they need to thrive.

In their natural habitat, these dwelling scavengers generally live in slow-moving, shallow rivers and tributaries or still pools and small lakes.

Size Tank

Though some enthusiasts have had success keeping these fish in tanks as small as 15 gallons, we recommend going with a 20-gallon aquarium or larger.

Peppered corys are social fish that prefer to live in groups, so a slightly larger aquarium serves better. 

Water Parameters

An Amazon River biotope is the best environment for Corydoras paleatus. Since captive bred fish are going to be more adaptable, they can do well in various aquarium setups.

As long as you stay within the following parameters, they will flourish.

  • Water temperature: 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C)
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 7.0
  • Water hardness: 4 to 18 dKH
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: <30 ppm

Substrate, Plants, and Lighting

As bottom dwellers, these little fish spend most of their time tirelessly digging through the substrate for food. A soft sand or fine, smooth gravel substrate is easier and safer on their barbs; something dark is preferable.

The rivers these fish come from often have tons of live plants. To mimic their natural habitat, the aquarium should be planted with plenty of vegetation, including floating plants that cover only part of the water and submerged plants that provide shady areas. Remember, they need to breathe air.

A big advantage of floating plants is that they dim the light, even though this species prefers more lighting than their Corydoras cousins.

Driftwoods are appreciated as they provide hiding places.

Food & Diet

In the wild, pepper corys feed on worms, crustaceans, insects, and plant matter. 

In the trade, they are often marketed as cleaner fish, as they are known to consume leftover food and detritus that falls on the substrate. Many novice fish owners think that’s all they eat. But this is not the case, and they do need a varied diet.

To keep your Corydoras paleatus healthy and thriving, we recommend giving them a high-quality sinking pellet, algae wafers, or tablet food. You are welcome to feed them with suitably sized live, frozen foods such as bloodworms and daphnia.

Additionally, supplement their diet with periodic vegetables: most corys relish cucumber, blanched zucchini, and spinach. 

Watching your fish during feedings, especially in a community tank, ensures that each one gets a fair share of the food. Feed them one or two feedings per day. These corys are not totally nocturnal, but it is best to feed them before dusk when they are most active.

Peppered Cory Catfish Tank Mates

Peppered corys are a shoaling species; they should be kept in schools of a half dozen or more. These fish do well in medium to large community tanks as long as their tank mates are not aggressive and also small fish.

Some ideal tank mates include:

  • Small peaceful barbs
  • Danios
  • Guppies
  • Mollies
  • Platies
  • Swordtails
  • Killifish
  • Honey gourami
  • Dwarf cichlids

Given their optimal water temperatures (72°F to 78°F), avoid fish that require the high end of the temperature spectrum.

Male Vs. Females

Young Corydoras paleatus of both sexes look relatively the same, but as they reach adulthood, females tend to be larger and develop plumper bellies. When looked at from above, it’s easy to spot the difference; females are much wider than males.

Another giveaway is that males often have a longer dorsal fin, and their anal fins are more pointed. Additionally, males appear to be more colorful than females.

Corydoras paleatus Breeding

Peppered corys breed freely in captivity, often with mature pairs – one female and two males. To increase the likelihood of spawning, opt for a higher male-to-female ratio.

Once the females grow to an average size of 2.2 inches (5.6cm) and males reach 1.9 inches (4.9 cm), they become sexually mature adults and begin to show their courtship ritual.

If you want to induce spawning, do a large water change with cooler water. 

What happens when the pair mate? They often exhibit a shivering ‘T position’ mating dance for about 30 seconds while the male fertilizes 2-4 eggs between the female’s pelvic fins.

The pair repeats this process until the female lays all her eggs, usually between 200 to 300, on the aquarium furniture, plants, or glass. To get a higher success rate, the parents should be moved to another aquarium at this point.

These eggs are nearly 2 mm in diameter and generally take 4-6 days to hatch, depending on water temperature. Corydoras paleatus fry are extremely small, so they need to be fed cyclops or other very tiny foods for the first few days. 

As they grow, you can wean them onto newly hatched brine shrimp or other live foods before switching to a diet of commercial fry flake foods. Meanwhile, performing frequent water changes helps to keep the fry healthy and growing quickly. 

Wrapping Up

The peppered cory catfish is a beautiful, peaceful creature that can make an excellent addition to any community freshwater aquarium. Plain and simple.

With a little bit of attention and care, you can help these beautiful fish thrive.

If you like the peppered cory and have any questions about this fish, we’re always happy to help!

Article Sources:

  1. Corydoras paleatus (Peppered corydoras): FishBase
  2. Corydoras: Wikipedia
  3. Sound production and reproductive behaviour of the armoured catfish Corydoras paleatus: Springer
  4. Gill morphology and morphometry of the facultative air-breathing armoured catfish, Corydoras paleatus: Wiley
  5. Peppered Cory (Corydoras paleatus): PlanetCatfish

Top 7 Most Rare & Expensive Corydoras ($50 ~ $600 Per Fish)

rare expensive corydoras

Corydoras are one of the most popular fish kept in aquariums, and for good reasons – they’re hardy, attractive, and relatively affordable. However, some corydoras can be quite rare and expensive, especially those that have restricted ranges or are difficult to breed in captivity. 

Most people would not pay more than $10 on a single corydoras; if you’re willing to shell out big bucks for these fish, be prepared to open your wallet! Some of these fish can cost you hundreds of dollars.

But hey, isn’t that what being a fish keeping addict or breeder is all about? The proverbial saying ‘different strokes for different folks’ definitely applies here.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the rare and expensive corydoras that are available today.

#7 Teniente Cory (Corydoras sp. CW016)- $50.00

Corydoras sp. CW016
Photo: Bee Yu

This species is fondly called Teniente Cory or Lieutenant Cory (English translation of “Teniente ”) in the aquarium community. It is a rare and unique species that’s native to Peru. 

This fish has an overall bronze coloration with a large black spot beneath the dorsal fin. The fins are transparent with a gold hue.

The CW016 is a relatively large corydoras. Males often grow up to 2.2 inches (5.5 cm) in length, while females can reach up to 2.5 inches (6 cm).

#6 Inka Cory (Corydoras sp. CW124)- $49.99

Corydoras sp. CW124

Although Corydoras aren’t schooling fish, they are found in loose groups in the wild and do best when kept in groups of 6 or more individuals. The Inka Cory is an exception to this rule – this fish seems to do best when kept singly.

This undescribed longnose species is found in Peru and is as big as Teniente Cory. Taking on a white base covered with charcoal patterns, the pattern tends to be darker and more distinct on males.

The Corydoras CW124 is more aggressive than most Corydoras species and will often harass each other, but this behavior is not hurtful or harmful.

It’s worth noting that this fish is prolific and easy to breed. So, if you’re willing to pay the high price tag, you can easily end up with a whole school of these rare and beautiful fish!

Want to learn more about CW124? Check out this informative article written by Don Kinyon.

#5 Super Parallelus Cory (Corydoras sp. CW127) – $60

Corydoras sp. CW127
Photo: MicroIsland Aquarium

Similar in appearance to C002 Two Line Cory (C. parallelus), the Super Parallelus is one of the highly sought after but rare species out there.

C002 and CW127 have two bold horizontal lines beginning beneath the dorsal fin and ending at the start of the caudal fin. What sets the Super Parallelus Cory apart is the darker coloration on its head and grills, making the vertical line that runs through the eye as not prominent as C002. The body of a Super Parallelus is also dark, as well as its dorsal fins.

This specie is from the upper Rio Negro in Brazil. The reason for its rareness is unknown, but it has been bred in captivity in small numbers. So you can get some offspring from professional breeders.

#4 Robust Cory (Corydoras robustus) – $69.99

Robust Cory (Corydoras robustus)
Photo: aqua_gurekichi

This is definitely one of the largest freshwater corys out there, with some specimens reaching up to 3.8 inches (9.5 cm) in length. What’s really unique about this fish is its coloration and pattern – a beautiful golden hue with black spots all over its body; mature males develop a quite stunning 1st dorsal fin ray.

Corydoras robustus is endemic to the Rio Purus drainage in Brazil and is currently considered to be one of the rarest corydoras in the hobby. These fish are not easy to come by, and when you do find them, they don’t come cheap!

#3 Characidium Cory (Corydoras sp. CW153) – $79.99

This species has a different shape from the other corys because they’re quite long and slender, similar to the Characidium darters, where these fish got the common name.

They also mimic the darters’ swimming style – spending most of their time perched on the substrate and moving in quickly. Sometimes, they even dart up to the surface to grab a gulp of air and then dart back down to the substrate. 

The Characidium Cory, or CW153 Cory, comes from the Arroyo San Juan river in Bolivia. Males only grow up to about 1.2″ (3 cm), and females can get a little larger at 1.5″ (3.5 cm).

#2 C005, Pantanal Cory (Corydoras pantanalensis) – $89.99

Corydoras pantanalensis

The Pantanal Cory is a large growing species with a mix of iridescent colors and patterns. We like the emerald green on mature males the most because of the “mosaic” way it reflects in the light, especially during the breeding season.

As its common name suggests, C005 Corydoras are native to Brazil’s Pantanal region, which is the massive natural wetland habitat in the world.

They are a popular choice for dwarf South Cichlids aquariums because of their larger adult size and their ability to serve as bottom feeders or dithers, including:

  • A. cacatuoides (Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid)
  • N. anomala (Golden Dwarf Cichlid)
  • M. altispinosus (Bolivian ram)
  • D. filamentosus(Checkerboard dwarf cichlid )

#1 Vulcan Cory(Corydoras sp. CW111) – $600

Coming in at the #1 overall spot is the Vulcan Corydoras, the most expensive and beautiful corydoras currently available. CW111 is only found in the upper Rio Curuá, a left-bank tributary of the Rio Xingu basin of Serra do Cachimbo in South America.

Since this species is forbidden to export from Brazil, only a handful of these fish is available in the specialist breeders, making it one of the rarest corydoras. The lowest price we’ve heard for a single fish is $180, and the going rate is often much higher – it can cost upwards of $600! 

Their stunning coloration, unique patterns, and playful behavior warrant its hefty price tag. If you’re looking for more information about this rare corydoras, check out the video above.

In Conclusion 

We hope you enjoyed reading about the list of rare and expensive corydoras. These fish are definitely a sight to behold. If you’re thinking about adding one of these rare beauties to your tank, be prepared to do your research and be patient.

How far would you be willing to pay for one of these rare corydoras? Let us know in the comments below!

Banded Corydoras (Scleromystax barbatus) Species Profile: Care, Tank Size, Food & Tank Mates

Banded corydoras (Scleromystax barbatus)

Banded Corydoras is a large schooling fish and is widely known among aquarists for its distinctive yet beautiful appearance. It is a bottom dweller, ideal for the temperate community aquarium. 

Not only do they have an exciting look that sets them apart from other species, but they are also easy to care for, which makes them an approachable option for fishkeepers of all skill levels. 

Unlike their close relatives, males Banded Corys can grow larger and be extremely aggressive towards one another, which is definitely something to be aware of.

Toady’s guide will teach you everything about Banded corydoras care, including habitat requirements, ideal tank mates, water parameters, food, and much more. 

Species Summary

Sometimes referred to as the Callichthys Barbatus, the Banded Corydoras (Scleromystax barbatus) belong to the Callichthyidae family. It is a subtropical freshwater fish native to coastal drainages in South America, from Rio de Janerio to Santa Catarina, Brazil.

The fish was initially described by Jean Rene Constant Quoy and Joseph Paul Gaimard as Callichthys Barbatus in 1824. However, it was reclassified to genus Scleromystax in 2003. Many local fish stores are still unaware of this change and may still refer to the Banded corydoras as its original name.

Because of their stunningly beautiful look and large full-grown size, Banded corydoras have been sought after in the aquarium trade for many years with many common names, including Bearded Corydoras, Banded Cory, Bearded Catfish, Corydoras Barbatus, Checkerboard Cory, and Filigree Cory.

The genus Scleromystax currently has five described species, and four of them are highly sexually dimorphic, meaning there are significant physical differences between the male and female fish. S. barbatus is one of them.

Scientific Name:Scleromystax barbatus, Callichthys barbatus (Originally described)
Common Name:Bearded Corydoras, Banded Cory, Bearded Catfish, Corydoras Barbatus, Checkerboard Cory, and Filigree Cory
Origin:South American
Aggressiveness:Peaceful; Do best in a school of 6 or more to thrive.
Size:3.5 – 4 inches (9 – 10 cm)
Lifespan:5 years
pH:5.5 – 7.0
Temperature:68 – 82°F (20 – 28 °C)
KH: 2 – 25
Minimum tank size:55 gallons


Banded Corydoras (Scleromystax barbatus)

Bearded Cory or Banded Cory is a distinctive and exceptional member of the Corydoras catfish family. Their elongated body shape, large size, and intricate markings set them apart from their several relatives. 

As we mentioned earlier, this species is dimorphic, so you can easily differentiate between adult males and females. Of course, young fish can be pretty hard to tell apart.

The most notable difference is in their dorsal and pectoral fins. On mature males, these fins are 2-3 times longer than on females. Additionally, fully grown males have developed odontodes (sharp tooth-like structures) inserted in fleshy papillae on the sides of the snout. 

They are slimmer with a gold nose stripe set and cheek bristles at the bottom edge of the gill covers. Moreover, male Banded Cory catfish are darker, having many black markings on the head and front half of their bodies. Their belly is silvery-white with stunning translucent fins adorned with black spots. 

Females, on the other hand, look like a large Pepper Cory. They are marginally larger than males and remain peppered grey throughout their life. 

Banded Corydoras (Scleromystax barbatus) Size

The Scleromystax barbatus is the largest known species of the Corydoras family.

The average adult Banded Corydoras size is about 3.5 – 4 inches (9 – 10 cm). Their exceptional size makes this species different from other members of the Corydoras family. 

Like most Cory catfish, Banded Corys have a fairly fast growth rate in the first three months of life – they can grow over one inch long. However, a lot of the time when they are sold in stores, they’re already 1 – 1.5 inches in length. It may take up to a year for Banded Corydoras to reach their full-grown size.

If you want your Banded Corydoras to grow as large as possible, you need to care for them properly and provide optimal living conditions. Stick with a high-quality diet, perform regular water changes (20 – 30% once a week), and don’t overcrowd the tank.


Like most Cory Catfish, the average Banded corydoras lifespan is up to 5 years in captivity. To ensure that your fish live up to the average life expectancy, you must maintain appropriate tank conditions and a healthy diet. 

Care & Tank Set up

Although they are found in coastal drainages, all members in the Scleromystax group are freshwater fish. They inhabit slow-moving steams or ponds that are filled with fine pebbles or sand.

Banded Cory care shouldn’t be a hassle for you, as this is a peaceful freshwater fish that remind happy and healthy if kept in appropriate tank conditions. It is adaptable to most subtropical freshwater conditions as long as standard maintenance is performed regularly. 

However, S. barbatus get larger than most Corydoras species, which is why they are less suitable for small aquaria. 

Tanks Size

The bearded catfish is a very active, large school fish that should be kept in groups.

The recommended tank size for a group of 6 or more adult Banded Corydoras is around 55-75 gallons. The minimum footprint of 47″ x 18″ ( 120 X 45 cm) or equivalent is recommended to give them ample space to swim around and hide out. 

Water Parameters

The banded corydoras lives in a subtropical climate and prefers oxygen-rich water. An appropriate water temperature is essential to maintain as it further affects dissolved oxygen levels. 

They are hardy fish that can withstand a wide range of water parameters. Try to replicate your home aquarium water conditions to their natural habitat as much as possible to keep them happy and healthy.

Check the ideal water parameters that you should maintain:

  • Temperature: 68 – 82°F (20 – 28 °C)
  • pH: 5.5 – 7.0
  • Hardness: 2 to 25 degrees
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: <30 ppm

Being a member of Callichthyidae, banded corys have a unique ability to absorb dissolved oxygen from the surface through their intestines. That’s why you often see them swimming up to the top of the tank for a gulp of air.

It is essential that the tank is well-filtered and has a decent current to provide good oxygenation levels. Furthermore, remember to have a cover on the aquarium and don’t fill the water level all the way up.

Decor (Plants and Substrate)

Like any other corys, banded corydoras love to hang around the bottom of streams and rivers, which is why a soft, sandy substrate would be ideal. They also appreciate some smooth rocks and driftwood to create hiding places in the aquarium. 

Be sure not to use any pointed decorations or harsh chemicals in the tank as it can damage their delicate sensory barbles.

Live plants that are rooted in the substrate are not recommended as they will uproot them while foraging for food. Instead, you can use robust plants such as Anubias sp. or Java Fern that can be anchored to the driftwood and rocks.


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It is essential to have a good knowledge of ideal banded cory food to keep the species healthy and active for a long. 

In the wild, the banded corydoras is an omnivore that feeds on small insects, benthic crustaceans, worms, and plant matter. They are not fussy eaters.

In captivity, you can feed them a variety of live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods. A diet rich in protein is essential for their growth and development. To ensure a well-rounded diet, supplement their meals with high-quality sinking pellets or wafers.

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You can also supplement their diet with vegetables. They enjoy blanched spinach or small chunks of zucchini. 

Corys are bottom feeders that like to scavenge around for food. It is essential to observe that they are getting enough to eat during mealtime.

They are nocturnal feeders, so it is best to feed them at lights out. However, you can teach them to eat during the day.

It is also essential to maintain a strict feeding schedule to prevent overfeeding, which can cause water quality issues in the aquarium. 

Banded Corydoras (Scleromystax barbatus) Tank Mates

Although Banded Corydoras is considered a peaceful species, it is best to purchase a good-sized group with one male with a harem of females. If you plan to house more than one male, make sure your aquarium has adequate space, more visual barriers, and territories. 

These species can be kept safely with other species that thrive in identical temperature and water conditions. 

Here are some good tank mates for the Banded Corydoras.

  • South American Dwarf Cichlids
  • Tetras
  • Tiger Barb
  • Siamese Algae Eater
  • Most types of plecos

Bearded Corydoras Breeding

Breeding Banded Corydoras is pretty simple. These fish have been bred in captivity for many years and are easy to breed if you provide them with the right environment and food.

To increase the survival rate of the fry, it is best to set up a separate breeding tank. A bonded pair requires at least 15 gallons (24″ x 12″ x 12″) tank.

The water should be soft and slightly acidic in the tank, which helps to break the egg membrane and allow the fry to emerge effortlessly. Cautiously feeding live tubifex and chopped earthworm to condition them for breeding. 

Raise the temperature to 80°F to get a larger clutch. Also, lower pH levels and aim for 5.5 to 6.5. When you notice the female is full of eggs, you can perform a large 50 to 70 percent water change every day and increase the oxygen and flow levels until the fish spawn.

You will see the classic ‘T mating position’ where the male grasps the female behind the head with his ventral fins. The male will then release sperm, and it has been theorized that his milt passes through the female’s mouth and gills to fertilize the eggs that are already held between her pelvic fins.

Depending on the size and age of the female, she will lay 10 to 70 eggs on the aquarium glass, plants, and décor. After spawning, it is best to remove the parents to a different tank as they do not guard the eggs and will even eat them.

Eggs will hatch in 4 to 5 days, and the fry will be free-swimming after another 2- 3 days.

To prevent the fry from getting sucked into the filter, you can place a spawning mop or piece of bridal veil material in the tank.

The fry will feed on small live foods such as microworms, baby brine shrimp, and daphnia. After a few weeks, you can start to wean them onto commercial foods such as dry flakes or pellets.

Final Thoughts

That’s it, folks!! We hope our detailed guide will help you learn about all essential Banded Corydoras care fundamentals to keep the fish healthy, happy, and comfortable in their new habitat. 

It is the largest cory catfish species and generally thrives in schools in the well-planted aquarium. These fish are fun to own, and their unique look makes them a great species to spectate. These are highly peaceful and hardy addition to the subtropical aquarium. Provide them with ideal tank conditions and make your aquarium a potential centerpiece. 

If you have any questions about Banded corydoras care or breeding, feel free to ask us in the comment section below. Also, don’t forget to share your valuable experience with us.

How To Care For Cory Catfish Eggs? (A New Owner’s Guide)


Cory catfish are social beings and respond positively to new additions in the tank, especially when it’s their own spawn. 

If you want to extend the fish school in your tank, breeding your corydoras is an easy way out. No worries if you don’t know the first thing about cory catfish eggs, we’ll try to acquaint you with the topic in our brief informational guide.

So, let’s get started!

Is My Cory Catfish Pregnant? 

No, we don’t think your Cory catfish is pregnant because simply put, they are incapable of it. Only livebearers fish like guppies, platy, swordtail, molly, etc., can get pregnant, and corys are oviparous (egg layers). 

Oviparous creatures breed by laying eggs as opposed to viviparous, who bear their offspring inside their womb. If your corydoras is in the breeding stage, you won’t miss it as it will drop the eggs everywhere in the aquarium, and you might even find them plastered on the glass.

How Often Do Cory Catfish Lay Eggs? 

When kept in ideal conditions, provided the water is healthy and there are enough males, Cory catfish can be breeding machines that lay eggs every week. But unlike other fish that release hundreds of eggs, they suffice by laying only ten to fifteen.

The species places its eggs on the glass of the tank until they hatch. Again, this depends on the following few factors:

  • The size of the aquarium
  • Lighting in the tank
  • Water temperature, pH, and KH
  • The overall health of the Cory
  • Vegetation in the tank
  • Food quality
  • The number and types of tank mates

Typically, Corydoras eggs are healthy and viable, and if you can’t see them on the glass, we suggest checking near a plant. The fish are smart and hide their eggs in a safe place to increase their chances of survival.

Cory Catfish Male Vs. Female 

It’s difficult to differentiate a female Cory catfish from a male one during the early stages of their lives. In most cases, you need to wait for your fish to grow up to two inches before seeing the difference. Once they mature completely, you can demarcate the sexes by observing their size.

Female Corydoras are bigger and wider, with broad midsections, and swim higher in the aquarium than their male counterparts. In contrast, males are smaller and slimmer with less rounded bellies.

Additionally, males have pointed anal fins and large dorsal fins, as opposed to females. But if you want a more concrete difference, observe their behavior in the mating season. Males tend to chase female Corys during this period, allowing you to easily identify their sexes. 

Females aren’t as diverse in color as male Cory fishes, so that is an obvious distinguishing feature as well. Another interesting fact: it is often assumed that albino males can’t mate with normal colored females, but that is just a misconception. However, they require a little extra oxygen supply and food, so you’ll have to be careful about that.

What Do Cory Catfish Eggs Look Like 

Corydoras’ eggs are translucent and plain white if they are infertile, while eggs that produce baby fish are beige and have dark spots. They have a jelly-like consistency and are ball-shaped, clustered together in a callus mass. 

How To Tell If Cory Catfish Eggs Are Fertilized

You can tell whether the eggs are fertilized or not simply by looking at them, but you do need to be a little observant and pay attention. Inseminated eggs are beige colored and bear dark spots, while unfertilized eggs are plain, translucent, and white. 

However, you must note that not all fertilized eggs will lead to a healthy baby fish, so you can’t judge which egg to keep purely by visual inspection. There’s a good chance of the offspring being weak, no matter how healthy the parent fish are. 

You’ll have to wait until hatching to know for sure whether or not you’ll get to keep the new fish. 

How Long Does It Take For Cory Catfish Eggs To Hatch? 

Cory catfish eggs don’t take much time to hatch, and the offspring come out in a period of three to six days. If that doesn’t happen, the eggs are sadly infertile, and you’ll have to dispose of them.  

We also suggest moving the eggs to a separate tank to give them a good environment for development. 


Do Cory Catfish Lay Unfertilized Eggs?

No, Corydoras do not lay unfertilized eggs. The females collect sperm in advance, and eggs are laid only after being fertilized. Let the eggs harden for an hour or so before moving them, and you’ll be good to go.

How Many Eggs Do Cory Catfish Lay?

The catfish have a very high possibility of laying viable eggs; that’s why they don’t need to produce a large number of eggs in one go. They usually drop ten to fifteen eggs at a go out of which most survive, given the tank conditions are favorable. There’s a good chance of overcrowding your tank, so you’ll have to decide what to do with the new spawn accordingly. 

Do Corys Eat Their Own Eggs

Yes, Corys do eat their own eggs, and that’s why it’s advised that you move the eggs to a different tank as soon as possible. No hate for them because spawning fish have the tendency to eat their spawn out of survival means. Keeping the fry out of your Cory’s reach is a good way to ensure that offsprings get to live.

Final Thoughts 

Since Corys are social creatures, populating your tank is an excellent idea. Just make sure that you increase your tank’s size accordingly and give them enough hiding spots to rest when they feel threatened. For example, you can increase the vegetation in the aquarium. 

And we’ll sign off on that note. Hope we answered all your Corydoras’ breeding-related queries. See you next time! Take care.

Do Cory Catfish Eat Algae? (3 Algae Eating Catfish Included)

Do Cory Catfish Eat Algae

Excess algae in your freshwater aquarium might appear as a greenish layer over the glass walls. Some people like to add algae eater fish or snails to manage the overgrowth of algae and help keep the tank clean.

While there are plenty of ways to reduce and prevent the growth of algae in your tank, will the addition of Cory catfish help?

Do Cory Catfish Eat Algae?

The short answer is no. Cory catfish do not eat algae that naturally grows in the aquarium walls or other decorations. Cory fish are bottom feeders but still do not prefer to eat algae. 

However, you will find that they will eat sinking algae wafers if you choose to feed them. But they will not go out of their way to eat algae, especially when other food is present. If the algae growth in your tank has just begun or if you’d like to prevent algae growth before it begins, Cory catfish fish are helpful there. 

But if you welcome Cory catfish to the fish family with the intention of getting rid of algae that’s already blooming, you’ll be disappointed. 

Do Cory Catfish Clean The Gravel?

Gravel is not suitable for Cory catfish, and they are better off in the sand. Since they are bottom feeders, Corys like to sift through the sand for small worms and bugs. But gravel might bruise their mouth or jaw.

What Kind of Catfish Eat Algae?

As we mentioned earlier, Cory Catfish won’t help much to rid the tank of algae. But there are a few catfish that will happily spend all day sucking algae and cleaning your tank. We’ve listed a few of the same that require the same tank size and water quality as Corys. They’ll also get along with Cory catfish and with each other if kept in the same environment.

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish
Photo: danscapes90

Otocinclus Catfish, also known as “Dwarf suckers” or oto catfish, are identified by the armor-like coating on their bodies and their underslung suckermouths. They are pretty shy and easily frightened by most other fish. However, they are much more friendly with Corys despite their reserved nature. 

Oto catfish are known to enjoy and prefer algae over other foods. However, you can also feed them with algae wafers and fresh veggies like small pieces of zucchini. Yet, they prefer algae even in the presence of these foods. 

Just keep in mind that adding a couple of these fish would not be enough to clean the tank of algae. They are so small that the amount of algae they eat will be significantly minimal compared to bigger algae eating fish. 

Still, you can add the oto catfish along with other friendly catfish to get a clean tank, along with well-fed fish in the process.

Bristlenose Plecos

Bristlenose Pleco

The Bristlenose Pleco is a gentle-tempered fish that gets along with all other fish harmoniously. If you need a fish that frees your tank from algae, this one would be a perfect addition to your aquarium. 

Plecos are sometimes also called “vacuum” fish because they are known to gobble all the algae they can find. The main diet of this fish consists of algae which is why you’ll never find any as long as they are in the tank. 

If you plan to get Plecos, note that despite most of their food coming from algae, they also need other food for balanced nutrition. A few feedings of bloodworms and algae wafers are enough for Plecos to thrive in your aquarium happily.

Twig Catfish

Another fish you can add to your tank is the Twig Catfish or Farlowella acus. These catfish grow to around 13 to 15 cm in length and need a 20-gallon tank in order to survive. They are peaceful and calm bottom dwellers and get along well with Corydoras catfish

Like Oto catfish and Bristlenose, they also enjoy feeding on algae, which is the main component of their diet. You can even feed them vegetable-laden wafers or bloodworms occasionally. But usually, they prefer to clean out the algae before eating anything else.

However, even though they are one of the best fish for removing algae, they need a lot of care and maintenance. Twig catfish also require a tank with high levels of oxygen along with clean and fresh water. Since they are a bit shy in nature, it’s best to place them with other accommodating and peaceful fish.

More Ways To Beat Algae in Your Fish Tank

Avoid Direct Sunlight 

Excess sunlight in the tank contributes to algae overgrowth. So, consider shifting the tank to a place where there isn’t direct sunlight most of the day. Generally, the tank should be exposed to light for not more than 8 hours per day. And, if you are using artificial light, it would be better to reduce the intensity to prevent algal blooms.

Add Live Plants

Adding plants to the tanks will foster competition for nutrients and sunlight, thus starving the algae and preventing its growth. A tank with plenty of plants and few fish will reduce the growth of algae naturally. Alternatively, taking off plants from the tank environment will increase algae formation.

Clean Tank And Change Water Periodically

In natural conditions, freshwater is constantly introduced, diluting the nitrate levels before they reach harmful proportions. In a closed tank, a weekly introduction of new water is ideal. Remember that the entire water cannot be changed suddenly because fish will find it challenging to adapt quickly.

Avoid Overfeeding The Fish

Some over-enthusiastic fish owners love to feed their fish more than twice a day. We know how much fun it is to watch them gather around in a feeding frenzy over morsels of food. But overfeeding the fish with extra food to spare often encourages algae growth. The uneaten fish food increases the phosphate level in the water, which is the perfect environment for algae to thrive.

Final Thoughts

We hope you now have a better idea about how to deal with algae in your tank. If you are facing excess algae formation, try a few of the ideas given above instead of introducing Cory catfish to the tank. 

If you already have Cory in the tank, you can bring in a few algae-eating fish or snails, which will keep the tank clean.

How Long Do Cory Catfish Live? (5 Things You Can Do to Help them Live Longer)

How Long Do Cory Catfish Live

Corydoras catfish are tiny, peace-loving, and colorful fish.

Although they are bred in tanks, their indigenous origin goes all the way to Brazil and Peru. The species is uncommon and is currently in high demand because of its astonishing metallic green, orange, and violet colors.

Corydoras usually stick around for a long time in the aquarium. But if yours have been dying lately and if you’re wondering, “how long do cory catfish live?” then you might find our guide helpful. 

Let’s get to the details.

How Long Do Cory Catfish Live In Captivity? 

Cory catfish can live 5-8 years in your aquarium if looked after well. They are undoubtedly high-maintenance species sensitive to the minutest change in their surroundings, but their average lifespan is quite long.

Maintaining a healthy environment in the water tank and being mindful of all the parameters can help keep your catfish alive for a long period. These parameters include water temperature, pH, KH, number of inmates, water quality, nutrition, and cleaning frequency.

How Long Can Cory Catfish Survive Without Food?

How Long Do Cory Catfish Live In Captivity

Healthy and sufficiently-fed cory catfish can go for a week without eating and any serious health implications. However, they will starve to death if not fed for two weeks in a row. 

It’s understandable if you have to be away from your house for a couple of days, but we strongly discourage leaving your catfish unattended for so long. That’s because food isn’t the only thing that affects your cory’s life; the tank needs weekly cleaning and water change too.  

No matter how healthy your catfish is, it will give in to unhealthy water conditions in the tank. Ideally, you should feed them regularly regardless of their survival period because even if they don’t die, their immunity will definitely suffer some loss because of insufficient food. 

How To Increase Corydoras’ Lifespan?

Corydoras aren’t that difficult to look after if you diligently pay attention to all the essential parameters. A few techniques that you can follow to prolong your fish’s lifespan are:

Keep Them In A Big Tank

Cory catfish are small scavengers that love moving around and exploring the tank, feeding off bits and pieces of leftover food and debris. A 30-gallon tank is ideal for a school of six fish, provided you keep a large open area towards the front, although you can keep pygmy Corys in smaller aquariums. The Corydoras love to congregate in groups, and large tank spaces allow them to move freely. 

Furthermore, the species is compatible with most other freshwater aquarium fish and dwarf shrimps and are peaceful tankmates. They do create a bit of a mess while they are on their scavenging hunt, but other than that, cory catfish are delightful creatures, and big tanks help to keep them active. 

Stay On Top Of Water Quality

Water quality is of prime importance when it comes to any fish, but when Corydoras are concerned, you need to be extra careful. We’re laying emphasis on this because of their sensitive nature and susceptibility to little changes.

Make sure that the tank’s temperature stays between 68 degrees and 81 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. The species is somewhat flexible when it comes to pH and thrives well in the 5.5 to 7.2 range. You’re good as long as the changes aren’t abrupt and water remains soft.

Furthermore, the KH determines the stability of the water tank and acts as the buffer that makes up for the changes in pH. We recommend the maximum limit of 15 dKH, depending upon the size of your aquarium. 

Feed Them A Healthy Diet

Frozen or live meaty foods as well as top-quality dry foods are excellent sources of nutrition for Corydoras. They are bottom-feeding omnivores but, over time, learn to swim to the surface when hungry. 

Additionally, variety is the key while feeding your catfish, and we advise you to rotate their diet daily. Tropical granules, Aqueon bottom feeder tablets, algae rounds, and shrimp pellets are a few high-quality food options. 

Another important point worth noting is to feed your cory catfish the food they can eat within two to three minutes. As we mentioned, these creatures like staying at the base of the tank and have to come to the top for eating. So, you shouldn’t keep them out of their comfort zone for too long. 

Keep Them In Well-planted Aquaria

As much room as Corydoras need for moving, they also need space to hide and rest, and for that reason, you need to keep your aquarium well-planted. 

First and foremost, the substrate must be fine gravel or soft sand, as the species like to forage on the bottom, and coarse material can barb their underbelly. We suggest avoiding any jagged elements at the bottom that could potentially damage the barbels of your catfish.

Coming to the flora of the aquarium, live plants are of immense importance as they give them a safe refuge to snooze or hide when threatened. Some plants like Echinodorus tenellus and Cryptocoryne parva are good options as cory can use them to hide and scavenge. 

Requires A School Of 6 Or More, But Avoid Overcrowding

Corydoras are social species and love being in a school, and when kept singly, it’s not uncommon to see them lose their zeal out of loneliness. A school of six is perfect if you have a fifteen-gallon tank with no other significant aquatic pets. 

You can also go beyond six but make sure you avoid overcrowding by increasing the aquarium size accordingly. A 30-gallon tank would work best for large schools. 

Final Thoughts 

Do you have a better idea about the lifespan of Corydoras now? These catfish are difficult to breed and are high-maintenance. With a bit of extra effort, you can enjoy the company of your catfish for up to a decade. 

Primarily, you need to rotate the diet daily as variety boosts their metabolism and avoids abrupt habitat changes at all costs. 

How Big Do Cory Catfish Get? (The 3 Smallest & The 3 Biggest)

How Big Do Cory Catfish Get

If you’re an aquarium enthusiast, then Cory Catfish are a must-have! 

These small, lively and hardy bottom-dwelling scavengers offer tons of personality with peace, are beloved by aquarists around the world.

For someone who’s looking for the first bottom feeding fish, look no further! The Cory catfish is a fantastic option for any aquarium. 

While they are easy to care for and super friendly, they’ll need proper care to thrive. Before you dig into everything you need to know about cory catfish care, let’s start with the most common question, “How big do cory catfish get?”.

Read on to find the answer.

How Big Do Cory Catfish Get?

As known as Corydoras catfish, the genus of South American catfish is one of the most diverse tropical fish, includes 170 recognized species and hundreds more that haven’t been given scientific names. 

Different species reach various sizes when they are fully grown. However, the average growth size for Cory Catfish generally ranges from about 1 inch to over 4 inches long. Adult male and female Cory Catfish also differ in size. Older females grow larger over 3 inches in length.

Generally, Cory Catfish are slow growers and don’t grow too much bigger. Many aquarists prefer the smallest species of Corydoras, while others like a big one. 

The Three Smallest Cory Catfish Species

Pygmy Cory Catfish (C. pygmaeus)

Pygmy Cory Catfish

As the name suggests, the Pygmy Coryor Pygmy Catfish, is one the smallest species out there. These little guys have an average length of an inch. Males typically tend to be a bit smaller than females, hover closer to 0.75 inches.

Pygmy catfish are your perfect fish for a small aquarium since they stay very small and don’t require much tank space. They are peaceful and easy to care for but require a bit more attention if you want them to thrive.

Compared to most corys, they tolerate a more narrow range of water parameters (72- 79°F) and love to swim in the mid-water level of the tank, not just the bottom. They do well with tanks that have smooth substrates; I prefer using soft sand on the bottom. Not mentioned that Pygmy Corydoras are picky eaters. 

Scientific Name:Pygmy corydoras
Origin:South America
Temperature:72° – 79° F
PH:6.4 – 7.4
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons

Dwarf Corydoras(C. hastatus)

Dwarf Corydoras
Photo: fishipedia

Like Pygmy Catfish, the Dwarf Corydoras, also known as dwarf catfish or micro catfish, are very popular among accomplished fishkeepers. Native to the Amazon River and Paraguay River in South America, it was the first of the three miniature cories to be discovered in the 1880s. 

How big do dwarf Corydoras get? They can barely grow up to 1.4 inches in length but typically tend to be roughly an inch long. Females are usually bigger and broader than males too.

Pygmy Catfish and Dwarf Catfish come in super-tiny size varieties, and they do appear very similar. What’s the difference between these two littlest hobos? The main difference is in appearance – Dwarf Corydoras is spotted, while the Pygmy Cory is striped.

Scientific Name:Corydoras hastatus
Origin:South America
Temperature:68° – 82° F
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons

Salt and Pepper Cory (C. habrosus)

Male Corydoras habrosus
Photo: wikipedia

Originates from the Upper Orinoco River in South America, the Salt, and pepper catfish, also called the Checker Cory or the Dainty Cory, is a very lively small schooling fish perfect for the community.

The name tells it all that most Salt and Pepper Catfish will be primarily light tan with black and shiny silver highlights and broken strips. The C. habrosus are the biggest among three species of miniature Corydoras. They can reach 1.4″ in length, but 1.2″ is more typical.

Unlike Dwarf Cory and Pygmy Cory that prefer midwater areas, the Salt and Pepper Cory spends most of its time on the base of the tank in areas of dense plants. They also like being in the company of just one or two instead of 6-10 in a group — less “schooling” than the other two species. 

Scientific Name:Corydoras habrosus
Origin:South America
Temperature:72° – 79° F
PH:6.2 – 7.2
Minimum Tank Size:8 Gallons

The Three Biggest Cory Catfish Species

Banded Cory Catfish (Scleromystax Barbatus)

Bearded Cory Catfish
Photo: seriouslyfish

The Banded Cory Catfish, also called Bearded Cory Catfish, look terrific whether they are in a community tank or have their own species-only tank. 

Originates from Rio de Janeiro to Santa Catarina in South America, Corydoras barbatus is one of the largest cory catfish species. How big do banded Cory catfish get? They will grow to about 4 inches (10 cm) in length. 

Since Bearded Cory Catfish live in cool coastal regions, these little guys are much colder tolerant than other species. Though it’s a very peaceful schooling fish, it can grow larger than most Corydoras and may become too big for small tanks.

Scientific Name:Scleromystax Barbatus
Origin:South America
Temperature:61° – 74° F
PH:5.5 – 7.5
Minimum Tank Size:55-75 Gallons

Emerald Cory Catfish (Corydoras splendens)

The Emerald Catfish is a beautiful bottom dweller that provides valuable service of tidying up uneaten food on the bottom of the tank. It has traditionally been described as Brochis splendens, also has many names, including Green Catfish, Emerald Brochis, and Iridescent Plated Catfish. 

They’re a lot like other Corydoras, but they have larger bodies and more rays in their dorsal fins. An adult Emerald Catfish will grow in length up to 3.5 inches (9 cm), and females tend to be larger and more robust than males. 

The Emerald Green Cory are highly social and should be kept in a school of at least 3, with more being recommended. They are so well behaved and fun but very shy and easily frightened, which results in stress.

Scientific Name:Scleromystax Barbatus
Origin:South America
Temperature:72° – 79° F
PH:6.8 – 7.2
Minimum Tank Size:30 Gallons

Pepper Cory Fish (Corydoras paleatus)

Corydoras Paleatus

The Peppered Cory Catfish is perhaps the most commonly kept of cory catfish species and can be found in pet stores all over. Native to lower Paraná River basin and coastal rivers in South America, also known as the peppered catfish, mottled corydoras, and blue leopard corydoras. 

Don’t be confused by the similarly-named Salt and Pepper Pygmy Cory Catfish(C. habrosus) mentioned above. The Peppered catfish is a much larger species. Males can reach about 2.5 inches (5.9cm), while females are bigger than males and will grow to 3 inches (7.5 cm). 

Like other corys, the Peppered catfish is a very peaceful schooling fish that can get along with virtually all fish except for large or aggressive species.

Scientific Name:Corydoras paleatus
Origin:South America
Temperature:72° – 79° F
PH:6.2 – 7.2
Minimum Tank Size:10 Gallons

Why is My Cory Catfish not Growing?

“What’s the matter with my Cory catfish?” you might ask. It is not uncommon to hear fish keepers complain of the poor growth of their cory catfish. 

Corys are slow growers in general, but the growth speed can be disrupted through many factors. Here are five of the most important.

Species and Gender

Corydoras come in hundreds of species to choose from and are almost always commercially raised on fish farms, resulting in a group of species with similar shapes or patterns. It’s hard to locate and distinguish the species when they are young. 

When people buy Corydoras, they are often mislabeled as one species and that name sticks with them throughout the supply chain. Most of the time, LFS workers have no idea what type of cory catfish you’re talking about unless there’s someone who can identify which fish it really is.

I ordered Julii catfish a few years ago and ended up with three different species in the bag.

Some species’ growth becomes stunted is due to their genetic makeup. You can do nothing to make them grow any more than their DNA will allow, such as the dwarf/pygmy cories. 

On the other hand, if your little hobos have stopped growing and have not reached the standard, you may have male corys only. Females typically get bigger than males. There is a percentage of species that will look any different between the sexes. 

As a beginner, focus on commonly kept Corydoras.

Tank Size

Though the myth that fish only grow to the size of the tank is incorrect, the point smaller tank will stunt the growth of your fish is true. 

Waste and uneaten fish food will build up much faster in a small tank because of the very limited volume of water. Poor water conditions will harmfully stunt the growth of the fish present in the tank, includes your Corydoras. 

Furthermore, stunted fish are more susceptible to disease and live shorter lives than full grown adults. 

A good rule of thumb is considering the potential size at maturity and upsizing the tank before they need it.

Water Quality & Chemistry

Maintaining good water quality is essential to both your fish’s health and their growth. Most Corydoras species are native to the soft water river with a low pH in the wild, but the species found in LFS today are commercially raised, can be toughened and stand a much broader range of water chemistry. 

Performing routine water changes is key to keeping these little guys happy and growing faster. Don’t forget to check your water parameters regularly; you don’t want any complications! You should do this every day, or at least two times a week if not more often.


In their native habitat, Corydoras scavenge from your substrate, but it doesn’t mean that they can survive solely on uneaten fish food. Providing a balanced diet of basic food and treats could be the most crucial part of ensuring your cory catfish grows properly.

Personally, I have found Hikari Algae Wafers to be their favorite. On their treat day (Friday), they will be rewarded with live blackworms or frozen bloodworms. 

The Wrap Up

Corydoras are peaceful schooling fish; they don’t need extra care in your tank. Most species can grow from 1 to 3 inches long. 

There are several reasons why your corys may stop growing. Always take into consideration the tank size and water condition first. If they are still falling behind, check out what species they are, their gender, and their diet. 

Good luck with your Corydoras!

The 10 Most Popular Types of Cory Catfish (Species & Pictures)

Types of Cory Catfish

A staple and widely popular fish in the aquarium world – Cory Catfish is the active day dweller that will make your fish tank lively.

Unlike the bottom-dwelling aquarium fish that prefer hiding the entire day, Corys chase each other around while scanning their surroundings. Then again, they thrive even when held in captivity, making the most out of the water conditions.

And with the right kind of food, you’ll see your home aquarium flourishing within no time. But for that, you’ll need to know about the different types of cory catfish – easily found in pet stores. 

So, without further delays, let’s dive in!

Panda Cory (Panda Catfish)

Panda Cory
Photo: Brandon Heyer

The pale white body with prominent black markings resembling that of a panda is why this catfish is widely known as – the Panda Cory. Native to the Peruvian Amazon, these fish prefer warmer conditions ranging somewhere between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperatures below this range will only make them lethargic. Of course, it will also increase the risks of ich, body fungus, and fin rot. Besides temperature, check your tank water chemistry – acidic to neutral water with a pH level of 6.0-7.0 should be ideal.

It’s also important to keep in mind that Panda Corys are social, so raising a single fish may make it feel exposed. Instead, place them with other Corydoras of the same kind.

Scientific Name:Corydoras panda
Origin:Asia, Captive-Bred
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Black, Yellow
Temperature:72-79° F
Minimum Tank Size:30 gallons

Pygmy Cory Catfish

As one of the smallest catfish species, Pygmy Corys make themselves at home even in 5 to 10-gallon tanks. Just make sure you provide them with companions as they tend to form shoals and swim around, even if it’s in the midwater.

You’ll be able to tell the adults apart by simply looking at them as they are sexually dimorphic. While the females are visibly plumper, reaching up to 1 inch in length, the males grow only up to 3/4th of an inch.

That said, they are a peaceful species of fish that get easily intimidated by larger aggressive fish like Cichlids and Barbs. So, as far as it goes for tank mates, keep them with other nano fish like the Pea Pufferfish and Chili Rasboras.

Scientific Name:Corydoras pygmaeus
Origin:Tank-raised, but indigenous to India
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Silver
Size:Up to 1″
Temperature:72° – 79° F 
PH:6.4 – 7.4
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons
Compatibility:Small peaceful community

False Julii Cory Cat


Most commonly found in pet stores, the Julii Cory is a hardy, small, and uniquely patterned fish for beginner aquarists. It rarely grows larger than 2 inches, so you may easily keep a small group in a 10 to 15-gallon tank. However, a 20 to 30-gallon tank is more practical for keeping 6 to 12 of them together.

Just don’t confuse it with the False Julii Cory or Corydoras trilineatus – you can tell them apart by their “almost” similar patterns. The actual Julii Cory comes with distinct spots on its head and flanks.

Scientific Name:Corydoras julii
Origin:Farm Raised, USA
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Black, White
Temperature:72-79° F 
Minimum Tank Size:30 gallons
Compatibility:Small peaceful community

Peppered Cory Cat

Native to the eastern parts of South America, the Peppered Cory is another catfish species suitable for beginners.

They grow up to 2 1/2 inches in length, and when kept under bright yet stressful conditions, they are typically cream and grey in color. But what makes them stand out is their faint green textured body that may seem like a glow under subdued lighting.

Moving on to their nature, Peppered Corydoras are peaceful and breed easily in alkaline waters. In fact, they adapt well even in captive conditions, provided they are fed live and frozen foods in regular intervals.

Scientific Name:Corydoras paleatus
Origin:South America
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Black, Green, White
Temperature:72-79° F 
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons

Bronze Corydoras

Photo: mugley

Bronze Cory is widely found throughout South America, but there is a mystery surrounding its origin. That said, the first species was discovered in Trinidad, and it’s from there that the Corydoras aeneus gets its name.

These Corys are hardy and feed on all kinds of prepared, live, and frozen food, making them easy to care for. And if you want your fish to spawn, feed them small invertebrates, including tubifex, brine shrimp, and blood worms. You could also provide them with micro pellets, flakes, and other types of fish food.

Scientific Name:Corydoras aeneus
Origin:Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Black, Green, White
Temperature:72-79° F 
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons

Albino Aeneus Cory Cat

Photo: a_fishstore

You’ll find the Albino Cory Catfish in the tributaries of the Amazon river – easily identifiable because of its pink or white color pattern with multiple barbels around its mouth. Now, when it comes to breeding this fish species, you’ll need to keep them in a spacious 30-gallon tank having slightly acidic water with pH levels between 6.0 and 7.2.

It’s also important to maintain the water temperature between the range of 72 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a sudden 20% decrease in temperature can help them spawn faster.

Scientific Name:Corydoras aeneus
Origin:South America
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Red, White
Temperature:72-79° F 
Minimum Tank Size:30 gallons

Skunk Cory Cat

Photo: Pia Helminen

Yet another easily identifiable species – the Skunk Cory Catfish have a squashed, short nose with broad cream or pink flanks and dark stripes along their backs. But what makes the fish stand out is its metallic golden hues on its gill covers.

Now, breeding this catfish is a bit challenging; however, it’s not impossible, provided you maintain the temperature of the soft, acidic tank water between 78 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, give them a lot of frozen and live food.

Scientific Name:Corydoras arcuatus
Care Level:Moderate
Color Form:Black, White
Temperature:68-77° F 
Minimum Tank Size:20 gallons

Emerald Green Cory Cat

Photo: akeveryday

The chunky body, elongated nose, and spectacular coloration make the Emerald Cory among the most desirable kinds of catfish. In fact, this is one of the biggest Corydoras that grow up to 4 inches. 

As such, a 30-gallon tank will be needed to help them move around comfortably. Coming to the ideal aquarium conditions, Emerald Corys prefer neutral to acidic water, but they can also easily adapt to varying chemistries, provided the temperatures remain within the range of 78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientific Name:Brochis splendens
Origin:South America
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Clear, Green, White
Temperature:72-79° F 
Minimum Tank Size:30 gallons

Sterba’s Corydoras

Photo: n0r1z0

The bright pectoral spines and delicate reticulate patterns make it easier to identify the Corydoras sterbai. Earlier, they were expensive, but today, aquarists can get them from a pet store without burning a hole in their pockets. 

Now, the original specimens of this catfish were sensitive to ammonia and nitrates. That’s why it’s better to breed tank-raised fish as they are hardier and more than willing to spawn in less than ideal conditions. They will grow up to 2 ½ inches even in alkaline water, but acidic, soft water conditions ensure better breeding responses.

Scientific Name:Corydoras sterbai
Origin:Brazil, South America, Upper Rio Guapore
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Black, Tan, Yellow
Temperature:70-77° F 
Minimum Tank Size:30 gallons

Leopard Cory Catfish

Photo: torinointegrazione

Most commonly known as the Three Stripe Corydoras, the Leopard Cory Catfish is a peaceful fish species that can grow for 2 to 3 years. It’s characterized by its pale grey silvery color and narrow dark stripes almost resembling a leopard. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so popular in the aquarium community.

In fact, breeding this fish species is easy – all you have to do is feed them well with tablets and sinking pellets. The diet should also be supplemented by freeze-dried and live fish food like worms.

Scientific Name:Corydoras julii, Synonym Corydoras leopardus
Origin:South America: Central Amazon River basin
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Silvery Gray
Temperature:72-79° F 
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons


Can You Mix Different Types Of Cory Fish?

Ideally, Corydoras are peaceful and social types of catfish that prefer their own kind. But it’s possible to mix different types of Cory fish in a big aquarium – just get three to six of each species, be it Panda, Sterbai, Albino, or Peppered Cory fish.

How Many Corys Should I Keep In One Tank?

You can keep up to eight Cory Catfish in a small or average-sized fish tank. Start by adding one fish per gallon; refrain from adding multiple fish at the same time in a new aquarium. 

A larger fish tank of over 30 gallons will be sufficient for breeding more than 12 Corys. Just keep in mind that they should be kept in groups of 5 or 6.

What Types Of Cory Catfish Do Well In Hard Water?

Cory Catfish can survive in hard water provided you maintain the ideal temperature conditions and pH levels (6.0 to 8.0). Most commonly, Bronze Corys remain quite active despite the hard water parameters. However, they fail to thrive compared to soft water conditions. 

Is It Possible For Two Different Types Of Cory Catfish To Mate?

Yes, two different types of Cory Catfish can mate. That’s why it’s important to make a careful choice while keeping a variety of Corys together for interbreeding. 


That brings us to the end of our list, and it’s time for us to bid you farewell.

But before that, we’d like to leave you with a few pro tips. Now, as popular and desirable aquarium fish with a peaceful temperament, most types of Corys are easy to breed. In fact, you can keep more than one kind of this catfish in your aquarium and breed them in groups.

Just make sure you refrain from having Barbs and Cichlids as their tankmates. It’s better to keep Angelfish, Mollies, Fancy Guppies, Gouramis, and Platies instead. Also, pay attention to their diet – in addition to sinking pellets and tablets, provide them with live and frozen foods to grow well.

That’s all there is to know about the different types of Cory Catfish. We’ll be back soon with more informative guides on other freshwater fish types. Till then, take care.