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

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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!

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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