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A Guide to Corydoras Catfish

Updated on June 10, 2015

Cory Catfish - What are they?

Corydoras catfish have become quite a popular choice for many community aquariums. They are peaceful, hardy, and have interesting personalities. Most cories do not exceed three inches in length, so they are a good choice for smaller aquariums. One thing to keep in mind is that they need to be kept in groups of no less than three, but preferably more. Only then, will they feel comfortable and exhibit their natural behavior which can be quite captivating. They are active fish, which is unusual for bottom-dwelling species. They can be very entertaining to watch as they chase each other around the tank or scavenge the bottom of the tank for food. One interesting characteristic is that they blink their eyes. The cool thing is that they will socialize with different members of the cory family, so as a hobbyist, you can keep several different species of corydoras in the same tank. Also, it is important to keep sand or small-sized gravel as a substrate because cories love to dig around the bottom. If the gravel is too big, they can't dig as easily and can damage the barbels around their mouth. Lastly, while they do like to scavenge the bottom for food, you need to make sure that you are feeding them pellets or wafers that sink to the bottom of the tank if you are keeping them with other fish. There are some great products out there that I have tried. I have listed a few below. If you are looking for a peaceful and active fish to occupy the bottom of your fish tank, give cories a try. They will not disappoint! Check out below for different members of the species. There are quite a few to chose from.

Cory Fish Food

Hikari Sinking Wafers for Pets, 1.76-Ounce
Hikari Sinking Wafers for Pets, 1.76-Ounce

A great product by a great company. It is the perfect food source for bottom-dwelling fish.

 
Omega One Shrimp Sinking Pellets, 2.15 oz.
Omega One Shrimp Sinking Pellets, 2.15 oz.

I have used this product as a treat. It is great for bringing out the best color in your fish.

 
Tetra 16159 TetraColor Tropical Granules, 2.65-Ounce, 250 ml
Tetra 16159 TetraColor Tropical Granules, 2.65-Ounce, 250 ml

Great product that starts off floating, but they will sink pretty quickly allowing every fish to get fed.

 
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Bronze/Emerald Cory (Corydoras Aeneus)

The bronze cory is probably the easiest and cheapest cory to find in your local pet store. It is extremely hardy, and like most cories does well in a community aquarium. They come in three different colored varieties - bronze, green, and albino. You can mix and match them any way you would like. They are a great choice for those who are just starting out as they are very enterntaining and a little more forgiving of beginner's mistakes than other members of its family. Just remember to feed them properly and make sure your gravel is extremely small or sand.

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      Julii Cory (Corydoras Julii)

      The Julii cory may also be labeled as a the leopard cory or the peppered cory. It is very similar in looks to the corydoras trilineatus which may also be labeled under the same name in stores. Personally, this is one of my favorite cory species. The markings on the catfish are very striking, and it is still very hardy making it a suitable choice for beginners. They have tons of personality. Just make sure to keep cories with more than one of their own kind. A group of five to seven can be very entertaining to watch, and you may end up with a breeding pair.

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          Aquarium Decorations - Cories love a well decorated tank!

          Exotic Environments Egyptian Vase Aquarium Ornament
          Exotic Environments Egyptian Vase Aquarium Ornament

          Provides some great hiding places for your cories.

           
          Marina Deco-Wood Ornament, Extra Large
          Marina Deco-Wood Ornament, Extra Large

          It looks really natural and provides a nice cave for your cories to take refuge.

           
          Hydor H2Show Wonders Ornament Kit - Volcano, Red LED
          Hydor H2Show Wonders Ornament Kit - Volcano, Red LED

          A red bubbling volcano makes any aquarium unique. It will make people stop and talk about your tank!

           
          uxcell Fish Tank Aquarium Green Plastic Grass Plants Decoration 6.7" High
          uxcell Fish Tank Aquarium Green Plastic Grass Plants Decoration 6.7" High

          A great medium-sized plant that provides cover and a natural look to your aquarium.

           
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          Peppered Cory (Corydoras Trilineatus)

          The peppered cory is often labeled as two species - corydoras julii or corydoras trilineatus. The differences are small. Trilineatus come from Peru or Ecuador, and Julii originate in Mexico. Trilineatus cory get slightly larger as adults and their spots form lines on the top of their heads. Julii cories spots remain individual on their heads. As far as care, this is another rather hardy and peaceful cory that is suitable for those just starting out with cories. It is a fun fish to watch as long as its basic needs are met.

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              Panda Cory (Corydoras Panda)

              The panda cory is a smaller, attractive member of the cory family. It is obvious how this fish got its name. The black and white markings make it appear like a panda in fish form. This cory is not for beginners. It tends to be more shy than others, and it is much more fussy about water quality. They also are a little more difficult to find and a little pricier than others. It is an attractive fish though, and it is a good candidate to keep with South American dwarf cichlids or tetras. They share the same water parameters, and they all appreciate a well-established tank with frequent water changes. If you have gained some experience, try these guys out as they are very attractive. Just make sure to get a group of them and not a single fish.

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                  Skunk Cory (Corydoras Arcuatus)

                  The skunk cory is a white fish with a black line running from its head to its tail. Just like the panda cory, the skunk cory is a little more difficult to find and little pricier than others. It also is more demanding of high water quality making it not a good choice for beginners. I had a group of these fish in an Amazon biotope tank, and they were beautiful to watch. However, they were the first to let me know if the water was not to their liking. They became much less active, and they would barely eat. A good water change solved the problem, but make sure you are ready to do the same if you choose to keep these fish. They are well worth the effort.

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                      Pygmy Cory (Corydoras Pygmaeus)

                      The pygmy cory is the smallest member of its family. It lives up to its name maxing out at just over an inch in length as an adult. What it lacks in size and color, it makes up for in its overall cuteness factor. A school of these can really captivate onlookers as they swim together up and down the glass. Because of their size, they can be kept in smaller tanks than other species. A group of three to five could be housed in a tank as small as ten gallons. I would not recommend them to beginners due to their extremely small size and susceptibility to bad water quality. Their tankmates should be chosen with care as they can be intimidated by more active fish such as barbs. Also, any large tankmates may look at them as a meal. However, in the right tank, they can keep you entertained for hours.

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                          Some other helpful products in keeping cories...

                          CaribSea Eco-Complete 20-Pound Planted Aquarium, Black
                          CaribSea Eco-Complete 20-Pound Planted Aquarium, Black

                          A small grained substrate like this one is great for cories. It is also great for keeping plants in the tank. I also really like the darker color against the lighter colored cories.

                           
                          Carib Sea ACS05821 Tahitian Moon Sand for Aquarium, 5-Pound
                          Carib Sea ACS05821 Tahitian Moon Sand for Aquarium, 5-Pound

                          Another dark soft sand that is great for cories. It does promote plant growth, but if you aren't keeping live plants, this is much cheaper.

                           
                          Petco White Aquarium Sand, 20 lbs.
                          Petco White Aquarium Sand, 20 lbs.

                          Here is a white sand great for cories.

                           
                          Tetra 16268 AquaSafe Water Conditioner with BioExtract, 8.45-Ounce
                          Tetra 16268 AquaSafe Water Conditioner with BioExtract, 8.45-Ounce

                          Cories are very intolerant of metals found in most tap water. It is important to treat the water added to the tank with a water conditioner like this one.

                           

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