Keeping Tropical Fish: How to care for Corydoras

Keeping Tropical Fish: How to care for Corydoras

Corydoras are immensely popular tropical fish for a variety of reasons. There are over a hundred varieties, and they do a fantastic job of sifting through the substrate, consuming left over food. Their small size and peaceful nature make these wonderful little fish the perfect addition to any tropical aquarium.

Corydora / (Corydoras Lacépède)

Origin South America
Aquarium swimming zone Bottom Dweller
Adult Size 2 - 3 inches
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum tank size 20L
Diet Omnivore
Breeding Egg Layer
Life Expectancy 5 Years
Preferred pH 7
Temperature 22 - 27 °C


Where Do Corydoras Come From?

Corydoras were among the earliest fish to be captive bred for aquarium trade and first bred in captivity in Paris in 1878. They were first discovered in the 1830s by legendary scientist, Charles Darwin. They can be found in several South American countries including Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil, where they inhabit rivers and streams.

What Do Corydoras Look Like?

Corydoras are a small species of catfish that can range in size between approx. 1”- 3”, with most types eventually reaching the higher end of the scale. They have an armoured outer body and whiskers round the mouth, typical of catfish species.

There are over a hundred varieties of Corydoras which come in a variety of different colours and patterns. The most common Corydoras in the aquarium hobby are Bronze, Albino and Peppered. Some rarer varieties include:

  • Panda Corydora
  • Julii Corydora
  • Green Corydora
  • Arcuatus Corydora
  • Sterbai Corydora
  • Venezuelan Corydora

We occasionally stock these rarer varieties at Complete Koi and Aquatics HQ. If you are looking for a specific variety its always worth asking in store to see if it can be sourced.

Which Fish Can I Keep My Corydoras With?

Corydoras are very peaceful tropical fish, which thrive in community tanks with other peaceful fish. Although they can be kept singularly, they are generally happier in groups of two or more. If tank size permits, a school of six or more would be ideal.

 As they are non- aggressive by nature, they can be kept with a wide assortment of fish including Angelfish, Mollies, Gouramis, Tetras, Swordtails, Minows and many, many more!

The only rule to bear in mind when selecting tankmates, as with most fish, is not to select a fish that may be able to fit the Corys in their mouths e.g. Large Reed fish/Oscars, as they may attack or eat the Corydoras.

What Do Corydoras Eat?

Corydoras are omnivorous fish (i.e. they eat a mixed diet containing both plant and/or animal matter). By nature, they spend their days scavenging the bottom of the tank, picking up bits of food that has been missed by their tankmates. For this reason they are considered to be part of the clean-up crew in a tropical aquarium. However, they do still need a food source of their own, and this would be best provided in the form of a high quality sinking pellet to ensure it reaches the fish as quickly as possible. It is best to feed sinking aquarium food for Corydoras, once daily or every other day if feeding alongside another staple food.

How To Breed Corydoras?

The best way to begin your breeding journey is to ensure you have both males and females in your tank. Corydoras do not become sexually mature until they are about a year old, at which point they will be around 2.5” in length. Therefore, you will need to wait until this time before trying to breed. Females generally tend to be bigger in body and males smaller and slimmer.

Corydoras are egg laying fish and spawning can be stressful if done prematurely. It is best to breed when there is a group of Corydoras, rather than just a pair (if possible) to reduce the strain on individual fish.

The females will lay eggs onto flat/soft surfaces, such as moss, plants, rocks and ornaments, ready for the males to fertilise. Corydoras may eat their own eggs, in order to control population, or remove eggs they can sense are genetically incorrect. To prevent this you can move the parents or the eggs into a breeding net or hatchery.

Once laid, the eggs should take between 3-5 days to hatch and its possible to get up to 15-20 fry from a single spawning session. For the first day or two, the fry will feed off the yolk sack in their stomach but after this, they will need to be fed, ideally on a high protein food source such as baby brine shrimp or daphnia, twice a day, for 4-8 weeks. At this point they can be assessed and reintroduced to their parents if they are big enough to survive in the main tank and be fed on pellet food as juvenile Corydoras.

How To Care for Corydoras?

A pair of Corydoras should be kept in an aquarium, no smaller than 20l. For larger groups of Corydoras a larger aquarium must be provided to allow them sufficient space for swimming and foraging.

Given Corydoras are bottom dwellers, it is important to provide a thick layer of substrate that they can sift through. They also enjoy exploring so lots of decorations and ornaments can be provided to create plenty of opportunity for this. Plants can also be added to the tank to provide cover and create hiding places for the Corydoras to rest.

Corydoras at Complete Koi and Aquatics

Complete Koi and Aquatics are stockists of some amazing Corydora varieties from Agassizii to Sterbai. They are fantastic tropical fish for all levels of aquarium hobbyist. If you have any further questions on how to care for your Corydoras, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We offer fish health checks and water testing services to aid your success. 

Give us a call or pop over to see us today.

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