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Fish, Shrimp & Corals


December 13, 2018 | By Tom Sarac

by Tom Sarac

The genus CORYDORAS contains over a hundred and fifty species and is by far the most common of the dwarf armoured catfish that originate from South America.

Many of the species within this genus are easy to breed, and given their cute whiskers and curious active nature, are fittingly a very popular aquarium fish. Most shops will inventory at least a couple of species.

Some species are commercially farmed in North America and Asia. This is a good thing as many of their natural habitats in South America are under commercial pressure as a result of raw resource needs and projects funded by foreign nations, something that all of us without exception can help reduce.

Corys are a peaceful catfish with some interesting colors and patterns. Surely, at least one species should find itself within a peaceful community aquarium.

Should you decide Corydoras catfish are a tropical fish you’d like to keep, take note of these helpful tips:

Keep these fish in groups, a minimum of 3 to 5 fish.

In nature they like to travel and mingle in large schools, therefore mimic at minimum a small group (preferably of the same species) in your aquarium. If your aquarium is over 35 gallons then consider getting 10 of them, you’ll be rewarded with their natural behaviour and possibly some spawning activity.

Corys are bottom dwellers.

Their downturned snouts that are adorned with small whiskers are key in helping them locate food at the bottom of the aquarium. Make sure you nourish these guys accordingly; tubifex worms; small pellet or tablet food; a variety of frozen foods such as glassworms and bloodworms are all eagerly relished. Make sure they get to eat, if it means feeding them after the lights go out then so be it, aggressive fast moving tank mates will deprive them of food, so pay attention to the right mix of fish and ensure they have a chance to feed.

Keep Corys on sand or a maximum 2 to 3 mm diameter smooth gravel.

Their little whiskers which are very important to them do not fare well on sharp edged substrates. Should the diameter of the substrate particles be too large, food will become lodged where they may not be able to reach it.

When setting up their tank allow for an open center area where food will be easily accessible and allow them to band together at times while moving about.

This will allow you to observe corys the way you would in nature. In general, the tank set up should be uncluttered and not a heavily planted.

Preferred temperature range is 23.9°C (75°F) to 26.7°C (80°F).

They do not like temperatures above this range, in the middle of this is best.

Corys are adaptable when it comes to pH and hardness.

They thrive in soft to fairly hard water and can easily take pH values between 6.5 and 7.5. Optimal pH range for many species would be 6.5 to 7 and a carbonate hardness of 2 to 4 dKH.

If you are interested in trying to breed this fish then you will need to be able to determine the difference between male and female.

Looking at the fish from a top looking down perspective you will notice that females are considerably broader across the middle of the body.

Corys are commonly thought of as fish that help keep your tank clean.

This is true and the way they contribute to a cleaner aquarium is due to their rummaging about the bottom of the tank looking for food, debris lifts and is sometimes picked up the filter.


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