10 Best Cory Catfish You Have to Try
Corydoras catfish are one of our favorite bottom dwellers because of their peaceful personality, useful cleaning abilities, and adorable appearance. There are many species of cory catfish. They come in all sizes and prices. Here are 10 of our favorite corys, in no particular order.
1. Sterbai cory (Corydoras sterbai)
This cory is the most popular because of its polka-dotted stripes and orange fins. They are great tank mates for most community aquariums and are often kept with discus because of their tolerance for higher temperatures. As with most corys on this list, they can live in a wide range of water parameters and enjoy pH levels of 6.6-8.0.
A healthy corydora is one that gets enough food. Corydoras are fast-moving fish that eat everything at the surface of the water. However, corys will only eat food that falls to the bottom. So feed them sinking wafers and frozen bloodworms. Their bellies may become round and fat and they might start to lay eggs and reproduce.
2. Pygmy cory (Corydoras pygmaeus)
These tiny cory catfish are perfect for nano tanks that need smaller bottom dwellers. This silvery-gray (2.5 cm) catfish features a horizontal black line running down the sides. Sometimes they get confused with Corydoras Habrosus, a smaller cory with a horizontal line of black that runs down the side.
Keep corydoras happy and safe by having six or more corydoras of the same species. They don’t like to mix with other species because they want to be part of a large group. You’ll be able to see their natural and active behavior the more species you have. Pygmy corydoras get along just fine with other peaceful nano fish, but if you put them in a species-only tank (with no shrimp, snails, or other types of fish), they may breed as a colony, especially if the aquarium has tons of live plants and cover.
3. Barbatus cory or bearded cory (Scleromystax barbatus)
Want to keep a cold water tank that doesn’t use an aquarium heater? The bearded Cory can be kept at room temperatures as low as 67F (19 degreesC). It can grow to 3-3/4 inches (9-9 cm) in length and has a black-spotted pattern with a golden stripe running down its snout. To encourage breeding, lower the pH and soften the water with lots of leaf litter. These special catfish sell for $30 each. Therefore, we recommend barbatus Corys for advanced keepers.
4. Orange laser corydoras (Corydoras sp. CW010)
While most corydoras are neutral in color, such as brown, white, or black, this cory is distinguished by its bright orange stripe down its back. The orange laser cory, aside from its striking appearance and easy care requirements, is a simple fish to maintain like all corys. They do cost more than the average corydoras at $15 to $20, so they might be a fun fish to breed for profit. You can breed them as a colony in a heavily planted tank with dense foliage like java moss, or you can remove the eggs to raise the fry in a separate tank.
5. Panda corydoras (Corydoras panda)
This extremely popular species has two very attractive qualities – it stays small at 2 inches (5 cm) long and its pattern looks like a black and white panda. Unlike many cories that must be kept in larger tanks, the panda cory can work well in 10- to 20-gallon aquariums (although more space is always better). They cost about $7 each, so get a school of at least six of them for $42. As long as you provide plenty of worms or other meaty food for them, they shouldn’t pose any problems.
6. Albino corydoras (Corydoras aeneus)
The albino version is one of most common corys to be found in every pet shop. They are easy to breed and can produce hundreds upon batches of eggs. It is a great choice for beginners as it comes with a low price. However, many people only purchase one or two albino Corydoras. Albino cory is a schooling fish and will appreciate having at least five to six of the same-species companions. Expect the adults to reach up to 2.5-2.75 inches (6-7 cm) in size with bubbly personalities that are enjoyable to watch. If you don’t enjoy the albino, pink coloration, the bronze version of this species is also available.
7. Julii corydoras (Corydoras trilineatus)
The common pet store name for this catfish may be misleading. It is actually known as the false corydoras julii, three-line cory, or leopard Cory. The true Corydoras julii is a lot rarer in the aquarium hobby, but we still love this beautiful lookalike. Corydoras trilineatus is one of our best sellers because of the black squiggly lines all over its body and the horizontal stripe running down its side. Keep them in groups of six or more. This species can tolerate temperatures down to 70 degrees F (21 degrees C), so it can live with coldwater fish like dojo loaches and hillstream loaches.
8. Similis cory or violet cory (Corydoras similis)
The violet cory got its name for the smudged spot near the base of its tail that ranges from dusty purple to dark gray. The rest of the body and head are light-colored and covered in tiny dots. It grows to 1.5 inches (3.8cm) and has a more round face than its long-nosed cousin Corydoras myastigma. Although the species is mostly captive bred nowadays, it is not often seen in pet stores because of the $15 price tag per fish. You can think of it as a deluxe panda cory. It’s roughly the same size, similar behavior, but rarer and more expensive.
9. Hognose brochis (Brochis multiradiatus)
The hognose brochis are the perfect choice if you want a large-sized corydoras. Growing to just shy of 3.5-4 inches (9-10 cm), this chunky catfish has a long, hog-like snout and an astounding 17 rays in its long dorsal fin. This makes it a good tank mate, especially for angelfishes, blood parrot cichlids and angelfish. They are expensive at $25-30 per fish and do not appear to be able to breed well in captivity. However, this shiny, dark green bottom dweller is quite the beauty and would make a great, peaceful addition for bigger aquariums.
10. Peppered cory (Corydoras paleatus)
We couldn’t end this list without talking about the peppered corydoras and its high contrast pattern of dark and light splotches. Similar to the barbatus, it can survive in cooler water temperatures of 68°F (20°C). It can also grow up 3 inches (7 cm), in length. Because of its cheaper $5 price and ease of care, the peppered cory is an excellent entry-level species for anyone wanting to try their first corydoras.
Cory catfish are loved by everyone because they can be found in many different varieties and can get along with almost all peaceful fish. For information on how to get corydoras online, please visit our Live Fish page.