10 Best Cory Catfish You Have to Try
Corydoras catfish is one of our favourite bottom dwellers due to their calm personality, helpful 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)
In terms of popularity, this is the cory that everyone gravitates towards because of their famous polka-dotted, striped pattern 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. Like most corys, they can survive in many water conditions and can tolerate pH levels from 6.6 to 8.2.
A healthy corydora is one that gets enough food. Fast-moving fish will eat anything that is near the surface, but corys will only eat what is at the bottom. Therefore, feed your corydoras sinking wafers as well as frozen bloodworms and live blackworms. Their bellies may become round and fat and they might start to lay eggs and reproduce.
2. Pygmy cory (Corydoras pygmaeus)
These cory catfish will be a great choice for any nano tank looking to add some bottom dwellers. This 1-inch (2.5 cm) catfish has a silvery-gray body with a black horizontal line running down the side. They can sometimes be confused with Corydoras habitrosus, a small cory with a black horizontal line running down its side.
A group of corydoras with six or more members of the same species is best to keep them happy and secure. They don’t like to mix with other species because they want to be part of a large group. The more you have, the more you’ll see their active and natural behavior. 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 live at room temperatures down to 67degF (19degC). 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. Low pH water should be softened and enriched with leaf litter. This will encourage breeding. These special catfish sell for $30 each. Therefore, we recommend barbatus Corys for advanced keepers.
4. Orange laser corydoras (Corydoras sp. CW010)
Corydoras tend to be neutral-colored, with browns, whites, and blacks. However, this cory’s name comes from the bright orange stripe that runs down its back. It is easy to care for and maintain, with no special requirements. They are more expensive than most corydoras (between $15 and $20), but they can be profitable. They can be raised in a colony in a tank with dense foliage such as Java moss or removed from the eggs to raise 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). A school of six or more will cost you $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)
One of the most commonly available corys found in almost every pet store is the albino version of the aeneus cory. Because they are so easy to breed, and can produce hundreds per batch, they cost only $2.50 to $5 each. The budget-friendly price tag makes it one of the first corydoras that beginners take home, but people often only buy one or two albino corydoras. As a schooling fish, your albino cory will thank you if you get at least five to six 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. Finally, if you don’t like the albino, whitish-pink coloration, you can also get the normal bronze variant of this species instead.
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. As always, keep them in a group 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 or violet cory (Corydoras similes)
The name violet cory is derived from the smudged area at the base of its tail, which ranges in color from dark gray to dusty purple. The rest of its head and body is light-colored and covered with tiny dots. It grows to 1.5 inches (3.8cm) and has a more round face than its long-nosed cousin Corydoras myastigma. The $15 per fish price makes it difficult to find this species in pet shops, even though it is a popular captive-bred species. Think of it like the deluxe version of a panda cory – roughly the same size and similar behavior but more uncommon and expensive.
9. Brochis multiradiatus (Hognose brochis)
If you’re looking for the jumbo-sized version of a corydoras, then try the hognose brochis. 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 an ideal tank mate for goldfish, blood parrot cichlids, angelfish, eartheater cichlids, and other larger, docile fish that have mouths big enough to eat smaller corys. 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. It can be kept at 68 degrees F (20 degrees C) and can grow up to 3 inches (7cm) in length, just like the barbatus cory. The peppered cory, which costs $5 and is easy to care for, is a great entry-level species for those who want to start corydoras.
Cory catfish are universally loved because they come in so many varieties and get along with nearly all peaceful fish. For information on how to get corydoras online, please visit our Live Fish page.