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 hundreds upon hundreds of species available. Each one has a different size, price, appearance, preferred water parameters and many more. These are our top 10 corys that we cannot live without.
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. 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.
One of the keys to having healthy corydoras is to make sure they get 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. If their bellies are large and fat they may begin to breed and lay eggs for you.
2. Pygmy cory (Corydoras pygmaeus)
These tiny cory catfish are perfect for nano tanks that need smaller 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.
To keep corydoras feeling safe and happy, get a group of six or more corys that are all of the same species. Different species don’t tend to comingle because they prefer to be in a large school of their own kind. 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 baratus).
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). The bearded cory can grow up to 3-3.5 inches (9-9 cm), and it has a black spotted pattern, with a golden stripe running down their snouts. To encourage breeding, lower the pH and soften the water with lots of leaf litter. These catfish are rare and fetch a premium of $30 per piece. We recommend barbatus corys for more experienced 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. Other than its striking appearance, the orange laser cory is an easy fish to keep like most corys and does not have any special care 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). They cost about $7 each, so get a school of at least six of them for $42. You shouldn’t have too many problems with this cute, little catfish as long as they get spoiled with plenty of worms and other meaty foods.
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. Albino cory is a schooling fish and will appreciate having at least five to six of the same-species companions. The adults will grow to be between 2.5-2.75 inches (6-6 cm) in length and have bubbly personalities that make them fun to observe. You can also choose the standard bronze species if you don’t like the albino or whitish pink coloration.
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 a popular choice because of its black lines and horizontal stripe down its side. Keep them in groups of six or more. This species can also tolerate temperatures as low as 70°F (21°C). It can be kept with coldwater fish such hillstream loaches or dojo loaches.
8. Similis or violet cory (Corydoras similes)
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 its head and body is light-colored and covered with tiny dots. It is a smaller species, measuring 1.5 inches (3.8cm) in length. It has a rounder face than its long-nosed cousin Corydoras ourastigma. It is usually kept in captivity, but it is rare to see in pet shops due to the $15 price 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)
If you are looking for a corydora-sized fish, the hognose Brochis might be the one for you. This chunky catfish grows to about 3.5-4 inches (9-10cm) and has an impressive 17-ray 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)
The peppered corydoras is a high-contrast pattern of dark and lighter splotches that we couldn’t leave this list without mentioning it. 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. Visit our Live Fish page for a list of our top online fish sellers.