13 Types Of Corydoras (& How To Care For Them)

Corydoras are freshwater catfish found throughout South America that make good cleaners for aquarium tanks. In this article, we describe thirteen different species of corydoras that range in size and coloring but are all fairly hardy and easy to take care of.

We’ll list the tank requirements including size, pH, water hardness, and temperature to keep your corydoras happy. We’ve also included diet and habitat preferences to ensure that the corydoras species you choose can live their best aquarium life.

A Quick List of the Different Corydoras Types

  • Bronze Corydoras
  • Bluespotted (Black Sail) Corydoras
  • Pygmy Corydoras
  • Panda Corydoras
  • Sterba’s Corydoras
  • Arched (Skunk) Corydoras
  • Peppered Corydoras
  • Elegant Corydoras
  • False Bandit Corydoras
  • Flagtail Corydoras
  • Leopard Corydoras
  • Schwartz’s Corydoras
  • Agassizi Corydoras

What Are the Different Types of Corydoras?

Bronze Corydoras

Bronze corydoras are a bronze color, as their name indicates, with two large darker patches on their dorsal side. This particular species also comes in an albino version that is pale white with red eyes. 

They can be timid so plants are essential to provide hiding places for them. Sand or rounded gravel is the best substrate to use for the bottom of the tank so as not to irritate their underbellies. Bronze corydoras will eat algae but prefer live food including brine shrimp, blackworms, bloodworms, and daphnia.

They are a very hardy species that is easy to take care of and one of the most common species of corydoras kept in aquarium tanks. They are not picky about water hardness and prefer slightly acidic and warm waters.

  • Care level: Easy 
  • pH: 5.8 to 7.0
  • Hardness: 2 to 30
  • Temperature: 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 2.5 inches
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons

Bluespotted (Black Sail) Corydoras

Bluespotted or black sail corydoras are white with black spots of various sizes covering its body. The dorsal fin is usually mostly black and they sport a rounded snout. They have delicate whiskers called barbels on their snout so a fine sand substrate is preferable to avoid damaging these. They also enjoy lots of shade, thus equipping the tank with lots of aquarium plants is a must. 

They will feed on plant matter and algae that grow in the substrate, but they also like flake and pellet fish food as well as live or frozen brine shrimp and worms. Bluespotted corydoras are also easy to manage and prefer neutral pH waters that may vary in hardness from soft to moderately hard. 

  • Care level: Easy
  • pH: 6.0 to 7.0
  • Hardness: 2 to 15
  • Temperature: 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons

Pygmy Corydoras

As their name suggests, pygmy corydoras are among the smallest species of corydoras reaching just over an inch in maximum length. They are grayish in color with a white over black stripe that runs the length of their sides. They are very social fish, so the more conspecifics that inhabit the tank, the happier they will be.

They enjoy eating frozen insect larvae, brine shrimp, and bloodworms, as well as pellet, flakes, and algae wafers. However, be sure to break up the food so that the chunks are small enough to fit in the pygmy corydoras’ mouth. They prefer slightly acidic waters that may vary in hardness and warm water temperatures. 

  • Care level: Easy 
  • pH: 6.5 to 6.9
  • Hardness: 4 to 16
  • Temperature: 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons

Panda Corydoras

Panda corydoras are white to slightly pink with three distinctive black splotches: one around the eyes, one covering the dorsal fin, and one at the base of the tail. Like most corydoras, this species thrives best with sandy or fine gravel substrate and requires lots of shady hiding places that can be accommodated by the addition of rocks, caves, driftwood, or floating aquarium plants.

Panda corydoras will eat food that has fallen to the bottom of the tank but they also require a decent variety of live and frozen foods such as daphnia, bloodworms, and brine shrimp. Similar to other corydoras species, the panda corydoras prefer slightly acidic and soft to moderately hard water. This particular type, however, is used to slightly cooler tropical waters so their maintenance can be a bit more challenging.

  • Care level: Medium
  • pH: 6.0 to 7.0
  • Hardness: 2 to 12
  • Temperature: 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons

Sterba’s Corydoras

Sterba’s corydoras sport a wide body that is white in color with zebra stripes made up of tiny black dots all over its body. They have a blunt snout with long barbels for digging. Since it is used to the shaded jungle riverbeds of its native Brazilian Rio Guarpore, it needs lots of aquarium plants and prefers a fine sandy substrate. 

Sterba’s corydoras are slightly picky in their food selection and require high-quality flake foods in addition to frozen and live foods. They are similar to most other corydoras in that their optimal water conditions include slightly acidic to neutral pH, a range of soft to moderately hard water hardness, but can tolerate much warmer temperatures than some of their corydoras counterparts. 

  • Care level: Easy 
  • pH: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Hardness: 3 to 15
  • Temperature: 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 2.5 inches
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons

Arched (Skunk) Corydoras

Arched or skunk corydoras are white with a dull black stripe that extends from the snout, encompassing the eye, and over the dorsal side all the way back to the tail. It is easy to tell if these fish are stressed because the black stripe pales. It has a very rounded snout with long barbels. 

Like most corydoras, it requires sandy substrate and lots of aquarium plants and places to hide. 

Arched corydoras are scavengers and great at gobbling up leftover food that sinks to the bottom of the tank. They also love to eat live brine shrimp and bloodworms. This species can tolerate a wider range of water hardness and pH than other corydoras species making them very hardy. 

  • Care level: Easy
  • pH: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Hardness: 2 to 25
  • Temperature: 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Tank Size: 15 gallons

Peppered Corydoras

Peppered corydoras is a light dull green with random splotches of dark green all over its body. The fins are usually clear, with the tail sporting faint spots and males possess a more pointed and larger dorsal fin than females. They are bottom dwellers that prefer lots of aquarium plants and require a fine sandy substrate so as not to damage their delicate barbels.

Sinking food pellets and frequent feedings of frozen or live insect larvae, worms, and shrimp make up a well-balanced diet for peppered corydoras. They prefer softer water and slightly acidic waters but can tolerate smaller tank sizes than other corydoras because they generally do not grow larger than two inches in length. 

  • Care level: Medium
  • pH: 6.0 to 7.0
  • Hardness: 0 to 12
  • Temperature: 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Tank Size: 15 gallons

Elegant Corydoras

Elegant corydoras sport silver bodies with black designed patterns unique to each fish. Females are slightly rounder than males in order to accommodate egg-bearing. They thrive with sandy or rounded gravel substrates in the bottom of the tank and appreciate at least a few aquarium plants for shelter. 

Elegant corydoras will graze on algae growing on the substrate but prefer flake food along with blackworms and brine shrimp. Like most corydoras, their optimal water conditions include slight acidic pH, soft to moderately hard water hardness, and fairly warm water temperatures. 

  • Care level: Easy
  • pH: 6.0 to 7.2
  • Hardness: 2 to 12
  • Temperature: 71 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Tank Size: 20 gallons

False Bandit Corydoras

False bandit corydoras sport an off-white body with black spots, a black stripe running dorsally from head to tail, and a wide vertical black band from the top of its head, encompassing the eye, to the base of its pectorals. Fine sandy substrate is a must and they enjoy driftwood or leaf litter shelters to mimic their native Amazonian habitats. 

False bandits mostly eat algae wafers and various vegetable bits but do need supplemental insect larvae, small crustaceans, and bloodworms. They relish acidic waters but not large swings in pH. They also require a lot of oxygenation and do not tolerate nitrite so adequate air pumps and filtration systems are necessary for their tanks. 

  • Care level: Easy 
  • pH: 4.0 to 7.0
  • Hardness: 2 to 25
  • Temperature: 68 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Tank Size: 20 gallons

Flagtail Corydoras

Flagtail corydoras are white with black stripes and especially notable horizontal striping patterns on their tails – hence their name. They do not need some aquarium plants, but are very social so it’s important to make sure they can be seen through the glass of the tank. 

They are great scavengers and will eat any leftover food that falls to the bottom of the tank as well as sinking food pellets and algae wafers. They prefer neutral pH waters, soft to moderately water hardness, and fairly warm water temperatures. 

  • Care level: Easy
  • pH: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Hardness: 5 to 12
  • Temperature: 70 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 3 inches
  • Tank Size: 20 gallons

Leopard Corydoras

Leopard corydoras are silver-white with black leopard-like markings all over its body. It has a very rounded, blunt snout with small barbels. They prefer fine gravel or sandy substrates with good water flow for oxygenation and floating hiding places like leaf litter or driftwood. 

They will eat food particles that fall to the bottom of the tank as well as any decaying plant matter, but also require sinking food pellets and live crustaceans, insects, and worms. They are very tolerant of a wide range of water hardness, pH, and water temperatures (in the warm range), so are very easy to manage and great for beginners. 

  • Care level: Easy
  • pH: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Hardness: 2 to 25
  • Temperature: 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 2.5 inches
  • Tank Size: 20 gallons

Schwartz’s Corydoras

Schwartz’s corydoras are pale in color with black stripes made of varying size spots that run laterally down their bodies. Their fins are clear and snouts are rounded, with prominent white barbels. 

It is best to imitate their Amazonian origins by filling the bottom of the tank with sandy substrate and adorning it with leaf litter and driftwood. This species is not used to aquatic plants so sticking with free-floating forms of shelter is preferable. 

Schwartz’s corydoras require a high-quality sinking food pellet supplemented with frozen and live artemia, bloodworms, and daphnia for a well-balanced diet. These corydoras have a tighter temperature tolerance range than most but can thrive in a fair range of slightly acidic to slightly basic as well as soft and hard water hardness. 

  • Care level: Easy
  • pH: 6.5 to 7.8
  • Hardness: 2 to 20
  • Temperature: 72 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 3 inches
  • Tank Size: 20 gallons

Agassizi Corydoras

Agassizi corydoras are silvery white with a distinctive black spotted pattern that groups spots on the dorsal side and creates a lateral line running through the middle of the body from operculum to tail. The fins are clear, but the tail also sports black-spotted lines. They do best with sandy substrates to avoid damaging their barbels and lots of hiding places provided by aquarium plants. 

This species loves to eat sinking algae pellets as well as flake food, but their diet should also be supplemented with live brine shrimp and bloodworms. They thrive in slightly acidic waters that vary in hardness from soft to moderately hard with temperatures in the warmer range. 

  • Care level: Easy
  • pH: 5.8 to 7.0
  • Hardness: 2 to 12
  • Temperature: 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Size: 3.5 inches
  • Tank Size: 30 gallons

FAQs

How Many Species of Corydoras Are There?

To date, there are over 170 named species of corydoras, the freshwater catfish. There are most likely more species that are yet to be named, however, due to the prevalence of this family of fishes throughout South America. It is thought that there are at least 100 species that have been discovered but not yet identified. 

Can You Keep Different Corydoras Together?

Corydoras are a fairly non-aggressive type of fish and will cohabitate with corydoras from different species. However, they will not school together so it’s important to have at least two of each kind so that a singular species does not stress out from lack of socialization. It is also important to have an aquarium tank large enough for each species to school separately. 

What Are the Best Corydoras?

The best corydoras to purchase for your aquarium are ones that can withstand a wide range of water parameters, are easy to care for, and are not picky in their diets. Bronze and peppered corydoras are two of the most commonly kept species because of their low maintenance. 

Pygmy corydoras are also very easy to care for considering their small size, as long as you keep them in larger numbers. 

 Which Corydoras Are the Most Expensive?

The most expensive corydoras species are the ones that are the rarest to find in the wild including Evelyn’s corydoras, Panzerwels corydoras, and the Peru Black corydoras. They do not show up in the ornamental fish market too often and are sold fairly quickly because of their high demand. 

Do Corydoras Clean the Tank?

Corydoras are bottom feeders that will eat algae growing on the substrate as well as uneaten food particles that sink to the bottom of the tank. They are very efficient tank cleaners as such and some even go so far as to “dig” through the substrate to acquire fallen bits of leftover food. 

How Many Corydoras Should Be Kept Together?

Corydoras are very social within their own species and it’s best to have at least five individuals per species kept in a tank. They tend to school with their own species and can become stressed out if they are left without conspecifics. Ensuring enough space for all the corydoras you may house is also important to prevent overcrowding.

(Find out about 12 more great aquarium catfish.)

Recap

Corydoras come in many different varieties; in fact, there are over 170 named species and at least 100 more yet to be named. They all hail from South America and most tend to prefer slightly acidic to neutral pH, warmer water temperatures, and soft to moderately hard water hardness. Most species enjoy having shelter spots provided by floating driftwood and leaf litter or rooted aquarium plants.

Since corydoras are social beings, its best to keep at least five of each species you choose to purchase and be sure to provide additional nutrition on top of the algae and leftover food they’ll scavenge from the bottom of the tank. All in all, this family of freshwater catfish are fairly low maintenance and will help you keep your aquarium tank clean.

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