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. To help narrow down your options, here are our top 10 favorite corys (in no particular order) that we can’t live without.
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. Like most corys, they can survive in many water conditions and can tolerate pH levels from 6.6 to 8.2.
Healthy corydoras can only be achieved by providing 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 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 sometimes get confused with the Corydoras habrosus, another little cory with a horizontal black line that gets a tad bigger and has some additional black polka dots.
Keep corydoras happy and safe by having six or more corydoras of the same species. Because different species are not likely to comele, they prefer to live in large schools of their own species. The more species you have, the more active and natural behaviors you will see. 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 survive at room temperature of 67°F (19°C). Growing up to 3-3.5 inches (7-9 cm) long, it has a black spotted pattern with a golden stripe running down the snout of males. 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)
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 do cost more than the average corydoras at $15 to $20, so they might be a fun fish to breed for profit. They can be bred in a large tank with dense foliage, such as java moss. Or you can take the eggs and raise the fry separately.
5. Panda corydoras (Corydoras panda)
It is a very popular species with two attractive characteristics. It stays small at just 2 inches (5cm) and its pattern looks almost 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). You can get at least six for the price of $7, and they are only $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. Because they are so easy to breed, and can produce hundreds per batch, they cost only $2.50 to $5 each. This is one of the most affordable corydoras beginners can buy, although many only own one or two albinocorydoras. As a schooling fish, your albino cory will thank you if you get at least five to six 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)
This catfish is not commonly known by its common name in pet shops. It’s more correctly called the false julii Corydoras, 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 julii is one of our most popular fish due to its black lines and horizontal stripes running down its sides. You should keep them in a small group of six to eight. 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. Its head and body are light-colored, and are covered in 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. The $15 per fish price makes it difficult to find this species in pet shops, even though it is a popular captive-bred species. It is similar to a panda cory, but with a more rare and expensive price tag.
9. Brochis multiradiatus (Hognose brochis)
If you’re looking for the jumbo-sized version of a corydoras, then try the hognose brochis. This chunky catfish grows to about 3.5-4 inches (9-10cm) and has an impressive 17-ray 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)
This list would not be complete without mentioning the peppered Corydoras with its striking contrast pattern of light and dark 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. 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, which come in many colors and are friendly with most peaceful fish, are loved by all. Visit our Live Fish page for a list of our top online fish sellers.