By Sameer Gudhate*

Cory Catfish, also known in the hobby as Cory Cats, Cory Fish, and Corydoras Catfish, are very popular freshwater fish. It is a passive novice fish with a great deal of character. Corydoras are the most popular community fish because they’re so happy-go-lucky, easy to breed, and helpful as a clean-up crew. Cory Catfish are often described as armoured catfish, due to their plates of bone-like material running the length of their bodies. Their cheerful demeanour and sympathetic habit of regularly cleaning bottom of the tank makes them a perfect addition to any community aquarium.

This genus of South American catfish includes more than 160 species, with several hundred more that are waiting to be classified. With so many other species of Corydoras out there, though, choosing the right one could seem awe-inspiring. Here we take a closer look at ten of the finest Cory species…

1. Sterbaicory (Corydorassterbai)

This is a striking cory, and a large school in a large planted tank makes a magnificent display. It has been popular since it was introduced. Lone specimens are sad shadows of healthy individuals kept in groups, and the comical antics of a school of Cory cats can entertain for hours. The most striking feature of this species is the bright gold colour on pectoral spines, highlighting this beautiful fish with a warm glow. These fish are most active at night, so feeding once before lights out is typically enough. Though they can easily be persuaded to feed during the day. Since they are slower eaters, they should be allowed at least 30 minutes to consume their food.

  • Maximum Size: 2.7 inches
  • Temperature Range: 70–77°F
  • pH Range: 5.8–8.0
  • Level of Care: Easy
  • Tankmates: Similar-sized fish, peaceful species.

2. Peppered Cory (Corydoraspaleatus)

Peppered Corys are perhaps the most commonly kept from the family. An undisputed top choice of many, they are extremely tough and simple to really care for – ideal for first-time fish-keepers. Their curious, considerate nature quickly makes them charming fish.

This Cory species is also one of the easiest to breed in captivity – making them a good choice for the breeding fanatics too. They are fairly easy to sex owing to their minor difference in size – males only reach a maximum of 2.5 inches long, whereas females can often reach 3 inches. Feeding of live foods such as blood worms can help encourage engagement, but preferably, a dedicated breeding tank is suggested for the maximum success rate in raising their offspring.

  • Maximum Size – Males 2.5 inches, Females 3 inches
  • Temperature range: 72–78°F
  • pH range: 6.0–7.0
  • Level of Care: Easy
  • Tankmates: Other easy-going, community species

3. Bronze Cory (Corydorasaeneus)

Also, known in the hobby as Green Corydoras, the Bronze Corydoras has shimmering bright green rims on its otherwise pinkish body. An even-tempered catfish, they will blossom in any well-kept aquarium of a 20 Gallon capacity or more, as long as they have tankmates of their kind. An appealing and engaging peculiarity about all Corydoras is their comical habit of ‘blinking.’ The actual fact is that they are merely turning their eyes towards the bottom of the tank and then swiftly back up again. This is specifically apparent in this species, as their basic markings make their eyes more noticeable than some of the other Corys.

  • Maximum Size: 3 inches
  • Temperature range: 72–80 °F
  • pH range: 5.5–7.5
  • Level of Care: Easy
  • Tankmates: Peaceful, community species

4. Emerald Green Cory (Corydorassplendens)

This species has only of late been reclassified as a true Corydora and is just known as the ‘Emerald Catfish.’ It is the leading member of the genus that is easily available in any local aquarium store. It is a gentle giant, nevertheless, will get along with most other schooling species, including other Corys. Like any other Corydoras members, it will endure with most of the substrates, including regular aquarium gravel. Their real favourite, though, is aquarium sand as it matches the slow-moving tributaries and river bed situations from where they originate in South America. With a moderate level of care and with a good tank space, this catfish can live up to 12–13 years. Undoubtedly, one of the longest-lived members of the genus!

  • Maximum Size: 3.5 inches
  • Temperature Range: 68–82°F
  • pH Range: 5.8–8.0
  • Level of Care: Easy
  • Tankmates: Any reasonably friendly companions

5. Bandit Cory (Corydorasmetae)

Bandit Corys have a distinct magnetism of their own. With that enigmatic black stripe across their eyes, they have earned for themselves this demonstrative name that is certainly nothing to do with their temperament! They are likewise as tranquil and placid as the other members of their genus. An additional black stripe runs all the way from their tail base to their very prominent dorsal fin, giving a somewhat illustrious look. This is a minor member of the genus, and they also need marginally more specific temperature and pH requirements compared with some other species, making them less suitable for a beginner.

  • Maximum Size: 2 inches
  • Temperature Range: 72–79°F
  • pH: 6.5–7.0
  • Level of Care: Easy – Intermediate

Tankmates: Other smaller, peaceful schooling fish

6. Pygmy Cory (Corydoraspygmaeus)

This distinctive species of Corydoras is the smallest of the subfamily. Being just 1-inch long at maturity, they make a fantastic choice if someone is looking for a school of catfish in a small aquarium. Even a 50-litre tank is good enough to house 6 of these, so long as the aquarium has an adequate surface area. It is vital on the other hand that they are kept only with other peaceful species. Boisterous tankmates, with a probing habit of inhabiting mid-water may make them susceptible to other inhabitants of that layer.

  • Maximum Size: 1.3 inches
  • Temperature Range: 70–78°F
  • pH: 6.5–7.5
  • Level of Care: Intermediate
  • Tankmates: Be sure to accommodate only the peaceful ones.

7. Panda Cory (Corydoras panda)

As the most handsome member of the family, this cory variety is gracefully bejewelled with black patches around their eyes, which has gained them their popular name. This catfish requires somewhat more skill from the fishkeeper as they prefer a softly lit environment and a cautiously designed out bottom. Abundant of hiding places and preferably some thick vegetation will safeguard this shy catfish and make it feel safe and at ease. It is friendly with its kind and also seems to appreciate the close company of clown loaches. To keep them in the finest state of health, regular servings of bloodworm or brine shrimp will help keep them looking at their greatest.

  • Maximum Size: 2.5 inches
  • Temperature Range: 68–79°F
  • pH: 5.8–7.0
  • Level of Care: Intermediate
  • Tankmates: Other gentle schooling species

8. Three Stripe Cory (Corydorastrilineatus)

Often mislabelled in shops as Julii Cory, this kind of cory is far more commonly available than Julii Cory. The true Julii has more distinctive spots whereas the Three Stripe Cory has constant, twisty markings, with three stripes. It is a very beautiful catfish on its own and certainly deserves eclectic praise. This is another very under-demanding Cory variety, which simply needs basic minimum level of care. But in return, the tank’s substrate will remain to the optimum clean level as these play an important role as living vacuum cleaners in a community aquarium.

  • Maximum Size: 2.5 inches
  • Temperature Range: 72–78 °F
  • pH: 5.8–7.2
  • Level of Care: Easy
  • Tankmates: Other peaceful community species.

9. Skunk Cory (Corydorasarcuatus)

The Skunk Cory Cat adds a splash of drama to any home aquarium. Also known as Sands’ Cory Cat, Corydorasarcuatus is active, yet peaceful, especially when kept in small schools. Though other members of the Corydoras genus boast black stripes over their eyes and down the back, the back stripe of this Skunk Cory Cat splits just before the tail and trails down to colour the lower edge of the caudal fin. An uncommon behavioural trait of this species, as with other Corys, is their sporadic impromptu dash to water’s surface to gulp air. This evolutionary reworking helps to survive in stationary waters during periods of little rain in their natural habitat. This is normal and should be of no cause for concern about the water quality.

  • Maximum Size: 2 inches
  • Temperature Range: 72–79°F
  • pH Range: 6.8–7.5
  • Level of Care: Easy
  • Tankmates: Other peaceful community species.

10. Albino Cory (Corydoraspaleatus)

Albino Cory Catfish is sometimes called the Armored Catfish as it’s armoured as an alternative of scaled, nevertheless, it isn’t the true problematic Armored Catfish. The Albino Cory catfish has a white-coloured physique that may vary in tone and pink to gentle crimson eyes. It is a classic scavenger and will inhabit and feed on the aquarium floor, which should be comprised of sand or smooth gravel. Very coarse substrate can damage its delicate barbels and underbelly. The Albino Cory is a superb addition to a freshwater group aquarium. They don’t develop very massive so they could be put in a smaller tank with ease. Albino Cory is very full of life and is pleasant, which makes them attention-grabbing to observe.

  • Maximum Size: 2 inches
  • Temperature Range: 70–75°F
  • pH Range: 5.5–7.2
  • Level of Care: Easy
  • Tankmates: Other peaceful community species.

In their natural background of shallow South American river margins, streams, and ponds, many different members of the Corydoras family group together quite happily, and all of the members mentioned here will do the same in a community aquarium without any problems. The Golden Rule is to always accommodate a minimum of six of any one species of Cory in the aquarium.

Whichever Cory from the wide variety of corydoras you choose, you will not make a mistake. They are hardy, interesting, and – above everything else – easy to keep. These feats are among the main reasons these species are so popular, both with novice and experienced aquarists.

Good luck and happy fish keeping! 

* The author of this article is an advanced aquarium hobbyist with an Aquarium at his place even before his birth. Today he promotes the pet keeping hobby apart from maintaining his own aquarium. He can be contacted on +919820270247 or

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