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 hundreds of species of cory catfish that all have different sizes, prices, looks, preferred water parameters, and 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.
A healthy corydora is one that gets enough food. Fast-moving fish often gobble everything up at the water surface but corys only eat what falls to the bottom, so feed them sinking wafers, frozen bloodworms, and live blackworms. If their bellies are large and fat they may begin to breed and lay eggs for you.
2. Pygmy cory (Corydoras pygmaeus)
If you have a nano tank that needs some smaller bottom dwellers, you can’t go wrong with these tiny cory catfish. This silvery-gray (2.5 cm) catfish features a horizontal black line running down the sides. Sometimes they get confused with Corydoras Habrosus, a smaller cory with a horizontal line of black that runs down the 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 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 baratus).
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. You can encourage breeding by lowering the pH and adding lots of leaf litter to the water. 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)
Most corydoras have neutral colors like black, white, and brown, but this cory gets its name from the vivid orange stripe running down its back. The orange laser cory, aside from its striking appearance and easy care requirements, is a simple fish to maintain like all corys. They are more expensive than most corydoras (between $15 and $20), but they can be profitable. You can breed them as a colony in a heavily planted tank with dense foliage like java moss, or you can remove the eggs to raise the fry in a separate tank.
5. Panda corydoras (Corydoras panda)
The two most attractive features of this popular species are its small size (at 2 inches, 5 cm), and the fact that it looks like a black 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. This cute little catfish is easy to care for as long as it gets plenty of worms, meaty food, and other healthy 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. This is one of the most affordable corydoras beginners can buy, although many only own one or two albinocorydoras. Albino cory is a schooling fish and will appreciate having at least five to six of the 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)
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 Trilineatus is a popular choice because of its black lines and horizontal stripe down its side. You should keep them in a small group of six to eight. 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 cory or violet cory (Corydoras similis)
The violet cory’s name comes from the dark grey-colored smudge at the base its tail. It can range in color from dusty purple and dark gray. The rest of the body and head are light-colored and covered in tiny dots. It grows to 1.5 inches (3.8cm) and has a more round face than its long-nosed cousin Corydoras myastigma. It is usually kept in captivity, but it is rare to see in pet shops due to the $15 price per fish. 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)
The hognose brochis are the perfect choice if you want a large-sized corydoras. This chunky catfish grows to about 3.5-4 inches (9-10cm) and has an impressive 17-ray dorsal fin. It is a great tank mate for angelfish, blood parrot and angelfish cichlids, as well as other large, docile fish with big mouths that can eat smaller corys. The biggest downsides are that they retail for $25 to $30 each and they do not seem to readily breed 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. 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. 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 loved by everyone because they can be found in many different varieties and can get along with almost all peaceful fish. To get your own corydoras, visit our Live Fish page to see a listing of our favorite online fish retailers.