10 Best Cory Catfish You Have to Try
Corydoras catsfish are a favorite bottom dweller due to their gentle personality, cleaning skills, and cute appearance. There are hundreds upon hundreds of species available. Each one has a different size, price, appearance, preferred water parameters and many more. Here are 10 of our favorite corys, in no particular order.
1. Sterbai cory (Corydoras sterbai)
Because of their distinctive striped, polkadotted pattern and orange fins, this cory is the most loved. 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. 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 round and fat, they may start breeding and laying 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. 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. Because different species are not likely to comele, they prefer to live in large schools of their own species. The more you have, the more you’ll see their active and natural behavior. 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 live at room temperatures down to 67degF (19degC). 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. You can encourage breeding by lowering the pH and adding lots of leaf litter to the water. This special catfish runs at a higher price around $30 each, so typically we recommend barbatus corys to more advanced 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 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). A school of six or more will cost you $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)
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. It is a great choice for beginners as it comes with a low price. However, many people only purchase one or two albino Corydoras. As a schooling fish, your albino cory will thank you if you get at least five to six 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)
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. 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 or violet cory (Corydoras similes)
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 is a smaller species, measuring 1.5 inches (3.8cm) in length. It has a rounder face than its long-nosed cousin Corydoras ourastigma. Although the species is mostly captive bred nowadays, it is not often seen in pet stores because of the $15 price tag 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)
If you’re looking for the jumbo-sized version of a corydoras, then try the hognose brochis. Growing to just shy of 3.5-4 inches (9-10 cm), this chunky catfish has a long, hog-like snout and an astounding 17 rays in its long 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)
This list would not be complete without mentioning the peppered Corydoras with its striking contrast pattern of light and dark 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. 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 universally loved because they come in so many varieties and get along with nearly all peaceful fish. Visit our Live Fish page for a list of our top online fish sellers.