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 upon hundreds of species available. Each one has a different size, price, appearance, preferred water parameters and many more. 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)
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. Like many corys listed on this list they can adapt to different water parameters and can thrive in pH levels from 6.6-8.0.
One of the keys to having healthy corydoras is to make sure they get enough food. Fast-moving fish can eat all the food on the surface, but corys eat only what is at the bottom. You should feed your corydoras sinking and frozen wafers, live blackworms, as well as frozen bloodworms. If their bellies are large and fat they may begin to lay eggs and reproduce.
2. Pygmy cory (Corydoras pygmaeus)
These tiny cory cats are the perfect choice for nano tanks with a need for smaller 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.
Corydoras should feel safe and happy if they are surrounded by six or more 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 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). 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. Low pH water should be softened and enriched with leaf litter. This will encourage breeding. 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)
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. The orange laser cory, aside from its striking appearance and easy care requirements, is a simple fish to maintain like all corys. These fish are more expensive than average corydoras, which can run $15 to $20. They might also be profitable to breed. They can be raised in a colony in a tank with dense foliage such as Java moss or removed from the eggs to raise 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 almost exactly like a black and/or 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). They cost about $7 each, so get a school of at least six of them for $42. As long as you provide plenty of worms or other meaty foods, this adorable little catfish shouldn’t cause any problems.
6. Albino corydoras (Corydoras aeneus)
The albino version, or aeneus cory, is one of the most popular corys that you will find in pet shops. Because they are so easy to breed, and can produce hundreds per batch, they cost only $2.50 to $5 each. Although they are affordable, beginners often only purchase one or two albino corydoras. Albino cory is a schooling fish and will appreciate having at least five to six of the 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. The normal bronze color can be purchased if the albino, white-pink coloring is not what you prefer.
7. Julii corydoras (Corydoras trilineatus)
The common name for this catfish in pet stores is misleading. It’s actually called false julii, three-line cory, leopard cory, and false julii corydoras. 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. Keep them in a group of six, or more. Also, this species can go a bit cooler down to 70degF (21degC), so it can hang out with coldwater fish like hillstream loaches and dojo loaches.
8. Similis cory or violet cory (Corydoras similis)
The violet cory was named for the smudged place at its tail. This spot can be anything from dusty purple to dark grey. The rest of its head and body is light-colored and covered with tiny dots. It grows to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in size and has a rounder head than its long-nosed cousin Corydoras myastigma. The $15 per fish price makes it difficult to find this species in pet shops, even though it is a popular captive-bred species. The deluxe version of the panda Cory is the equivalent – approximately the same size, behavior and price but more rare and costly.
9. Brochis multiradiatus – Hognose brochis
The hognose Brochis is the best option for those looking for a corydora-sized fish. 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 can be purchased for between $25 and $30 per piece, and are not known to 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. 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. For information on how to get corydoras online, please visit our Live Fish page.