Common Name: Corys
Latin Name: Corydoras
Origin: South America-Brazil
Ease Of Keeping: Easy
Lighting: All lightings, although it prefers dimmer lightings.
Adult Size: About 6 cm
Minimum Tank Size: 18g
Feeding: Flakes, Algae wafers and shrimp pellets, live food, frozen food, blanched vegetables.
Spawning Method: Egg-layer
Corydoras (AKA cory cats and cories) are very hardy and make good beginner fish for a community tank. For species tank, the dwarf cories do better.
There are generally 2 types of cory, the dwarf cory and the normal cory. Brochis are not cories.
The dwarf cory is great for nano tanks because it usually remains less than 3cm long ( about 1.3 inch). They do well in community tanks too and the only special care they require is not putting them together with aggressive fish like cichlids. Dwarf cichlids may do well with them occasionally but avoid them if you can. For dwarf cories to do well, keep them in a tank with at least 8g because they should be kept in groups of 6 to feel secure. Examples of dwarf cories are the pygmy cory and the dainty cory.
Normal sized cory are the typical bronze cory, pepper cory, albino cory (albino cories are usually albino bronze or pepper cories), the masked corydoras and corydoras sterbai. These grow to about 6-7cm long (2.4 to 2.8 inch) and make great community fish. The bronze and pepper cory are great for starters to try and keep corydoras. They can be kept with almost all fishes but if they can fit into another fish's mouth, avoid that fish. Keep them in at least a 20gallon tank.
They will eat uneaten food but give them algae wafers and shrimp pellets too. I recommend Hikari's algae wafer for them. Give them frozen bloodworms or freeze-dried bloodworms as a treat every week. They will also accept zucchini. Just slice the zucchini and blanch it, let it cool and place it at the bottom of the tank. I use small pebbles to weigh it down but a veggie clip is fine too.
They prefer sand substrate because their barbels are sensitive and sand is much softer and suitable for them but pea sized gravel is fine too.
Give them hiding places and also some shaded areas. In my tank, they love the coconut cave and the driftwood hideout.
At least 8g for dwarfs and 18g minimum for normal-sized cory. Avoid gravel with sharp edges too.
They have lots of character and may win plecos in a lot of aspects other than the fact that they are inefficient in getting rid of algae. Plecos are pooping machines but cories poop much lesser than them. Cories don't destroy your live plants and they are active both in the day and night.
Please do not buy any cory by itself. It will be so stressed out in the tank by itself and swim across the tank by the front and side glass.
Corydoras do much better if you treat them as normal fishes rather than scavengers. I recommend the skunk cory, masked cory and spotted cory for people who have kept fish before but have never kept cories before.
Corydoras Panda - the special case
The panda cory is considered more sensitive and difficult to keep than the other cories. If you wish to keep it, take note of the water parameters and do water changes weekly because it is sensitive to ammonia and nitrites. Important: After you buy it, keep it in a cycled quarantine tank and add a little stress coat. Place a hiding spot in the tank and start to feed it algae wafers and frozen bloodworms the next day. By placing them in quarantine and buying at least 6 at a time greatly increases the chances of it surviving. The main tank should not consist of any large fish which can stress the cory. The tank should be cycled and preferably planted.
Actually I feel that the panda and leopard cory are in between the 2 types of cory because they are not very small and also don't grow so big.
Most of the cory you see in pet stores and fish stores are still juveniles and it will take at least 4 months for them to mature and grow to their adult size so make sure the tank is measured with its adult size, not the size when it was bought.
Doing a large water change the day before will trigger their spawning and by the next morning you will find eggs on the glass, rocks and the plants.
If you want to breed them, separate 2 male and 1 female and condition them with live food and frozen bloodworms for a week. Transfer them to a separate tank with a spawning mop after a week and they will spawn. They will take a T position where the female will actually drink in the sperms . Remove the adults after they have spawned and add in some mythelene blue(only a little of it to slightly dye the water a faint blue) to prevent fungus from growing on the eggs. The eggs will hatch in 4-5 days depending on the temperature. They hatch faster if the temperature is higher.
If you did not expect them to spawn and woke up to find eggs all over the tank, quickly set up a small tank or container with a sponge filter and fill it with water from the main tank. Scrape off the eggs from the glass and remove the rocks and plants with eggs as much as possible. The remainding ones will be eaten by the other fishes. Add mythelene blue and wait for them to hatch while making plans to give them away or sell them to your LFS.
Corydoras are great fish and I hope this helps you.