Peppered Corydoras Care and Info
The Corydoras Catfish or Cory Catfish has the unique distinction of having been discovered by none other than Charles Darwin, close to two centuries ago.
Today, Corydoras are one of the most popular fish in the freshwater aquarium hobby and the Peppered Cory catfish is often touted as the perfect fish for both a beginner hobbyist and a community tank. It is one of the coolest options in this hobby and here is everything you should know about them.
A Little Background On The Cory Catfish
These catfish were discovered in South America where they were found to mostly stay near the bottom while occasionally coming up to the surface to gulp air directly from the atmosphere.
This is because of the specially formed respiratory system that allows them to use atmospheric air to supplement their oxygen intake from the water. This was a natural adaptation to help them survive in low-oxygen environments.
This also made them a great option for the aquarium hobby as they could survive far longer than most fish during shipping which used to take considerably longer back in the day compared to now.
However, as we shall soon find out, this hardy nature isn’t the only reason behind their popularity.
Peppered Cory Natural Habitat And Description
These catfish naturally occur in a range of habitats all around South America. They can be found in rivers, streams, and small lakes. They generally stick to the bottom of their habitat where they forage for food in groups.
They will also occasionally come up to the surface to take in a gulp of air and this happens more frequently in stagnant water bodies with low oxygen levels.
Vegetation can vary vastly but the substrate is always soft and smooth.
These fish are small but have a very solid appearance. They have a stocky build with two rows of bony plates covering their body. They have two pairs of small and delicate barbels on their upper jaw that they use to sense food. Their coloration can vary from pale olive to tan and they possess a certain green iridescent sheen. A network of dark-green to black markings can be found all over their body which is what gives them their name.
Peppered Cory Ideal Tank Setup
Even though these fish are hardy, they do need a certain tank set up to thrive. The most important part of the equation happens to be the substrate. As mentioned before, these fish use their delicate barbels to forage for food as their eyesight is quite poor. If these barbels were to be damaged somehow, these catfish won’t be able to feed properly and would eventually die of starvation.
Use fine sand or smooth gravel. Make sure that there are no sharp edges anywhere in the aquarium to be on the safe side.
They will appreciate live plants but won’t mind artificial ones either as long as they have plenty of hiding spots. They are social fish and need to be kept in groups of at least four but owing to their small size, they can be kept in tanks that are at least 10 gallons in volume. Most filters will do just fine as long as they turn the water over enough every hour.
Water Parameters For Peppered Cory
The peppered cory catfish can do well in a wide range of parameters. The temperature should be between 74°F and 80°F or 23°C and 27°C. pH should be between 7.0 and 8.0.
As with any fish, keeping the conditions as stable as possible is the best strategy but these fish are more forgiving than most when it comes to fluctuating conditions.
That is what makes them so great for absolute novices and beginners. However, there are limits to their hardiness and no compromises should be made when it comes to cycling the tank and partial water changes.
Peppered Cory Diet
They are not fussy eaters and will forage for food all day long. Just make sure that the food you provide is of the sinking variety. They are omnivores and a healthy mix of plant and animal-based food should be provided. Captive-bred cory catfish will readily accept both commercially prepared food and live food while wild-caught specimens will prefer the latter.
Peppered Cory Behavior and Ideal Tankmates
While they initially became popular thanks to their hardiness, their popularity endured because of how good they are in a community tank. They are extremely docile and don’t even have a single violent bone in them. They are also very playful and watching them forage around and play with each other makes them a treat to watch.
This also means that their tankmates should be chosen with great care. They should also be very docile and should not grow large enough to make a meal out of these diminutive fishes. Great examples of such tankmates include
Other Varieties of Corys
Breeding Peppered Cory
Another cool fact about the Peppered Cory catfish is that they were one of the first fishes to be captive-bred in the aquarium hobby. If you want to do the same then it is certainly possible as long as you have the right combination of adult Peppered Corys and a separate breeding tank.
Start off by adding two adult males and an adult female into the breeding tank. You can also go for a higher number of males.
Females tend to be larger and have a rounder belly. They also appear wider from the top. Once you have selected the fish and added them to the breeding tank, the female will eventually become gravid. She will develop a reddish hue around her belly. At this point do a 25 percent water change to induce spawning.
These fish have a rather entertaining breeding ritual at the end of which around 300 eggs will be laid. The adults should be removed at this point. The eggs will hatch in about five days. The fry can be fed specially prepared fry food.
Peppered Cory Diseases
Being a very hardy fish, they rarely succumb to any diseases. The most common cause of death among these fish is nitrite poisoning. As long as the tank is properly cycled and water is changed on a regular basis, you won’t have anything to worry about.
To Sum It Up
If you are someone who is starting out in the hobby or if you are looking to get started on a community tank then the Peppered Cory catfish is almost indispensable. Its hardiness makes it very forgiving while its cute playfulness can make it an endearing addition to any community tank. No wonder it has had such a long and lasting legacy in the hobby that shows no signs of waning anytime soon.