If you are looking for the perfect fish to add to your community tank, consider corydoras catfish.
When it comes to cultivating a thriving community tank, the keyword is balance. You need to strike the right balance when it comes to your tank parameters to ensure that all of your fish will do well in the tank and you need to achieve the right balance in the number and type of fish you stock in your tank. One more thing you need to think about is balancing out the different levels of your tank – choosing your top-feeders, mid-range fish, and bottom feeders carefully will help you to achieve a thriving community tank.
Why are Corydoras Catfish Great for Community Tanks?
When it comes to the benefits of corydoras catfish for the community tank, there are many benefits to consider. For one thing, cory cats (as they are often known) are very peaceful fish – they are unlikely to cause any squabbles with other fish and they generally keep to themselves. In fact, cories are schooling fish so they tend to prefer being kept in groups and in community tank settings. Another important benefit of corydoras catfish is the fact that they are bottom feeders. These fish feed on things like leftover fish food, decaying plant matter, and other forms of detritus which helps to keep your community tank clean. Finally, cories are a bottom-dwelling species which means that they won’t take up room or swimming space for your upper-level fish like gouramis, tetras, and danios. All in all, corydoras catfish seem to be the perfect community fish.
Background on Corydoras Catfish
Corydoras catfish are a type of armored catfish and there are more than 150 different species that have been discovered. These fish can be found throughout South America in small streams, marshes, ponds, and on the margins of larger rivers. The cory cat tends to prefer still to slow-moving waters and much of their natural habitat is densely planted. These fish forage along the bottom of the streams and rivers in which they are found, feeding on small insects, insect larvae, vegetable matter, and various forms of detritus. They will even eat the flesh of decaying fish, though they are by no means piscivorous.
In terms of their water condition requirements, corydoras catfish prefer soft water between 5 and 10 dGH and it should be neutral in pH with a little bit of wiggle room either way. Though these are the ideal conditions for cory cats, they are fairly adaptable in terms of tank parameters – this is another factor that makes them a great choice for community tanks. Corydoras tend to live in shoals or schools with large numbers of other corydoras and this is how they prefer to be kept in the home aquarium.
Community Species for Corydoras Catfish
There are over 150 different species of corydoras catfish that have been described, though not all of them are common in the aquarium trade. Below you will find an overview of some of the most popular corydoras species for the community freshwater tank:
Adolfo’s Corydoras(Corydoras adolfoi) – This species of corydoras has a light-colored body with a black dorsal fin and a black line running through the eye and long the base of the tail. Adolfo’s corydoras grow to about 2.2 inches in length and they are one of the easiest species to breed in the home aquarium. These cories feed on a wide variety of foods and they do best when kept in groups.
Bronze Corydoras (Corydoras aeneus) – Also known as the green corydoras, the bronze corydoras has a pink or yellow stomach with a blue-gray coloration over its back. These fish grow to about 2.75 inches in length and they can live for up to 10 years when properly cared for. Bronze cories breed readily in the home aquarium and they are very hardy as well when it comes to varying water conditions.
Skunk Corydoras (Corydoras arcuatus)– The skunk corydoras does very well in community tanks when kept with other peaceful fish of similar size. These corydoras grow to about 2 ½ inches in length and they are named for their black and white coloration. Though corydoras are bottom dwellers, panda cories sometimes come to the surface of the water for feeding and they will accept a wide variety of fresh, frozen, and flake foods. This species also tends to breed fairly readily in the home aquarium.
Peppered Corydoras (Corydoras paleatus)– Also known as the mottled corydoras or the peppered catfish, the peppered corydoras is a medium-sized species growing to about 2.5 inches in length. These fish feed on insects, worms, and small crustaceans as well as decaying plant matter. This species is particularly popular for community tanks because it is a very hardy species and they are attractive with their peppered pattern. The peppered corydoras does come in an albino form as well.
Pygmy Corydoras (Corydoras pygmaeus)– Also known as the pygmy catfish, pygmy corydoras only grow to a maximum size around 1 inch in length. These cories have silver bodies with a dark black line running horizontally through the eye all the way to the tail. Pygmy cories do particularly well in community tanks but, despite their small size, they need plenty of space to swim – tanks no smaller than 10 gallons are recommended for this species.
Sterba’s Corydoras (Corydoras sterbai)– One of the most popular species of corydoras catfish, Sterba’scorydoras is known for its black and white spotted appearance. These cories grow to a maximum length around 2.6 inches and they are highly compatible with other corydoras species. Sterba’s corydoras feed on a variety of sinking pellets and wafers as well as fresh vegetable matter and detritrus.
Any of these corydoras species would make a great addition to your community tank. Just keep in mind that corydoras need to be kept in groups with at least 5 or 6 others. You can mix different species together if you like, just make sure that they are compatible in terms of water conditions and other tank requirements.
Tips for Keeping Cories in the Home Aquarium
Keeping corydoras catfish in the community tank is generally fairly easy since they are such an adaptable group of fishes. It is important, however, to maintain warm water temperatures between 72°F and 78°F and the aquarium pH should be in the neutral to slightly acidic or slightly alkaline range. It is also important to note that corydoras do not do well in poorly maintained tanks – they are very sensitive to nitrates and ammonia, so you need to keep your community tank clean. They should also be kept in tanks with soft substrate line sand or very fine gravel to avoid damage to their barbels. Corydoras catfish also enjoy heavily planted tanks as well as rockwork to provide hiding places.
If you are looking for a type of freshwater aquarium fish to add to your community tank, the corydoras catfish is definitely a good option to consider. These fish are highly adaptable and very peaceful by nature, plus they will make a great addition to your freshwater cleanup crew.
When you see signs of stress in your fish, you can then take steps to identify the source of that stress and then to resolve it before it becomes a major issue.
FRESHWATER AQUARIUM ARTICLES
STOCKING THE TANK
The fish you choose to stock your tank is not a decision that should be made lightly. The articles in this category will help you understand the basics of fish compatibility and will provide you with other information you need to make an informed decision when stocking your tank.