How to Care for Corydoras: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Care for Corydoras: 11 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Care for Corydoras: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

Corydoras receive this name because they are part of the Corydoras genus, which has 180 species of fish ranging from 2.5 cm to 12.5 cm in length. Native to South America, they are a great addition to any aquarium. Also known as "background cleaners", corydoras are easy to care for and get along well with other fish, in other words, they are a great choice. With the right habitat, food and care, they can live long.


Part 1 of 3: Preparing the aquarium

Care for Corydoras Step 1

Step 1. Buy a good size aquarium

The coridora isn't very big and doesn't usually need a lot of space. An 80 liter tank should be big enough for a small group of six fish. Of course, if you want to add more fish later, whether of the same species or another, you need to buy a bigger tank.

There is a rule that suggests 10 liters of water for every 5 cm of fish. This can be a good starting point to buy the aquarium, but be aware that the rule works best in terms of "volume". A fish 25 cm long is likely to have a volume of 125 to 375 cm in volume, which requires a much larger aquarium than if it were intended for ten small fish 2.5 cm long, whose total volume would be 20 cm³. It is better to err for more than for less

Care for Corydoras Step 2

Step 2. Leave the water in the correct condition

The coridora is a resistant and adaptable fish, but it needs certain conditions. Check if the pH of the water is around 7.0 and the temperature between 20°C and 25°C. Zero nitrite and ammonia levels, as these toxins can cause illness.

Care for Corydoras Step 3

Step 3. Place a homogeneous substrate on the bottom of the aquarium

The coridora feeds at the bottom of the aquarium and enjoys swimming and exploring this region. To protect it, place about 5 cm of gravel or very fine sand at the bottom. Sharp, coarse, or dirty substrate can injure the fish's barbels (the whiskers that are close to the mouth and help it find food).

You shouldn't put pebbles, as the fish likes to dig and they need some kind of material that allows them to do this

Care for Corydoras Step 4

Step 4. Put several plants

Coridora belongs to regions with a lot of vegetation and natural hiding places, so it is important to have such elements in the aquarium. Plants with dense foliage and several stems are essential, as is a piece of natural trunk with treated wood and other decorative elements that recreate the conditions of the habitat, allowing the deep-cleaner to have a place to hide from other fish.

Part 2 of 3: Taking care of the fish

Care for Corydoras Step 5

Step 1. Feed the coridora once a day

As this fish looks for food at the bottom of the aquarium using its whiskers, it will eat anything that sinks. Offer a varied omnivorous diet based on seaweed feed, frozen meat, fortified feed and bleached vegetables. See if he's eaten everything before offering more food to avoid overdoing it. Just put in as much as the fish can ingest in five minutes. If there is food left in the aquarium, remove it to maintain cleanliness.

As the coridora has nocturnal habits, the best time to feed it is at night, before turning out the lights in the house

Care for Corydoras Step 6

Step 2. Keep it in a group

This fish is sociable and prefers to swim in schools. Try to form groups of choirs with six or more elements. There are over a hundred species and they often don't mix, so buy fish of the same species.

When buying the corydoras, check if the little fish are all the same species by asking the seller or comparing the size and color of each one

Care for Corydoras Step 7

Step 3. Put other fish in the aquarium

Coridora is harmless and not territorial, that is, it lives in peace with other species. A nice thing to take into consideration when setting up the environment is to also acquire fish that swim on the surface and in the middle. Thus, the aquarium is more balanced and beautiful.

  • Some nice pool cleaner companions are window cleaners, tetras, platys, potbellies, dwarf cichlids and other similar sized fish. Shrimps and snails are also good options. Some smaller species see corydoras as pacifiers (a sign that there are no predators), which alleviates fear and aids the transition to the new aquarium.
  • Some species that are not good companions include: cichlids, aquarium crayfish, aggressive fish and larger fish. They can hurt the coridoras or even eat them.

Part 3 of 3: Making choirgirls reproduce

Care for Corydoras Step 8

Step 1. Examine the sex of the fish

If you decide to breed coridoras, of course you need to know if there are males and females. The difference between the two is easy to notice: just look at the fish from above. Females are slightly larger and have a more rounded and broad body, while males have slightly larger pectoral fins.

If you are going to have coridae to breed, it is good to have two or three males for each female

Care for Corydoras Step 9

Step 2. Watch the spawn

If fish are ready to spawn, you should notice that males chase females and they mate in the T position. After mating, the female lays eggs in the aquarium glass or between the leaves of the plants.

In the wild, coridora usually spawn during the rainy season, so you can encourage mating by simulating this condition. When you notice that the fish are showing a spawning behavior, change the aquarium water for a slightly cooler one

Care for Corydoras Step 10

Step 3. Separate the eggs from the parents

After noticing the eggs in the aquarium, you should separate them from the adult fish, which eat the eggs of their own species and others as well. So if you want chicks, put fish and eggs in different aquariums.

  • One option is to place the fish in a separate nursery aquarium as soon as they show signs of mating. After the female has laid eggs, move the adults to the original aquarium and let the eggs hatch in peace.
  • It is also possible to remove eggs to another aquarium. Maintain very similar water conditions. If the female lays eggs on plants, just transfer them. If you prefer not to remove the plants, it's okay to cut only the parts where the eggs are. Remove eggs placed on the glass wall by running your finger over them. They are fragile, so be careful not to cause damage.
Care for Corydoras Step 11

Step 4. Feed the new minnows

Eggs should hatch in three to five days. Once this happens, the puppies will be able to survive in the yolk sac until they begin to swim freely. At this point, offer nauplii (larvae) of brine shrimp or some decaying plant matter for them to feed on. After about a week, start adding the nematode Panagrellus redivivus.


  • Sometimes the coridora swims toward the surface to gulp in some air. As long as it's just an occasional behavior, it's no problem and you don't have to worry about the oxygen level in your tank.
  • As this fish eats debris from the bottom, it also ends up cleaning. However, it does not replace regular aquarium cleaning.


  • Coridora must be fed regularly, as well as other fish species. It is not enough that you only eat the "leftovers" or debris from the bottom.
  • If you have other fish that lay eggs at the bottom of the aquarium, they might end up eating them.
  • Follow proper basic care when caring for any species of fish, including coridora. Always change the water, carry out regular tests (home or commercial) and look out for signs of illness.

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