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Freshwater   Fishes

Peppered cory
(Corydoras paleatus)

Peppered cory
Verified by the experts

Thanks to Kyllian. As stated by Horlack's scientific article
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Alternative species (click on the thumbnail to see the card)


Scientific name
Corydoras paleatus / maculatus / marmoratus / microcephalu
Callichthys paleatus
Corydoras punctatus argentina
Silurus quadricostatus

Common name
Peppered cory
Pepper Cory
Mottled Catfish (EN)


what are its countries of origin?

Origin: Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay
Biotope: Amazonian


what are the physical differences between males and females?

Pretty blatant: the female is bigger than the male. This one has a dorsal fin more elongated on the first ray





what is the minimum volume for this species?

120 L / 26 imp gal / 32 US gal


what is the minimum volume for this species?

T°: 18 to 26°C or 64 to 79°F
pH: 6 to 7.5
Hardness: 5 to 15°dGH





what is the maximum size of this fish?

6 to 7 cm (2.4 to 2.8")


what is the average Longevity of this fish?

15 to 20 years

Living zone

in which area of the aquarium does this fish live?

Middle and depth


sociability of the species



How to feed this Corydoras?


How to feed this Corydoras?

The Corydoras paleatus easily accepts everything you propose. You can go on a daily diet based on specialised pellets sold commercially (plant-based).

Regularly supplement this diet with plants (cucumber, zucchini, poached or boiled spinach, peas...), artemia, tubifex, daphnia, larvae without forgetting their favorites: the blood worms!

If your Corydoras are struggling to eat because other fish in the aquarium are faster, distribute their meal when the lights go out and watch if your Corydoras eat well.


What kind of behavior does this Corydoras have?


What kind of behavior does this Corydoras have?

It is an aquatic animal with gregarious instinct that must imperatively be maintained in groups of 8 minimum, even if an ideal of 12 would be preferable (in its natural environment, this fish is sometimes found in groups of several hundred individuals!). Regarding this point, it is estimated that:
group of 6 to 8 individuals: strict minimum
group of 9 to 13 individuals: correct viability
group of more than 14 individuals: behavior similar to natural

As a good ground-fish, the Corydoras will leave this part of the aquarium only occasionally to swallow an air bubble (see “Good to know») or to expend energy by swimming counter-clockwise in the middle part or along the windows of the aquarium.

It is particularly peaceful and calm. Its favorite activity: oraging by searching the sand! If your Corydoras are completely inactive during the day, it may be due to a problem of cohabitation (other species intimidate them), a too small number of individuals, an unsuitable aquarium or a current too weak. Check these points and you will see your Corydoras activate even during the day!

Even if the corydoras are very fearful, you can, with gentleness and patience, accustom them to your presence. For this, you must always make very slow and very calm gestures. When your corydoras do not flee you, it denotes a level of fulfilment, security and confidence well above normal!


Who can live with this Corydoras?


Who can live with this Corydoras?

All representatives of the Corydoras family are good choices for community aquariums, including Corydoras paleatus. Choose very quiet roommates because Corydoras are easily intimidated by species that are too bright or too big. For example, Ember Tetra will make perfect roommates (pay attention to the water parameters in this case).

We often wonder if we can associate different species of Corydoras to compose a shoal. The answer is no, unfortunately! For example, a Corydoras paleatus and a Corydoras panda will not form a group (although sometimes two species of Corydoras «fuse» to form a group, this is still relatively rare). A group is composed of individuals of the same species!

Also avoid significant food competition in the bottom area. It will be preferable that the Corydoras be the only bottom species.


How to breed this Corydoras?


How to breed this Corydoras?

Breeding Corydoras paleatus is fairly easy with a breeding protocol similar to all Corydoras.

The optimum age for breeding your corydoras is around 3/4 years old. Note that the older a female is, the higher the thickness of the eggs. They are thus more resistant and have a better chance of success, considerably increasing the number of fry. Before this age, you can get some fry all the same. If you want to make your corydoras breed, you understand the importance of installing them from the beginning in a suitable and well maintained aquarium, in order for them to live as long as possible, for a regular and successful breeding in quantity and in quality!

Plan a 50 liter / 11 imp Gal / 13 Us Gal aquarium that will be entirely dedicated to breeding. Set the temperature to 22/23°C or 71/73°F, pH to 6/7 and sift the light. Put some hard-leaved plants (Anubias, Sagittaria, Vallisneria) so that the female lays the eggs. Indeed, if it does not find a suita ble place, it will refuse spawning. To power up and ensure good oxygenation of the water, also install a small filter or air diffuser.

Introduce the individuals you have selected (severale males for 1 female) into the breeding aquarium and feed them intensively with various live prey. Make a good change of water with cooler and softer water. The temperature must drop several degrees. This will normally trigger spawning the next day. If this is not the case, repeat this step daily. You will certainly observe the spawning with astonishment because the Corydoras adopt a particular position, known as « T ». The female and the male are then perpendicular to each other. Remove adults as soon as you notice the presence of eggs.

Another solution is to take the eggs delicately after the laying of the community tray to place them in a separate aquarium, in order to facilitate the rearing of fry.

You can then treat methylene blue eggs for safety, but this is not mandatory.

A female can lay up to 500 eggs (more generally, a hundred eggs) in several days and their incubation lasts 3 to 6 days depending on the temperature.

Continue making water changes regularly after hatching (be careful not to sip fry!).

Fry food: finely crumbled dry flakes, infusoria, artemia nauplii.

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for this Corydoras?

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for this Corydoras?

In general, two parameters are essential for the Corydoras aquarium: a non-cutting substrate and good filtration generating current.

Firstly the soil: it is imperative to use very fine gravel or sand (like beach sand). Indeed, it was discovered in early 2018 that sand played a key role in the oral hygiene of Corydoras. In addition, by swallowing this sand at full speed and spitting it by their gills in order to look for food, the Corydoras get rid of any parasites that could be fatal to them. It is imperative to avoid sharp ground like quartz, which damages the barbels of your fish, and is going to mutilate them completely.

Then the current: more than the length of the facade, it is especially the current that is important in an aquarium for Corydoras. Indeed, they are excellent swimmers and are... athletes! So, steer a strong current on the "middle" area of the aquarium, leave the bottom and the surface with a little less current. You will see your Corydoras feast on going swimming against the current in this area (if no other species intimidates them)! For everyone to rest, lower the intensity of the current during the night or stop it.

Corydoras's aquarium

As for decoration, if you want to recreate the natural environment of the Corydoras Adolfoi and promote its well-being, create a decoration with driftwood roots that will form beautiful hiding places and do not plant too much. You can add alder fruits and dried leaves to the aquarium, which will have a nice natural effect (you will have to renew them before they rot). You can leave on a proportion of 50 to 80% of sand beaches essential for the search, 30 to 40% of wood and 10 to 20% of plants. If your fish are comfortable in your aquarium, they will not hesitate to move. A Corydoras that does not swim is a fish uncomfortable in its environment.

For plants, choose sturdy plants with slow growth and broad leaves. As fertilizer is strongly discouraged in an aquarium in Corydoras, opt for plants that do not require this type of feed.

Whatever your choices in terms of layout, still keep enough sandy beach to Corydoras so they can search the substrate.

Corydoras are quite sensitive to water pollution. Make water changes of 10 to 20% of the volume per week.

Good To know

Find all additional information!

Good To know

Find all additional information!

There are over 200 species of Corydoras! Moreover, it should be noted a risk of hybridization between Corydoras of the same line.

Corydoras are often considered "cleaners". It is true that they are scavengers but they will never replace the work of the aquarist! For example, it does not eat their excrement or that of other fish. Thus, these fish are often bought for "practical" purposes (which remains questionable) to the detriment of their well-being. But you will understand, the Corydoras are nice fish that deserve all your attention!

Corydoras paleatus has no scales, which makes it particularly sensitive to salt, chemicals and drugs. This also requires maintenance, clean water and stabilized parameters (do not introduce Corydoras in immature aquariums). IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED TO PUT FERTILIZER in a container containing Corydoras. If you notice signs of stress, such as fast breathing and then lethargy (stay still, sometimes near the surface), immediately change 50% of the water (provide a good water conditioner). Be careful, the new water must have the same parameters as the tank, including the temperature. If you isolate your sick fish, it may wilt even faster. Try to stick the hospital tray to the main aquarium so that the sick Corydoras can see its congeners.

Like all Corydoras, this species is able to swallow an air bubble on the surface. Indeed, it is a kind of "intestinal" breathing that allows the fish to supplement its oxygen supply when necessary.

Its barbels are used to search the ground for food. It is because of these «whiskers» that Corydoras are called «catfish».

Corydoras are capable of killing a human in exceptional conditions. Pay close attention to their backbones or pectorals! Depending on the species, they have hemotoxic toxins, hepatotoxic toxins, neurotoxic, etc. Did you know that they do not have a natural predator? It is thanks to this weapon with which they are able to kill their assailant in a very virulent way. Even the piranhas refuse to attack the corydoras! Here is a small zoom on their dorsal or pectoral spines:
corydoras spines
As you can see, in the case of a sting, it is impossible to remove the real sting, it’s like a real harpoon. In addition, the corydoras injects at this time a maximum dose of toxins. Rest assured, the corydoras are very much scared, so it is rare that a situation of deadly contact happens. Most of the time, they will flee for such a situation to happen. But be careful when you put your hands in the water!

Use a large mesh net to prevent stuck in it.

Corydoras wink, which is fun to see!

It is one of the most popular species with the bronze Corydoras (aeneus), because like its cousin, it is a very resistant fish. Indeed, it adapts easily to a wide range of parameters and we appreciate its robustness. This makes it an ideal candidate for a beginner aquarist!

It is one of the few species of Corydoras that can live in water below 20°C or 68°F, which can be an advantage to associate with cold water species (cohabitation that would be impossible with other Corydoras).

There is an albino variety of this species. Beware of "albino" species that are more fragile. Indeed, their skin is much more sensitive than their colored cousins. They are therefore particularly vulnerable to certain drug molecules and therefore difficult to treat (if not impossible). Note that they are also very sensitive to fertilizers. In addition, unsuitable lighting (too much on the infrared or ultraviolet), which green could be good for plants, is a torture for your albino fish. It can cause redness, burns, tumors...

Yours photos!


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