Bandit Cory Catfish: A Complete Guide

(Corydoras metae) Masked Corydoras bandit corydoras, or Meta River corydoras (Corydoras metae

Table of Contents

Bandit Cory Catfish: A Complete Guide

The Bandit cory catfish (Corydoras metae), Corydoras metae or Masked Corydoras, bandit corydoras, and Meta River corydoras, are a popular choice among aquarium fish keepers. These remarkable catfish, adorned with their striking black stripes, distinctive white belly, and armored bodies, are a true gem among aquarium inhabitants. Known for their peaceful nature, schooling behavior, and omnivorous diet, Bandit Cory Catfish have secured their place as a beloved bottom feeder and algae eater in the world of aquatic pets.

In this introduction, we’ll embark on a journey to unravel the captivating world of these peaceful and hardy catfish, exploring their unique features, behaviors, and dietary habits that make them a prized addition to any aquarium.

Bandit cory catfish, also known as Bandit Corydoras or Masked Corydoras, have earned their popularity for several compelling reasons. These charming catfish are native to South America, particularly Venezuela and Colombia. Their striking black “bandit mask” across their eyes and horizontal stripe make them stand out in any aquarium.

Common NamesBandit Cory Catfish, Masked Corydoras bandit corydoras, or Meta River corydoras (Corydoras metae
Scientific NameCorydoras metae
Size of the Fish2 to 2.5 inches (5-6 cm)
Difficulty ScoreBeginner – Easy
Minimum Tank Size20 gallon tank
Best Compatible Tank MatesTetras, Guppies, Dwarf Cichlids, Other Peaceful Fish
TemperamentPeaceful, Sociable
Schooling BehaviorYes, prefers to be in groups
Bottom Feeding BehaviorConstantly scavenges for food
DietOmnivore, feeds on pellets, flakes, live and frozen foods, and algae
Lifespan5 to 7 years
Habitat OriginSouth America (Venezuela, Colombia)
Distinctive FeaturesBlack stripes, white belly, armored body, and barbels
Aquarium DecorLive or artificial plants, caves, and hiding spots
Water ParameterspH: 6.5 to 7.5, Temperature: 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C)
Common DiseasesIch (White Spot Disease), Fin Rot, Parasitic Infections
Breeding BehaviorEgg layers, require specific breeding conditions
Care LevelLow maintenance, suitable for beginners
source: wikipedia

This table summarizes the key facts about the Bandit Cory Catfish, providing a comprehensive overview of their care requirements and characteristics.

Appearance and Physical Characteristics

Band Catfish Bandit cory bandit corydoras, or Meta River corydoras (Corydoras metae
Masked Corydoras

The Bandit cory catfish sports a sleek, elongated body with a rounded belly. They typically reach a length of 2 to 2.5 inches (5-6 cm) when fully grown. Their most distinctive feature is the dark, mask-like stripe that covers their eyes, which resembles a bandit’s mask, hence their name. This unique marking gives them a captivating and endearing appearance.

In terms of temperament and behavior, Bandit cory catfish are peaceful, sociable, and active. They are known for their playful antics and are often seen exploring the tank’s substrate or scavenging for food. They are also known to swim in groups, so it’s advisable to keep them in a small school of five or more for their well-being.

Bandit Cory Catfish Origin

Bandit cory catfish originate from the clear, slow-moving waters of South America, primarily Venezuela and Colombia. These regions are characterized by lush vegetation and a diverse aquatic ecosystem. In their natural habitat, Bandit cory catfish are bottom-dwellers, and they prefer areas with sandy or fine-gravel substrates.


When properly cared for in an aquarium environment, Bandit cory catfish can live for an impressive 5 to 7 years. A clean and well-maintained tank, along with a balanced diet, contributes to their longevity.


As previously mentioned, Bandit cory catfish typically reach a size of 2 to 2.5 inches (5-6 cm) in length when fully grown. They are a relatively small species, making them suitable for a variety of tank sizes.

How to Set Up a Bandit Cory Catfish Tank: Tank Size and Requirements

Setting Up a Bandit Cory Catfish Tank: Tank Size and Requirements

Creating an ideal habitat for your Bandit Cory Catfish (Corydoras metae) is essential to ensure their well-being and longevity. The setup of the tank, including size and requirements, plays a pivotal role in providing a comfortable and thriving environment for these charming catfish.

Tank Size:

For your Bandit Cory Catfish, a tank with a capacity of 20 to 30 gallons is recommended. This size offers ample space for a small school of these catfish while allowing them to exhibit their natural behaviors. A larger tank can also accommodate other compatible tank mates. The key is to ensure that your catfish have enough room to swim, explore, and socialize comfortably.

Tank Setup and Requirements:

  1. Substrate: Opt for a soft substrate like fine sand or smooth gravel. Bandit Cory Catfish have delicate barbels, which are sensitive appendages around their mouths that they use for sensing food. Rough substrates can potentially damage these barbels. Natural-looking substrates mimic their native habitat and encourage natural behaviors like digging and burrowing.
  2. Filtration: A reliable aquarium filter is crucial for maintaining excellent water quality. Consider a hang-on-back (HOB) filter or a canister filter. Brands like Fluval, Eheim, and AquaClear offer efficient and durable options. Ensure the filter provides both mechanical and biological filtration to keep the water clean and well-oxygenated.
  3. Plants: Live or artificial plants can enhance the aesthetics of your tank while providing hiding spots for your Bandit Cory Catfish. If opting for live plants, species like Java Fern, Anubias, and Amazon Sword are great choices. These plants are relatively hardy and can thrive in freshwater aquariums. Make sure the plants have soft leaves to prevent injury to your catfish.
  4. Heating: Bandit Cory Catfish thrive in stable water temperatures between 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C). A submersible aquarium heater is essential to maintain these conditions. Well-regarded brands such as Eheim, Fluval, and Aqueon offer a range of heaters suitable for different tank sizes. Use a thermometer to monitor the water temperature and adjust the heater as needed to ensure a consistent and comfortable environment for your catfish.

By adhering to these tank size and setup recommendations, you can provide a safe and stimulating environment for your Bandit Cory Catfish. Proper substrate, filtration, plant choices, and heating solutions contribute to the overall well-being of your fish, promoting their natural behaviors and allowing them to thrive. Remember to perform regular water changes and monitor water parameters to maintain optimal conditions, ensuring your Bandit Cory Catfish lead healthy and fulfilling lives in their aquatic home.

What to Put in a Bandit Cory Catfish Tank

Enhance your Bandit cory catfish’s habitat with appropriate tank decor and companions:

  • Plants: Live or artificial plants provide hiding spots and mimic their natural habitat. Ensure the plants are soft to avoid injuring your catfish.
  • Caves and Hiding Spots: Include caves, PVC pipes, or other hiding places to give your Bandit cory catfish a sense of security.
  • Tank Mates: Bandit cory catfish are peaceful and can coexist with a variety of tank mates, such as other small, non-aggressive fish like tetras, guppies, and dwarf cichlids. Avoid keeping them with large or aggressive species.

Bandit Cory Catfish Common Possible Diseases

Bandit Cory Catfish: Common Diseases and Prevention

Maintaining the health of your Bandit Cory Catfish (Corydoras metae) is essential for their well-being and longevity. While these catfish are known for their hardiness, they can still be susceptible to various diseases. Being aware of common diseases, their symptoms, and preventive measures is crucial to keep your fish thriving. In this section, we will explore some of the typical diseases that can affect Bandit Cory Catfish and how to prevent and treat them.

1. Ich (White Spot Disease):

Symptoms: Ich, or White Spot Disease, manifests as tiny white cysts or spots on the fish’s skin and fins. Infected fish may also display increased rubbing or scratching against objects in the tank.

Prevention and Treatment: To prevent Ich, maintain stable water conditions and ensure your catfish are not stressed due to factors like poor water quality or overcrowding. Use a quarantine tank to isolate infected fish and treat them with an appropriate medication like copper-based treatments or formalin. Additionally, gradually raise the water temperature to 82-86°F (28-30°C) to speed up the life cycle of the Ich parasite.

2. Fin Rot:

Symptoms: Fin Rot is characterized by frayed or disintegrating fins. You may notice that your Bandit Cory Catfish’s fins appear tattered or ragged.

Prevention and Treatment: Maintain excellent water quality by performing regular water changes, and ensure your tank’s filtration system is functioning properly. Remove any uneaten food promptly to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria. Treat affected fish with antibacterial medication as directed.

3. Parasitic Infections:

Symptoms: Parasitic infections can present a range of symptoms, including abnormal behavior, rapid gill movement, and visible parasites on the fish’s body. Infected fish may also scratch themselves against tank decorations.

Prevention and Treatment: Prevent parasitic infections by quarantining new arrivals before adding them to your main tank. Maintain a strict quarantine protocol and closely observe any new fish for signs of illness. Consult a veterinarian or aquarium specialist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

4. Stress-Related Diseases:

Symptoms: Bandit Cory Catfish can be sensitive to stress. Stress-related diseases may manifest as lethargy, loss of appetite, or changes in coloration.

Prevention and Treatment: Minimize stress by providing a well-maintained tank with stable water parameters. Ensure that tank mates are compatible and not aggressive. Create hiding spots with plants and decorations, as this can help reduce stress. Quarantine new additions to the tank to prevent the introduction of diseases.

5. Poor Water Quality:

Symptoms: Poor water quality can lead to various health issues, including fin rot, bacterial infections, and more. Symptoms may vary based on the specific problem caused by poor water quality.

Prevention and Treatment: Regularly test and maintain water parameters, including pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Perform routine water changes to keep the water clean and ensure adequate filtration. A well-maintained tank is often the best defense against a wide range of diseases.

While Bandit Cory Catfish are hardy and adaptable, they are not immune to diseases. Preventive measures, such as maintaining excellent water quality, quarantining new arrivals, and minimizing stress, are essential for disease prevention. In the event of an outbreak, prompt diagnosis and treatment, along with suitable medications, can help restore your catfish to good health. Regular observation of your fish and proactive care are the keys to keeping your Bandit Cory Catfish thriving in your aquarium.

Bandit Cory Catfish Food & Diet

Bandit Cory Catfish Feeding: A Balanced Diet for Optimal Health

Feeding your Bandit Cory Catfish (Corydoras metae) a well-rounded diet is crucial to their health and vitality. These omnivorous catfish have diverse dietary needs, and providing them with a variety of high-quality foods is essential for their overall well-being. Here, we’ll explore some specific food options, including reputable brands and types available for purchase online.

Staple Foods:

  • High-Quality Pellets: High-quality pellets designed for bottom-dwelling fish, such as Hikari Sinking Wafers or Omega One Veggie Rounds, make excellent staple foods. These sinking pellets are specifically formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of catfish. They provide essential nutrients while mimicking their natural feeding behavior near the substrate.
  • Flakes: Brands like Tetra and Fluval offer high-quality flakes suitable for Cory Catfish. Look for flakes with a balanced nutritional profile, including protein and vegetable matter.

Occasional Treats:

  • Live or Frozen Foods: Bandit Cory Catfish enjoy live or frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia as occasional treats. Brands like San Francisco Bay Brand and Hikari offer frozen foods that can be purchased online and stored in your freezer.
  • Blanched Vegetables: Fresh vegetables like cucumber and zucchini can be blanched and offered as part of their diet. Simply slice the vegetables and blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds to soften them before adding them to the tank. Ensure any uneaten portions are removed promptly to prevent water quality issues.

Algae Wafers:

  • Algae Wafers: Bandit Cory Catfish are known to consume algae and biofilm. To supplement their diet and cater to their algae-eating behavior, you can provide high-quality algae wafers. Brands like Omega One and Hikari offer algae wafers that sink to the bottom, making them easily accessible to your catfish.

Feeding Frequency:

Feed your Bandit Cory Catfish small portions multiple times a day to accommodate their grazing behavior. These catfish are bottom feeders and will scavenge for food on the substrate. Ensure that you don’t overfeed, as uneaten food can lead to water quality issues.

Observation and Adjustments:

Regularly observe your catfish while feeding to ensure they are consuming their food. Adjust the portion sizes as needed based on their appetite and the rate at which they consume the food. It’s essential to maintain a balance between different types of food to provide a varied diet.

Incorporating a mix of high-quality pellets, flakes, occasional live or frozen treats, and algae wafers into your Bandit Cory Catfish’s diet will keep them healthy and satisfied. Reputable brands like Hikari, Omega One, Tetra, and San Francisco Bay Brand offer a wide range of options that cater to the dietary needs of these fascinating bottom-dwelling catfish. Remember to feed in small, frequent portions, and observe your catfish’s behavior to ensure they are thriving on their balanced diet. Proper nutrition is the key to keeping your Bandit Cory Catfish in optimal health and displaying their natural behaviors in your aquarium.

Bandit Cory Catfish Tank Mates

Bandit cory catfish are peaceful and social, making them excellent tank mates for various species. Here are some compatible options:

  • Tetras: Neon tetras, cardinal tetras, and glowlight tetras.
  • Guppies: These colorful fish add vibrancy to your tank.
  • Dwarf Cichlids: Consider German Blue Rams or Apistogramma species.
  • Other Species of Catfish: Albino cory, zebra cory, peppered cory, leopard cory, spotted cory Adolf Catfish and dwarf cory

Avoid aggressive or nippy species, as Bandit cory catfish can be easily stressed.

Bandit Cory Catfish Pregnant: Male vs. Female

Distinguishing between male and female Bandit cory catfish can be challenging, but there are subtle differences. Males are often slightly smaller and slimmer, while females tend to be larger and broader, especially when they are carrying eggs.

Bandit Cory Catfish Breeding

Breeding Bandit cory catfish in captivity is a rewarding experience. Here’s how you can encourage breeding:

  1. Create Breeding Conditions: Simulate the rainy season by lowering the water level, slightly decreasing the temperature, and performing small water changes. This mimics their natural breeding triggers.
  2. Provide Hiding Spots: Offer plenty of hiding spots, like caves or PVC pipes, for the females to lay their eggs.
  3. Separate Mating Pair: Isolate a compatible pair in a separate breeding tank.
  4. Egg Laying: The female will lay her eggs, and the male will fertilize them. Once this occurs, remove the adult fish to prevent them from eating the eggs.
  5. Incubation: The eggs will hatch in about 4-6 days, depending on temperature and water conditions.
  6. Raising Fry: Feed the fry with specialized fry food or powdered flakes

Conclusion: Embracing the World of Corydoras Catfish

In the realm of tropical freshwater fish, few species embody the enchantment of the fishkeeping hobby quite like Corydoras catfish. These peaceful, hardy, and captivating bottom feeders from the catfish family have earned a cherished place among aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. Whether you’re enchanted by the distinctive black stripes, the charming white belly, or the armor-like bodies adorned with barbels, Corydoras catfish, including the Bandit Cory, Zebra Cory, Peppered Cory, Leopard Cory, and Dwarf Cory, never cease to amaze with their graceful and peaceful behavior.

These South American natives, hailing primarily from the lush waters of Venezuela and Colombia, have become iconic representatives of the aquarium fishkeeping hobby. Their schooling behavior adds a sense of community to your tank, where they thrive as omnivorous scavengers and diligent algae eaters.

As bottom feeders, they play a crucial role in maintaining your aquarium’s ecosystem by cleaning up food remnants and debris. Their omnivorous diet, which can include high-quality pellets, flakes, occasional live or frozen treats, and specialized algae wafers, ensures their health and happiness.

In the quest for excellence in fish care, it’s imperative to understand the unique needs of Corydoras catfish. Their peaceful demeanor makes them compatible with a variety of tank mates, but it’s equally essential to maintain stable water conditions, offer appropriate hiding spots, and minimize stress factors to guarantee their well-being. A well-maintained tank with pristine water quality and a carefully curated environment ensures these marvelous catfish continue to thrive.

So, whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or a novice fishkeeping enthusiast, the world of Corydoras catfish welcomes you with open fins. Embrace the joy of observing their peaceful behavior and schooling tendencies as they gracefully navigate their armored bodies through the substrate in search of nourishment. The allure of these delightful bottom feeders extends beyond their black stripes and white bellies; it’s a testament to the endless fascination that the fishkeeping hobby provides. Corydoras catfish, with their remarkable attributes and endearing personalities, are living proof that the art of fishkeeping is a journey worth embarking upon and savoring every step of the way.

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

Aquarium Enthusiast

I love sharing my knowledge about all things aquarium related. I have been keeping aquariums for over 20 years and cannot imagine a life without an aquarium. 

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