Corydoras Melini: The Bandit Corydoras or false bandit catfish

Corydoras melini, bandit corydoras, false bandit catfish

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Corydoras Melini: The Bandit Corydoras or false bandit catfish

If you’re a fish enthusiast or just starting your journey into the world of aquariums, you might have heard about the charming Corydoras melini, also known as the Bandit Corydoras or False Bandit Catfish. These delightful little fish are a fantastic addition to any tropical freshwater tank. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of Corydoras melini, exploring their origin, appearance, and how to care for them.

Common NameBandit Corydoras
Scientific NameCorydoras melini
OriginUpper Rio Negro and Meta River basins in Brazil and Colombia
Maximum SizeUp to 2.0 inches (5.0 centimeters)
Temperature Range72 – 79 °F (22 – 26 °C)
pH Range6.0 – 8.0
Water Hardness (dGH)2 – 25 dGH
Tank SizeMinimum 20 gallons for a group of six or more
FiltrationFluval FX4 Canister Filter (or suitable for tank size)
SubstrateFine-grain aquarium sand (e.g., CaribSea Super Naturals)
Recommended PlantsJava Fern, Anubias (live) or silk/plastic plants (artificial)
HeaterSubmersible aquarium heater (e.g., Eheim Jager TruTemp Heater)
DietHigh-quality flake food, sinking pellets, live/frozen foods (variety)
BehaviorPeaceful and social; keep in groups of six or more
BreedingSeparate breeding tank with hiding spots for spawning
Tank CompatibilityPeaceful community fish; avoid aggressive or large tank mates
Source: wikipedia

Origin of Corydoras melini

Corydoras melini is a native of South America, where it inhabits the upper Rio Negro and Meta River basins, spanning both Brazil and Colombia. These areas are blessed with rich aquatic ecosystems, filled with diverse plant life and aquatic creatures. The Bandit Corydoras thrive in the pristine waters of these regions, making them a valuable find for aquarium enthusiasts worldwide.


Corydoras melini, bandit corydoras, false bandit catfish

One of the first things you’ll notice about Corydoras melini is their adorable and distinct appearance. These fish grow to a length of around 2.0 inches (5.0 centimeters), making them a petite addition to your tank. What sets them apart, however, are the striking markings that earned them their nickname, “Bandit Corydoras.”

The Bandit Corydoras boasts a bold and attractive pattern of dark stripes running horizontally across their pale, silvery bodies. These stripes resemble a classic bandit’s mask, giving them a mischievous and endearing look. The combination of these stripes with their tiny, barb-like whiskers on either side of their mouths makes them resemble miniature underwater bandits.

Their dorsal fin is adorned with a sharp, pointy spine, which serves as a natural defense mechanism. When threatened, Corydoras melini can lock this spine into place, deterring potential predators. Their eyes are large and expressive, adding to their charming appearance.

Caring for Corydoras melini

Now that you’re acquainted with their origin and charming looks, let’s dive into the care guidelines for Corydoras melini. Ensuring their well-being in your aquarium is essential to keep these Bandit Corydoras healthy and happy.

Setting Up the Perfect Corydoras melini Aquarium

Creating a suitable habitat for your Corydoras melini is essential for their well-being and longevity. To set up the perfect tank for these charming Bandit Corydoras, it’s crucial to consider tank size, filtration, substrate, plants, and heating. Here’s a detailed guide on how to create an ideal environment for your aquatic companions:

Tank Size and Requirements:
Corydoras melini are social creatures, so it’s advisable to keep them in a group of at least six individuals. For this reason, a tank with a minimum capacity of 20 gallons is recommended to provide enough space for their comfortable movement and interactions. When selecting a tank, opt for a long and shallow design rather than a tall one, as it better suits their bottom-dwelling nature.

A reliable filtration system is vital to maintain water quality and oxygenation in your Corydoras melini tank. One of the preferred options among aquarists is the Fluval FX4 Canister Filter. It offers robust mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration capabilities, ensuring that your tank remains clean and healthy. Make sure to choose a filter that is appropriate for the size of your aquarium and follow a regular cleaning schedule to keep it in optimal working condition.

Selecting the right substrate is crucial, as Corydoras melini are bottom-dwelling fish that spend a significant amount of time foraging on the tank floor. Opt for a soft and smooth substrate to prevent any damage to their delicate barbels. One excellent choice is sand, specifically fine-grain aquarium sand. CaribSea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand is a popular choice among aquarists due to its natural appearance and fish-friendly texture.

Adding live or artificial plants to your Corydoras melini tank not only enhances its visual appeal but also provides essential hiding spots and helps maintain water quality. Java Fern and Anubias are great live plant options, as they thrive in low-light conditions and won’t outcompete the lighting needs of your Bandit Corydoras. For artificial plants, consider those made of silk or soft materials to prevent any potential harm to your fish.

Maintaining a stable water temperature within the recommended range of 72 – 79 °F (22 – 26 °C) is crucial for the health of Corydoras melini. A submersible aquarium heater like the Eheim Jager TruTemp Heater is a reliable choice. It offers precise temperature control and ensures that your aquarium stays within the desired range. To prevent temperature fluctuations, position the heater near the water flow created by your filter.

By carefully selecting the tank size, filtration system, substrate, plants, and heater for your Corydoras melini aquarium, you’ll be well on your way to creating a thriving and harmonious aquatic environment for these charming Bandit Corydoras. Remember that maintaining stable water conditions, providing hiding spots, and offering a balanced diet are key to keeping your Corydoras melini happy and healthy in their new home. With proper care and attention to detail, you can enjoy the antics and beauty of these underwater bandits for years to come.

Water Parameters:

  • Maintain a stable water temperature within the range of 72 – 79 °F (22 – 26 °C). Using a reliable heater is crucial to achieve this.
  • Keep the pH level between 6.0 and 8.0 and the water hardness (dGH) between 2 and 25. Regular water testing and appropriate adjustments are essential to maintain optimal conditions.

Filtration and Water Quality:

  • A good quality filtration system is essential to keep the water clean and well-oxygenated.
  • Perform regular water changes (about 20-30% every two weeks) to remove accumulated waste and maintain water quality.


  • Corydoras melini are omnivores, meaning they eat a combination of both animal and plant matter. In the wild, their diet includes worms, benthic crustaceans, insects, and plant matter.
  • In captivity, you can feed them a balanced diet of high-quality flake food, sinking pellets, and frozen or live foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. Offering variety in their diet ensures they receive all the necessary nutrients.

Behavior and Compatibility:

  • These Corydoras are peaceful and non-aggressive, making them excellent tank mates for other peaceful community fish.
  • Ensure that their tank mates are not aggressive or too large, as Corydoras melini can be easily intimidated or outcompeted for food.

best tankmates for Corydoras melini

Breeding Guide:

  • If you’re interested in breeding Corydoras melini, provide them with ample hiding places, such as caves or PVC pipes, for spawning.
  • The breeding process involves the female carrying 2-4 sticky eggs between her pelvic fins, where the male fertilizes them. The female then attaches the eggs to a suitable spot.
  • It’s recommended to have a separate breeding tank for this process, as the adults may consume their own eggs.

Observation and Care:

  • Regularly observe your Corydoras melini for any signs of illness or stress, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or changes in coloration.
  • Provide a peaceful and stress-free environment, as these fish are sensitive to poor water conditions and stressors.

In conclusion, Corydoras melini, the Bandit Corydoras or False Bandit Catfish, brings a touch of charm and whimsy to any tropical freshwater aquarium. With their captivating appearance and easy-going nature, they are a delightful addition for both beginners and experienced fishkeepers. By following proper care guidelines and creating a suitable habitat, you can ensure that your Corydoras melini thrive in their aquatic home. So, if you’re looking to add a bit of aquatic mischief to your tank, consider these lovable bandits for your next aquarium adventure.

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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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