Spotted Cory: A Fascinating Addition to Your Aquarium

Spotted Cory

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Spotted Cory: A Fascinating Addition to Your Aquarium

The Spotted Cory (Corydoras aeneus) is a beloved member of the catfish family that has captured the hearts aquarium enthusiasts worldwide and the reason they have long been captivated by the charm and allure of Corydoras, a group of tropical freshwater catfish known for their peaceful nature, hardy disposition, and captivating appearances. These armored catfish, often referred to by various names such as Spotted Catfish, Bronze Catfish, and Wavy Catfish spotted corydoraslongnose corydoras or Agassiz’s catfish (Corydoras ambiacus), are a popular choice for both novice and experienced aquarists. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of Corydoras, shedding light on the intriguing lives of these bottom-dwelling, schooling fish.

Corydoras, often affectionately called “Corys,” belong to the Callichthyidae family and encompass a diverse range of species, each with its unique markings and personalities. From the endearing Peppered Corydoras to the striking Blue Leopard Corydoras and the graceful Corydoras Paleatus, these fish have earned a special place in the hearts of freshwater aquarium enthusiasts.

As peaceful and social creatures, Corydoras are not only a delight to watch but also contribute to the ecological balance of your aquarium. Their bottom-feeding habits help keep the substrate clean, making them excellent additions to community tanks. Whether you’re new to the world of aquarium fish or a seasoned aquarist looking to expand your collection, this article will provide you with invaluable insights into the care, feeding, and breeding of Corydoras. Join us on this journey to discover why these charming catfish have earned their reputation as hardy, schooling fish that enrich any freshwater aquarium.

Here’s a table with the most important facts about the Spotted Cory (Corydoras aeneus):

Common NamesSpotted Cory, Leopard Cory spotted corydoraslongnose corydoras or Agassiz’s catfish (Corydoras ambiacus)
Scientific NameCorydoras ambiacus
Size of the Fish2.5 to 3 inches (6.35 to 7.62 cm)
Difficulty ScoreEasy
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons
Best Compatible Tank MatesTetras, Livebearers, Dwarf Cichlids, Other Corydoras
TemperamentPeaceful and Social
Lifespan5 to 7 years
OriginSouth America
Water ParameterspH: 6.0 – 7.5, Hardness: 2 – 12 dGH
Temperature Range72°F – 78°F (22°C – 26°C)
DietOmnivorous; Pellets, Live/Frozen Foods, Vegetables
BreedingEgg layers; Breeding temperature: 76°F – 80°F (24°C – 27°C)
Notable CharacteristicsDark spots on body, social behavior, sensitive barbels, schooling fish
Common Possible DiseasesIch, fin rot

This table provides essential information for anyone interested in keeping Spotted Corys in their aquarium, from their scientific classification to care requirements and compatible tank mates.

Spotted Cory Appearance and Physical Characteristics

 Spotted Cory (Corydoras aeneus) Spotted Catfish, Bronze Catfish armored catfish

Spotted Corydoras, as the name suggests, are adorned with distinctive dark spots scattered across their bronze to greenish-gold bodies. These spots, resembling a leopard’s rosettes, lend them an enchanting charm. Their sleek, streamlined shape and the presence of barbels around their mouths make them instantly recognizable. Typically, they reach a size of 2.5 to 3 inches (6.35 to 7.62 cm).

These fish have a peaceful disposition and are known for their social behavior. They are shoaling fish, meaning they thrive in groups of their kind. Keeping them in a group of at least six is highly recommended, as it helps alleviate stress and brings out their natural behaviors, such as playfully darting around the tank.

Spotted Cory Origin

Originally found in South America, Spotted Corydoras are native to a wide range of habitats, from slow-moving rivers to flooded forests. Their adaptability to various water conditions has contributed to their popularity in the aquarium hobby.

Spotted Cory Lifespan

With proper care, Spotted Corys can live for an impressive 5 to 7 years. Maintaining a well-balanced tank environment, providing a nutritious diet, and ensuring proper water conditions are essential factors in extending their lifespan.

Spotted Cory Size

Spotted Corys are relatively small fish, making them suitable for a range of tank sizes. As mentioned earlier, they typically grow to a size of 2.5 to 3 inches (6.35 to 7.62 cm). This compact size allows them to thrive in smaller aquariums while still exhibiting their charming behavior.

How to Set Up an Adolfo’s Cory Tank: Size and Requirements

Setting up a suitable tank environment for Spotted Corys is paramount to their well-being and overall health. A well-prepared aquarium not only ensures their comfort but also enhances their natural behaviors and vibrant appearance. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to set up a Spotted Cory tank, including the best options for filter systems, substrate, plants, and heaters.

Tank Size and Requirements:

When selecting a tank size for your Spotted Corys, consider their need for ample swimming space and a comfortable environment. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for a group of six or more Spotted Corys. This provides enough room for them to swim, explore, and exhibit their social behaviors.


Choosing the right substrate is crucial, as Spotted Corys have delicate barbels that can be easily damaged by rough or sharp substrates. Sand is an excellent choice, as it mimics their natural habitat and is gentle on their sensitive mouths. Opt for fine-grain aquarium sand, such as CaribSea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand or Seachem Flourite Black Sand, to create a soft and natural-looking substrate.


Maintaining clean water is essential for the health of your Spotted Corys, so investing in a reliable filtration system is key. A good option is a hang-on-back (HOB) filter, which provides mechanical and biological filtration. Brands like Fluval and AquaClear offer effective HOB filters suitable for a 20-gallon tank. Make sure to choose a filter with adjustable flow to avoid strong currents that can stress the fish.


Live plants not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of the tank but also contribute to the water quality and provide hiding spots for your Spotted Corys. Some excellent plant choices include Java Fern, Anubias, Amazon Sword, and Vallisneria. These plants are hardy and compatible with Corydoras species. Consider using Fluval Stratum or Seachem Flourite as substrate additives to support plant growth.


Maintaining a stable water temperature is crucial for Spotted Corys, as they are native to warmer South American waters. A submersible aquarium heater is essential for regulating the temperature within the recommended range of 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C). Eheim Jager and Fluval E series heaters are reliable options known for their accuracy and durability. Ensure that your heater is appropriately sized for your tank’s volume.


Spotted Corys don’t have specific lighting requirements, and they generally prefer subdued lighting conditions. Opt for low to moderate lighting to create a comfortable environment for them. LED lighting systems, such as the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 or Fluval Aquasky LED, offer customizable light intensity and color spectrum, allowing you to tailor the lighting to your aquarium’s needs.

By carefully considering these tank setup recommendations, including the choice of a suitable tank size, gentle substrate, effective filtration, beneficial plants, and a reliable heater, you can create an ideal home for your Spotted Corys. Providing them with the right conditions will ensure their health, longevity, and the opportunity to observe their fascinating behavior in a thriving aquarium environment.

Spotted Cory Water Parameters

Maintaining suitable water parameters is vital for the health of your Spotted Corys:

  • pH Level: Keep the pH level in the range of 6.0 to 7.5.
  • Hardness: Aim for a water hardness of 2 to 12 dGH.
  • Ammonia and Nitrite: Ensure that ammonia and nitrite levels are consistently at zero, as these compounds are toxic to fish.
  • Nitrate: Keep nitrate levels below 20 ppm through regular water changes.

What to Put in a Spotted Cory Tank

To create an engaging and comfortable habitat for your Spotted Corys, consider adding these elements:

Spotted Cory Common Possible Diseases

Spotted Corys are generally hardy fish, but they can still be susceptible to common aquarium diseases like Ich (white spot disease) and fin rot. These ailments often result from stress, poor water quality, or improper tank conditions. Maintaining excellent water quality and a stress-free environment is the best preventive measure.

Spotted Cory Food & Diet

Feeding your Spotted Corys a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for their health and vitality. These omnivorous fish are not particularly picky eaters, but offering them a variety of foods ensures they receive all the necessary nutrients. Here’s a detailed guide on what to feed your Spotted Corys, along with specific examples of food brands and types available for purchase online.

Dietary Requirements:

Spotted Corys have a versatile diet that consists of both animal and plant-based foods. It’s important to provide a mix of protein-rich and herbivorous options to meet their nutritional needs. A well-rounded diet contributes to their vibrant coloration and overall well-being.

Specific Foods and Brands:

  1. High-Quality Pellets:
  • Hikari Sinking Wafers: Hikari offers sinking wafers specifically designed for bottom-dwelling fish like Corydoras. These wafers are rich in essential nutrients and are easy for Spotted Corys to consume as they sink to the substrate.
  1. Frozen or Live Foods:
  • Omega One Frozen Bloodworms: Frozen bloodworms are a nutritious treat that Spotted Corys relish. Omega One provides high-quality frozen foods that are convenient to store and use as an occasional supplement to their diet.
  1. Algae Wafers:
  • Tetra Algae Wafers: These wafers are formulated to provide the plant-based nutrition that Spotted Corys require. They help balance their diet and promote overall health.
  1. Vegetables:
  • Blanched Cucumber and Zucchini: Fresh vegetables like cucumber and zucchini can be offered as occasional treats. Simply slice them thinly, blanch to soften, and place them in the tank. Remove any uneaten portions to maintain water quality.
  1. Live or Freeze-Dried Brine Shrimp:
  • San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze-Dried Brine Shrimp: Brine shrimp are a protein-rich option that can be provided as an occasional treat. The freeze-dried variety from San Francisco Bay Brand is convenient and well-loved by many fish species.
  1. Spirulina Pellets:
  • New Life Spectrum Thera+A Small Fish Formula: Spirulina-based pellets are an excellent source of plant-based nutrition. New Life Spectrum offers a small fish formula that’s suitable for Spotted Corys and promotes vibrant coloration.
  1. Bottom Feeder Tablets:
  • API Bottom Feeder Shrimp Pellets: These sinking pellets are formulated with shrimp and other high-quality ingredients, making them a suitable choice for Corydoras.

When feeding your Spotted Corys, it’s essential to maintain portion control. Offer small, frequent meals to prevent overfeeding, which can lead to water quality issues. Corydoras are bottom-feeders, so ensure that the food reaches the substrate where they can easily access it. Observing their feeding behavior will help you gauge the appropriate amount of food to provide.

Remember that variety is key to their diet, so rotate between different food types to ensure they receive a wide range of nutrients. Additionally, always monitor the water quality in your tank, as overfeeding can lead to an excess of organic waste. By offering a well-balanced diet and proper feeding practices, you’ll keep your Spotted Corys healthy and active in your aquarium.

Spotted Cory Tank Mates

Spotted Corys are known for their peaceful nature, making them compatible with a wide range of tank mates. Some suitable companions include:

Avoid keeping them with aggressive or fin-nipping fish, as they are prone to stress and can become targets for aggression.

Spotted Cory Pregnant

Female Spotted Corys can be identified by their broader bodies, especially when viewed from above. When pregnant, they will exhibit a noticeably rounded belly. They are known to lay eggs rather than giving birth to live fry, so the term “pregnant” may not apply in the same way as it does to livebearers.

Spotted Cory Male vs. Female

Distinguishing between male and female Spotted Corys can be challenging. In mature adults, females tend to be slightly larger and have a rounder belly, especially when they are carrying eggs. Males are often slimmer and may have more pronounced pectoral fin spines.

Spotted Cory Breeding

Breeding Spotted Corys in captivity is achievable with the right conditions. Here are the key steps:

  1. Select a Breeding Pair: Identify a mature male and female for breeding.
  2. Condition Them: Feed them a high-quality diet to prepare for breeding.
  3. Provide a Breeding Tank: Set up a separate tank with appropriate water parameters.
  4. Trigger Breeding: Simulate a rainy season by raising the temperature and performing partial water changes.
  5. Egg Laying: The female will lay eggs, which the male will fertilize by releasing sperm.
  6. Remove Adults: After spawning, remove the adult fish to prevent them from eating the eggs.
  7. Incubation: Eggs will hatch in a few days, and fry will emerge.
  8. **Fry Care:** Feed the fry with infusoria or finely crushed flake food until they are large enough to accept regular food.

Spotted Cory Eggs

Spotted Corys lay their eggs on smooth surfaces, such as plant leaves or tank glass. The eggs are adhesive and typically arranged in clusters. You may notice the male guarding the nest to ensure the eggs’ safety.

Spotted Cory Breeding Temperature

To encourage breeding behavior, raise the water temperature slightly to around 76°F to 80°F (24°C to 27°C). This simulates the warmer, rainy season in their natural habitat, which often triggers spawning.

Incorporating Spotted Corys into your aquarium can bring a touch of South America’s aquatic beauty to your home. Their unique appearance, peaceful nature, and engaging behavior make them a delightful addition to any aquarium community. Remember to provide them with the right environment and care to ensure they thrive for years to come.

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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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