What Is a Cory Catfish?

Cory catfishes are a species of fish that are small, peaceful, and very fun to keep. These catfish are beginner friendly, so people of all levels can keep them. Cory catfish are famous because they can act as tank cleaners as well. If you want to learn more about these tiny bottom-dwelling fish, this article is for you. You will learn here about this fish and the types of cory catfish you can keep in your tank.

There are more than 160 species of cory catfish. Cory catfishes are freshwater fish that are mainly found in South America and are very widely found, so keeping them in tanks does not affect their numbers in any way. The cory catfish can be found from the eastern side of the Andes Mountains to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and from Trinidad to northern Argentina’s Río de la Plata drainage. The fish belongs to Genus Corydoras, Class Actinopterygii, and Family Allichthyidae.

The reason for their popularity is their ease of care as well as their peaceful nature. This also makes them perfect for a community tank. Appearance-wise, the fish is pale and iridescent with colors like emerald and brown.

All different species of cory catfish need to be kept in a school of fish, or they can get sick due to loneliness. Although they seem very peaceful, cory catfish have hard armor covering their body and venomous spines so they can defend themselves. They prefer slow-moving and shallow water in the wild, where they eat whatever comes their way.

Pair of Cory Catfish

Types of cory catfish

There are many cory catfish or Corydoras species, but they cannot be mentioned. Most of them form shoals in the wild and are peaceful. However, here are some of the cory catfish that are most famous for keeping as a pet.

Bandit Cory

This unique cory catfish is almost transparent with black markings on its body and only gets around two inches in size. The scientific name is Corydoras metae, and it can live for five years with proper care in the tank. As usual, it is a schooling fish that needs to be kept in a pack of six. Bandit cory catfish are pretty sensitive to water changes, yet they are also the most famous cory catfish species.

Sterbai Cory

This cory has a body with a polka-dotted, striped pattern in black and white all over its body and fins. Scientifically the fish is known as Corydoras sterbai and is famous for the unique pattern on the body. The fish is very easy to care for because it can withstand a wide range of temperatures and pH. They can get around 2–2.6 inches big, and for the best care, they need to be in a school of four to six.

Bronze Cory

Bronze cory is famous as well and is found in various colors like green, bronze, albino, and black. The scientific name of bronze cory is Corydoras areas which can get around 2.5 inches and live for five years in size with proper care. It is easy to care for but needs to be kept in a school like all other Corydoras.

Pygmy cory

Pygmy cory is tiny fish that have a black stripe vertically on its body, making them look very eye-catching. The scientific name for the fish is Corydoras pygmaeus, which needs to be kept in a group of six. This is one of the tiniest fish that you can keep in a tank as they get only one inch in size, and the male is even smaller at around 0.75 inches. Considering the size of the fish, it has a small lifespan of only two to three years. This is one unique cory catfish that you can keep in a tank.

Julii Cory

It is also known as Corydoras Julii and is a small freshwater catfish native to eastern Brazil. As usual, this fish gets around 2.5 inches in size with proper care, but it has a longer than five-year lifespan, so with care, you can keep the fish for much longer. This species is not as common as one might think because it gets confused with a more common cory named Three Stripe Cory, as they look identical. This fish acts like all other cory and is easy to care for.

Bearded cory

If you want a conversation starter, this is the fish for you because this cory catfish is a unique one and not easily found. It is also known as Scleromystax barbatus, and it has a black spotted pattern with a golden stripe running down. This fish needs colder water compared to other cory catfish and is pretty large compared to other cory fish as it can get around 3.5 inches but has a similar lifespan. The bearded cory catfish is a schooling fish like all others.

Panda cory

This South American cory looks like a panda with black patches on its body. It is also known as Corydoras panda and gets around two inches in size. Interestingly, this catfish lives for ten years or longer, so it is perfect for people who want to observe fish for a long period of time. These fish prefer colder tanks and are very peaceful so that they can be kept with many other peaceful bottom-dwelling fish.

Orange laser Corydoras

This fish is another attention-seeking species with its brightly colored body and vivid orange stripe running down its back, unlike other dully colored cory fish. The scientific name for the cory is Corydoras sp. CW010. The fish gets around 2.5 inches in size and lives for five years, and it behaves like all other cory fish. However, the fish is more expensive than other cory catfish due to its body, making it rarer.


Now you know that cory catfish are small, schooling fish found in South America and make great pets because they are peaceful and require minimal care. There are many species of cory catfish, and some of the most famous and unique ones are mentioned here. Hopefully, now you know more about cory catfish.

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