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Corydoras Breeding Basics

General Information:

Of all the catfish in the world, the Cory must rate as one of the most popular aquarium kept catfish. The common species are usually easy to obtain and are relatively inexpensive. Belonging to the Family Callichythyidae, there are currently 155 described Species and many more to come. Even more exciting, new species are being discovered every day.

Care Information:

Most of the species are quite happy with a temperature between 72-76 Degrees Fahrenheit, but there are some species that prefer lower temperatures. Ensure you check before buying. Corys will thrive in 6.5-7.5, so pH is not a critical factor. They can survive outside of this range, but will generally not be very happy. The ideal set-up for corys is a planted tank with some hiding places and shade. The substrate I use consists of plain Silica sand less than 1mm deep. This is usually soft enough to stop the common problem of barbel erosion, which is one of the biggest problems with Corydoras. Corys suffer from this problem when the substrate is sharp which damages the barbels, this is then followed by infection which can lead to the barbels and parts of the mouth rotting completely, infection is common in tanks that are poorly maintained, if there are any bacteria present in the substrate they will pick it up due to the constant foraging. Although they may seem to be scavengers, they are not. Although they will scavenge in some circumstances, you should not treat them as such. They should be fed with sinking foods including frozen and fresh foods such as Bloodworm, Brine shrimp etc. They are best kept in groups of five or more as they will become shy and skittish if kept on their own, the more the merrier. I currently keep upward of 50 in aquariums 18"x15"x15" (UK) with no problems.

Breeding Information:

Most of the species are relatively easy to breed, providing you have the time and dedication. I have had success with about ten species to date, all following the same basic pattern. I use the the dry season followed by the wet season method. See: Dry and Rainy Seasons in the Aquarium

Most but not all Corydoras breed in the same manner, there are a few that need more coaxing to get them going but this will give you the basic idea. The majority of Amazonian fish are triggered into spawning by the seasons of the year. Drought with little food followed by the floods with an abundance of food. This is usually the only stimulus they need to start breeding. In the aquarium we have got to try and replicate the seasons of the year to induce spawning. One way of doing this is as follows:

  • I use small tanks 18" x 15" x 15" for breeding Cory's, Silica sand substrate, 25C (77F) with small air driven foam filter, small bunch of Java Moss and Fern are sometimes used.
  • Select your Breeding stock having 2 males to 1 female.
  • Feed well on good quality foods such as Brine Shrimp, Bloodworm etc.
  • After two weeks of this, the filter should be starting to slow down, and water movement should be relatively slow.
  • Gradually reduce the quantity of food but not the quality over the next week, do not clean the filter.
  • Now remove 50% of the water volume, Clean the filter and refill with water at a temperature of 20-22C (68-72F).

You hopefully will find lots of eggs stuck firmly to the glass and on any plants present the next morning, remove parents and add 1 drop per gallon of Methylene Blue. Eggs should hatch in about three days at 26C (79F) and should be fed Microworm or Baby Brine Shrimp as first food after they have used up their yolk sac (a further 2-3 days).

Please note this is only a rough idea of the principle.


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