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Fish of the Month
Issue: December 2003

Corydoras aeneus

GILL 1858


Ted Judy

Common Names: bronze cory, cory catfish

Type Locality: Trinidad, West Indies

Range: Colombia and Trinidad

Taxonomic Troubles: Originally described as Hoplosternum aeneum. In the rapidly growing list of undescribed Corydoras species, there are several that are similar, such as C. sp. aff. aeneus "green neon."

Size: 7.5 cm (3 inches)

Preferred Water Chemistry: Freshwater. Tropical. Temperature 25 to 28 degrees Celsius (77 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit), pH 6.0 to 8.0, soft to hard, 90 to 340 ppm.

Difficulty: Easy. An old-timer in the aquarium hobby.

Tank Setup: An ideal community fish. Does well singly, but much more fun (and apparently happier) in a school. Peaceful with conspecifics and other fishes. Substrate should be smooth and rounded to prevent injury as the fish constantly poke around looking for miss

Feeding: Omnivore, with a great fondness for live worms, whihc it will wrestle out of the gravel. Feeds primarily on the bottom; sinking pellets or wafers are a good choice.

Breeding: Easily bred in captivity. Most aquarists use a group of a few females with several males. Research has suggested that--at least at times--fertilization is internal, with the milt being ingested by the female, passing through her gut, and being expelled as the eggs are expelled. Courtship is a wild dancing chase, often with the entire group involved. Spawning in the wild is initiated by the onset of the rainy season; in captivity, a large water change often triggers breeding behavior.

Description: A typical armored catfish, its body covered with bony plates.  The overall greenish bronze coloration is iridescent, and the greenish-grey fish is transformed with the right lighting.  The albino strain was established in the hobby many years ago and is just as common.  Able to utilize atmospheric oxygen through intestinal absorption, these catfish make frequent rapid trips to the surface for a gulp of air.

Notes: A half-century ago, this fish was the catfish in the hobby. Routinely purchased as a "scavenger fish," it graced almost every community tank, where it was supposed to vacuum the gravel. Fortunately, the folly of this practice has been realized, and the fish is properly fed and cared for nowadays. Its comical nature and boundless energy, coupled with its peaceful live-and-let-live attitude, however, make it a favorite still today, when Corydoras catfish are appreciated as beautiful and interesting species that are often kept in species tanks. Like all corys, this catfish is best observed in schools of at laest four, with the more the merrier. In nature, they are typically found in schools of 20 or 30, scurrying around the bottom of streams or pools, poking around for food. In breeding, after the courting dance a male and female eventually meet in a T-embrace, the female's mouth against the male's vent. An egg is then produced, and holding it firmly in her pelvic fins, the female searches for the right spot. She mouths the area chosen, then attaches the sticky egg to a rock, leaf, or even the glass of the aquarium--sometimes above the water line. Then the courting frenzy begins again and continues until all the eggs are deposited. Peaceful, undemanding, and fun, this is a basic aquarium inhabitant that everyone should enjoy keeping.

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