Top 12 Best Cory Catfish Types To Get For Your Aquarium

Featured Image - Cory Catfish Types
Featured Image – Cory Catfish Types
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: July 10, 2024
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Selecting the appropriate cory catfish for your aquarium can be difficult, considering there are over 160 species within the cory genus!

I’ve owned dozens of different cory catfish over the last decade, from the bronze cory to pygmy cory, so I hope I can help you narrow down your choices with this list of the 12 most popular cory catfish types. The fish included in this guide have been chosen for their peaceful nature, interesting appearance, and ease of care.

Article Summary

  • There are over 160 species of cory catfish in the Corydoras genus, making them a diverse group of freshwater fish.
  • It is crucial to keep cory catfish in groups (shoals) for their social well-being; they are peaceful and can coexist with other passive fish but may be nervous when kept alone.
  • The choice of cory catfish should depend on factors such as tank size, other tank inhabitants, and personal preference.

12 Types of Cory Catfish

Cory catfish are some of the most popular freshwater fish in the world. And if you’re not sure which type of cory catfish to choose for your aquarium, below are 12 of the most common varieties in the fishkeeping hobby.

Albino Cory

Albino Cory
Albino Cory

Albino cory cats are one of the most common corydoras catfish types found in pet stores. As you’ve probably already guessed, they are a pinkish-white color with pink eyes. They are a variant of the bronze cory, which is native to South America.

Albino cory catfish need to be kept in groups of at least 6 as they are shoaling fish. They reach around 2.5 inches in length, making them a good pick for a nano fish tank.

The albino cory isn’t fussy when it comes to food – they will readily accept live, freeze-dried, and frozen foods. Make sure you feed albino corydoras a high-protein diet as they are mostly carnivorous, though they will also eat some vegetable matter.

  • Common Name: Albino cory
  • Scientific Name: Corydoras aeneus
  • Origin: South America
  • Length: 2.5 inches

Salt and Pepper Cory

Salt and Pepper Cory
Salt and Pepper Cory

Salt and pepper corydoras catfish are pretty little ornamental fish that boast a light tan body with silver and black markings. They stay relatively small at just 1.6 inches in length, making them a solid choice for nano tanks.

This type of cory is native to South America in inland waters. It is found in large numbers in the Upper Orinoco River basin in Venezuela and Columbia.

Like other smaller types of cory catfish, you should house them with peaceful nano fish as they can be easily frightened by large and aggressive tank mates.

  • Common Name: Salt and Pepper Cory
  • Scientific Name: Corydoras habrosus
  • Origin: South America
  • Length: 1.6 inches

Bronze Cory

Bronze Cory
Bronze Cory

The bronze cory catfish is one of the most popular cory catfish types, and it’s not hard to see why. They’re incredibly hardy fish and boast an attractive iridescent brown-green color.

Bronze corydoras are native to South America, from Colombia and Trnidad to the Río de la Plata basin. House them in at least a 10-gallon aquarium in groups of at least 6. Ideal temperatures and pH levels for these fish are 68 to 82 degrees Fahrnenheit and 6.0 to 8.0.

Bronze Cory Diet

Like most corys, bronze corydoras are mostly carnivorous, so feed them high-protein foods like sinking fish pellets, tubifex worms, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms.

They may eat small species of shrimp, so if you invertebrates in your tank, corys may not be the right fish for you. However, they will not eat other fish.

Due to their peaceful nature, bronze corys make fantastic community aquarium fish with other fish with similar temperaments, including large shrimp, cardinal tetras, clown plecostomus, otocinclus catfish, platies, and guppies.

Common Name: Bronze Cory, Aeneus Cory Catfish

  • Scientific Name: Corydoras aeneus
  • Origin: South America
  • Length: 2.5 inches

Emerald Cory

Emerald Cory
Emerald Cory

The emerald cory catfish is native to the Amazon River Basin and features a stunning metallic green to blue-green color. They are one of the largest cory species as they can reach up to 4 inches in length.

Alongside their beautiful coloration, the emerald cory is easy to identify due to their elongated nose and bulky body shape. Like all cory catfish, emerald green corydoras are highly social and should be kept in schools of at least 6.

Emerald Cory Tank Requirements

For a fish this size, you’ll need at least a 30-gallon tank for a small group. They are easy to care for as they can adapt to a wide range of parameters, though they prefer neutral to acidic water.

Keep their tank at temperatures between 78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH between 5.5 to 8.0

  • Common Name: Emerald Cory, Emerald Green Cory, Emerald Brochis
  • Scientific Name: Brochis splendens
  • Origin: Amazon River Basin
  • Length: 3-4 inches

Julii Cory

Julii Catfish
Julii Catfish

Another popular cory catfish type is the julii cory catfish, which features a gorgeous white-gray body covered in tiny black spots. Their speckled appearance looks stunning against live plants and a dark substrate.

Julii corydoras originate from the lower Amazon region, and can be found in abundance in Parnaíba River of Brazil.

They are a relatively small freshwater aquarium fish, reaching around 2 inches in length. They are ideal for nano tanks like a 15-gallon, but make sure you keep them in shoals of at least 6.


A similar looking cory species known as the false julii cory is often mislabeled as the true julli. They look almost identical, but false julii corydoras catfish have patterns that link together in stripes rather than spots.

  • Common Name: Julii Cory
  • Scientific Name: Corydoras julii
  • Origin: Madeira River basin, Brazil
  • Length: 2 inches

Panda Cory

Panda Cory
Panda Cory

Corydoras panda are one of the most beautiful cory catfish you can own due to their stunning black and white markings which resemble a panda! They are native to Peru, particularly in the Ucayali river system.

Compared to most cory catfish, the panda cory is a little sensitive as there are a lot of wild specimens in pet stores. You should aim to keep your panda cories in acidic to neutral water with a pH between 6.0 to 7.0 and water temperature of around 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

They are one of the smaller species of cory as they grow to a maximum length of 2.5 inches. As panda corydoras are peaceful fish, you can house them with other passive fish species.

  • Common Name: Panda Cory
  • Scientific Name: Corydoras panda
  • Origin: Peru
  • Length: 2.5 inches

Peppered Cory

Peppered Cory
Peppered Cory

Peppered corydoras grow to around 2.5 inches in length, and are native to South America where they were discovered in the 1830s by Charles Darwin.

Due to hardiness and interesting appearance, the peppered cory catfish is the perfect species for new fish keepers. As their name suggests, this corydoras species has a light tan body with black-blue spots and stripes, sort of like they’ve been coated with black pepper!

Peppered Cory Popularity

Pepper cory catfish are one of the most popular community fish in the aquarium trade due to their passive nature. They make great tank mates for other corydoras and nano fish like neon tetras, platies, guppies, and harlequin rasboras.

The pepper cory catfish is one of the easiest types of cory catfish to breed. They will happily breed in community tanks, but you’ll have much more success raising the fry if you move them to a dedicated breeding tank.

  • Common Name: Peppered Cory, Pepper Cory, Blue Leopard Corydoras
  • Scientific Name: Corydoras paleatus
  • Origin: South America
  • Length: 2.5 inches

Pygmy Cory

Pygmy Cory
Pygmy Cory

The pygmy cory catfish is one of the smallest species of catfish in the aquarium hobby, as well as one of the cutest. These tiny fish reach a maximum length of 1 inch (0.75 inch for males), making them a great pick for a nano aquarium.

Pygmy cories are a pretty silver color with a well-defined horizontal stripe that runs the entire length of their body.

Pygmy Cory Origin

They come from tropical inland waters in South America, and are commonly found in the Madeira River basin in Brazil.

Be sure to house them in groups of at least 6 as they are schooling fish. Although very passive, they feel easily threatened by large fish. You should house them with small peaceful species like chili rasboras, guppies, and ember tetras.

  • Common Name: Pygmy Cory
  • Scientific Name: Corydoras hastatus
  • Origin: South America
  • Length: 0.75-1 inch

Skunk Cory

Skunk Cory
Skunk Cory

At first glance, the skunk cory looks similar to the panda cory catfish, but instead of black patches, they have a black horizontal line that runs along their white body. Skunk corydoras are native to Rio Unini, which is a tributary of the Rio Negro River in Brazil.

While most types of cory catfish are fairly easy to breed in captivity, the skunk cory cat can be quite difficult as most specimens in the aquarium hobby are wild-caught.

In addition, this species can be sensitive to alkaline waters and elevated nitrate levels, so you’ll need to make sure your fish tank has pristine water quality.

  • Common Name: Skunk Cory, Sands’ Cory
  • Scientific Name: Corydoras arcuatus
  • Origin: Rio Unini, Brazil
  • Length: 2.5 inches

Sterbai Cory

Sterbai Cory
Sterbai Cory

Sterbai corydoras catfish are one of the most highly sought-after types of cory catfish due to their unique reticulated patterns. This cory used to be fairly expensive at pet stores, but they are now a lot cheaper and more commonly available.

They originate from the Guaporé River region between Bolivia and Brazil. Black and albino varieties of this cory fish exist, but they are quite hard to come by. The most popular color form you’ll find is brown with white horizontal white spots.

Sterbai Cory Water Parameters

This aquarium fish does best in slight soft, acidic waters, but they can adapt to a wide range of water parameters. Wild-caught specimens in particular should be housed in tanks with this water chemistry as they are more sensitive.

  • Common Name: Sterbai Cory, Sterba’s Cory
  • Scientific Name: Corydoras sterbai
  • Origin: Guaporé River region, Brazil
  • Length: 2.5 inches

Three Stripe Cory

Three Stripe Cory
Three Stripe Cory

Three stripe corys, also known as false julii corydoras, are native to the Amazon River Basin. They are sometimes called leopard corydoras, but true leopard catfish are slightly larger with longer and pointier snouts.

The three stripe cory has a light silvery body which is adorned with a thin dark stripe that goes along the lateral line from the gills to the tail end. They usually grow to around 2.5 inches in length.

  • Common Name: Three Stripe Cory, Leopard Cory, False Julii Cory
  • Scientific Name: Corydoras trilineatus
  • Origin: Amazon River Basin
  • Length: 2.5 inches

Orange Laser Cory

The orange laser catfish is one of the most vibrant types of cory catfish due to their bright yellow-brown to yellow-green color, which is complemented by a thick orange stripe down the middle of their body (hence the name!)

However, they are also one of the rarest types of cory catfish, so you may struggle to find them at your local pet store. You may be able to find them online or from a specialized breeder.

Orange laser corydoras grow to a maximum length of 3 inches, so you’ll need to house a small group of them in at least a 30-gallon aquarium. They are native to the Upper Amazon in Peru.

  • Common Name: Orange Laser Cory, Gold Laser Cory
  • Scientific Name: Corydoras aeneus
  • Origin: Upper Amazon
  • Length: 3 inches

How Many Species of Cory Catfish Are There?

The corydoras genus contains more than 160 species, making them the biggest genus of Neotropical fishes.

What Is the Most Common Cory Catfish?

The most common type of cory catfish is the bronze cory, but the albino cory, julli cory, bandit cory and peppered cory are also fairly popular freshwater fish in the fish keeping hobby.

What Is the Rarest Cory Catfish?

The vulcan cory catfish is the rarest species of cory, alongside the most expensive. These fish are a stunning silvery-beige color with black spots and stripes, as well as an impressively long dorsal fin. This striking appearance makes them highly desirable in modern aquariums!

What Type of Cory Catfish Should I Get?

The best type of cory catfish to get depends on the size of your tank, other fish in your aquarium, and your personal preference.

For instance, pygmy corydoras are ideal for 10-gallon fish tanks, whereas emerald cory catfish are better suited to at least a 30-gallon aquarium.

Cory catfish are peaceful, so they will get along with other passive fish. However, if you have large or aggressive fish in your aquarium, the cory catfish may not be the right fish for you.

Can I Have 1 Cory Catfish?

Although corydoras can live alone, they are very social and thrive best when kept in groups of at least 6. A single cory will likely be nervous and spend most of their time hiding.

You’ll get much more enjoyment out of these fish if you house them with the same species.

Can You Mix and Match Cory Catfish?

You can mix and match cory catfish, but they do much better if kept in schools with their own species. For example, pygmy corydoras should be kept in groups with other pygmy corys.

However, you can keep multiple cory catfish in the same tank as long as it is spacious enough!

Do All Types of Cory Catfish Get Along?

Yes, all types of cory catfish get along with each other due to their peaceful nature. However, you should try to make sure each type is housed with at least 6 of their own kind.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article helped you learn about some of the most common cory catfish types and the right one to choose for your aquarium.

Which cory catfish types do you like the most? I personally love the panda corydoras and corydoras pygmaeus! Be sure to let me know on our social media platforms, and share this post with your friends and family.

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