Corydoras leucomelas: A Guide to the Blackfin Cory

corydoras leucomelas swimming at the bottom substrate
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: June 20, 2024
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Corydoras leucomelas stands out in aquariums with *bright yellow* and *black* patterns that catch the eye. Its lovely colors and calm nature make it a hit among fish fans. Besides looking cool, these fish bring life and fun to water tanks. **Did you know** they zip around and are super friendly, making your tank more lively? Get ready to dive into the amazing world of Corydoras leucomelas and discover what makes them so special!

Article Summary

  • Corydoras leucomelas is also known as the Black-Finned Cory and has various common names in different countries.
  • It has distinct physical characteristics, including a pale body with dark speckles and a prominent black dorsal fin.
  • These catfish have a slow growth rate and can live for over 5 years under suitable conditions.

Species Overview

Corydoras leucomelas, also known as the Black-Finned Cory, is a species of catfish native to the Amazon River basin in South America. They are commonly found in Ecuadorian, Peruvian, and Colombian regions of the Amazon, with their distribution extending to Tabatinga, Brazil. This species goes by various common names such as Peruvian Freckled Cory in English, Panzerwels in Germany, and Sortfinnet Pansermalle in Denmark.

Scientific Name, Family, & Common Name

The scientific name for this species is Corydoras leucomelas. As mentioned earlier, they belong to the catfish family. Apart from their scientific name and family classification, they are commonly referred to as Black-Finned Cory or Peruvian Freckled Cory.

Origin & Distribution

Corydoras leucomelas originates from the South American continent and specifically inhabits the Upper Amazon River basin. Their natural habitat includes rivers and streams within Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and parts of Brazil. These areas provide them with suitable conditions for survival and reproduction.

Amazon River
The Amazon River Basin is home to the Blackfin Cory.

Physical Characteristics

This corydoras species has a distinct appearance that sets them apart from other species. Their main body color is pale or light brown with small dark speckles scattered across it, resembling freckles on human skin. One notable feature is their black dorsal fin which stands out prominently against their lighter body coloration. They possess relatively large eyes with a “mask” marking that extends from the eye to the upper part of their head.

Apart from these physical characteristics specific to Corydoras leucomelas, they share common traits with other members of the group in the genus Corydoras. This includes having two pairs of barbels around their mouths which resemble whiskers.

Size, Growth Rate, & Lifespan

When fully grown, Corydoras leucomelas typically reach a size of 4-5 cm (1.57 – 1.97 inches). These catfish have a relatively slow growth rate compared to other species, taking their time to mature and develop. In terms of lifespan, they can live for 5 years or more under suitable conditions, making them a long-term commitment for fish enthusiasts.

Habitat & Tank Conditions

To ensure the well-being of Corydoras leucomelas, it is crucial to create a suitable habitat in your aquarium. Here are some important factors to consider when setting up their tank:

Tank Size & Set Up

Corydoras leucomelas are native to slow-moving rivers and streams with sandy or muddy bottoms. Therefore, providing them with enough space to swim and explore is essential. It is generally recommended to have a minimum tank size of 20 to 30 gallons (75 to 115 liters) for these fish.

Water Parameters

Maintaining clean water with appropriate temperature and pH levels is crucial for the health of Corydoras leucomelas. Aim for a temperature range of 72°F – 78°F (22°C – 26°C) and a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5 in their tank. These fish thrive in water hardness levels of 8 – 20°N (142.86 – 357.14 ppm).

Substrate & Decor

Creating an environment that mimics their natural habitat will make Corydoras leucomelas feel more at home in your aquarium. Provide a substrate like sand or fine gravel, which resembles the riverbeds they inhabit in the wild.

Include plenty of hiding spots such as caves or plants where these fish can take shelter when they feel threatened or stressed.

By ensuring the right tank conditions for Corydoras leucomelas, you can help them thrive and exhibit their natural behaviors in captivity.

Fine sand or smooth gravel are ideal substrates for the Corydoras leucomelas.

Tankmates & Temperament

Corydoras leucomelas, also known as the False spotted catfish, are lively and sociable fish that can bring a lot of energy to your aquarium. They have a playful nature and interact harmoniously with their tankmates. These peaceful creatures typically occupy the bottom levels of the tank, making them an excellent addition to any community setup.


You’ll be captivated by the playful antics of Corydoras leucomelas as they dart around the tank. They are peaceful not only towards their own species but also towards other fish species in general. Their calm temperament makes them ideal companions for various non-aggressive fish like tetras, guppies, or rasboras.

Compatible Tank Mates

To ensure the well-being of your Corydoras leucomelas, it is best to keep them in groups of at least six individuals. These social creatures thrive when surrounded by groups of their own kind. They are peaceful enough to coexist with characins (such as neon tetras), cyprinids (like danios), and dwarf cichlids.

When selecting tank mates for your Corydoras leucomelas, consider their size and behavior. Opt for smaller fish that won’t intimidate or harm them. By choosing compatible tank mates, you create a harmonious environment where all inhabitants can thrive.

Tank Mates to Avoid

While Corydoras leucomelas get along well with most non-aggressive fish species, it’s essential to avoid housing them with larger or aggressive fish that may pose a threat. Aggressive tank mates in large groups can stress out these gentle catfish or even cause physical harm.

To maintain a peaceful and stress-free environment for your Corydoras leucomelas, steer clear of aggressive species like large cichlids or predatory fish that may view these small catfish as potential prey.

Corydoras leucomelas Care

Corydoras leucomelas requires specific care to thrive in your aquarium. Here are some essential tips to ensure their well-being:

Care Recommendations

Regular water changes are crucial for maintaining optimal water quality for your Corydoras leucomelas. This helps remove waste and toxins that can accumulate over time. Aim for weekly water changes of around 25% to keep the environment clean and healthy.

Food & Diet

To provide a balanced diet for your Corydoras leucomelas, offer high-quality sinking pellets specifically formulated for bottom-dwelling fish. Supplement their diet with frozen foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms, which they will eagerly devour. Occasional live foods can also be given as a treat.

Common Diseases & Prevention

It’s important to monitor your Corydoras leucomelas for any signs of illness or stress. Loss of appetite, abnormal behavior, or visible symptoms such as fungus or parasites may indicate a health issue. Take immediate action if you notice any abnormalities.

To prevent diseases, maintain good water quality through regular maintenance and proper filtration. Use good quality biopellets to help lower nitrates and phosphorous, as well as limit algae growth in your tank. Avoid introducing new fish without quarantining them first to prevent the spread of potential pathogens.

By following these care recommendations and providing a suitable diet, you can ensure that your Corydoras leucomelas remain happy and healthy in your aquarium.

Breeding the Corydoras leucomelas

To successfully breed the Corydoras leucomelas, there are a few important factors to consider. Let’s dive into the recommended tank set up and the breeding process for these fascinating fish.

Recommended Tank Set Up

It is crucial to provide them with a separate breeding tank. This tank should have slightly warmer water temperatures ranging from 78°F to 82°F (25°C – 28°C).

Small Planted Tank with a Heater
A separate breeding tank with ideal water parameters suitable for breeding increases the chances for success.

Breeding Process

To encourage spawning, it is essential to provide suitable breeding sites for the Corydoras leucomelas. You can use a spawning mop or fine-leaved plants in the breeding tank as their preferred locations for laying eggs. These fish are known for their unique breeding behavior, where the male will chase and nudge the female’s abdomen until she releases her eggs.

Once you observe this behavior, it’s important to take necessary steps to care for the eggs and fry. The eggs are typically adhesive and will attach themselves to surfaces such as plant leaves or glass. It’s crucial not to disturb or remove these eggs during this period.

Fry Care

After approximately four days, you will notice tiny fry emerging from the eggs. At this stage, they will still be attached by their yolk sacs and won’t require immediate feeding. However, once they become free-swimming after about five days, you should start providing them with appropriate food.

Feeding options include powdered dry foods specifically designed for fry or newly hatched brine shrimp. It’s important to ensure that they receive small and easily digestible food particles due to their small size.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size tank do Corydoras leucomelas require?

Corydoras leucomelas should be kept in tanks that are at least 20 gallons in size. These fish appreciate swimming space as well as areas for exploration and hiding.

Can Corydoras leucomelas be housed with other fish?

Yes, Corydoras leucomelas are peaceful community fish and can be housed with other non-aggressive species such as tetras, rasboras, guppies, and dwarf cichlids.

How often should I feed my Corydoras leucomelas?

Feed your Corydoras leucomelas small amounts of high-quality pellets or flakes twice a day. You can also supplement their diet with occasional live or frozen foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp.

Do Corydoras leucomelas need sand substrate?

While not mandatory, it is recommended to provide a sand substrate for Corydoras leucomelas. Sand allows them to exhibit their natural behavior of sifting through the substrate in search of food.

How can I encourage breeding in Corydoras leucomelas?

To encourage breeding, provide your Corydoras leucomelas with clean water, slightly lower the temperature, and offer varied foods. Creating caves or using spawning mops as potential egg-laying sites can stimulate females in their reproductive behavior.

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