Corydoras Narcissus: The Long-Nosed Skunk Cory Guide

corydoras narcissus in smooth gravel substrate
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: June 21, 2024
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Corydoras narcissus, a **cool** freshwater fish, draws folks in with its **unique** look and fun antics. Knowing how to care for them is key to keeping them happy in your tank. Their **striking** marks and lively movements make them a hit among fish fans. Whether you’re a pro or just starting, dive into the **fascinating** world of corydoras narcissus and discover why they’re so loved.

Article Summary

  • Corydoras Narcissus, also known as the Long Nosed Arched Cory or Purus Cory, is a popular freshwater aquarium fish native to the Amazon River basin in South America.
  • This species belongs to the Corydoras family and has distinct physical characteristics, including a light brown base color with dark spots and a long snout-like nose.
  • Corydoras Narcissus typically grow to a maximum length of 3 inches and have a slow growth rate, but they can live for 5 to 10 years with proper care.

Species Overview

The Corydoras narcissus, also known as the Long Nosed Arched Cory or Purus Cory, is a species of fish belonging to the Corydoras species. It was first described by Nijssen and Isbrücker in 1980. These small bottom-dwelling animals are commonly found in the Amazon River basin in South America.

Scientific Name, Family, & Common name

Scientifically known as Corydoras narcissus, this species belongs to the family Callichthyidae. In addition to its scientific name, it has various common names such as Langsnudet Buepansermalle (Denmark), Panzerwels (Germany), and Purus Cory.

Origin & Distribution

Corydoras narcissus has a natural distribution in the Rio Purus region of Brazil. They can be found in small tributaries, creeks, and flooded forest areas within their habitat. These fish thrive in freshwater environments with sandy or muddy substrates.

Physical Characteristics

These corydoras have distinct physical characteristics that set them apart from other species. They typically grow up to a maximum standard length of 3 inches. Their bodies display beautiful patterns and coloration, including a light brown base color with dark spots scattered across their scales. One notable feature is their long snout-like nose which gives them their common name “Long Nosed Arched Cory.”

Amazon River
The Amazon River is home to the Corydoras narcissus.

Corydoras narcissus prefer living in groups or schools where they feel safer and more secure. They have adapted to their bottom-dwelling nature by developing barbels around their mouths which help them navigate and search for food on the substrate.

Size, Growth Rate & Lifespan

With a maximum standard length of 3 inches, these corydoras are relatively small fish compared to other species. They have a slow growth rate but can live for an average of 5 to 10 years if provided with proper care and a suitable environment.

Habitat & Tank Conditions

To provide a suitable environment for the Corydoras narcissus, it is essential to have a spacious tank with plenty of floor space.

Tank Size & Set Up

A tank size of at least 20 to 30 gallons is recommended to accommodate these active fish comfortably. It’s crucial to ensure that there is ample room for them to swim and explore.

Regular water changes are necessary to maintain optimal water quality in the aquarium. This helps remove any accumulated waste or toxins, keeping the water conditions pristine for the fish. Aim for weekly or biweekly water changes, replacing about 25% of the tank’s volume each time.

Water Parameters

Maintaining appropriate water parameters is vital for the well-being of Corydoras narcissus. These freshwater fish thrive in temperatures ranging from 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C). It’s important to monitor and regulate the temperature within this range using a reliable aquarium heater.

In terms of pH levels, Corydoras narcissus prefer slightly acidic to neutral conditions, with a pH range between 6.5 and 7.5 being ideal. Monitoring and adjusting the pH level using appropriate buffers can help create a suitable environment for these fish.

Substrate & Decor

Providing suitable substrate and decor is crucial when setting up an aquarium for Corydoras narcissus. These fish appreciate having hiding spots like caves or plants where they can seek shelter when needed. Utilizing the right amount of soft sand or fine gravel as substrate mimics their natural habitat and allows them to exhibit their natural behaviors such as sifting through the substrate in search of food.

Adding live plants not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also provides additional hiding places while contributing to improved water quality by absorbing excess nutrients. It’s important to choose plant species that thrive in similar water conditions as Corydoras narcissus.

Small Planted Tank with a Heater
Mimicking their natural habitat lets them exhibit their natural behaviors.

Tankmates & Temperament

Corydoras narcissus, also known as the Narcissus Cory, is a peaceful and sociable fish that prefers to live in groups. Here are some important points to consider when choosing tankmates for these delightful creatures.


Corydoras narcissus is well-known for its non-aggressive nature and its tendency to shoal together. These fish thrive when they have company and feel secure in their environment. They spend most of their time exploring the bottom of the tank, scavenging for food and interacting with each other.

Compatible Tank Mates

When selecting tankmates for corydoras narcissus, it’s essential to choose peaceful community fish that won’t intimidate or harm them. Some suitable companions include:

Tetras: Species like neon tetras or ember tetras can coexist peacefully with corydoras narcissus.

Guppies: These colorful fish make great tankmates due to their peaceful nature.

Rasboras: Harlequin rasboras or chili rasboras are excellent choices that will get along well with your corydoras.

In addition to these options, other bottom-dwelling species like loaches or catfishes can be compatible tank mates for corydoras narcissus. Just ensure that the tank provides enough hiding spots and ample space for all inhabitants.

Tank Mates to Avoid

It’s crucial to avoid introducing aggressive or fin-nipping species into the same tank as corydoras narcissus. Such species may stress out or harm these gentle creatures. Some examples of unsuitable tank mates include:

Cichlids: Aggressive cichlid species may see corydoras as potential prey or competitors.

Barbs: Fin-nipping barbs can cause significant damage to the delicate fins of corydoras.

Betta Fish (Siamese Fighting Fish): Betta fish are known for their territorial behavior and may attack corydoras.

By avoiding these incompatible tank mates, you can ensure a harmonious and stress-free environment for your corydoras narcissus.

Corydoras narcissus Care

Corydoras narcissus, also known as the Narcissus Catfish, requires proper care to thrive in your aquarium.

Care Recommendations

To ensure the well-being of your long nosed cory, it is crucial to maintain a clean and healthy environment for them. This can be achieved by following these care recommendations:

It is essential to have a well-maintained filtration system in place. This will help keep the water clean and free from harmful substances.

Regular monitoring of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels using test kits is necessary. These parameters should be kept within safe limits to prevent any potential harm to your fish.

Diet & Nutrition

Proper nutrition plays a vital role in the overall health of your Corydoras narcissus. Feed them high-quality sinking pellets that are specifically formulated for bottom-dwelling fish like Corydoras. Frozen foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp can also be included in their diet.

It’s important not to overfeed them as it can lead to health issues. Offer small portions multiple times a day instead.

Types of fish food laid on a surface
It’s important to provide them with a varied and nutritious diet for optimal Corydoras health.

Common Diseases & Prevention

Like any other fish species, Corydoras narcissus may be susceptible to certain diseases. However, with proper care and preventive measures, you can minimize the risk.

One common disease among catfish is Ich (white spot disease). Maintaining good water quality and providing a stress-free environment can help prevent this disease.

When introducing new Corydoras narcissus into your tank, make sure to acclimate them properly. Sudden changes in temperature or water conditions can cause stress and compromise their immune system.

By following these care recommendations for your Corydoras narcissus, you can provide them with a healthy and thriving environment in your aquarium.

Breeding the Corydoras narcissus

To successfully breed Corydoras narcissus, it is important to create the right tank setup and provide suitable conditions for breeding. The following points will guide you through the process:

Recommended Tank Set Up

  • Temperature and Water Conditions: Corydoras narcissus prefer slightly warmer temperatures ranging from 75°F to 80°F (24°C to 27°C). Soft water with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 is ideal.
  • Spawning Surfaces: Provide broad leaves or spawning mops in the tank. These flat surfaces will serve as deposition sites for the eggs. Ensure that these surfaces are easily accessible for the fish.

Breeding Process

  • Male’s Role: Male Corydoras narcissus play an essential role in fertilizing the eggs. During mating, they embrace females tightly and release sperm over the deposited eggs.
  • Nest Guarding: After fertilization, males guard the nest to protect it from potential threats. They diligently watch over the eggs until they hatch.

Fry Care

  • Separation of Adults: To prevent predation, it is crucial to separate adult Corydoras narcissus from their eggs or fry. This can be done by moving them to a separate tank or using dividers within the same tank.
  • Feeding Fry: Once hatched, fry should be fed with small-sized foods such as baby brine shrimp or powdered flake food until they are large enough to consume larger particles.

Breeding Corydoras narcissus can be a rewarding experience for aquarists looking to expand their collection of corys. By providing suitable conditions and closely monitoring their behavior, you can increase your chances of successful breeding.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size tank do Corydoras narcissus require?

Corydoras narcissus thrive in tanks that have a minimum capacity of 20 gallons. A larger tank will provide more swimming space for these active catfish.

Are Corydoras narcissus suitable for beginners?

Yes, Corydoras narcissus can be suitable for beginners as they are relatively hardy and easy to care for. However, proper research on their specific needs is essential before bringing them home.

Can I keep multiple Corydoras narcissus together?

Yes, it is recommended to keep at least six Corydoras narcissus together as they are social fish that thrive in groups.

What should I feed my Corydoras narcissus?

Corydoras narcissus are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods. Their diet should consist of high-quality sinking pellets, frozen or live foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp.

Do Corydoras narcissus require a heater in the tank?

Yes, Corydoras narcissus prefer warmer water temperatures between 75-80°F (24-27°C). A reliable aquarium heater should be used to maintain these temperatures consistently.

Image Reference

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