Are you looking to add a bottom feeder to your peaceful freshwater aquarium? Then, look no further. The Peppered Cory Catfish is just what you need. Keep reading to learn more about this fish species. 

Peppered Cory Catfish Species Overview
Scientific NameCorydoras Paleatus
Size2 to 3 inches
ColorPale Olive, Dark Green, Tan
TemperamentPeaceful, Schooling
Lifespan5 years
Tank RegionBottom
Care LevelBeginner

Where Does The Peppered Cory Catfish Come From?

The Peppered Cory Catfish is native to South America but can be found in many areas. For instance, they’ve been found in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Suriname, and Uruguay. In these places, the Peppered Catfish is typically found in rivers, small lakes, and streams.

Also, this fish has been found to inhabit rivers and streams in the Rio de la Plata Basin, which is one of the world’s largest river basins.

Charles Darwin was the first to discover this catfish species in the 1830s while traveling aboard the HMS Beagle. 

Even though this catfish is native to South America and found initially there, they were first captively bred in Paris, France, in 1878.

Today, the Peppered Cory Catfish is the most well-known and popular of this species, along with the Bronze Cory Catfish.

A Guide To The Popular Peppered Cory Catfish |

Peppered Cory Catfish Appearance

Also known as the Blue Leopard Corydoras, this species is relatively small. Adult Peppered Catfish can grow to be about two to three inches long.

They have two rows of bony plates, called scutes, making them look stocky. In addition, they have two pairs of barbels on their upper jaw. 

What’s unique about this species is that no two look exactly alike. Peppered Corys have a variety of colors, such as olive, tan, or green-black, that sometimes look iridescent. Their markings all over their body give them that “peppered” look. 

Peppered Cory Catfish Care

If you have a peaceful community of freshwater fish, the Peppered Cory Catfish should fit right in. They’re relatively easy to care for once you know their needs.


Peppered Cory Catfish is a peaceful freshwater species. They’ll do well in aquariums that are large or small. However, remember that they grow to be about two to three inches long and need at least 15 gallons of space.

Also, this species is a schooling fish. To be content, they’ll do best in groups of three or more. With that in mind, it’ll be best to have at least 45 gallons of a tank so they all have plenty of room. 

Since they’re peaceful, they’ll prefer to live in that community. Avoid placing large or aggressive fish in the same tank.

Some ideal tankmates for your Peppered Catfish will be the following:

  • Killifish
  • Tetras
  • Dwarf Chilids
  • Danios

These catfish are active during the day, but they do enjoy lounging about. So, if you see them sitting in one spot for too long, that’s okay. They’re just hanging out.

With that said, they do prefer low lighting and enjoy shaded areas. So, provide plenty of shade and hiding spots when setting up the tank.

A Guide To The Popular Peppered Cory Catfish |

Tank Setup

If you’re going to add this species to your freshwater aquarium, take a look at the table below to see what sort of environment they need.

Peppered Cory Catfish Aquarium Setup
Minimum Aquarium Size15 gallons
Temperature72°F to 78°F
LightingLow with plenty of shade
SubstrateFine sand, smooth gravel
DecorLive plants or artificial, caves, rocks, driftwood
Water FlowModerate
pH Range6.0 to 7.0
Water HardinessUp to 12 dGH

Before getting this fish species, you’ll need a freshwater aquarium that’s at least 15 gallons. However, since they’re schooling fish, you should plan to have at least three Peppered Corys.

Regardless, it’s always better to have a bigger tank. The more space, the better.

This fish does prefer to have subdued lighting. So, if you have bright lights, provide plenty of shaded areas and hiding spots for your Pepper Cory Catfish. Floating plants are a good choice since it’ll provide natural shade.

In addition, they are bottom dwellers. They’ll keep the floor of your tank clean from excess food and other waste. So, fine sand or smooth gravel is ideal since this fish will lie on the substrate and pick through it.

Finally, the pH of the water should be between 6.0 and 7.0, maintaining a temperature of between 72° and 78° F. In addition, they enjoy moderate water flow. So, get a good filter that will keep the water moving and clean. A hang-on-back filter is excellent for this. 


Peppered Corys can be tricky, to feed. They’re active during the day but tend to feed (and scrounge) at night when it’s quiet. 

To ensure they get food, sinking pellets are a good option.

However, they are omnivores and enjoy live foods. You can provide them with brine shrimp, bloodworms, white worms, and tubifex.

Provide them with enough food that they’ll be able to eat within five minutes. This can be one five-minute meal or two smaller meals daily.

A Guide To The Popular Peppered Cory Catfish |

Health And Aquarium Care

With proper care, Peppered Cory Catfish have an average lifespan of up to five years.

They are prone to common fish diseases as most other fish species. They can get bacterial infections, fungi infections, or parasites. 

Luckily, most diseases are curable if caught early and treated correctly.

Breeding Peppered Cory Catfish

Females are typically bigger than males and have a rounder belly. On the other hand, males are typically more colorful than females.

Peppered Cory Catfish are egg layers. They will eat their eggs, so you must place them in a separate spawning tank. You can place the adults back into the other tank when the eggs are laid. You can raise the fry in the spawn tank until they’re big enough to join the others in the main tank.

Lowering the aquarium’s water by about five degrees cooler will trigger spawning. The female will clean areas of the tank that she thinks will be ideal for laying her eggs.

Once the eggs are fertilized, she’ll place them on clean areas, which may be on a plant leaf or the tank’s glass.

They will fertilize between 200 and 300 eggs per mating ritual. 

Question Corner: FAQs About The Peppered Cory Catfish

Are you interested in adding this fish to your freshwater tank but want to learn more? Read through the frequently asked questions answered below.

Where Can You Get A Peppered Cory Catfish?

This catfish species is relatively common for freshwater fishkeepers. You’ll be able to find Peppered Cory Catfish at your local pet store or anywhere you can buy fish.

A Guide To The Popular Peppered Cory Catfish |

What’s The Average Cost Of The Peppered Cory Catfish?

The average price of a Peppered Cory Catfish is about $8. So, expect to spend at least about $25 for a group of three catfish.

Are Peppered Cory Catfish Hardy Fish?

Yes, this catfish species is relatively easy to care for once you know its needs.

Are Peppered Cory Catfish Good For Beginners?

Absolutely. Not only do Peppered Cory Catfish help keep your tank clean, but they’re easy to care for as well.

Are Peppered Cory Catfish Freshwater Or Saltwater Fish?

This species is a freshwater fish. Peppered Cory Catfish are sensitive to salt since they don’t have scales. If you need to treat the water with some salt, you must temporarily remove your Peppered Corys.

Are Peppered Cory Catfish Good Algae Eaters?

Not necessarily. These fish will scrooge the substrate at the bottom of the tank. They’ll clean up leftover food rather than clean up the algae. 

Should You Add Peppered Cory Catfish To Your Tank?

If you’re looking for a bottom dweller to help keep your substrate clean, then consider getting a Peppered Cory Catfish. They’re fun to water and easy to add into most peaceful freshwater tanks.

A Guide To The Popular Peppered Cory Catfish |
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