Twosaddle Corydoras - Corydoras weitzmani Nijssen, 1971
by Julian Dignall, uploaded August 24, 2011
This month I turn 40 years old and in writing this month's article I find myself thinking about two past points in time:August 1997 and August 1971. The former was around about the time that I seriously started work on what was to grow into PlanetCatfish.com, the latter was when I was born. Also around about that time in the early seventies, Hans Nijssen was naming a new species of Corydoras after the American ichthyologist Dr. Stanley Weitzman.
1971 was a good year for catfishes, with Poll publishing work on Synodontis which, to this day, is referred to regularly and is, in my opinion, one of the great modern works. 1971 also saw Corydoras panda appear. That single spotted species was to become a mainstay. But it is to a species with two spots on its flanks that provided more intrigue. Corydoras weitzmani was described in 1971 but it had been sitting in a jar on a shelf since first formally collected in 1949.
Any Corydoras fan subsequently reading Nijssen's description of this fish would not fail to put what the Germans refer to as a "phantom" species at the top of their wish-list. That said, the five specimens that Nijssen had, and the one he collected in 1969, were all that are mentioned in the description. It is odd to note the numbers available; even odder was the type locality given near Cusco in Southern Peru.
Cusco is well known to the world traveller, and several failed attempts to relocate the fish and introduce it into the aquarium hobby came and went. Additionally, what were we to make of the care requirements and breeding set-up for a Corydoras that lives at an inaccessible 11,000 feet above sea level? Some have suggested this information was deliberately given by the collectors as a false lead to throw any more collectors off the scent. I've already said that I wasn't born when this was all happening, but it shouldn't take a particularly developed mind to wonder exactly how much commercial intrigue existed at that time. Would they really do that then? Why Cusco?
However, the species was named to honour Dr. Weitzman, curator of fishes at the Smithsonian, but he also occupied a role as senior consulting editor at TFH magazine (how times change) and that would imply a link with the trade. But in the trade this ghost species remained a phantom, elusive and the stuff of legend. Dr David Sands documented a trip out to Cusco in PFK magazine and failed to find it.
That all changed in late 2004 when Japanese collector Shigezo Kamihata supplied fish to Japan. A good move, as the tropical fish market in there has a budget like no other. Corydoras were (and continue to be) very popular in this heightened live fish market; the going rate was around US$1000 a fish. It is against that level of demand that any other population of fishkeepers needs to compete, and rarely does. Staying in Japan, the fish was introduced in Aqualife magazine in February 2005 as the "fantasy cory".
Later that year, imports were forthcoming to the second tier of ornamental fish trading countries like Germany, the UK and USA. We learned then that the fishes were exported from the more southern Madre de Dios (Mother of God) river system also in Peru. Even then prices of around £50 per fish were the going rate. Soon, several spawnings were reported globally and between then and now, this has become a fish that you can buy for under £10. Furthermore, Peruvian exporters either discovered new collecting sites, transport routes opened up, or the locations became more well known, as the species become more available from the wild too.
After such an intrigue-laden introduction, we should perhaps expect some devastating spawning trigger or another mystical husbandry requirement for this species. But, as it turns out, they are easy to keep, they spawn easily and are relatively fecund. It would not surprise me if, in another 40 years' time, this species replaces the bronze cory as the fish we all see in all shops most of the time. Certainly it would well deserve it.
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|Cat-eLog Data Sheet|
|Scientific Name||Corydoras weitzmani Nijssen, 1971|
|Common Name(s)||Twosaddle Corydoras|
|Type Locality||Río Vilcanota system at Cuzco, Cuzco, Peru, 13°32'S, 71°57'W.|
|Pronunciation||Kory DOOR ass|
|Etymology||Cory = helmet, doras = skin. In this case it was incorrectly used to mean armour (cuirasse) instead of skin in allusion to the dual rows of plates that run along the flanks of this genus. Named to honour Dr. Stanley Weitzman.|
|Size||55mm (2.2") SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.|
|Identification||Corydoras are identified by their twin rows of armour plates along the flanks and by having fewer than 10 dorsal fin rays. They are most commonly confused with the other genera in the sub-family, namely Brochis, Scleromystax and Aspidoras.
Fairly unique in that it has a light brown body with three dark markings, one over the eye, one under/into the dorsal and one at the end of the caudal peduncle. The exact shape of the spots varies somewhat from one fish to another.
|Sexing||Females fuller bodied and slightly larger than males.|
|Distribution||The type locality information recorded for this species is inaccurate. Imports to the aquarium trade have come from the Rio Madre del Dios reiver system in Southern Peru.
Amazon, Middle Amazon (Solimoes), Madeira, Madre de Dios (click on these areas to find other species found there) (Click the map-icon to show/hide map of species distribution)
|pH||6.0 - 8.0|
|Temperature||22.0-26.0°C or 71.6-78.8°F (Show others within this range)|
|Other Parameters||dh 2-25.|
|Compatibility||Comaptible with all but the tiniest of fry, and as long as they are not considered "food" in themselves.|
|Suggested Tankmates||Ideal tankmates are small to medium tetras. Possibly also dwarf cichlids such as Apistogramma or Mikrogeophagus.|
|Breeding||Has been bred in the aquarium and appears to be both reasonably easy and predictable in its spawning behaviour.|
|References||Beaufortiav. 19 (no. 250) - pp91 - Fig. 1|
|Registered Keepers||(1) synoguy (k: 5), (2) mummymonkey (k: 24), who also notes: "Very shy fish.", (3) madattiver (k: 11), (4) Coryologist, (5) kim m (k: 4), who also notes: "Breeding group. Very productive.", (6) Coryman, (7) joern (k: 10), (8) Barracuda518 (k: 6), (9) cwm, (10) Daragh (k: 7), (11) johnny70, (12) AmLi (k: 6), (13) fulvioander (k: 4), (14) CatfishPiney (p: 5), (15) Carp37 (k: 4), who also notes: "5 juvenile F1 fish from Paul Nixon at Bolton Aquarium; extremely shy (even paranoid) at first and prone to washing out colour, but settled remarkable after about 3 years! Lost one October '10.", (16) Selveste_Preben (k: 2), (17) jollysue (k: 11), (18) saltcop, (19) Dave Rinaldo (k: 8), (20) thelivelylady, (21) corybreed (k: 12), (22) H (k: 8), (23) anitabritt (k: 22), who also notes: "Regular breeding group wc. ", (24) Jørn Kåsa, (25) kenneth knutsen, (26) bevans (k: 3), who also notes: "Wild-caught trio. I am trying to get them to spawn now.", (27) Liz H, (28) Olivier, (29) TheWetArm (k: 4), (30) Julie, (31) Yann (k: 3), (32) paul dixon (k: 92), (33) reticulata (k: 6), (34) LowCat (k: 2), (35) NEONCORY (k: 4), (36) fish fodder (k: 5), (37) evesonevo (k: 5), (38) apisto-nut, (39) amergim (p: 2), (40) chris1932, (41) gem400 (k: 6), (42) polardbear (k: 7), (43) fjack88, (44) ozarowana (k: 17), (45) jørn henning flåten, (46) ucdxmisty, (47) donishi, (48) matti2uude (k: 11), (49) Bjørn (p: 2), (50) bamboosticks (k: 5), (51) Kampfer, (52) Richard B (k: 6), (53) MatsP (p: 2, k: 16), (54) Hitch (k: 5), (55) mead51 (p: 4), (56) syno321, (57) percyplec (k: 9), who also notes: "Breeding group", (58) Donald (p: 2, k: 27), (59) boyneburn, (60) janne dahle (k: 10), (61) aides, (62) jp11biod, (63) aquaoahu, (64) jpod, (65) Norman (k: 9), (66) catfanatic (k: 7), who also notes: "I keep the witez mani I a custom sized 15 gal. Tank with a large amount of Anubis plants and go thru the plants after noticing spawning activity. This is a time consuming job as you have to examine each plant well. They are very good at hiding there eggs and the parents are excellent at finding the eggs and eating them. The eggs once found are removed and set aside in tank water to hatch. I have had very good hatch rates and survival rates for the fry.", (67) Mark Roesner, (68) hullfishman (k: 5), who also notes: "Tank bred just aproaching maturity", (69) rhibear (k: 6), (70) arapaimag (k: 5), (71) reefdive, (72) rmc (k: 30), who also notes: "Bred 2x in a 10 gallon sand bottom tank, 2 floating mops(dk. green) Temp-75 deg.F, aqeon 10 powerfilter, fed on Blackworms and bbs 2x per day. Both spawns occurred after a 50 % RODI water change, as a major weather front was moving in. Each spawn consisted of 25 or so lg. eggs mainly laid in the top half of the floating mops.", (73) catfishhunter, (74) soltarii007, (75) MHS, (76) Shawnc, (77) jeff.l, (78) mace, (79) cpc1007 (k: 5), (80) madtundra, (81) mds, (82) tjudy, (83) donpetty (k: 6), (84) mani29 (k: 2), (85) lasteeves (k: 13), (86) backstreetgambler (k: 4), (87) anthonyking, (88) gossei, (89) Martin S (k: 2), (90) KillieOrCory, (91) Lars Jamne (k: 7), (92) kwalker (k: 4), (93) darr3ll, (94) Paul, (95) crazyjock (k: 6), (96) PhilC (k: 5), who also notes: "Wild.", (97) steveh28 (k: 8), (98) Madtundra01, (99) duxallinarow, (100) miguel mitchel (k: 5), (101) Narwhal72.
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|Breeding Reports||(1) Rita Aspevik (b: 41), (2) donpetty (b: 38), (3) catfanatic (b: 10), (4) Narwhal72 (b: 8), (5) rmc (b: 8).|
- Shane's World Reproduction Observations of Breeding Corydoras weitzmani.
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|Last Update||2012 Feb 13 01:52 (species record created: 2005 Apr 23 00:00)|