Cat-eLog Right Arrow Callichthyidae Right Arrow Corydoradinae Right Arrow Scleromystax

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameScleromystax barbatus  (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)
Common NamesBearded Cory
Banded Corydoras, Bearded Catfish, Bearded Corydoras, Checkerboard Cory, Filigree Cory, Skægget Pansermalle (Denmark)
Type LocalityFazenda da Japuhyba near Angra dos Reis, 22°59'S, 44°17'W, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Synonym(s)Callichthys barbatus, Corydoras barbatus, Corydoras eigenmanni
Pronunciationss KLER oh muss tax - bar BAT uss
EtymologyScleromystax: From the Greek sclero meaning hard and the Latin mystax meaning moustache. From the Latin barbatus = bearded, alluding to the cheek bristles developed by mature males.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 95mm or 3.7" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationYoung fish are hard to tell apart from Scleromystax kronei. Adults are easier to tell apart. Adult male S. barbatus have a gold nose stripe (shown) above and females remain peppered gray. In S. kronei both sexes develop higher contrast patterning with maturity, lack the nose stripe and have pale gold / silver saddle shaped patches across the top of their lower back.
SexingSee images above - males are slimmer, posses a gold nose stripe set against velvet black and cheek bristles. Females are marginally larger than males but not any where near the degree shown in Corydoras species. Females remain peppered grey throughout their life.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionBrazil: Rio de Janeiro state in rivers emptying into Guanabara bay; Rio Guapi, Rio Capivari and Rio Inbomirim.
Rio de Janeiro State Rivers, Capivari (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Rio de Janeiro State Rivers, Guapi (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Rio de Janeiro State Rivers, Inbomirim (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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pH5.5 - 7.0
Temperature16.0-25.5°C or 60.8-77.9°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersThe water chemistry isn't too critical for this species except if you intend to attempt breeding them (see below). Despite coming from a tropical zone, this species has a more involved relationship with temperature than one might expect given its origin. Temperature is important in at least how it affects dissolved oxygen levels. This fish will tolerate low temperatures at least for a few months (55°F/13°C) and should not be kept above 77°F/25°C in either well stocked or poorly oxygenated tanks. Ideally, keep the fish in the 68 - 76°F/20-24°C, a range that within which the species will breed.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingSinking tablet and granulated prepared foods with occasional pre-soaked flake will provide a staple diet. Careful feeding of live tubifex, bloodworm or chopped earthworm will promote growth and bring the fish into breeding condition.
FurnitureFor the substrate I would recommend very fine smooth gravel or smooth grained sand, the addition of several large pebbles or pieces of inert rock and maybe one or two clumps of Java fern for a bit of colour. Rooted plants may not get much chance to establish themselves, because these fish do spend a lot of time with their snouts in the substrate rooting around for food morsels.
CompatibilityIdeally this species should by kept in pairs, the males are territorial. If there are two males in a tank that is not large enough to give each his own space, then squabbles will occur. As the spawning season nears, usually in the early part of the year, squabbles will often turn into real fights where serious damage can be inflicted; death of the weaker individual is not out of the question. A standard 24"x 12" tank would be sufficient for one pair; two pairs would need at least a 36"x 15" if not larger.
Suggested TankmatesGenerally this is a species that is very easy to find tankmates for as it is more boisterous than many Corydoras. So can be kept with small to medium sized cichlids, larger tetras and even fast glutonous feeders such as barbs.
BreedingTo attempt breeding, the water should be rather soft and slightly acidic. A pH of 5.5 to 6.5 and the general hardness in the area of 1° to 3°dH. The fish will breed at levels above this but problems arise when it's time for the fry to emerge from the egg. The soft, slightly acid water helps to break down the egg membrane allowing the fry to emerge.
Once the fry are free swimming, which is two to three days after hatching, they are able to take newly hatched brineshrimp. This they relish and it does not take them long to fill their bellies - which will appear very pink and distended. A fairly rich and varied diet, along with regular water changes will ensure a good growth rate and in three months they should be well over one inch long. At three months they all resemble their mother in colour pattern. It will be several more weeks before males start to develop their characteristics. By the time the fry have reached their first birthday they should be fully matured adults, although they will still have some way to go before they are full sized specimens.
See also the article in Shane's World.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesVoyage Uranie, Zool. 234
Registered Keepers(1) TP (k: 11), (2) bronzefry (k: 36), who also notes: "The first few broods were infertile. Since then, the eggs have been coming along at a regular rate. Temperature does not seem to be a factor for laying eggs; clean water does. The one male is quite aggressive to one female in particular that isn't la", (3) daniel60 (k: 53), (4) Keithj, (5) Coryologist, (6) nettaigyo, (7) amiidae, (8) Barracuda518 (k: 6), (9) Birger Amundsen, (10) FreshwaterJeff (k: 2), who also notes: "Two juveniles purchased from a local breeder (the same source as my LDA-08s, L-144s, L-134, and L-260). I'm hopeful that I have a male and a female.", (11) hoplo (k: 109), who also notes: "Another cory we can not stop spawning, spawned every wednesday like clock work for about two months as weather got warmer fish house got warmer and they have slowed down to spawning about every 10 days. Each laying about 20 eggs at a time.", (12) fulvioander (k: 11), (13) awzen, (14) gem400 (k: 7), (15) myrheksa (k: 8), (16) foffo (k: 2), (17) Liz H, (18) Pungen (k: 6), (19) Julie, who also notes: "bred for me in May 2008, I found *gooey crap* on the side of their dark tank... and found the eggs. None survived, but next time!!!", (20) worldwide73, (21) kubastanik (p: 2), (22) evesonevo (k: 6), (23) PhiltheNelson (p: 3), (24) jollysue (k: 6), (25) call_apple (k: 4), (26) arzerkle, (27) donishi, (28) Hitch (k: 6), (29) tophat665 (k: 12), who also notes: "Currently in a 40 long river tank. To me moved to a 20 long river tank soon. My breeding group left me a spawn on the day I sold them off. I let it hatch and am growing it out.", (30) jha61, (31) matt12, (32) SHEAG35 (k: 5), (33) Nx7 (k: 2), (34) steveh28 (k: 4), (35) AndiH, (36) mummymonkey (k: 102), (37) Ironhead (k: 35), who also notes: "Received another FO male in 2015 from Rob McClure", (38) RickE (k: 5), who also notes: "Truly magnificent looking fish. You MUST keep them on sand when you will see them bury their noses a good 1cm deep and wiggle their moustaches in the search for tasty morsels.", (39) dave.h (k: 5), (40) aquaoahu, (41) tortelli (p: 2, k: 2), who also notes: "Caught in the wild (St Catarina), schooled with a couple of corydora schwartzi.", (42) mostm, (43) Hansen (k: 3), (44) Kampfer, (45) SHEAG (k: 5), (46) Mark Roesner, (47) reefdive, (48) Jools (k: 6), (49) catfishhunter (p: 2), (50) donpetty (k: 41), who also notes: "Fantastic larger catfish, very active and not shy about moving in the tank. Kept at 70f, medium hard water, spawn fairly regularly.", (51) minkweir, (52) MHS, (53) soltarii007, (54) corydoras (p: 2), (55) spewydog (k: 14), (56) wrasse (k: 2), (57) richb, (58) Norman (k: 5), (59) leej24, (60) Laura, (61) chef, (62) Blackguard (k: 3), (63) redtigrinus, (64) anthonyking, (65) gossei (k: 4), who also notes: "Looks like all females.", (66) Baxter4568, (67) KansasGuppyGuy (k: 6), (68) mpedersen (k: 4), who also notes: "One confirmed spawn thus far, only once I placed all 4 together. Spawn didn't survive harvest and incubation. Hoping for more soon.", (69) Anthony King, (70) Regina (k: 2), (71) rmc (k: 5), (72) Thoth (k: 6), (73) Atmichaels (k: 15), who also notes: "They spawn once a week, every week.", (74) Sean B (p: 2), (75) Ozboy (k: 8), (76) Valb68 (k: 6), (77) TKL, (78) Nabobmob1 (p: 2, k: 3), who also notes: "Likes to spawn under Anubias leaves", (79) krazyGeoff, (80) fishdoc, (81) bekateen (p: 2, k: 9), who also notes: "All adults died during a summer heat wave.", (82) Goodeid608, (83) Nolapete (k: 10), (84) WildfirebirdPerkins (k: 6), (85) madattiver (k: 2), (86) kwalker, (87) unstoppablejayd, (88) benma (k: 220), (89) Paul (k: 4), (90) Cory Ben, (91) aquaman, (92) Jonboy, (93) scandicman (k: 3), (94) troutperchbeeman (k: 3), who also notes: "Young Trio had a few spawns but lot of infertile eggs so far. I have maybe 7 fry growing", (95) Mvinyl (k: 11), (96) Mathias, (97) Zulan, (98) Evy, (99) matte s, (100) mmccannon, (101) jcorey (k: 3), (102) eelsnot (k: 7), (103) Plumbum, (104) CodOnMyRod, (105) protopterus, (106) Koen (p: 2), (107) Mexnotex, (108) sturiosoma, (109) AMacLeod, (110) Tattooedmaildude79 (k: 7), (111) Mogl, (112) Euan30003 (p: 2), (113) MMurray, (114) burgercats (k: 8).

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Breeding Reports(1) bekateen (b: 58), (2) Atmichaels (b: 51), (3) CodOnMyRod (b: 46), (4) steveh28 (b: 43), (5) Nabobmob1 (b: 43), (6) Zulan (b: 43), (7) rmc (b: 41), (8) donpetty (b: 39), (9) Valb68 (b: 37), (10) kwalker (b: 28), (11) Mexnotex (b: 26), (12) Jools (b: 23), (13) richb (b: 11), (14) RickE (b: 1).
Article - CotM 2001 August
Article - Shane's World Reproduction Breeding Scleromystax barbatus
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Last Update2013 Jul 19 10:08 (species record created: 2001 Apr 25 00:00)