Catfish of the Month Right Arrow May 1998 • Article © Julian Dignall, uploaded May 01, 1998

False Cory, False Corydoras - Brachyrhamdia imitator   Myers, 1927

The most frequently imported of "imitator" Pimeloids which are as a group not often seen by hobbyists. This is a great shame as their small size makes them the most suitable of this South American family for the community tank. They are a scaleless species which look very much like those of the melanistus group of Corydoras. There are also similar Brachyrhamdia that look like C. natteri and C. adolfoi. When I kept an individual with a shoal of Corydoras I noticed that the corys often had nibbled fins. I never caught the culprit red-handed (or finned!), but I am sure it was the impostor in their midst. Perhaps this forms at least part of the reason for this fish evolving in such a way?

Another (possibly complimentary) theory is that an utterly peaceful shoal of Corydoras containing a few Brachyrhamdia may well pass within easy reach of the latter's prey; this behaviour would be difficult to observe meaningfully outside of the natural habitat. In terms of "safety in numbers", there may also be benefits for the Pimeloids fry being raised within the a larger group of armoured Corydoras fry. Spawning of this species is unreported, but any attempts should perhaps take the previous suggestion into account?

In the group I kept, this fin-nipping behaviour was curtailed by the addition of two more imitators which shoaled with the original and the six Corydoras delphax also present. Perhaps like Tiger Barbs the presence of more conspecifics reduces aggressive behaviour? At that time I was unable to house enough C. delphax to prove if the ratio of Corydoras to Brachyrhamdia is significant".

From the number of questions raised by the above it is clear we have a lot to learn about this fascinating small group of catfish.

Copyright information for the images used in this article can be found on the species' full Cat-eLog page.

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameBrachyrhamdia imitator  Myers, 1927
Common NamesFalse Cory
False Corydoras
Type LocalityCaño de Quiribana near Caicara, Venezuela.
Synonym(s)Pimelodella imitator
Pronunciationbra key ram dee ah - im it ate or
EtymologyGreek, brachys, -eia = shor + Brazilian vernacular name, Nhamdia/Jamdia. imitator = alluding to the fact that this species shares, identically, the patterning of Corydoras melanistus.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 75mm or 3" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationOnly potentially confused with the aforementioned species of Corydoras. Anything more than a quick glance reveals the long barbels and naked flanks.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionVenezuela and Colombia
Orinoco, Middle Orinoco, Caura (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Show it on a map (Click the map-icon to show/hide map of species distribution)
IUCN Red List StatusLeast Concern
pH6.0 - 7.5
Temperature20.0-24.0°C or 68-75.2°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersHardness up to 18°dGH.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingWill eat most foods to the point of bursting. Care must be taken not too overfeed especially with foods that expand once inside the fish. Live foods are relished but best used for acclimatizing or conditioning individuals.
FurnitureAn open expanse of gravel for this fish to interact with its conspecifics or Corydoras is necessary to see it at its best. Floating plants will diffuse overhead light and thus allow the fish a greater sense of security when out in the open. The swimming area should be bordered with suitable sized hiding places structured to allow this fast swimming fish both quick entry and exit.
CompatibilityA peaceful fish both with its own species and with Corydoras. The only drawback is that it will eat small tetras and young fish. Fish larger than 1'' are too large to eat and will not otherwise be molested.
Suggested TankmatesMost small to medium sized community fish are ideal. Tetras, Rasboras and Rainbowfish would all do well. The mimic nature of this fish suggests that you should keep similarly marked Corydoras species with this fish. The exact purpose of this is as yet unknown and the insight of aquarists are important in unravelling this mysterious fish.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesBull. Mus. Comp. Zool.v. 68 (no. 3) - pp123
Registered Keepers(1) daniel60 (k: 3), (2) Jeffww (k: 6), who also notes: "Being kept with C. brevirostris, formerly a subspecies of Corydoras melanistus, B. imitator's target species.", (3) monkiecat (k: 2), (4) Mol_PMB, (5) dmcat (k: 4), (6) flipperfeet, (7) Gulper.

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Breeding ReportsNone.
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Last Update2013 Jul 13 16:04 (species record created: 1998 May 01 11:22)

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