Catfish of the Month Right Arrow March 1999 • Article © Julian Dignall, uploaded March 01, 1999



Peppered Cory, Panzerwels/Corydoras - Catfish (Germany), Peppered Catfish, Plettet Pansermalle (Denmark) - Corydoras paleatus   (Jenyns, 1842)

Hardy is the first word that comes to mind when thinking of this fish. In fact you really have to go some to seriously harm these genteel catfish. They tolerate a wide range of water quality and temperatures often unwittingly imposed upon "first time" fish by enthusiasts new to the hobby. The second word that comes to mind is common; this fish is bred and exported by the hundreds of thousands from Florida and Far Eastern fish farms. It is difficult to find a tropical fish retailer that doesn't have these fish in stock most of the time; it follows that they are often an aquarist's first introduction to catfish. The availability of captive bred stock has ensured that wild-caught individuals are a sought-after rarity which don't look quite the same as the fish we are so used too seeing in aquaria.

In general the fish is easily identified and an albino variety is also available. However, the albino cory you see in shops is most usually the albino bronze cory, C. aeneus. Sometimes the more elongate Aspidoras species and young Scleromystax barbatus are confused with this fish by uninterested retailers, but rest assured that if you pick up any of these for the price of a peppered cory then you have done well! Also of note is that this fish can tolerate cool water and will live in most areas of the world in an unheated tank

The aquarium hobby is littered with little gems of information often attached to the most commonplace species. The peppered cory is a shining example of this, as it was first discovered by a young Charles Darwin when visiting Buenos Aires, part of his epic expedition aboard the Beagle in the mid 1830s. The species was later described by Jenyns in 1842.

Most likely, either this fish or the Bronze Cory (Corydoras aeneus), were the first Corydoras species spawned in aquaria, perhaps even the first catfish. This is mirrored by catfish or Corydoras breeders who also cite these fish amongst their first successes. Bronze and peppered Corys were also central to initial observation and recording of the classic corydoras spawning "T" position and environmental spawning triggers.


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Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Corydoras paleatus  (Jenyns, 1842)
Common Names Peppered Cory
Panzerwels/Corydoras - Catfish (Germany), Peppered Catfish, Plettet Pansermalle (Denmark)
Type Locality South America, exact locality uncertain.
Synonym(s) Callichthys paleatus, Corydoras maculatus, Corydoras marmoratus, Corydoras microcephalus, Silurus 7-radiatus, Silurus quadricostatus
Pronunciation Kory DOOR ass - pal ee AH tuss
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. Latin palea = chaff (strips of metal foil) alluding to wild-caught specimens colouration.
Articles
Article - Shane's World Catfishology The Catfish Basics Series, Pt 9 - An Attempt to Spawn On Demand
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 70mm or 2.8" 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.

Normally coloured adults are easily identified but young can be confused with some other Corydoras (such as C. barbatus and the like) or even young Aspidoras. Wild caught individuals look quite different from farm raised fish commonly encountered for sale. Wild fish have a higher contrast pattern, the pigmentation shimmers like foil in natural sunlight. An albino variety is uncommonly available. These can be readily recognised by having a small pink patch on the back, just in front of the dorsal fin. Other commonly available albino congeners don't have this pink patch and consequently appear uniform white or lightly yellowish. In good light also a subtle pattern of iridescent reflections on the flanks are visible. The light reflects in a way that shows the normal pigmentation, but this is rarely visible in unless this fish is very settled.
Sexing Females more plump with rounded ventral fins and shorter pectoral and dorsal spines.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Widely distributed from Southern Brazil, through Uruguay south to Northern Argentina
La Plata, Uruguay (click on these areas to find other species found there)
La Plata, Paraná, Lower Paraná (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Mar Chiquita, Dulce, Sali (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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pH 6.0 - 7.5
Temperature 15.0-25.0°C or 59-77°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters Wild caught specimens require cooler, bright water.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
Feeding Flake foods, sinking tablets, live or frozen brineshrimp are all eagerly taken. Bloodworm are particularly relished. Tubifex, white and blackworm are also taken but care should be taken when feeding tubifex as it can easily foul the water.
Furniture Well rounded gravel, sand or leaf-litter as a substrate will ensure proper barbel growth, which is essential before attempting reproduction. Some large leafed plants are used for cover although this fish is active through the day.
Compatibility Peaceful. The commonly available farm raised stock that you encounter in virtually all aquatic shops are an ideal first catfish for the beginner's community tank.
Suggested Tankmates Other peppered corys! Suits a tank with community fish that enjoy a slightly cooler tropical tank. Not a fish for the discus tank, although hardy enough to stand high temperature for a while, it doesn't help the longevity of the fish.
Breeding It is considered that wild-caught C. paleatus are harder to breed than their tank-raised cousins. The latter commonly spawn in the community aquarium but a breeding tank of as little as 5 gallons will suffice and allow the fry to develop safely. A female and two males is the bare minimum, but more males can be added and some breeders actively recommend this. A period of ''fattening up'' achieved by feeding frozen or live foods followed by both a sharp drop of temperature and influx of fresh water should induce spawning.The female is shown here just prior to egg release. These eggs are held together in a clutch formed by the female's pelvic fins. How the actual fertilization of the eggs takes place is a matter of great debate amongst Corydoras breeders. Either the sperm is released in the water (possibly which the female wafts down the length of her body) and reaches the eggs OR the female ingests the sperm and somehow this passes through her body and is released over the eggs. This internal route is possibly a by-product of the mechanism that allows Corydoras to ''breathe'' air and dissolve it into the bloodstream in the lower gut. Detractors of the latter theory state that the female's mouth is clamped shut in gripping the male or is clamped to the body of the male by his pelvic fins! Whatever the route, it works. The female swims away and deftly ''lays'' the eggs, usually on the aquarium glass, but occasionally on broadleaf plants. Rearing is as for Corydoras similis.
Breeding Reports There are 32 breeding reports, read them all here.
Jump to next section Further Information
References Fish, Voyage Beagle - pp113
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Last Update 2013 Jul 15 13:16 (species record created: 1999 Mar 01 11:22)

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