Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Corydoras paleatus

Peppered cory

Peppered cory, Corydoras paleatusPeppered cory, Corydoras paleatus
Photos by Andy Rapson


Corydoras: Greek, kory = helmet + greek, doras = skin

General Notes:

An exceptionally peaceful fish and great community fish. Peppered corys come in two forms, the normal coloured and an albino form, they are one of the most reliably peaceful and hardy community fish available. They should be kept in a group of at least five individuals. Unfortunately they are often sold as fish which help to keep the tank clean. This is not the case, they will however eat all the food which lands on the floor of the aquarium which might otherwise have been overlooked by the other fish. Like all other corydoras they need easy access to the water surface where they will visit every few minutes to take a gulp of air. If they are prevented from doing this they will drown because they cannot obtain enough oxygen through their gills alone. Peppered corys shouldn't be kept on sharp substrate because it will very likely damage their barbels and might lead to infection, fine sand or rounded gravel makes an ideal substrate for these fish.
Corydoras paleatus are shipped in bags containing many individuals. They have very strong and sharp spines in their pectoral fins and sadly some individuals sustain damage to their eyes during shipping, it is worthwhile checking the condition of their eyes before making a purchase in order to save yourself having problems with a possible infection a few days later.


In the wild Corydoras paleatus feeds on worms, crustaceans, insect larva and a little vegetable matter. In captivity they are very bold feeders and will accept good quality flake food, catfish pellets and suitably sized live or frozen food.


When adult the female Corydoras paleatus are a little larger and much more heavily built than are males.


They breed freely in captivity often with one female and two males. The eggs are deposited on aquarium furniture or glass and after spawning the fish pay no further attention to the brood.

Wild status

The health of the wild population of Corydoras paleatus has not been evaluated. But almost all the fish in the hobby are bred in captivity.

Information at a glance

pH: 6 - 7.5
dGH: 4 - 15
Temperature: 18 - 23°C (65 - 74°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 6cm (2.5in)
Min tank size: 60 litres
Difficulty level: Easy
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Bottom

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Peppered cory, Corydoras paleatus

Origin: South America: Lower Paraná River basin and coastal rivers in Uruguay and Brazil.

Habitat: Fond in ponds slow moving rivers and streams.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Callichthyidae
Sub-family: Corydoradinae
Genus: Corydoras
Species: C. paleatus, (Jenyns, 1842)

Common name:
Peppered cory

Synonyms: Callichthys paleatus, Corydoras maculatus, Corydoras marmoratus, Silurus 7-radiatus, Silurus quadricostatus.