Keeping pygmy corydoras in the aquarium – this is how it works.
In Germany, it available as standard in the pet trade now, and in the home aquarium they are seen more and more often – the pygmy corydoras: no wonder, they are, but one of the few representatives of the catfish, the small in the right thanks their extremely small size of 60 liters aquarium held can be.
In addition, their swimming-happy behavior, the fairly simple breeding successes, and the very splendid coloring contribute to the animals’ success in the united states aquarium scene. The following article will show you what to consider when keeping miniature catfish in the aquarium.
General information about the popular pygmy corydoras
The aquarium fish Corydoras pygmaeus also called “pygmy corydoras” in English, belongs to the callichthyidae group of armored catfish. This family falls under the genus of Corydoras. The freshwater fish measures, as its name suggests, only a few centimeters. This makes it one of the tiny Corydoras: while the females are about 3 cm “tall,” the males of the corydoras are just 2 to 2.5 cm long.
The small pygmy corydoras have a silver-gray body color and a rounded head. A black stripe that runs from the tip of the nose to the end of the body is the most striking feature of his drawing. Apart from this special feature, the corydoras has a rather simple body color, which differs depending on the breed. While the males seem to get longer and longer ventral and dorsal fins in the course of their lives, the females of the pygmy corydoras become plump and larger with increasing age.
Since small animals can live to be around eight years old, they are very popular with many aquarists. Like all armored catfish, this subspecies is very peaceful and not picky about food. The prerequisite for this is, of course, optimal housing conditions for the intestinal breathers. Due to their small body size, the freshwater fish can also be kept in smaller tanks. Since the little fish only feels comfortable in the company, it should always be kept in a school. But other small fish species and shrimp are also welcome in his company. Since pygmy corydoras are mainly active at dusk and at night, they are particularly suitable for professionals who want to observe their aquarium in the evening.
Origin of the pygmy corydoras
The Corydoras pygmaeus originally come from the South American continent. Here they occur in tropical rivers. One of its main areas of distribution is in the Rio Madeira Basin in Brazil. Like all catfish, the miniature catfish spends a lot of time on the ground, where it takes its food. In contrast to most catfish species, however, it is also often found in open middle water. It needs free access to the surface of the water because it is here that it takes up oxygen. The ability to absorb oxygen from the air enables the dwarf armored catfish to breathe even in cut off, stagnant water. The other armored catfish also have this ability.
The optimal water values for dwarf armored catfish in aquarium keeping
Pool size: min. 60 cm (approx. 54-60 liters)
Temperature: 23 ° C – 26 ° Celsius
PH value: 6.0-7.5
Water hardness: 2-12 ° dGH
Carbonate hardness: 1-6 ° dKH
The optimal water temperature for the corydoras is around 23 – 26 ° C. If the water temperature is lower, there is a risk that the heat-loving animals will catch a cold.
When keeping the pygmy corydoras, care should be taken that the pH value is between 6 and 7.5. The total hardness is in the best case between 2 ° and 12 ° dGH. The carbonate hardness in the aquarium should amount to 1 – 6 ° dKH. Since the miniature catfish can cope with fluctuations within this range, it is considered to be relatively easy to care for. With optimal water conditions, the animals’ willingness to spawn is increased. However, corydoras can also tolerate relatively high water hardness. It is only necessary for the breeding of the corydoras that the water is softer.
The keeping conditions for pygmy corydoras in the aquarium
The pygmy corydoras needs a suitable basin structure so that it has enough space to reach the surface of the water. This is necessary so that the intestinal breathers can absorb enough oxygen. It is therefore important to ensure that not too many floating plants cover the surface of the aquarium. The miniature armored catfish’ swarms often stay in the middle water zones in their home areas: this should also be made possible in the aquarium keeping. However, the dwarf armored catfish spend most of their lives looking for food at the aquarium’s bottom.
So that the tropical fish does not catch a cold, it makes sense to operate the tank with a suitable cover. This makes it much easier to maintain the relatively high water temperature required for the corydoras.
Rather alone or in a company – pygmy corydoras among fellow species
The pygmy corydoras is a schooling fish that only feels comfortable in groups of more than six animals, but keeping it in groups of 12 or more Corydoras is optimal. Since the miniature catfish is very peaceful, it is also well suited to socializing with other species. Other ornamental fish should be adapted to the small size of the dwarf armored catfish. Otherwise, they easily end up as a meal. So are smaller tetra species (like red neons), shrimp that remain small and dwarf cichlids that remain small are very suitable for socialization. However, it should be noted that dwarf armored catfish, as already described above, should be kept in larger groups if possible. Particularly in smaller tanks, such as the 60-liter aquarium, this naturally restricts the remaining stock of the aquarium somewhat: especially when it comes to stocking near the bottom, a small tank with a group of miniature armored catfish is almost fully occupied.
In terms of gender distribution, a combination of 3 males and one female turned out to be ideal. This is especially true if breeding is intended because the larger female miniature armored catfish like to spawn in groups, which is why several males/females are required.
Aquarium size and structure
The pygmy corydoras can be kept in a smaller group in a tank of 50-60 liters – the edge length of the tank should, however, correspond to a length of 60 cm ( i.e., no 30 cm nano-cubes ). Depending on the population and group size, there should, of course, be more space so that the pygmy corydoras have enough space to develop in all water regions.
The small tropical fish feel particularly comfortable in a densely planted aquarium, but this must have enough free swimming area, and the pool surface should not be overgrown with floating plants. Most of the time, however, the animals spend on the ground and search for food there. They dig into the ground with their fine barbels in order to spot small food particles. If you give the animals too coarse or sharp-edged gravel, the animals can injure their barbels. For this reason, you should absolutely fine sand (e.g., quartz sand ) or fine, rounded gravel for the corydoras on an aquarium floor. Especially since the miniature catfish eats almost no food on the surface of the water, the bottom should definitely be adapted to its needs. So the pygmy corydoras can search the subsoil for something to eat. They cannot dig through coarser gravel – or there is a great risk of injury to the Corydoras.
In addition to the free water space, the nocturnal corydoras is happy about a dense background planting, as well as some hiding places: roots, stones, and plants serve as a retreat in the natural habitat of the animals. The animals hide for a large part of the day to go looking for food again at the beginning of dusk.
To offer the pygmy corydoras a species-appropriate habitat, the water should be filtered very well and changed regularly. It is very unfavorable if the basin is weed or moss balls form. The resulting water germs have a negative impact on the quality of life of the miniature armored catfish and should be avoided at all costs. For this reason, block-filtered water can also be used when changing the water.
Feeding: which food is suitable for the pygmy corydoras?
The pygmy corydoras is rather easy to care for and, as an omnivore, likes to eat different types of food. In order to provide the corydoras with a balanced diet over the long term, the feeding should be varied. First and foremost, the freshwater fish is to be fed carnivorous: Small live food or fine frozen food can be fed for this.
If you don’t want to bother putting together feed yourself, you can also feed your pygmy corydoras ready-made feed. Since the miniature armored catfish seek their food on the bottom, special food for catfish should be used from time to time. This is not only optimally matched to dwarf armored catfish in its composition but also sinks to the bottom where the Corydoras can then pursue their favorite activity – digging for food. Various manufacturers offer special food tablets with these properties in pet shops – our recommendation follows. By the way, we compare all common types of fish food here.
Cyclops, which are offered fresh and frozen, are very popular with corydoras. When feeding frozen food, it is important that the food is slightly thawed – this flushes away additional ingredients such as phosphate, and the food is better distributed in the tank. To do this, the frozen food is simply placed in an Artemia sieve and poured under running water.
As with other feeds, you should only add as much frozen food to the aquarium as the fish can take in within 3-5 minutes. In particular, the pygmy corydoras quickly suffer from poor water quality, which is further enhanced by food particles floating around. Many feeds are therefore packaged in portions or consist of suitable pellets. This makes it easier to portion the optimal amount of feed.
Infusoria, so-called infusion animals, are very suitable for feeding young pygmy corydoras. After a few days, Artemia (saltwater crabs) can also be fed. They are available both dried and frozen. Artemia can also be fed alive.
Live food, in particular, is of great importance for the animals because it not only keeps the fish permanently healthy; they also do not lose their natural hunting instinct. Live black mosquito larvae, live grindals, live micro-worms, and, as already mentioned, freshly hatched live Artemia are ideal for feeding in the aquarium.
Reproduction and breeding of the pygmy corydoras
The pygmy corydoras usually reproduce in autumn and winter. During courtship, they swim in the open water and hardly ever reach the bottom for hours.
The eggs of the pygmy corydoras are very small and measure only 1-2 mm. In the beginning, they are transparent and, therefore, hardly recognizable. The females hide the spawn on the underside of the leaves of broad-leaved aquarium plants, but sometimes also on the aquarium pane. The transparent eggs are often difficult to see and can usually only be identified when spawning has been observed. As already mentioned above, broad-leaved aquarium plants are very popular plants for spawning, like the Amazon sword plant but also the pennywort and the water friend. When laying eggs, about 2-4 eggs are fertilized by the male and then laid by the female. This process is repeated until the female has laid about 100 eggs on parts of the plant.
The picture above shows a pygmy corydoras hatching from the egg, which was attached to the aquarium pane. One should pay less attention to the algae in the aquarium – in a breeding tank, these are often quite normal and usually even desirable. For targeted breeding, the eggs can be sucked in and collected using a small tube. So you can raise the animals in a special spawning tank. The newly hatched miniature armored catfish are tiny and barely visible to the naked eye. They feed on protozoa, but Java moss can also be added to the spawning tank as micro feed.
In order to breed the corydoras, the aquarium should have rather soft water. In general, the water values described above should be adhered to in any case. As a reminder: we recommend a total hardness of 5 – 7 ° dG and a carbonate hardness of 1 to 4 ° dKH. To make the animals aware of the mating season, which naturally takes place in autumn/winter, the temperature in the pool can be slowly reduced within a certain period of time. For example, from 26 ° down to 22-23 ° and this within a week. So you simulate the seasons, and the chances of reproduction increase enormously.
The differences to the pygmy corydoras: what differentiates the species?
When the pygmy corydoras is mentioned, it is usually referred to as the callous catfish family. While about 160 species of catfish are generally known, there are only about 12 calloused catfish (Callichthyinae). The biggest differences between these are the animals’ demands on water quality and warmth. This is because the animals come from different regions and many species are native to tropical South American waters. However, when it comes to water hardness, all armored catfish are very tolerant and accept just about anything between 5 to 15 ° dGH.
The pygmy corydoras makes further demands on its habitat, especially due to its size: It is important that it can live in a quiet environment and stockings that are adapted to its size. Most armored catfish live mostly on the bottom, while the dwarf armored catfish spends a lot of time swimming in the basin’s central areas. Accordingly, more space should be made available to them here than sometimes other armored catfish species.
Known diseases and symptoms from which pygmy corydoras suffer
Like their large relatives, little pygmy corydoras are very robust animals that are not known to die quickly and regularly from diseases in the aquarium. There are also no known diseases from which animals often suffer and die.
Only the water quality should not be neglected: If the water is heavily polluted (for example, through overfeeding or through unclean filter systems ) and a partial water change is not carried out regularly, the concentration of nitrate in the pool increases, which damages the corydoras in the long term. If you keep pygmy corydoras in the aquarium, the partial water change must be carried out regularly, at best weekly. This is very important when keeping in small 60 liter tanks and will definitely determine the age of the fish.
The different species of corydoras
The regular miniature catfish is now part of the standard program in every pet shop. It is characterized by a horizontal bar on its trunk, which actually extends from the head to the caudal fin. The color of the body ranges, as with almost all dwarf armored catfish family members, from light olive green to beige to silver gray.
The pygmy corydoras is 3 centimeters tall and should be kept in a group of 10 animals or more.
The Corydoras Habrosus
This fish is also called the Salt and pepper catfish. It is particularly noticeable because of its eye-catching coloration, which appears as a pattern in different colors. The body color can change from light olive green to beige to silver-gray. It is crisscrossed by dark brown to black spots, which is what earned it its name. Other names are also Corydoras parallelus or marbled dwarf catfish.
The small corydoras measure around 3-4 cm in length and, like their relatives, live in larger groups. Its home is tropical waters, especially in Colombia and Venezuela.
The marbled dwarf catfish in the video
Conclusion: pygmy corydoras – they are not so popular for nothing
The pygmy corydoras is a relatively easy-care species that is very suitable for both beginners and advanced learners. If some basic care instructions are followed, the corydoras can be kept by inexperienced aquarists without much effort. The agile and agile ornamental fish use all basin regions and are very entertaining: regardless of whether they are looking for food with their bristles in the fine sand or just swimming around in the basin. The dwarf armored catfish can be socialized very well with small tetras, dwarf cichlids, dwarf rasps, and shrimps – we will show you more about the right aquarium stocking here.
The larger the group of pygmy corydoras, the easier it is to observe the behavior of the animals. If you want to breed the corydoras, you should get a breeding aquarium. This can prevent the animals from eating the spawn, and the very small young animals can be raised in a protected environment.
pygmy corydoras are omnivores. They should be fed varied and regular live food. Otherwise, from flake food to food tablets, all common types of food are suitable for feeding the Corydoras.
The species is characterized by its way of life, which differs from other corydoras. There are reports of spontaneous deaths of the fish every now and then, which apparently occurs more frequently in offspring from the zoo trade – an evil that many tropical aquarium fish are subject to. The miniature catfish is part of the standard range in almost every pet shop and should not cost more than € 2-4 per fish.