Information, Armored catfish, Catfish, Freshwater fish, Species

Elegant Corydoras: Complete Species & Care Overview

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by Jason Matthews



Welcome to our article on the Elegant Corydoras, also known as the “Elegant Cory” or “Elegant Catfish”, a fish species that is incredibly rare and fascinating and is sure to pique the interest of anyone who enjoys keeping pet fish.

We will provide you with a thorough overview of all the information you need about this species, regardless of whether you’re a novice or an experienced pet fish owner.


Scientific Name: Corydoras elegans
Common Names: Elegant Corydoras
Life Expectancy: 5-10 years
Adult Size: 4.5 – 5.5 cm


HabitatRivers & basins
OriginSouth America
Care LevelEasy
DietOmnivorous: pellets, small frozen/live foods
Tank LevelBottom
Minimum Tank Size30 gallons
Water pH6.0-7.0
Water Temperature22-28°C (72-82°F)
Water Hardness2-15 dGH
Tank MatesPeaceful, similar-sized fish

Fun Fact Corner

The Elegant Corydoras are a schooling species, meaning they prefer to live in groups of at least six individuals. This is because they live in large groups in the wild for protection and to help them find food.

So, if you decide to keep Elegant Corydoras in your tank, keeping at least six of them happy and healthy is recommended. Not only will this make them feel more secure, but it also allows them to display their natural schooling behavior, which is a joy to watch.


The Elegant Corydoras is a freshwater fish native to the upper Amazon basin in South America. Specifically, it is found in the tributaries of the Rio Napo and Rio Ucayali in Peru and Ecuador.

Dr. George S. Myers, an ichthyologist, first described the Elegant Corydoras, a relatively recent species, in 1941. The species is a favorite among fish enthusiasts because of its elegant and distinctive appearance. The species is a wonderful addition to any community tank because of its peaceful nature and adaptability.

In the wild, the Elegant Corydoras is found in slow-moving, sandy-bottomed rivers and streams, and it prefers slightly acidic water to be neutral (pH 6.0-7.5) and a temperature range of 72-79°F. In captivity, the species can adapt to a wide range of water conditions, making it a hardy and low-maintenance species.

Appearance & Size

The Elegant Corydoras is a species that is known for its striking appearance. The body is elongated and has a beautiful metallic silver-green coloration. The dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins are transparent, while the ventral and anal fins are white.

The most striking feature of this fish is the black spElegant Corydorasot on the dorsal fin, which gives it its common name, “Elegant Corydoras”. Males have a black spot that is more noticeable than females do.

The Elegant Corydoras typically live 5-7 years in captivity and can reach lengths of up to 2 inches.

They have a short snout and a triangular-shaped head with two small eyes. Additionally, they have four pairs of barbels, sensory organs used for food detection and navigation.

The Elegant Corydoras is a small species often overlooked because of its size. Despite their small size, they are still a lovely addition to any tank.


Like most fish species, elegant Corydoras have distinct physical traits that can be used to identify their gender. The size distinction between men and women is the most noticeable.

Males are usually smaller and more slender than females. Additionally, the dorsal fin of males exhibits a more pronounced black spot than that of females.

Another way to tell the difference between males and females is by observing their behavior. Males tend to be more active and aggressive when defending their territory, while females are more passive.

Additionally, males will develop breeding tubercles, small white spots on the head, and fins, which are not present in females.


The Elegant Corydoras is a peaceful fish species with a reputation for being docile. They are active during the day and spend most of their time on the tank’s bottom foraging for food.

Since they are less timid and more active when kept in a group of at least five other fish, they are also known to be social fish and do well in a community aquarium.

They are also renowned for being bottom dwellers, and they will typically spend their time searching for food by swimming close to the substrate. Additionally, they will tunnel into the substrate and make little caverns or hiding places.

The Elegant Corydoras do not exhibit any particular mating behaviors and are non-territorial. Peaceful fish species can coexist and prosper in shared aquariums.

Due to their lack of a reputation for uprooting or harming plants, they are also appropriate for planted tanks.


Being a calm species with a reputation for being docile, the Elegant Corydoras makes an excellent tank companion for many other fish species.

They are best kept in a community tank with other peaceful fish species.

Here is a list of some good tankmates for the Elegant Corydoras:

It’s important to note that while the Elegant Corydoras are a peaceful species, they are best kept in a group of at least five individuals, as they are less shy and more active in a group.

It’s also important to remember that the Elegant Corydoras are a small species and should be kept with similar fish to prevent them from being bullied or eaten by larger fish.

Tank conditions

Elegant Corydoras are well known for being tolerant and hardy fish in various tank environments. They are indigenous to South America’s upper Amazon basin and adapted to various water conditions. They can be found in slow-moving, sandy-bottomed rivers and streams in the wild. They prefer water that is between neutral and slightly acidic (pH 6.0-7.5) and between 72 and 79 °F.

In captivity, they can adapt to a wide range of water conditions. They do well in tanks with a pH between 6.0-7.5 and a temperature range of 72-79°F but can tolerate a slightly wider range if necessary.

They are also tolerant of a moderate range of water hardness, between 4-20 dGH.

It’s crucial to maintain good water quality when keeping Elegant Corydoras in captivity, which can be done by performing regular water changes and using a high-quality filter.

As they are used to slow-moving water in the wild, they also require a moderate flow rate.

It’s also important to provide them with a sandy substrate and some hiding places, such as caves or rocks, as they like to burrow into the substrate and create small caves or hideaways.


In the wild, the Elegant Corydoras is an opportunistic feeder who will eat various foods, including small crustaceans, worms, and insects. They will happily eat various foods in captivity, including flakes, pellets, frozen foods, and live foods.

To ensure their best health and growth, it is advised to give them a varied diet. They can get all the nutrients they need from a blend of premium flakes or pellets, frozen or live foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms, and occasionally some fresh vegetables like cucumber or blanched spinach.

It’s also important to note that the Elegant Corydoras are bottom-dwelling fish and should be fed food that sinks to the bottom of the tank.

It’s also important to feed them small amounts at a time and to avoid overfeeding, as they have a moderate to low bioload and do not require a large amount of food.


When breeding Elegant Corydoras, it’s important to provide them with optimal water conditions, including a pH between 6.0-7.5, a temperature range of 72-79°F, and a moderate flow rate. It’s also important to provide them with a sandy substrate and some hiding places, such as caves or rocks, as they like to burrow into the substrate and create small caves or hideaways.

The males typically pursue the females and try to persuade them to spawn before breeding starts. The males will fertilize the eggs after the females have laid them on a flat object, like a leaf or a rock.

Once the eggs are fertilized, they will hatch within 2-3 days. The fry will become free-swimming within a week and can be fed with infusoria or baby brine shrimp.


Although the Elegant Corydoras is a hardy species that is comparatively disease-resistant, they can still get sick like any other fish if their tank conditions or diet are not ideal. 

Some common diseases that can affect Elegant Corydoras include:

  • Ich
  • Fin rot
  • Swim bladder disease
  • Parasites

To prevent disease, it’s important to maintain good water quality through regular water changes and a good-quality filter.

Furthermore, it’s critical to be alert to any changes in the fish’s behavior or appearance and to take immediate action in the event of a problem.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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