16 Types of Corydoras – Popular & Rare Species

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There’s no doubt that Corydoras are highly valued in the aquatic sector. These fish are low maintenance, adaptable, cute, friendly, and outright beneficial for the environment.

There are no downsides to having a catfish in your ecosystem, and the benefits increase with the number of catfish.

But did you know that there Corydoras showcase an amazing species variety? Today, we will discuss the 16 rarest and most popular species of catfish to consider for your aquarium.

So, let’s get it going!

1. Pygmy Corydoras

These tiny tank cleaners only grow up to 1 inch and can live up to 3 years with good care and personalized maintenance. Not that they need any special treatment and care anyway, since these are adaptable and hardy catfish.

You can easily recognize pygmy Corydoras by their bulgy black eyes and the black horizontal stripe traversing their armored body.

You need at least 10 gallons for a group of 4-6 pygmy Corydoras with a variety of hiding spots for increased safety and comfort. Aim for temperatures around 72-79 F, a pH range of 6.0-8.0, and high light conditions.

Water movement should be slow to replicate the fish’s natural conditions. Floating plants are also a great addition, allowing the tiny catfish to explore their habitat and hide whenever they feel like it.

Be careful about the light. Bright aquarium lights are known to promote algae, so you might need some prevention mechanisms in place to keep them at bay.

2. Dwarf Corydoras

Dwarf Corydoras are often mistaken for pygmy Corydoras, and this is an honest mistake to make. After all, the 2 are very close to one another in terms of size, water requirements, and even overall looks and temperament. 

From an appearance standpoint, the dwarf Corydoras is slightly different. This catfish has a slightly more elongated body and can grow up to 1.5 inches, which is around 50% more than the pygmy.

Everything else is virtually the same, including water parameter requirements, social behavior, tank layout preferences, etc.

The only other considerably difference is in the tank size requirement. While you can keep your dwarf Corydoras in 10 gallons, I would recommend doubling that instead.

It never hurts to have more swimming room for your active catfish, especially if you plan to create a more diverse community setup.

3. Orange Laser Corydoras

I promised we would be looking into the rarest Corydoras species, didn’t I? Orange laser Corydoras are positively smashing fish that can grow up to 3 inches and can easily steal the show.

These catfish are yellowish with a bright-gold stripe traversing their entire body on their dorsal area.

The fish’s long whiskers, large and curious eyes, and transparent and golden fins only add to the charm. This is a highly social species, in typical catfish fashion, and it requires at least 25-30 gallons for optimal space.

Overall water parameters are standard for catfish, with temperatures around 72-80 F and a pH range between 6.0 and 8.0.

4. Sterbai’s Corydoras

Sterbai’s Corydoras only grow up to 2.5 inches, which already makes them considerably larger than the previous types. These fish come with a compact body and a spotted pattern.

Most are yellow with black spots, but you can also find specimens with blue bodies and yellow or white spots. Others have white bodies with blue spots, so the diversity is there.

Every other aspect is virtually the same in terms of water parameters, housing conditions, layout, etc. These catfish are fond of social interactions, so I recommend keeping at least 4-5 in the same tank.

This requires a 25-gallon+ tank to accommodate the catfish and the necessary equipment and decorations.

5. Skunk Corydoras

No, this catfish doesn’t get its name from its body odors, unlike the notorious stinky mammal. Skunk Corydoras get it from their distinct color pattern that reminds of a skunk.

The fish is generally silver with subtle hues of yellow or orange, and a black stripe covering the body from mouth to tail. The stripe bends over the entire dorsal area, providing the catfish with a distinct look.

These catfish are medium-sized and capable of growing up to 2.5 inches with optimal care and stable water parameters.

You need at least 20 gallons to house a group of 4-6 specimens, including the necessary equipment and decorations.

Tall and hardy plants are necessary to withstand this substrate digger’s fervent activity.

6. Albino Corydoras

Few things are as exhilarating as an albino Corydoras. This catfish can grow up to 3 inches and showcases a unique presence. The fish is pink-white with red eyes and transparent, blueish fins.

The fish’s coloring isn’t exactly ideal for hiding purposes since the albino catfish will stand out in a lush, green environment.

So, the albino catfish relies on various hiding areas to stay off other tankmates’ radar.

Other than that, this species is your typical catfish with the same care requirements and water conditions preferences as most catfish.

7. Bronze Corydoras

Bronze Corydoras are peaceful, beautiful, and a treat to any freshwater environment. These catfish can reach 2-2.5 inches and live up to 10 years in pristine conditions.

This is already impressive since this species has a slightly longer lifespan than other catfish.

Bronze Corydoras have a sleek, semi-transparent body with a black coloration in the center. This unique coloration highlights the fish’s plated scales which, when combined with the bronze hues, give the impression of a glass fish.

The transparent fins with visible bones only add to the overall visual effect.

These catfish can deal with smaller spaces, so you can have several of them in a 10-gallon setup. 

8. Adolfo’s Corydoras

Adolfo’s Corydoras rank among the rarest catfish species, primarily due to their unique pattern. These fish can reach 2.5 inches and showcase a flashy color pattern meant to distinguish them from all other catfish species.

Adolfo’s Corydoras have sleek and compact bodies with slightly more elongated mouths. They are generally white, with a thick and wide black stripe covering the dorsal area between the dorsal fin and the tail.

The nape area is generally yellow or orange, and the head showcases a black patch covering the eyes. The patch forms an inverted V on the catfish’s head when seen from the front. 

Needless to say, this is a unique specimen that will fit great in your community tank. Consider at least 30 gallons for a group of Adolfo’s Corydoras.

9. Schwartz’s Corydoras

Here’s another German-sounding catfish if these are more to your liking. I recommend the Corydoras Schwartzi, though, since it’s not as mouthful and sounds less ominous. Despite its suspicious name, this type of catfish is gentle and peaceful, as its nature would suggest.

This is a small catfish, only growing up to 1.5 inches, although slightly larger specimens have been reported at times. It all depends on the fish’s diet, living conditions, and genetics.

The small catfish is silver with dotted black stripes covering the entire body. The head also has a black patch over the eyes, sure to make Batman jealous.

These fish can reach 5 years in captivity and are rare in the aquarium trade.

10. Green Corydoras

This is a simple yet interesting species that’s sure to attract all of the spotlights. Green Corydoras are mostly known as Emerald catfish due to their vibrant coloring and presence.

They can grow up to 3-3.5 inches and display iridescent bodies with either blue or green metallic hues.

The fish’s body shape is also slightly different from the norm. Green Corydoras have a longer snout and a small hump in the nape area. The transparent fins complement the fish’s overall presence quite nicely.

Consider at least 30 gallons of water to accommodate a decent group and keep the water temperature between 68 and 82 F.

11. Panda Corydoras

These catfish are extremely popular thanks to their cute color pattern and easy-going and energetic temperament.

Panda Corydoras can grow up to 2 inches and require slightly lower temperatures than your typical catfish. Aim for a temperature range of 68-77 F.

The fish is small with a pinkish body and distinct black spots on the tail, dorsal fin, and over the eyes.

These schooling fish enjoy living in larger groups, and you can have 4-6 of them in a 10-gallon tank.

This species consists of great scavengers, so you can always rely on your panda Corydoras to keep the tank clean and fresh.

12. Peppered Corydoras

You may have heard of the Blue Leopard Corydoras instead, which is one and the same. Peppered Corydoras aren’t exactly blue but more of a combination of grey, light blue, and cappuccino.

The fish showcases a splashy grey/dark blue pattern as if someone randomly splashed some color onto it. Needless to say, the fish has personality.

Expect your peppered Corydoras to reach 2-3 inches and live up to 5 years with adequate care.

These catfish require at least 15-20 gallons to remain peaceful, safe, and comfortable in their tank.

13. Leopard Corydoras

Leopard Corydoras are among the cutest entries on this list. Your typical leopard Corydoras can get to 2.5 inches and showcase a white/creamy body with a spotted pattern.

The dorsal fin is either black or partially black, while the rest of the fins are transparent with a subtle spotted pattern.

As is typical with catfish, leopard Corydoras feel more comfortable in groups of at least 4 and require at least 10-15 gallons of water. A lush and stable ecosystem is necessary to preserve the fish’s health and manners over the years.

14. Delphax Corydoras

Delphax Corydoras are less popular than other catfish species of no fault of their own. Actually, they are at fault a bit. The main issue is that the Delphax Corydoras is very similar in appearance to Schwartz’s Corydoras.

The catfish has a silvery, spotted body with a black dorsal fin and a black eye patch. But this is where the similarities stop.

Delphax Corydoras can grow double in size compared to the Schwartz catfish, reaching up to 2.5 and even 3 inches at times.

Most importantly, these fish can live up to 15 years in captivity, which is almost a record in the catfish world. 

These catfish require a group of at least 5 individuals and approximately 30 gallons of water to ensure their comfort and safety.

15. Three-Stripe Corydoras

This is a confusing species, given that the fish’s name doesn’t always matches its appearance. Three-stripe Corydoras usually have a creamy main color and are covered with black, worm-like patterns.

Most Corydoras showcase 3 longitudinal side stripes, but not all. Some catfish only have 1, hence, the confusion.

These can grow up to 2.5 inches and live close to 10 years in optimal conditions. Aim for water temperatures of 7.2 to 7.8 and a pH level of 5.8 to 7.2.

16. Corydoras Polystictus  

Corydoras polystictus rank as the most fragile-looking catfish you can get. They remain small, around 1.2-1.4 inches and showcase a pink body with subtle spots around the head and torso.

The fish also comes with bright purple gills and transparent fins, giving it a sweet and velvety impression. The fish’s coloring and physical composure make even the adults look like juveniles. 

Corydoras polystictus are scaleless, so they are more sensitive than other Corydoras types in terms of substrate choices and decorations.

Also, avoid adding salt to the water for the same reasons.


This 16-long sample doesn’t quite give catfish justice in terms of highlighting the species’ diversity.

But it does provide you with better insight into the world of catfish, these amazing, cute, and peaceful tank cleaners that are virtually omnipresent in the aquarium trade.

If you weren’t set on acquiring one or more catfish before, I hope this article has managed to change your mind. 

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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