Bronze corydoras, also known as corydoras aeneus, is one of the most popular bottom dwellers you can add to your community aquarium. It has been a mainstay in the tropical fish trade since the mid-1800smid-1800s. They offer a ton of benefits to all experience levels of fish keepers.
So why should you add them to your community aquarium?
This article will help you understand everything you need to know to care for, maintain, and breed your bronze corydoras.
Bronze Corydoras Stats
Listed tank sizes are the minimum
|Size:||Up to 3″ (8cm)|
|PH:||5.8 to 7.8|
|Hardness:||Soft to medium. dH range: 2.0–25.0|
|Temperature:||72°F to 84°F (22–29°C)|
Origin and Appearance
Bronze Corydoras are one of several species of small catfish that come from South America. They are native to the eastern side of the Andes from Columbia and Trinidad down to the Rio De La Plata river basin.
The species favors slow-moving, shallow warm water with soft bottoms. They are often found in very silty or stained water and can come to the surface and gulp air to supplement their gills.
They have been extensively collected since the mid 1800s and widely bred in captivity all over the world. At full size, they are between 2 and 3 inches in length. The female of the species is larger and has a bulkier body. The bronze corydoras lifespan is as long as 10 years, so you will get to know your fish very well.
Bronze corydoras have a series of upper and lower bony plates covering their bodies. Like most catfish, they have a spin in their dorsal fin that is covered with a stinging poison. Take note of this in case you need to handle your fish. Most keepers will turn their corydoras on their backs and isolate the dorsal fin between their fingers to avoid getting stung.
Their body color ranges from bronze to olive shading down to a light-colored belly. Bronze corydoras have a distinct stripe running along their side that is darker than their body coloring. This stripe can be bronze, olive, dark purple, or shades in between.
Both males and females have a set of twin barbels on each side of their mouths. These help them find food when they are roaming around in the dark or cloudy water.
Just about all the bronze corydoras you can buy now are commercially produced. This has led to a few interesting color varieties. The most unusual is the albino corydoras.
Maintaining the same armored appearance, the colors of this variation range from pink to white and cream.
You can also find versions with pink tinges or sides. Sometimes this variation is created by the use of dyes injected into the fish. Make sure you are buying your bronze corydoras from a breeder you can trust.
While not the most attractive species you can have in a community tank, bronze corydoras are long on character. They are very social and industrious fish. They do best in schools of 5 or more and will constantly comb the bottom of the aquarium searching for food.
They can work the bottom hard enough to raise little clouds of sediment. You will find them exploring every inch of the bottom of the aquarium, which will sometimes put them in conflict with bottom nesting species sitting on eggs.
Bronze Corydoras Care
Corydoras aeneus is not particular about the composition of the water and will tolerate any combination of chemistry and temperature you need for a South American or Amazon basin community tank. The broad parameters they do well in are a temperature range of 72°F to 84°F (22–29°C), PH of 5.8 to 7.8, and a soft to medium hardness with a range of 2.0–25.0.
A few bronze corydoras will do well in a 10- or 12-gallon aquarium. In larger aquariums, keeping them in groups of at least five will help them feel happy and safe.
You can select the lighting and filtration for your tank to suit the needs of the majority of the species. Bronze corydoras do well with current flow and day/night lighting.
In their native habitats, the bottom is usually soft sand or mud-covered with deteriorating leaves and vegetation. You can mimic this environment by using aquarium sand or soft gravel.
Adding plants, rocks, and driftwood to accommodate the needs of the community will all be welcomed with your bronze corydoras. The structure will give them places to hide and navigate around on their endless quest for things to snack on.
Suitable Tank Mates
Bronze corydoras are almost universally compatible with all peaceful fish and invertebrate species, so adding them to just about any tank is a good choice.
Here is a list of species that make good tank mates for bronze corydoras in Amazon community aquariums:
- Guppy: There are many varieties of guppy that make great tank mates for most Amazon community tanks. What they have in common is that they are peaceful, not too small, and get along well with everything that will not eat them. Some of the more ornamental varieties will look great in your aquarium as long as none of the other tank mates are fin nippers.
- Other Corydoras: Like Plecos, Corydoras are a variety of bottom-feeding catfish commonly placed in tropical freshwater aquariums. They grow up to 4 inches in size and are peaceful omnivores.
- Cardinal Tetra: Cardinal Tetras make great neighbors with many kinds of similarly gentle species. A small school of Cardinal Tetra adds beauty to any aquarium and does not create any type of significant bioload to the tank. Always a great choice. Add them in groups of 10.
- Neon Tetra: Another great tank mate choice for apple snails. Adding them in groups of 10, same as Cardinal Tetra, per 20-gallon tanks will give you an ever-moving, shimmering display.
- Green Neon Tetra: If you want to keep a brightly colored aquarium, the Green Neon Tetra is another tank mate to consider. Similar in size and appearance to the Neon Tetra, the Green Neon Tetra, as its name implies, has a beautiful streak of neon green along its sides.
Any combination of these species will give you a colorful, active community tank that is friendly top to bottom.
If you plan on raising fish from fry, you should isolate your breeding pairs in a separate aquarium so that tank mates do not eat the fry. In addition, having two males for each female will ensure enough sperm for the eggs to be well fertilized.
While bronze corydoras are very peaceful, the only time you will see males squabble is if they both try to court a female at the same time.
Watch your bronze corydoras’ behavior. Their courtship is indicated by the male presenting himself sideways to the female. This facilitates the female in drinking the male’s sperm, which she quickly passes through her body for use with her eggs. She may do this with more than one male.
Female bronze corydoras typically lay their eggs in small clutches of 10 to 20 eggs. The eggs are fertilized as they are released. Over a few hours, she will lay as many as 200 eggs in small clusters among water plants and other vegetation.
After the eggs have been laid, you can put the adult bronze corydoras back in the community tank as they have no parental duties towards their young. But keep an eye on them because bronze corydoras are prolific breeders and can spawn as often as every two to three weeks.
Take note of the color of their eggs. When laid, they are light and clear. It takes about three days for them to hatch. As they get close you will see the eggs darken until they are quite brown.
Once the fry is hatched, they stay close to the bottom and will feed on algae and other decayed matter. In a few weeks, they will be large enough to be introduced into a community aquarium.
Bronze corydoras are among the easiest community species to feed. In addition to eating what they find on the bottom, they can be fed a wide variety of flaked or pelleted foods, live foods, and frozen foods. The main qualification for feeding is that the food is heavy enough to sink to the bottom so they can reach it.
Popular feeding choices are:
- Algae tablets or wafers
- Cut or sliced carrots
- Green beans
- Omnivore flakes
- Romaine and other lettuces
- Squashes such as zucchini
If using vegetables for feeding, blanch them in hot water to soften them before using. Vegetables can be blanched in a large batch and then frozen in feeding-sized lots to help make the task easy to manage.
- Bronze corydoras are industrious bottom-feeding catfish.
- They grow to 3 inches and will live as long as 10 years.
- The species is ideal for any warm water, peaceful community aquarium, and is perfect for Amazon basin-themed tanks.
- They are easy to care for and are accepting of a wide variety of water conditions.
- Bronze corydoras make great tank mates for any peaceful fish.
- You will find them to be prolific breeders.
- Use a breeding tank to isolate spawning fish, so that tank mates do not eat their fry.
- They are very accepting of all sinking foods.
- Feed them protein sparingly for best health.
Bottom feeding fish are an important part of well-balanced aquariums, and bronze corydoras are contenders for being the most useful. You will appreciate their lively behavior and ability to help keep your aquarium nice and clean. You might even want to become a bronze corydoras breeder and help others enjoy this popular species.
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