Observations of Three Species of the Genus Corydoras
eturning to the hobby after a break of several
years I was expecting to find many a new and interesting species,
but a dwarf species resembling C.barbatus? this I would
love to have. In the eighties I kept and bred some 20 species
of corydoras, having particular success with barbatus (Sao
Paulo type) but never having bred the larger barbatus (Rio
de Janeiro type) until returning to the hobby in the mid nineties.
In 1997/8 I managed to purchase eight Corydoras lacerdai,
my first thoughts were how close they resembled Corydoras barbatus,
which I had at home at this particular time. I have now kept
and bred all three species but now felt it was time to collect
all the information gathered during my spawning success.
1. Corydoras barbatus (Rio
10cm/12cm. This is the largest of the
three species both in actual size and stature. The finage is
much larger, having longer pectoral and dorsal fins and
the males sporting cheek bristles.
barbatus (Sao Paulo)
9cm/10cm.This is now being sold as Corydoras
kronei and is a finer looking species never attaining the
size of the Rio de Janeiro type. The males do not appear
to have cheek bristles (at least they are not visible by the
naked eye). The females of these two barbatus forms are
Corydoras lacerdai 5cm/6cm.
In size this Cory resembles the genus Aspidoras but its
body shape certainly resembles C. barbatus but having
no apparent cheek bristles. When eight fish ( 4 males 4
females) were bought some Aspidoras were in the same
shipment, which I had mistakenly caught as they so closely resembled
the female C. lacerdai.
I believe there is a fourth type, C. barbatus, sp. (BAIANINHO
11) this type is caught in black water tributaries, totally different
conditions from the other three types mentioned. I have not seen
this fish, in the flesh so to speak, but in the photos it
does appears similar to the Sao Paulo type and appears to be a
little smaller like C. lacerdai, but may have a different
head shape, only time will tell. Breeding C. barbatus
(Sao Paulo). (Ref. Catfish Association GB. 1978).
I have very recently bred these fish again (1999), on this occasion
five fish, 2 males and 3 females were kept in a 72 x 24 x 15
aquarium with Corydoras narcissus and Cory. sp
(Peru Blacks). Temp was low at 70F, pH 6.8 -7.5. DH was never
checked, the tank was well filtered and plenty of water circulation.
On this occasion some interesting observations were made with
both males taking turns in spawning with the two females,
the females would lay their eggs on the area where the respective
males had cleaned.
C. barbatus (Rio de Janeiro)
Temp again was low at 70F and pH 7.
This form was first kept in the late 80s but no serious attempt
was ever made to breed them. It was not until the mid 90s
that they were kept and bred. A group of six large fish were kept
in a 40 x 15 x 15 aquarium and the spawning occurred after they
had been conditioned for several months.
An apparent pecking order was observed. The alpha male had a richer
colour and dominated the tank with his constant showing of to the
females and subordinate males. The dominant male carried out the
spawning, and as the females became ready he would entice her to
the area he had prepared were they would lay the eggs in the normal
Cory manner and then place them within an inch or so of the water
surface. They hatched within four to five days and reared as previously
spawned with the two males. It would appear that the
aquarium was large enough to accommodate territories
for both males, the eggs were laid high near the water
surface. The eggs were removed and hatched out
in a small tank. The fry were moved on as they out-grew
their container and they were finally reared on in
24 x 24 x 12 tanks. They were fed on brine shrimp,
micro worm and grindle worm. I found that you
had to be very careful with the micro worm as they
could easily infest the tank/container and eat the
very small fry. I also found that one of the commercially
made fry foods was the best until the fry could eat
the grindleworm or brine shrimp.
Reproductive and feeding activities are similar to
the other two. The eggs again being laid high and
nearly out of the water, they did prefer higher water
temperatures and out of 6 spawnings only three produced
viable eggs and fry. The male would be so obsessive,
chasing the other males away. The female he was spawning
with would eventually strip herself of eggs. She
could be seen coming out of the water laying the eggs
as near to the water surface as possible. The eggs
were collected and fry reared as C. barbatus.
Some difficulty was encountered when spawning attempts
were made as the males were more aggressive and would
not tolerate any other males (similar aggression was
observed in C Narcissus and C.sp (Peru
Blacks). In fact two males were lost which appeared
to be caused by harassment from the alpha male. In
later attempts with C. lacerdai, the fish were
paired off and placed in a 12 x 10 x 10-inch tank
with C. Pygmaeus and some young Corys.
This was not successful, as the fish did not seem
to settle in this situation. Both the C.barbatus
types were produced easily and in large quantities,
but sadly not the C. lacerdai. After six spawning
I lost all the parents and remaining juvenile fish
after I moved them to the new fish house. I do believe
some of the young I bred still survive around the
UK today, and hopefully will be reproduced.
of fry growth
Fry 7 days : 60
days : 6
C lacerdai developed their
adult colour patterns by nine months and they are sexually
mature and would produce viable fry by one year. C.lacerdi
colour will change to adult between 6/ 9 months
while C.barbatus retains this colour till 18
We have here a group of Corydoras that are closely
related. Theyre feeding behaviour, reproductive
behaviour and day- to-day behaviour is very similar
in the three types kept. The colour development of the
fry in all three types are also alike. In C.barbatus
it is not until the are 18 months old that the different
types can be identified. The two male types were then
easy to identify but the females are almost identical
in colour, eventually the larger size of Rio de Janeiro
type was the only visual difference. Care should be
taken not to mix these similar Corys as the may
inter- breed. As an aquarist we do not have the
scientific knowledge to comment on the validity of these
species. But in our hands we do have the oportunitity
to make observations on their behaviour that will never
be seen, which could shed some light on the true identification
of such similar Corydoras.
References: Corydoras barbatus. Rio de Janeiro Aqualog Page
97,98 (s18530-4) Corydoras barbatus, Sao Paulo Corydoras lecerdai, Aqualog, Page 100 (s19105-4)
Corydoras sp (Baiananho11) Aqualog Page 100 (s20030-4)
Breeding C. barbatus (Qouy & Gainard 1824)
Third : Adrian Payne.
4th, 5th, 6th & Drawings : Jim Makin.
Note: Since this article was published
the new genus name for all of the above species is now