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Corydoras atropersonatus  Weitzman & Nijssen, 1970   

ur first factsheet of 2015 brings us back to the most popular catfish family of all, the Callichthyidae, and along with the Loricariids they vie for the top spot in our affections and with the relative ease of breeding they are of course one of the first catfish to make it on to our list when we get into this fascinating part of our great hobby. We have decided to go with one of the oldest Corydoras in the hobby which stretches back many years now, namely the "Fairy Corydoras", C. atropersonatus.



Corydoras atropersonatus


C. atropersonatus is similar looking to three other species, C. sychri, C. kanei and Corydoras sp. C097. There are also other species that come into the realm of these colour patterns. The differences on the aformentiond four are as follows.


  • C. atropersonatus: Head shape: short snout. Spots and dashes on body. Light silver grey body colour. All fins hyaline. Size: 4.5cm. (1¾ins) Male: 5.0cm. (2ins) Female.
  • C. sychri: Head shape: elongated with short snout. Spots on body. Light silver grey body. All fins hyaline. Size: 6.0cm. (2¼ins) Male: 6.5cm. (2½ins) Female.
  • C. kanei: Head shape: short snout. Many spots on body. Light golden tan body colour. Spots on fins. Size: 5.0cm. (2ins) Male: 5.5cm. (2¼ins) Female.
  • C097: Head shape elongated with long nose. Spots on body. Light silver grey body colour. All fins hyaline. Size: 5.5cm. (2¼ins) Male: 6.0cm. (2½ins) Female.



Head short and compact. Body colour is a light silvery grey. All fins are transparent without any noticeable markings (hyaline)

Body with light brown spots which are sparsely distributed. A black mask extends over and below both eyes and bridges the top of the head.

Aquarium Care

This is akin to most of this genus, very peaceful, and would be best housed with small to medium sized tankmates such as Tetras, Rasboras and Danios or in a species tank for breeding purposes. Best to purchase 6 individuals or more as they will be happier in a group.


As above.

Sexual dimorphism
Females grow larger and have a heavier looking body shape. Males are slimmer by comparison.

As per the Corydoras species. With cool water changes and good feeding. Breeding tank of 18" 12" x 12" for example can be furnished with a sand substrate and plants such as Java Moss. They will lay their eggs on the tank walls and have been said to be avid egg eaters. There are a few articles on breeding Corydoras in the Breeding article section here

Readily accepts a mixed and varied diet which includes granular foods, tablet food, frozen bloodworm and good quality flake to name but a few.


Corydoras: Cory = helmeted; doras = leathery skin,(helmeted Doras) cuirass.
atropersonatus: From the Latin atropersonatus = 'with a black mask' alluding to the mask across the eye.

Glossary of Terms:

Hyaline: Transparent or clear without pigment.

Snout: The part of the head in front of the eyes.


Fuller, I.A.M. & Evers, H-G: 2005 Identifying Corydoradinae Catfish 384 p

Fuller, I.A.M, Breeding Corydoradine Catfishes. First Edition. 2001. Ian Fuller Enterprises, Kidderminster, England

Seus, Werner, Corydoras. The most popular catfishes of South America. 1993. Dähne Verlaf, Ettlingen, Germany.

Photo Credits

© Mark Goh

Factsheet 223

Common Name:
Fairy Corydoras
South America: Upper Amazon River basin, Ecuador and Peru. Type Locality: Ecuador, Río Conambo at mouth of Río Shione (about 2º00'S, 76º30'W), Río Tigre system, Est. Pastaza.
4.5cm. (1¾ins) Male: 5.0cm. (2ins) Female.
24-27°C (75-81°F)
6.0. - 7.2.
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                                                                                                                                  Factsheet 223 = updated December 14, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top