Pygmy Corydoras – Care, Feeding, Tankmates & Details!

Pygmy Corydoras (Corydoras pygmaeus) is a representative of the Callichthyidae family and the smallest of the bottom catfish that live in Aquariums.

This is a schooling and peaceful fish – easy to maintain and breed. Most often they are acquired as aquarium orderlies, but these tiny catfishes have their fans in the fishkeeping world.

Quick Stats

Scientific Name: Corydoras pygmaeus
Care Level: Beginner
Temperament: Peaceful
Color Form: Silver with black horizontal lines
Lifespan: Up to 3 years
Size: Up to 1″
Diet: Omnivore
Family: Callichthyidae
Minimum Tank Size: 10 Gallons or more
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater, sandy with hiding spots
Compatible: Small peaceful community

Pygmy Corydoras Description

The homeland of the Pygmy Corydoras is South America. These Fishes live in large schools in silted areas in the tributaries of the Madeira River and streams with a slow flow, occasionally floating up to the surface to breathe air.

The body shape is elongated, flattened laterally, the line of the abdomen is straight. The fins are transparent, well developed, small antennae grow around the mouth.

The main color is olive with a gray tint. From the eyes to the base of the tail passes a black stripe, which ends in a spot of irregular shape.

Females are larger and fuller than males, with a rounded upper fin. In males, it is pointed.

Size of Pygmy Corydoras:

  • females – 3 cm;
  • males – 2−2.5 cm.

Feeding Pygmy Corydoras

In terms of feeding, Corydoras are picky and eat any living feed like tubule, artemia, daphnia, etc and dry feeds include tablets for bottom fish, cereals, pellets, etc.

You can also give leaves scalded with boiling water, lettuce, dandelion, or slices of fresh cucumber.

The main thing is that the food should be small in size, otherwise, the fish will not be able to swallow it and remain hungry.

Feed them 1 time per day in a small portion.

Aquarium Maintainance

For the comfortable maintenance of Pygmy Corydoras, it is necessary to purchase a flock of 15 fishes.

In such a company, the fish will look spectacular and show their best abilities and behave uniquely which is found especially in this species

The rules for the arrangement of the aquarium are as follows:

  1. Aquarium – Choose from the calculation of 3 liters per individual. For a flock of 5 corydoras, a capacity of 10-15 liters is suitable. If the fish are more than 10, the volume of water has to be increased to 50 liters.
  2. Soil – Soft (sand or small pebbles) of a dark color, without sharp edges. Against this background, the fish will look brighter.
  3. Water temperature – + 22−26 degrees. It is necessary to replace 1/3 of the water weekly.
  4. pH is 6.5-7.5.
  5. GH – up to 15.
  6. Plants – Necessarily the presence of vegetation planted around the perimeter of the aquarium so that there is enough space for the free movement of fish. Pygmies prefer broad-leaved plants – echinodorus, cryptocoryne, anubias.
  7. Lighting – soft, diffused, coming from above.
  8. Scenery – A large number of shelters are recommended. This can be grottoes, caves, driftwood, as well as several embankments of large smooth stones, on which the fish like to relax.
  9. Aeration and Filtration – You must install an internal aquarium filter with aeration function or a separate filter, because catfish raise strong turbidity, rummaging at the bottom of the reservoir, and a compressor. Although the fish have intestinal respiration, additional aeration will not be superfluous.

Tankmates for Pygmy Corydoras

Pygmy corydoras are small and peace-loving fish. Pygmy Corydoras Tank Mates should be small and peace-loving as well like:

Breeding Pygmy Corydoras

Breeding Pygmy Corydoras is somewhat more difficult than other species. They can spawn in a common aquarium but in the absence of tankmates who might scare them or eat their eggs.

In all other cases, spawning can be done in 10 liters aquarium.

For breeding to be successful, it is recommended to provoke the beginning of spawning.

To do this, half the volume of water is changed daily with fresh water with a lower temperature (simulate the rainy season) and feed the fish plentifully with live food.

Females and males are preferably kept separate from each other. Sexual dimorphism at this time is especially noticeable.

Spawning water must be soft. The temperature needs to be maintained at 2-3 degrees lower than in a general aquarium.

A special substrate for spawning is laid at the bottom, plants are strengthened in it and a sponge filter is installed to prevent fry from being drawn into it.

The lighting will remain dim. One of the walls of the aquarium should be brighter. An additional glass is leaned against it, where the female will attach the eggs (it will then be easier to move it to the incubator).

In the prepared container, 2-3 females and several males are kept. You need to remove the males immediately after spawning. The female lays up to 100 eggs, which are attached to the leaves of plants or glass.


After the end of the spawning, it is necessary to remove the whitened unfertilized and covered with fungal coating eggs.

Experienced aquarists plant a certain type of shrimp in a spawning tank so that they can eat only infected caviar. Healthy eggs they ignore. One option is cherry shrimp.

The incubation period lasts about four days, after which the larvae will hatch and after 3-4 days they begin to swim and feed on their own.

A balanced diet and proper maintenance of the pygmy corydoras in an aquarium contributes to the activity and good health of these fishes.

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