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Aspidoras Catfish Genus Overview & Care for Beginners

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If you are looking for a peaceful and fun dweller for your freshwater community tank, you will not go wrong with the aspidoras.

Whether you are a beginner or an intermediate aquarist, this cory catfish is the specimen that you will want to add if you want a peaceful community tank with easy maintenance and care.

This type of fish looks very fun, easy to care for, and super peaceful. It can be irresistible. You will hardly not look at this fish.

It is indeed one of the favorite creatures for pet lovers.

On this occasion, I will share with you the complete care guide that you can use to completely understand this amazing pet and what you need to do to create a great environment for it to live longer and thrive.

Species Overview

Level of CareEasy
AppearanceMany varieties available
Life Expectancy5 Years
Size0.75-4 Inches
Tank Size10 gallons
Tank EnvironmentFreshwater with fine substrate
Tank MatesPeaceful community aquariums

This cory catfish is a freshwater fish that all experience levels of aquarists can take care of. Even though you’ve just started your hobby as an aquarist, you will be able to handle this fish in your home.

It is not a new thing in the world of aquarists. The cory catfish is categorized as a classic addition to the freshwater aquarium. As you’ve probably expected from the catfish species, they are true bottom dwellers who conduct their activities peacefully, without bothering their tank mates.


The Cory cats, or aspidoras, are in the genus Corydoras. There are more than 165 species that have been found by scientists so far.

The fish come from South America and the Andes Mountains in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The genus name is attained from the Greek word Kory. That means a helmet. Doras is translated as skin. That explains the two unique characteristics of the fish.


The appearance can be different depending on the species. In this case, I am only discussing the aspidoras. This species ranges from 1 inch to over 4 inches.

This cory has a strong armor of bony plates that cover the length of its body.

The shape of the underside is flat, effectively rooting out the low-dwelling lives that they have been running from day to day.

They also have pectoral fins whose shape is indeed strategic for smoothing them on the substrate. The tail fin varies in length and height.

I’d like to highlight the cute face of the fish. Three pairs of barbels look like whiskers that help them to navigate the bottom part of the aquarium to find their prey.

As you look at its face, it will melt your heart.

Now let’s see how we can treat them.

Aspidoras Fuscoguttatus Care

First things first, you will want to pay attention to the specimens that you get from your local store. Just like other sensitive creatures, it has always been frustrating for your aspidoras fish to move from their home to the community tank.

In some cases, the cory fish will start to distress and die after being stored in the tank. It is because of the stress that they get during transport. The other cause is the high fluctuations that they have to face in between the tank waters. Most of these have been fatal to your catfish.

You will want to be careful when bringing your specimen back home. It can be tricky to take care of them. The best chance for you is to replicate the tank similarly to its natural habitat.

You will want to make sure that the water conditions and tank decoration resemble their home characteristics so that they will feel comfortable and convenient when taken to your tank.

Tank Setup

Stable tank conditions are a must to make sure your aspidoras pets survive. The small amounts of nitrate buildup can threaten their lives. So, you will want to maintain the water conditions to be optimal for them.

When you are setting up your tank, make sure the stirring of the substrate is at a minimum.

The thing is that dirt matters and decaying biological items can quickly pollute the water and release unhealthy bacteria.

Not only will it disrupt the dwelling of your catfish pet, but also their tank mates. The high ammonia level can affect the lives of the tank community.

Consider adding a group of four to six of these catfish so that they can live happily. They are schooling fish after all.

Tank Size

The size of the tank should be ample enough for the group of fish. A 10-gallon tank is a bare minimum for smaller groups.

If you put them with the tank mates, consider a larger aquarium. 20 to 30 gallons can be ideal for a group of four to six aspidoras fish.

If you are a beginner here, you could add five to six fish. For each fish you add to the tank, you need to add between 2 to 4 gallons, depending on the density of the plants in your aquarium. If you have more plants, you need to add more water.

Water Conditions

The good water quality that is similar to its natural habitat will be the key to your pet’s wellness and longevity.

Here are the specs that you could consider:

  • Water Temperature: Between 70 °F-80 °F
  • pH Levels: 6.0-8.0 (this can vary based on the
  • Alkalinity Levels: 3-10 dKH

The pH requirement can be up or down depending on the tank mates as well. But I’d suggest focusing on the community tank filled with similar fish so that it will be much easier to maintain the water parameters for them.

Fish experts recommend testing the nitrate levels of the water routinely to make sure that the environment is conducive for all of the mates in the community tank.

It is also prevalent for other fish since ammonia and nitrite are dangerous for them. Even small amounts of these substances can be hugely fatal for Cory catfish pets.


Your Aspidoras catfish pets usually spend most of their time in the bottom-dwelling. They occasionally go to the middle, but rarely to the top of the aquarium. But anyway, the lowest levels of the community tank water are the most comfortable spot for them.

The ideal substrate size is 2 inches on the bottom of the tank. Do not add gravel or tiny rocks since they will damage your fish. Instead, you could choose soft sand so that they won’t get hurt when digging and scavenging.

In the daylight, your cute catfish pets will spend most of their time hiding in shady spots. Therefore, it would be appropriate to add more driftwood or caves to your community tank. The aquascape will not only be beautiful because of these items but also safe and comfortable for your fish.

In their natural habitat, they spend most of their time in slow-moving and shallow streams of water.

You will want to mimic these conditions so that they can live happily and well. Also, provide dense plants for your aquascape, such as Java Fern, hornwort, pennywort, Java Moss, dwarf hairgrass, and so on.

These fish are indifferent toward the sun. So, it is fair to see them seek shade anytime they can to make their life much better. During daylight, they tend to hide in shady areas. Getting your tank these plants will provide natural shade for them.

The lower light environment in their natural waters must be there. Your plants require sufficient lighting.

Sometimes, it can be contradictory if you are using traditional lighting. If you have more budget, you could switch to LED lighting. The light is not so intrusive that it can make a great option for both your fish and the plants.

Tank Mates

The tank mates are other Corys. If you want to add more specimens from other species, you can do it too. They are school fish. So, make sure you have a group of six of the kind. Here are the nicest tank mates for your aspidoras fish:

  • Cichlids
  • Barbs
  • Tetras
  • Oscars

Never put your fish with aggressive tank mates since they will harass or bully your pets. Also, do not add crawfish since their claws can hurt your catfish.

Food & Diet

This catfish species does not demand highly. They can eat anything you give them. But their favorite foods are worms, larvae, and small insects. In their natural habitats, they will scavenge the substrate to find those foods.

If you are short of live food, you could give them sinking pellets since these will allow them to scavenge their food just like they do in their natural habitat.

Breeding Guidelines

There are two methods for breeding aspidoras fish: breeding tank and dedicated fry tank.

The breeding tank has little to no substrate. This will encourage adults to breed. Once spawned, you must take the adults back to the main tank. And leave the fry in the breeding tank to survive.

In the second option, the fish will spawn in the main tank. Then you will need to transfer the eggs to the fry tank where they can hatch and grow independently.