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Dwarf Corydoras Overview & Care Guide for Beginners

If you are a beginner in fish keeping, then picking a small and peaceful fish that goes suitable with any small and easy-to-tackle tank will be the best choice. And in such a case, dwarf corydoras will be an ideal option for anyone.

Dwarf corydoras are found in the Madeira river basin of Brazil. These tiny fish come in a silver-colored appearance and are best kept in a group. Also, they are easily cared for in a 10-gallon tank.

Species Overview

Level of CareEasy
AppearanceSilver with a horizontal black line running through the middle portion of the body
Life Expectancy3-4 years
Size0.75-1.5 inches
Tank Size10-gallon
Tank EnvironmentSlightly neutral or alkaline water with proper arrangement of plants and rocks
Tank MatesVery peaceful and small

Dwarf corydoras, Dwarf catfish, or corydoras hastatus, also known as Dwarf Cory, is pretty popular with its dwarf structure and bright appearance.

Corydoras are small freshwater fish from the sub-family of Corydoradinae, and they belong to the genus named Cory.

They are usually found in the Madeira river basin of Brazil. Their population is also quite widespread in the South American continent. Nevertheless, these fish mostly thrive in tropical aquariums and are easy to house in a small tank.

They have many similarities in looks with Corydoras catfish, though the former ones are very small. Besides, they appear pretty similar to Corydoras pygmaeus and Corydoras habrosus, but do not be mistaken!

Their silver body with a solid black line running horizontally from their snout to tail fin makes them relatively easy to spot and recognize. Also, there is another thin black line that runs through their lower body.

As a baby, they come with vertical stripes on their side. But these stripes tend to fade as they grow and eventually develop horizontal lines. These may not be colorful specimens, but they are too cute to add to an aquarium.


The very name of these fish is suggestive of their length. As this species of corydoras are dwarf, they do not extend much longer. Usually, the males are smaller than females. The males reach up to a height of only 0.75-inches.

On the other hand, the females are bigger and can grow 1-inch longer than the males. Also, the female fish tend to be broader than the males when they are pregnant.


Dwarf corydoras are not much long-lived. This fish species will hardly live up to 3-4 years if they receive adequate care and diet.

Behavior & Temperament

Dwarf corydoras are very well-behaved. This species of fish is not at all aggressive. They are small funny fish that love to roam around in the aquarium.

These prefer to spend most of their time at the lower levels of the tank. But as they are shoaling fish, they will sometimes tend to shoal higher than the aquarium level.

They move towards the tank’s upper level to use their intestine for deriving oxygen from the air. However, these mostly do this when the water quality in the aquarium is poor.

Tank Requirements

Dwarf corydoras are very easy to care for if you house them in a nano tank, which is rightly decorated. To maintain the good health of these fish, set up a tank that mimics their natural habitat.

They like to hide in their natural habitat amidst the plants and debris, or sometimes they even rest in the sandy sediment. So, you need to replicate a similar substrate in your home aquarium.

Pick a very soft substrate for them, which your Corys will prefer the most. Also, a soft substrate will save them from getting any scratches or infections in their barbels.

Besides, while setting up the tank, make sure to add plenty of hiding spaces. You can easily acquire this by incorporating a combination of plants and decorations into your tank.

The tank water needs to be warm as they do not prefer cold water conditions much. You need to ensure that the pH lies somewhere between neutral and slightly alkaline. Also, make sure that the water movement is slow, and the tank has a bright light setup.

It is essential to add an efficient filter to the aquarium to keep the water clean and healthy for your fish. Though this particular fish species is suitable for a small tank, it is essential to offer them enough space for roaming around freely and keep them healthy and happy.

Tank Setup

To take the proper care of your dwarf corydoras, you need to ensure that you are adorning the tank setup appropriately. As these fish are tiny in size, the tank setup is not an arduous task.

So, here is how you can do it.

  • They are typically a shoaling freshwater fish. Thus, you have to pick at least 4-8 specimens to keep them healthy and happy. So, you can opt for a minimum of a 10-gallon tank to take good care. In case you are thinking of adding more specimens to your tank, you need to get a larger tank size.
  • The tank water temperature needs to be within the range of 72-79 ℉. You can also add a heater to the tank to maintain this temperature and take good care of your fish.
  • You need to ensure that the pH level of the tank water lies within 6-8.
  • They can get a little bit messy. So, you need to add an efficient filter to the tank to keep the water properly clean. But make sure the water movement is not too high; instead, it is moderate.
  • You can apply a standard amount of lighting to the tank as these prefer to stay under bright lighting.
  • Add enough plants and decors to the aquarium to make it look nice and offer more hiding places to your dwarf fish.
  • You can incorporate sturdy plants like the dwarf hair grass, Amazon sword, and java moss.
  • For the substrate requirement, it is better to pick a softer substrate like sand, which will protect your fish from any harshness.
  • You can also add rocks or bogwoods to give your tiny fish enough place to rest.

Tank Mates

Dwarf corydoras will do fine with various tank mates as this fish species is very friendly and not at all aggressive.

But be careful not to keep them with any aggressive or large fish; otherwise, your these will turn into a yummy meal.

So, make sure the tank mates you add along have a mouth smaller than one inch so that no fish can gulp your dwarf corydoras.

So, here are the most compatible fish species that you can easily keep as their mates

Food & Diet

Feeding this species of fish is not at all a challenging task. Dwarf corydoras are usually omnivorous. So, these will eat anything you offer them with.

These fish happily accept both leafy and meaty meals. However, the best food you can offer them is dried foods, which are readily available at any pet store. Pellets and wafers will also be a good choice for them.

As dried foods lack proper nutrition, you should feed with supplements. You can include some meaty foods in their diet like insect larvae, bloodworms, or brine shrimps.

However, it is better to add variety to their diet. Thus, it is recommended to offer these some homemade fish foods as well. You can offer them green vegetables, blanched spinach, zucchini, etc.

But do not let them eat algae. It is a very common assumption that corydoras are algae eaters. But dwarf cory is strictly not!

While feeding, keep an eye on them. It is essential to ensure that all of your fish are getting the proper proportions of food. It is better to feed them once or twice a day.

Dwarf Corydoras Care

While petting dwarf catfish, make sure you offer them a top-notch level of care so that the corydoras can have healthy and happy growth in your tank.

Diseases are common if you are keeping them in an unclean environment. They can fall ill quickly if you do not maintain proper tank parameters regularly.

You need to perform safe water changes every two weeks. Also, it is essential to wipe down the algae before it proliferates in your tank. Moreover, make sure that the water in the tank is fairly oxygenated.

To take proper care, you must offer them a very healthy diet, as a lack of adequate nutrition can make them weak and affect their immune system.

This species of corydoras is much more prone to diseases like the red blotch disease. If you find any red sore on their body, you need to treat them immediately. This disease primarily occurs if the fish receives much stress due to environmental conditions.

Also, it is vital to maintain proper water parameters to keep them away from diseases like ICH.

Breeding Guidelines

Dwarf corydoras are pretty easy to breed in your home tank. These fish indulge in regular mating sessions.

To achieve healthy spawning, you need to feed them a nutritional diet and provide a very healthy water condition.

During mating, the female will lay at least 100 eggs at once. They will hold a few of the eggs within their pelvic fins until the male fertilize them.

The fertilized eggs will then get attached to a safe surface area until they hatch. During this time, you need to take special care to ensure that the eggs are not caught with fungus.

As the eggs hatch and tiny fries come out of the shell, you need to feed them properly to let them grow healthily. Babies can eat only tiny food fragments as their mouths are very small.

You can offer them infusoria or other crushed flakes until the fries become mature enough to consume an adult diet.

Interesting Facts

Here are a few fun facts about Dwarf Corys that you need to know to offer them proper care in your tank.

  • You can often get confused between a Dwarf Cory and Pygmy Cory as they come with an almost similar appearance.
  • Their body shape is much elongated than the other types of Corys.
  • After laying the eggs, the parents tend to eat their eggs.
  • Usually, males are slightly slenderer than their female counterparts.
  • These have a hilarious behavior of winking at you. Cute, right!

Where to Buy?

Dwarf corydoras are very easy to find in any of your nearby aquarist or pet stores. This species of corydoras usually come at a very moderate price range.

In case you do not get them in an aquarist’s shop, you can easily buy them from a hobbyist. Also, you can easily find them at any online store for pet fish.

Wrapping Up

These tiny and cute dwarf corydoras are very easy to care for in a home aquarium. Especially if you are a beginner and thinking of cherishing your fish-keeping hobby with an entry-level fish, then these will be the best choice in every aspect.

These are great for any peaceful community tank setup. These fish exhibit unique and funny behavior, which makes them a friendly and bubbly companion for any tank type.

So, what are you waiting for? Get these pretty dwarf Corys for your home tank today!