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Salt and Pepper Corydoras Overview & Care Guide

When it comes to adding some more fun to your tank, the salt and pepper corydoras are a great choice. The Corydoras genus is usually a freshwater catfish. There exist more than 160 distinct species of corydoras.

The salt and pepper corydoras is one of them, usually found in the upper Orinoco River basin in Venezuela. They are quite funny, peaceful and love best to live in the shoal. They are easy to care for, and they grow up to a size of 1.4-inches and live for about 15-20 years.

Species Overview

Level of CareMuch easy
TemperamentVery calm and prefers shoaling
AppearanceFlat-bellied body with their bright back arched ahead of their dorsal fin
Life Expectancy15-20 years
Size1.4 inches
Tank Size24-inches minimum
Tank EnvironmentSlightly acidic water with proper plantation
Tank MatesVery peaceful and small fish

The salt and pepper corydoras (Corydoras Habrosus) are usually found in the Upper Orinoco River basin in Venezuela and Columbia of South America. They are typically found in the marginal zones of tributary natural-flowing streams.

These species of corydoras are quite striking in look, which is quite rare to witness. They come with a flat-bellied body, along with their back, which is arched ahead with their dorsal fin.

These fish are usually bottom feeders; thus, they strive to stay near the tank’s bottom. Do you know they are excellent algae eaters? Yes! They pick algae from the glass of the aquarium or rocks and feast on them.

Also, do you know what is more interesting about them? They love to live in small shoals. So, whenever you get these for your fish tank, keep a couple of them together.

Well, salt and pepper corydoras stay quite active during the daytime rather than at night. Another thing that can surprise you about them is that they live much longer than any other aquarium fish, making them a must-have for your tank.


Salt and pepper corydoras are quite small in size. These fish usually extend up to 4 cm or 1.6-inches when they are full-grown adults.

The females are usually larger and broader. The male fish, on the other hand, are slimmer with a distinct colored appearance.


When it comes to lifespan, these species are the long-lived ones. They can live up to 15-20 years, which makes them undoubtedly the best fish for your tank.

Behavior & Temperament

Salt and pepper corydoras are usually very timid and gentle. But it is a funny sight to see these tiny fish in your tank hovering around.

Since these are not much aggressive, they can easily befriend any other peaceful tank mate. Thus, it is entirely fine to keep them along with other community species. However, make sure that the tank mates are not too large or aggressive.

Want to know a very startling fact about salt-and-pepper corydoras? These cute little fish carry venom along with them, imposing a threat to other tank mates. Interesting, right!

Besides, these species are shoaling by nature. So, you can keep them in a group of 6-10 fish at ease. It usually lets them have the freedom to grow naturally.

Salt pepper corydoras in blackwater aquarium

Tank Requirements

Salt and pepper corydoras can be easily kept in a small 24-inches fish tank, having a capacity of storing 20-50 gallons of water.

Do you know enriching your aquarium with vegetation and foliage will make it the best place for them to live? So, if you are buying a school of fish, then don’t forget to perform aquascaping of your fish tank with a variety of bright and colorful live aquarium plants.

These usually prefer soft and slightly acidic water with a pH range of 6-7.2. Also, too cold temperature is not much preferred by them. They can thrive well in a water temperature of 72-79 ℉.

As salt and pepper corydoras are the inhabitants of lakes and rivers, they love to enjoy flowing water. Thus, make sure that you add enough current to your tank water from one end to another. You can easily achieve it by using aeration and filtration systems.

While picking the substrate type, keep in mind that they have long barbels, which might get damaged by a sharp or aggressive substrate, leading to severe infection. So, always opt for fine sand substrate instead of rocks and pebbles.

Tank Setup

Ensuring a proper tank setup is very crucial to taking care of salt and pepper corydoras. Here is the suggested tank setup:

  • Consider a 20–50-gallon tank to keep a shoal of these fish.
  • As already discussed, for salt and pepper corydoras, lay a sand substrate at the bottom of the aquarium instead of other substrate variations.
  • Make sure the water is soft by nature and slightly acidic.
  • To offer a slight current to retain the water flow, you need to ensure the aeration and filtration system is equipped with the tank.
  • Make sure the pH of the aquarium water lies between 6 and 7.2.
  • While picking the water temperature range, precisely maintain 73-77 ℉. You can also prefer a heater to facilitate your fish with a warm aquatic environment.
  • Ensure that the water hardness is about 2-12dGH.

Tank Mates

Salt and pepper corydoras are relatively peaceful. These aqua pets usually do not indulge in any territorial war or aggressiveness amongst themselves or other fish species.

Moreover, these are very small in size. Thus, keeping them with big fish will be dangerous as the larger ones might attack and eat them up easily.

Thus, while choosing tank mates for them, make sure they are equally peaceful and do not harm each other. For your easy convenience, here, we have enlisted a few compatible tank mates for salt-and-pepper corydoras.

  • Ember Tetras
  • Micro Rasboras
  • Ornamental Shrimps
  • Cherry Shrimps
  • Cardinal Tetra
  • Dwarf Oto

Food & Diet

Salt and pepper cory feeding

To offer proper nutrition and adequate care to your salt and pepper corydoras, you need to provide them with a highly nourishing diet.

You can usually offer them a large variety of appropriately sized foods like small sinking catfish pellets, crushed flakes, and micro granules.

For a protein-rich diet, you can offer them mini-bloodworm, white mosquito larvae, and vitamin-rich brine shrimps. Also, you can feed them with baby brine shrimps and daphnia for keeping up variety in their diet.

Salt and Pepper Corydoras Care

So, are you convinced of keeping salt and pepper corydoras at your home? Well, then ensure top-notch care for these fish.

As we said earlier, they are very peaceful, so you need not ever worry about them getting aggressive and starting fighting sessions with other tank mates. However, due to its diminutive adult size, you must not keep it in any general community aquarium.

So, what can be the perfect tank for them? Well, it is simple. You can easily keep them in a small and densely planted tank to let them have enough space to hide and play. Also, do not forget to put some more sand in the base of the aquarium.

In case you are worried about how to make your tank buddies feel safer, add a few floating plants and offer some diffuse and bright lighting.

Keeping the water clean is of much importance. Hence, do not forget to add peat filtration in the aquarium. Soft acidic water with a tannish release is going to boost their colors. Make sure the water movement is very gentle.

Always consider keeping the salt and pepper corydoras in a large-sized group. Do you want to know why? Well, this is not only to boost up their confidence but also to give them a more natural-looking shoal.

While petting them, make sure there is a gap between the water’s surface and the aquarium’s covering slide to let those tiny fish swim up and breathe properly. It is imperative to let them have relief from suffocation as they are intestinal breathers.

Breeding Guidelines

Keeping salt and pepper corydoras can be a bit tricky for you. But don’t worry; these fish are easy to breed in a home aquarium.

Well, knowing how to breed these can help you in a better way.

So, if you are thinking of triggering the mature pairs for spawning, you can easily do it by performing a large and slight change in tank water with a cooler temperature. It will make the couple slowly acquire their classic T- position.

Usually, the males fertilize the eggs held in between their female counterparts’ pelvic fins. Then the females will deposit the adhesive eggs on top of the aquarium plants or decors.

Now, at this time, the eggs need proper care as they are much more prone to get attacked by fungus.

As a beginner fishkeeper, we would suggest adding a minimal amount of methylene blue to the breeding tank to prevent the fungus from attacking the eggs.

If you are not keeping them in a separate tank, you can consider placing them in another small tank for a few more days until the eggs hatch and fries come out. These eggs are usually going to take 3-6 days, based on water temperature, to hatch into fries.

Fry Care

Well, keeping them needs you to take complete care of their fries right from their birth up till the time they turn into full-fledged adult fish.

Now that you know how to breed these fish, the next step would be taking proper care of their fries.

Well, the care begins from the breeding phase. As female fish hold the eggs in their pelvic fins, they release them on plants and décor or aquarium sides.

Soon after the eggs hatch, we recommend placing them in a separate small tank to take better care of them.

In the initial days, there is no need to offer them the food. They are merely going to survive with the yolk present in the egg after hatching. After that, you can feed their fries with finely powdered first food.

As the fries grow, they will eventually become able to eat tiny brine shrimps. So, you can offer them a protein-rich shrimp diet for their better and fast healthy growth.

Where to Buy?

You can easily buy salt and pepper corydoras from your nearby fish seller or aquarium dealer.

This particular fish is usually a bit rare. However, you can opt for any of the hobbyist shops or even order them online.

End Thoughts

To add some glamor to your aquarium, the colorful salt and pepper corydoras would be the best kind of fish. From their glowy, bright appearance to peaceful hovering in a group while playing and hiding with shyness is undoubtedly a sight to behold.

If you are thinking of keeping them in your fish tank, it is indeed a great idea. However, make sure you offer the corydoras adequate care and food to make your aqua pets stay healthy and lovely.