I already mentioned these adorable little guys in a recent post on the three commonly found species of dwarf Corydora (C. pygmaeus, C. hastatus and C. habrosus). Here’s my chance to show off my own little shoal of C. habrosus, also known as the salt and pepper catfish/corydora.
These guys are ridiculously small fish, maxing out around 3/4 an inch (~2.0 cm) when fully grown. They like soft, mildly acidic water around 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Salt and pepper corydora are from areas with plenty of cover from plants, roots, and rocks. I went with the C. habrosus instead of the C. pygmaeus because habrosus are typically more adventurous (read: more visible) than their other diminutive counterparts.
Corydora need shoals with many members to remain healthy and happy. Ten or more is suggested, and the more you have, the better they typically fare (assuming the tank is appropriate and has enough filtration). Furthermore, they need lots of swimming room! Anything with a footprint smaller than a typical ten gallon tank will probably be too small to keep any shoal happy.
Despite their small size, handling these little guys can be dangerous. As with all corydora, they have sharp pectoral spines that can easily pierce human skin or get caught in netting. Handle with care. Larger or more aggressive tank mates will usually try to make a meal of these guys. This almost never ends well for the corydora, and occasionally doesn’t end well for the attacker either.
They need a well rounded diet, and love munching down on bloodworms, algae pellets, sinking food, etc. Don’t expect them to complete scavengers or a tank cleaning crew. Corydora are great fish with personality, but still can make a decent mess. Keep them in a well established tank that has stable parameters, and they’re do just fine.