How to Take Care of Bandit Corydoras (Beginner’s Guide and Infograph)

Bandit Corydoras (Corydoras metae) are characterized by the prominent “black mask” over the eyes. The black markings of Bandit Corydoras extends from the dorsal fin to the top edge of the caudal fin.

Originating from the rivers and streams of South America and Central America, there are over 150 different species of Corydora catfish. Bandit Corydoras are bottom dwelling fish that will scavenge and clean your aquarium. They are easy and hardy fish to care for because they can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. Bandit Corydoras are also peaceful and social, making them excellent fish for beginners looking to add bottom-dweller fish in their community tank. 


Bandit Corydoras Infograph
NameBandit Corydoras
Scientific NameCorydoras metae
OriginSouth America
Size2 inches (5cm)
Minimum Tank Size10 Gallons
Ease of CareEasy
PHPH 6.0-7.0
Water Temperature70-79F(21-26C)
Water Hardness LevelSoft to Hard (50-150mg/l)

What are Other Names for Bandit Corydoras

Bandit Corydoras are also called Bandit Cory Cats, Rio Meta Corydoras and Masked Corydoras.

How Big Do Bandit Corydoras Get?

Bandit Corydoras can grow to 2 inches (5cm).

What to Feed Bandit Corydoras?

Bandit Corydoras are omnivores. Bandit Corydoras are bottom dweller fish that will feed on uneaten food. Even though they are scavengers, you still need to feed Bandit Corydoras their own food. It’s not enough to rely on food collected from scavening as their only food source. You should supplement their diet with sinking pellets that are formulated for bottom-dwelling fish. 

How to Set Up an Aquarium for Bandit Corydoras?

Bandit Corydoras will thrive in a well planted aquarium with open swim areas. Bandit Corydoras spend their day digging and will use their mouth to dig the substrate. Use fine substrate like sand instead of gravel in your aquarium to make it easier for Bandit Corydoras to dig and to prevent damaging their whisker-like barbels.

What are the Best Water Parameters for Bandit Corydoras?

Bandit Corydoras are tolerant of a wide range of water parameters but should not be in excessively acidic water conditions.

What is the Ideal Water Temperature for Bandit Corydoras?

Bandit Corydoras should be kept in a tank with a water temperature of 70-79F(21-26C).

How to Set-Up Your Tank for Breeding Bandit Corydoras?

Set up a breeding tank with 1 male and 2 female Cory catfish. Make sure the breeding tank is well-planted so Bandit Corydoras can lay their eggs on the plant leaves (Java Moss). You can also use spawning mops. Set up the breeding tank with fine substrate like sand or keep the tank bare without any substrate. Add one or two pots or big shells, so your Bandit Corydoras can hide and feel safe during spawning. For optimal breeding conditions, it’s important to keep your Bandit Corydoras well fed. 

How to Breed Bandit Corydoras?

Bandit Corydoras are egg layers. Breeding occurs with the female Bandit Corydoras swallowing male sperm and then releasing the sperm from her gut to her cupped pelvic fins along with some eggs. She will lay these eggs in small batches on plant leaves or on the aquarium surface. The eggs will hatch 5-6 days later. After hatching, the young Corydoras will stay on the substrate and consume their yolk sac until they become free swimming. Once they are free swimming, feed the young Corydoras with fish food specifically for fry or freshly hatched brine shrimp.

How to Get Bandit Corydoras to Start Spawning?

Here are 3 things you can do to trigger spawning 1.) Do a partial cold water change. Add colder water into the tank. This will bring aquarium water temperature down a few degrees which will simulate the water temperature after a heavy rainstorm. 2.) Feed your Bandit Corydoras high protein, high nutrient food. Keeping them well-fed will condition your Bandit Corydoras for spawning. 3.) Increase airflow in your aquarium. The increased airflow will simulate the strong river currents after a rain storm. This will trigger spawning. Under the right conditions, your Bandit Corydoras will start spawning.

How to Breed Corydoras

Will Adult Bandit Corydoras Eat Their Eggs?

Bandit Corydoras will eat their own eggs. You will need to separate the adults from the eggs. The best way to do this is to move the eggs to a fry tank. You can also move the eggs to a breeding box.

If the eggs are on plant leaves, remove the entire plant and transfer it to the fry tank. If you are using a breeding box, you can gently remove the eggs one by one with your fingers and transfer them to the breeding box. If the eggs are on the aquarium glass, gently scrape off the eggs with your finger and transfer them to the fry tank. You can also use a credit card to scrape eggs off the aquarium glass.

Bandit Corydoras will lay eggs in many different places in the aquarium so you should check the entire aquarium for eggs- behind filters, on plant leaves, aquarium glass, shells, etc. Make sure the water parameters and water temperature of the fry tank are similar to the breeding tank.

Add a few drops of methylene blue to the fry tank to prevent egg fungus. You should also aerate the fry tank with an airstone, this will help prevent egg fungus as well. Once the eggs hatch, remove the methylene blue because it will be harmful to the fry. Use a sponge filter in the fry tank. Sponge filters are gentler and will not suck up the Bandit Corydoras fry. 

Corydoras Eggs Fungus

Are Bandit Corydoras Peaceful or Aggressive Fish?

Bandit Corydoras are social and peaceful fish. Provide plenty of plants and rocks/shells for cover so they will feel protected and safe.

How Many Bandit Corydoras in a Tank?

Bandit Corydoras are not solitary fish. They are social fish that should be kept in groups of the same species. If space permits and without overstocking your tank, keep at least 3-5 Bandit Corydoras in your tank. A group of Bandit Corydoras will look striking in a group.

Use our How Many Fish in a 10 Gallon Tank Calculator to find out how many Bandit Corydoras you can keep in a 10 gallon tank. For 20 gallon tanks, use our How Many Fish in a 20 Gallon Tank Calculator to find out how many Bandit Corydoras you can keep in a 20 gallon tank.

What Fish are Compatible with Bandit Corydoras?

Bandit Corydoras are compatible with most peaceful topwater and midwater fish that share similar water parameter requirements. There are a lot of fish that are compatible with Bandit Corydoras such as livebearers like guppies, swordtails and platies. Topwater fish like hatchetfish. Midwater fish like Zebra danios and Neon tetras are also compatible with Cory catfish. 

Do I Still Need to Clean the Aquarium Since Bandit Corydoras are Tank Cleaners?

Even though your Bandit Corydoras are tank cleaners, you still need to clean the aquarium. Perform partial water changes at least once every 3 weeks. This will keep nitrate levels low and help maintain optimal water quality. Use a gravel cleaner to remove dirt buildup on the substrate during partial water changes. Dirt buildup on the aquarium substrate can damage your Bandit Corydoras whisker-like barbels.