Bearded Corydoras (Corydoras barbatus)

How to Take Care of Bearded Corydoras (Infographs)

Bearded Corydoras (Corydoras barbatus) are the largest of the Corydoras species. They can grow to 5 inches. Originating from the rivers and streams of South America and Central America, there are over 150 different species of Corydora catfish. Bearded 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. Bearded Corydoras are also peaceful and social, making them excellent fish for beginners looking to add bottom-dweller fish in their community tank. 


NameBearded Corydoras
Scientific NameCorydoras barbatus
OriginSouth America
Size5 inches (12.5 cm)
Minimum Tank Size20 Gallons
Ease of CareEasy
PHPH 6.0-7.0
Water Temperature68-77F (20-25C)
Water Hardness LevelSoft to Hard (50-150mg/l)

What are Other Names for Bearded Corydoras

Bearded Corydoras are also called Banded catfish, Bearded Catfish, Banded Corys, Bearded Corys or Banded Corydoras.

How Big Do Bearded Corydoras Get?

Bearded Corydoras can grow to 5 inches (12.5 cm).

What to Feed Bearded Corydoras?

Bearded Corydoras are omnivores. Bearded Corydoras are bottom dweller fish that will feed on uneaten food. Even though they are scavengers, you still need to feed Bearded Corydoras their own food. It’s not enough to rely on food collected from scavenging 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 Bearded Corydoras?

Bearded Corydoras will thrive in a well planted aquarium with open swim areas. Bearded 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 Bearded Corydoras to dig and to prevent damaging their whisker-like barbels. Provide plenty of plants and rocks/shells for cover so your Bearded Corydoras will feel protected and safe. 

What are the Best Water Parameters for Bearded Corydoras?

Bearded 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 Bearded Corydoras?

Bearded Corydoras should be kept in a tank with a water temperature of 68-77F (20-25C).

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

Set up a breeding tank with 1 male and 2 female Banded Corys. Make sure the breeding tank is well-planted so Bearded 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 Bearded Corydoras can hide and feel safe during spawning. For optimal breeding conditions, it’s important to keep your Bearded Corydoras well fed. 

How to Breed Bearded Corydoras?

Bearded Corydoras are egg layers. Breeding occurs with the female Bearded 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 fry will stay on the substrate and consume their yolk sac until they become free swimming. Once they are free swimming, feed the fry with fish food specifically for fry or freshly hatched brine shrimp.

How to Get Bearded 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 Bearded Corydoras high protein, high nutrient food. Keeping them well-fed will condition your Bearded 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 Bearded Corydoras will start spawning.

Will Adult Bearded Corydoras Eat Their Eggs?

Bearded Corydoras will eat their own eggs and fry. 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. Bearded Corydoras will lay eggs in many different places 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. 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 Bearded Corydoras fry. 

Are Bearded Corydoras Peaceful or Aggressive Fish?

Bearded Corydoras are peaceful fish. They are compatible with many popular community fish. 

How Many Bearded Corydoras in a Tank?

Bearded 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 Bearded Corydoras in your tank. 

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

What Fish are Compatible with Bearded Corydoras?

Bearded 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 Bearded Corydoras such as livebearers like guppies, swordtails and platies. Other popular community tank fish such as Zebra danios, rasboras and tetras are also compatible with Cory catfish. 

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

Even though your Bearded 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 Bearded Corydoras whisker-like barbels.

Check out our article on How to Clean Your Aquarium in 15 minutes

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