Black Sail Corydoras

How to Take Care of Black Sail Corydoras (Infographs)

Black Sail Corydoras (Corydoras melanistius) are characterized by the dark marking on its sail-shaped dorsal fin and dark spots all over its silver body. Originating from the rivers and streams of South America and Central America, there are over 150 different species of Corydora catfish. Black Sail 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. Black Sail Corydoras are also peaceful and social, making them excellent fish for beginners looking to add bottom-dweller fish in their community tank. 


Black Sail Corydoras Infograph
NameBlack Sail Corydoras
Scientific NameCorydoras melanistius
OriginSouth America
Size2.5 inches (6 cm)
Minimum Tank Size10 Gallons
Ease of CareEasy
PHPH 6.0-7.0
Water Temperature68-75F (20-24C)
Water Hardness LevelSoft to Hard (50-150mg/l)

What are Other Names for Black Sail Corydoras

Black Sail Corydoras are also called bluespotted Corydoras, blackspotted Corydoras, Guiana cat or Guiana Corydoras.

How Big Do Black Sail Corydoras Get?

Black Sail Corydoras can grow to 2.5 inches (6 cm).

What to Feed Black Sail Corydoras?

Black Sail Corydoras are omnivores. Black Sail Corydoras are bottom dweller fish that will feed on uneaten food. Even though they are scavengers, you still need to feed Black Sail 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 Black Sail Corydoras?

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

What are the Best Water Parameters for Black Sail Corydoras?

Black Sail 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 Black Sail Corydoras?

Black Sail Corydoras should be kept in a tank with a water temperature of 68-75F (20-24C).

How to Set-Up Your Tank for Breeding Black Sail Corydoras?

Set up a breeding tank with 1 male and 2 female Cory catfish. Make sure the breeding tank is well-planted so Black Sail 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 Black Sail Corydoras can hide and feel safe during spawning. Use a sponge filter in the fry tank. Sponge filters are gentler and will not suck up the Black Sail Corydoras fry. 

How to Prepare Your Black Sail Corydoras for Breeding

You need to make sure your Black Sail Corydoras are well fed with high protein and high nutrient food. This will ensure they are in prime spawning conditions.

How to Breed Black Sail Corydoras?

Black Sail Corydoras are egg layers. Breeding occurs with the female Black Sail 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.

How Long Does It Take for Black Sail Corydoras Eggs to Hatch?

The Corydoras 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 Black Sail 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 Black Sail Corydoras high protein, high nutrient food. Keeping them well-fed will condition your Black Sail 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 Black Sail Corydoras will start spawning.

Infograph on How to Trigger Spawning

How to Breed Corydoras

Will Adult Black Sail Corydoras Eat Their Eggs?

Black Sail Corydoras will eat their own eggs. You will need to separate the adults from the eggs! You can either move the eggs out or move the adult Corydoras out of the tank.

How to Move Corydoras Eggs Out of the Tank?

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.

Black Sail 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.

How to Prevent Egg Fungus on Corydoras Eggs?

Add a few drops of methylene blue to the fry tank to prevent egg fungus. You should also aerate the tank with an airstone or sponge filter. Once the eggs hatch, remove the methylene blue because it will be harmful to the fry.

Corydoras Eggs Fungus

Are Black Sail Corydoras Peaceful or Aggressive Fish?

Black Sail Corydoras are not agressive. They are peaceful fish and are compatible with many popular community fish. 

How Many Black Sail Corydoras in a Tank?

Black Sail 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 5 Black Sail Corydoras in your tank. 

Number of Corydoras in Tank Calculators

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

What Fish are Compatible with Black Sail Corydoras?

Black Sail 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 Black Sail 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 Black Sail Corydoras are Tank Cleaners?

Even though your Black Sail 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 Black Sail Corydoras whisker-like barbels.

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

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