Elegant Corydoras (Corydoras elegans)

How to Take Care of Elegant Corydoras (Infographs)

Elegant Corydoras (Corydoras elegans) are attractive Corydoras worthy of its namesake. They are one of the more active Corydoras and will swim in the open water. Originating from the rivers and streams of South America and Central America, there are over 150 different species of Corydora catfish. Elegant 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. Elegant Corydoras are also peaceful and social, making them excellent fish for beginners looking to add bottom-dweller fish in their community tank. 


NameElegant Corydoras
Scientific NameCorydoras elegans
OriginSouth America
Size2 inches (5 cm)
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 Elegant Corydoras

Elegant Corydoras are also called Elegant Cory Cats, Elegant Catfish or Elegans Cory.

How Big Do Elegant Corydoras Get?

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

What to Feed Elegant Corydoras?

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

Elegant Corydoras will thrive in a well planted aquarium with open swim areas. Unlike most Corydoras, Elegant Corydoras are one of the few Corydoras that will swim in open water. Elegant Corydoras will use their mouth to dig the substrate. Use fine substrate like sand instead of gravel in your aquarium to make it easier for Elegant Corydoras to dig and to prevent damaging their whisker-like barbels. Provide plenty of plants and rocks/shells for cover so your Elegant Corydoras will feel protected and safe. 

What are the Best Water Parameters for Elegant Corydoras?

Elegant 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 Elegant Corydoras?

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

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

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

How to Breed Elegant Corydoras?

Elegant Corydoras are egg layers. Breeding occurs with the female Elegant 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 Elegant 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 Elegant Corydoras high protein, high nutrient food. Keeping them well-fed will condition your Elegant 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 Elegant Corydoras will start spawning.

Will Adult Elegant Corydoras Eat Their Eggs?

Elegant 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. Elegant 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 Elegant Corydoras fry. 

Are Elegant Corydoras Peaceful or Aggressive Fish?

Elegant Corydoras are peaceful fish. Making them good tankmates in community tanks. 

How Many Elegant Corydoras in a Tank?

Elegant 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 Elegant Corydoras in your tank. 

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

What Fish are Compatible with Elegant Corydoras?

Elegant 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 Elegant 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 Elegant Corydoras. 

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

Even though your Elegant 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 Elegant Corydoras whisker-like barbels.

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

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