Skunk Corydoras (Corydoras arcuatus)

How to Take Care of Skunk Corydoras (Beginner’s Guide)

Skunk Corydoras (Corydoras arcuatus) are one of the more popular Corydoras. It is an attractive Corydora characterized by the black stripe along the body just below the dorsal fin. The black and white markings will remind you of the markings of skunks.

Originating from the rivers and streams of South America and Central America, there are over 150 different species of Corydora catfish. Skunk 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. Skunk Corydoras are also peaceful and social, making them excellent fish for beginners looking to add bottom-dweller fish in their community tank. 


Skunk Corydoras (Corydoras arcuatus) infograph
NameSkunk Corydoras
Scientific NameCorydoras arcuatus
OriginSouth America
Size3 inches (7.5 cm)
Minimum Tank Size20 Gallons
Ease of CareEasy
PHPH 6.0-7.0
Water Temperature72-79F (22-26C)
Water Hardness LevelSoft to Hard (50-150mg/l)

What are Other Names for Skunk Corydoras

Skunk Corydoras are also called Skunk Corys.

How Big Do Skunk Corydoras Get?

Skunk Corydoras can grow to 3 inches (7.5 cm).

What to Feed Skunk Corydoras?

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

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

What are the Best Water Parameters for Skunk Corydoras?

Skunk 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 Skunk Corydoras?

Skunk Corydoras should be kept in a tank with a water temperature of 72-79F (22-26C).

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

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

How to Breed Skunk Corydoras?

Skunk Corydoras are egg layers. Breeding occurs with the female Skunk 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 Skunk Corydoras to Start Spawning?

You can help your Skunk Corydoras to start spawning. Below are 3 things 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.) Keep Your Skunk Corys well-fed.

Feed your Skunk Corydoras high protein, high nutrient food. Keeping them well-fed will condition your Skunk 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 Skunk Corydoras will start spawning.

Infograph on How to Trigger Corydoras to Spawn

How to Breed Corydoras

Will Adult Skunk Corydoras Eat Their Eggs?

Skunk 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 out of the tank. You can also separate adult Corydoras and its eggs by moving the adult Corydoras out of the tank.

How to Move Eggs Out of Tank?

Corydoras eggs are easy to move out of the tank. Skunk Corydoras will lay eggs in many different placesso you should check the entire aquarium for eggs- behind filters, on plant leaves, aquarium glass, shells, etc.

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. 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 Skunk Corydoras fry. 

Are Skunk Corydoras Peaceful or Aggressive Fish?

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

How Many Skunk Corydoras in a Tank?

Skunk 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 Skunk Corydoras in your tank. 

Corydoras Calculator

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

What Fish are Compatible with Skunk Corydoras?

Skunk 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 Skunk 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 Skunk Corys. 

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

Even though your Skunk 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 Skunk Corydoras whisker-like barbels.

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

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