How to Take Care of Three-Striped Corydoras (Infographs)

Three-Striped Corydoras (Corydoras trilineatus) are very attractive Corydoras characterized by the “three stripes” on the body- a dark line on the center of the body and lighter lines above and below the center line. There is also a dark marking on the dorsal fin of the Three Striped Corydoras. They are often confused with Corydoras julii or Julii Corydoras that’s why they are sometimes called False Julii Corydoras.

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


NameThree-Striped Corydoras
Scientific NameCorydoras trilineatus
OriginSouth America
Size2 inches (5 cm)
Minimum Tank Size10 Gallons
Ease of CareEasy
PHPH 6.0-7.0
Water Temperature68-79F (20-26C)
Water Hardness LevelSoft to Hard (50-150mg/l)

What are Other Names for Three-Striped Corydoras

Three-Striped Corydoras are also called False Julii Corydoras and Three Lined Cory.

How Big Do Three-Striped Corydoras Get?

Three-Striped Corydoras can grow to 2 inches (5 cm).

What to Feed Three-Striped Corydoras?

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

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

What are the Best Water Parameters for Three-Striped Corydoras?

Three-Striped 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 Three-Striped Corydoras?

Three-Striped Corydoras should be kept in a tank with a water temperature of 68-79F (20-26C).

How to Set-Up Your Tank for Breeding Three-Striped Corydoras?

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

For optimal breeding conditions, it’s important to keep your Three-Striped Corydoras well fed with high fat and high protein food. 

How to Breed Three-Striped Corydoras?

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

Infograph on How to Trigger Spawning

Under the right conditions, your Three-Striped Corydoras will start spawning. See infograph below:

Will Adult Three-Striped Corydoras Eat Their Eggs?

Three-Striped Corydoras will eat their own eggs. You will need to separate the adults from the eggs by transferring the adult corys to another tank or moving the eggs to a fry tank.

How to Move Eggs Out of Tank

Separating eggs from adult Corydoras can be labor intensive since you may be looking at hundreds of eggs. You can either move the adults out or the eggs out. If you move the eggs out, you can move the eggs to a fry tank or 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.

Three-Striped 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 Infograph

You can prevent egg fungus by adding a few drops of methylene blue and aerating the tank with an airstone. Once the eggs hatch, remove the methylene blue because it will be harmful to the fry. See infograph below:

Are Three-Striped Corydoras Peaceful or Aggressive Fish?

Three-Striped Corydoras are social and peaceful fish. 

How Many Three-Striped Corydoras in a Tank?

Three-Striped 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 Three-Striped Corydoras in your tank.

How Many Corydoras Calculators 

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

What Fish are Compatible with Three-Striped Corydoras?

Three-Striped 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 Three-Striped 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 Three-Striped Corydoras are Tank Cleaners?

Even though your Three-Striped 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 Three-Striped Corydoras whisker-like barbels.

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

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