Profile Photo

Maximum size : 10 cm

Banded Corydoras - Scleromystax barbatus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Banded Corydoras (Scleromystax barbatus) are lively and active schooling fish that bring vibrancy to your aquarium. For optimal health and well-being, it is recommended to keep them in groups of six or more. These catfish are peaceful and make excellent community members. However, it is vital to avoid pairing them with more aggressive species such as cichlids or bottom-dwellers. Males may become aggressive during the breeding season, so it is advisable to keep one male with a group of females to prevent damage or fatal outcomes. Banded Corydoras prefer a soft sand substrate in the aquarium, which will help protect their delicate sensory barbels. To create a comfortable and visually appealing environment, provide plenty of shady hiding places and visual barriers such as driftwood, rocky caves, and robust aquatic plants. To ensure optimal health, maintain high water quality by keeping the tank well-filtered and providing areas of decent current to help oxygenation. Regular partial water changes are essential. It is also essential to add them to a mature tank where the temperature does not exceed 25°C.

Banded Corydoras Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Banded Corydoras is relatively straightforward. Males have strikingly beautiful markings on their flanks, with black to yellowish-brown stripes on a silvery-white stomach. They feature two prominent golden blotches on their upper caudal peduncle, shimmering brassy spots on their head and cheeks, and translucent fins with black spots. Males also have longer pectoral fins and a row of bristles across their cheeks. Females, on the other hand, have a dark brown body with random lighter blotches, a creamy-white stomach, and an irregular light spotting on their head. Their fins exhibit some light brown coloration, creating faint lines.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameScleromystax barbatus
Year Described1824
Other NamesCorydoras Barbatus, Bearded Catfish
Max Size10 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespanup to 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 8.0
GH2 - 25
TDS18 -215
68 - 82
20 - 27.8

Natural habitat

The Banded Corydoras are native to the stunning waterways of Brazil's south-eastern region, where they thrive in slow-moving and almost still coastal drainages, ponds, and streams. These water bodies are adorned with a substrate of fine pebbles or sand and often covered by a layer of mud, providing the perfect habitat for these enchanting creatures. The Banded Corydoras can be found in the tributaries of the Capivari, Inbomirim, and the coastal Rios Guapi, located between Santa Catarina and Rio de Janeiro in South America.
 Guaporé River - Bolivia
Bolivia Flag

How to breed the Banded Corydoras

Breeding Banded Corydoras is a relatively simple process, but raising the fry to maturity requires good water conditions and care. To induce breeding, place a male and female together, and if the female is full of eggs, change the tank's water once a day to increase oxygenation and flow. Repeat this process until the female lays her eggs. Banded Corydoras deposit their eggs on objects near the water's surface that have a lot of leaves. To prevent fungus from developing, some breeders add a few drops of methylene blue to the water. After incubating for 3-4 days, the fry will absorb their yolk sacs and will require live food to continue developing. It is crucial to ensure that the fry can digest any food provided to them.

Diet & feeding

Banded Corydoras are considered scavenging omnivores, and to keep them in their optimal health and condition, they require a well-rounded diet. They will accept high-quality dried foods like sinking pellets or wafers, as well as small live and frozen foods such as bloodworm, Tubifex, and daphnia. While these Corydoras are known for their foraging tendencies, it is not advisable to rely on leftover food from other aquarium inhabitants, nor expect them to clean the tank of algae. Providing them with a varied diet is crucial to their overall health and well-being.

Other Corydoras you maybe interested in