Maximum size : 6 cm

Peppered Corydoras - Corydoras Paleatus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


The Peppered Corydoras (Corydoras Paleatus) is a captivating and robust species that has won the hearts of many aquarists worldwide. With their unique colouration and pattern, they make for an excellent addition to any community aquarium. These little Catfish are also a great choice for beginners as they are hardy and adaptable to various water parameters.

In consideration of their sociable disposition and innate shoaling behaviour, it is recommended to uphold group dynamics comprising a minimum of five individuals for these species. Optimal companions within the aquarium setting would encompass fellow small species, notably Tetras, smallish Barbs and Dwarf Cichlids.

Peppered Corydoras exhibit a predilection for sandy substrate, as it accommodates their natural inclination to forage for sustenance. Inadequate maintenance of gravel substrates can potentially render them susceptible to barbel infections. The provision of adequate cover, in the guise of rocks or bogwood, is conducive to the well-being of Corydoras and contributes to an enriched environment.

The body of the Peppered Corydoras is short and stocky, covered with two rows of bony plates, as are their heads. Their olive-tan colour is adorned with dark green to black markings, making each individual slightly unique. The fins of these Catfish are pale, with their dorsal fin boasting a dark patch on the first few rays, the caudal fin has several fine spots, and the adipose fin sports a spot on the upper tip. Overall, they are essentially bronze with dark patches and specks, a unique and striking look.

The Peppered Corydoras' two pairs of barbels on the upper jaw aid them in scouring through the substrate for food, and they have articulated eyes, allowing them to tilt their eyes up and down without having to move their head. While there is an albino variety of this species, they tend to be sensitive to water conditions, lighting, and medicines, making them challenging fish to keep. 

Peppered Corydoras Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexual dimorphism in the Peppered Corydoras is readily observable, and distinguishing between males and females is relatively straightforward. Females are generally larger and rounder in the belly region than males. This difference is more pronounced when viewed from above, as females are much broader than males. Male Corydoras have larger dorsal and pectoral fins, and their anal fin is more pointed than females. Additionally, males often exhibit more vivid and intense colours than their female counterparts.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameCorydoras Paleatus
Year Described1842
Other NamesPeppered Cory, Peppered Catfish, Salt and Pepper Cory, Mottled Corydoras
OriginsArgentina , Brazil , Paraguay , Suriname , Uruguay
Max Size6 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.0 - 8.0
GH 5 - 15
Ideal Temperature
64 - 79
17 - 26

Natural Habitat

Peppered Corydoras are native to the sparkling waters of Argentina, the Parana River, and the Rio de la Plata in Brazil, Paraguay, Suriname, and Uruguay in South America. In their natural habitat, Peppered Corydoras inhabit slow-moving, almost still waters, such as marshes, ponds, streams, lakes, and rivers that boast a clear and shallow environment. These discerning fish seek out soft, sandy substrates, which provide them with ample opportunities to forage for food. 

 Rio de la Plata - Argentina
Argentina Flag
 Paraná River - Brazil
Brazil Flag


Breeding the Peppered Corydoras in a home aquarium can be a relatively straightforward process. When the female is ready to spawn, she will increase in size and activity, and her belly and pectoral fin's first ray will take on a reddish hue. To induce spawning, a cold water change can be carried out, simulating the rainy season. Next, the best-sized and coloured pair should be placed in a separate spawning tank that provides ample surfaces for the female to deposit her eggs. This will reduce the risk of the eggs being consumed by the parents or other fish.

During the mating ritual, the male will display a shivering motion and swim over the female's back, touching her with his barbels before taking up the T position. This position triggers the release of milt and a small number of eggs, which the female will grip between her pelvic fins. After fertilization, the female will deposit the sticky eggs on a previously chosen and cleaned surface, such as a plant, glass, or filter tube.

 The process will continue until the female has run out of eggs, which can be up to 300. Once the spawning is complete, the parents should be removed from the tank to prevent egg consumption. The eggs will hatch around four to six days later, and the fry should be fed with infusoria or similar until they are big enough to accept more extensive food.

Diet & feeding

To maintain a well-rounded diet, the Peppered Corydoras requires high-quality flake foods or sinking pellets, supplemented with occasional algae wafers and a variety of frozen, freeze-dried or live food treats such as artemia, bloodworm or daphnia. These fish are not particularly picky eaters and will consume most types of food presented to them. However, it is essential to ensure that the food is sinking or small enough to avoid it floating on the surface, as these bottom-dwelling fish prefer to feed on the substrate. A balanced and varied diet will help to keep the fish healthy, happy and encourage them to breed in captivity.

Other Corydoras of interest