Maximum size : 3 cm

Polystictus Corydoras - Corydoras polystictus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Polystictus Corydoras (Corydoras polystictus) is a popular and visually appealing species that is highly suitable for community aquariums. Their care requirements are relatively straightforward, and they can bring liveliness and entertainment to any tank. These Corys are primarily diurnal, remaining active during the day and dedicating much of their time to scavenging for food at the bottom of the aquarium.

Due to their social nature, keeping Polystictus Corydoras in groups of at least six individuals is recommended to prevent stress and susceptibility to illness. Suitable tankmates for these Corys include Small plecos, Tetras, micro Rasboras, Pencilfish, and other Corydoras species. However, it is advisable to avoid housing them with large or aggressive species that may pose a threat.

Like many other Corys, Polystictus Corydoras are prone to barbel infections or erosion. Therefore, it is crucial to provide them with a soft sand substrate instead of gravel, as it minimizes the accumulation of waste and protects their delicate sensory organs. Regular maintenance, including frequent partial water changes, should be conducted to ensure the well-being of these fish. Creating ample shaded areas among driftwood, rocks, and dense vegetation is important to provide hiding spots and a sense of security.

Polystictus Corydoras exhibit a pale body colouration adorned with numerous small spots distributed across their entire body, including the dorsal fin. Additionally, their bellies often display a pinkish hue. The patterns and distribution of spots can vary among individuals, adding to the unique charm of these Corys.

Polystictus Corydoras Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Polystictus Corydoras becomes evident with proper conditioning. Females typically exhibit a larger size and appear broader when observed from above, notably due to their larger underbelly. Conversely, males tend to be shorter and slimmer in comparison to their female counterparts.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameCorydoras polystictus
Year Described1912
OriginsBrazil , Paraguay , Argentina
Max Size3 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.0 - 8.0
GH 5 - 25
Ideal Temperature
72 - 83
22 - 28

Natural Habitat

Polystictus Corydoras are indigenous to the Paraguay River Basin, which spans across Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina in South America. These Corydoras predominantly occupy tranquil and shallow aquatic environments, including streams and small rivers. Their natural habitats are characterized by a soft substrate, commonly comprised of sand or mud. In addition, Polystictus Corydoras exhibit a preference for areas abundant in dense vegetation, rocks, and fallen trees. These features provide them with suitable shelter and contribute to the overall ecological dynamics of their habitat.


Breeding Polystictus Corydoras is relatively straightforward and follows a similar pattern to other Corydoras species. To initiate the breeding process, it is recommended to set up a separate breeding tank equipped with either a bare bottom or a sand/fine gravel substrate. Introducing an air-powered sponge filter and clumps of java moss will provide suitable breeding conditions. Maintaining a temperature of approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH level of around 6.5 is ideal. Using RO water and filtering it through peat can be beneficial.

To encourage successful breeding, it is advantageous to have a higher ratio of males to females, with two males for every female being an ideal ratio. Conditioning the group with a varied diet comprising dried, live, and frozen foods helps stimulate spawning behaviour. Once the females are visibly full of eggs, performing a significant water change with cooler water and enhancing flow and oxygenation in the tank should be carried out. This process should be repeated daily until spawning occurs.

Increased activity can be observed during the spawning phase, with males actively pursuing females. When a female is ready, she allows the male to touch her with his barbels, leading to the classic T-position formation. The female then creates a basket with her pelvic fins to deposit 1 to 4 eggs. After fertilization, she swims away to find a suitable location to deposit the eggs, typically on the tank's glass, in an area with a swift current. This cycle is repeated until all eggs have been laid.

Once spawning is complete, removing either the adults or the eggs promptly is crucial to prevent them from being consumed. If relocating the eggs, they can be gently rolled up the glass using a finger. The new tank should have adequate oxygenation and replicate the water parameters of the breeding tank. Adding a few drops of methylene blue to the water can help prevent fungal growth, although any eggs showing signs of fungus should be removed immediately to prevent its spread.

The eggs usually hatch between 3 and 5 days later, and the fry initially relies on their yolk sacs for sustenance. Once the yolk sacs are consumed, providing microworms and baby brine shrimp becomes essential for their continued nourishment. It is worth noting that keeping the fry in a tank with a thin layer of sand rather than a bare bottom appears to reduce their susceptibility to diseases.

Diet & feeding

In the confines of the home aquarium, Polystictus Corydoras exhibit a favourable acceptance of various high-quality dried foods, including granules, flakes, and sinking pellets. These contemporary food formulations have been thoughtfully crafted to provide comprehensive nutrition, ensuring the fulfilment of your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Supplementing their diet with occasional servings of live, frozen, or freeze-dried meals such as mini bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex, once or twice a week, can yield additional health benefits and enhance overall well-being, although it is not an obligatory component of their diet.

In their natural habitat, Polystictus Corydoras display omnivorous feeding tendencies, encompassing the consumption of some vegetable matter. While most modern fish foods adequately address this requirement by incorporating plant-based ingredients, offering supplementary blanched vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and zucchini can provide further dietary enrichment.

Exercise caution to prevent overfeeding and maintain optimal water quality. Any uneaten food should be promptly removed the following day to prevent detriments to water parameters.

Other Corydoras of interest