Maximum size : 6.5 cm

Sterbas Corydoras - Corydoras sterbai : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


The Sterba's Corydoras (Corydoras sterbai) is a fascinating, peaceful, and vibrant armoured catfish species that is beloved by hobbyists for its striking markings and playful demeanour. When it comes to tankmates, it is best to avoid larger or aggressive species and instead opt for small Cyprinids, Characins, Dwarf Cichlids, Gouramis and other peaceful catfish. Keeping these Corys in a group of six or more is recommended, as they thrive in the company of their own kind.

Sterba's Corydoras thrive most effectively within environments characterized by soft water parameters. To safeguard their intricate sensory barbel region, it is essential to ensure a substrate composed of soft sand. Thoughtful aquascaping, featuring designated planted zones and additional concealment spaces, is recommended to accommodate the natural behavioural tendencies of these active fish during their intervals of foraging beneath the substrate.

The body of the Sterba's Corydoras is primarily a rich, dark brown colour, adorned with intricate patterns of different-shaped white spots against a black background. The fins are translucent with a subtle dotted pattern, while the abdomen is a bright orangy hue. Additionally, this species features shimmering gold highlights on its body and fin edges, making it a true standout in any aquarium. These curious fish have unique physical features, including bulging eyes and a series of antennae located under their eyes, which they use for orientation purposes.

Sterbas Corydoras Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

When viewed from above, distinguishing between a male and a female Sterba's Corydoras is relatively straightforward. Males tend to be smaller and more slender, while females have a broader body shape and a more rounded belly, particularly when full of eggs, and generally are slightly larger than males.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameCorydoras sterbai
Year Described1962
Other NamesSterba' s Cory, Sterbai Cory
OriginsBrazil , Bolivia
Max Size6.5 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 1 - 15
Ideal Temperature
70 - 77
21 - 25

Natural Habitat

Sterba's Corydoras hail from the upper Rio Guapore in Brazil and can also be found in Bolivia, South America. In the wild, they can be found darting around in small tributaries, creeks, and areas of flooded forest that are filled with lush vegetation and soft, acidic water with a sandy substrate.

 Guaporé River - Bolivia
Bolivia Flag


Sterba's Corydoras are known to be relatively easy to breed in captivity. To do so, it is recommended to have a breeding tank with a bare bottom or sand/gravel substrate, an air-powered sponge filter, and some clumps of vegetation, such as java moss. It is suggested to have a higher ratio of males to females, with two males per female. 

The breeding group should be fed a varied diet of frozen, live, and dry foods. Once the female's abdomen is full of eggs, a relatively large water change with cooler water and increased flow and oxygenation should be performed daily until the fish spawn. During breeding, the male will grip the barbels of the female during the fertilization process, and the female will carry the eggs in a unique basket under her ventral fins to attach them to a smooth surface or plant leaf. 

This cycle will repeat until the female lays all her eggs. After spawning is complete, the adults should be removed to prevent them from consuming the eggs. Once the eggs hatch, which usually takes around 3-5 days, the fry becomes free-swimming after 2-3 days. They can then be fed micro-plankton or micro-worms until they are big enough to consume prepared foods.

Diet & feeding

To maintain the best possible health and vibrant colouration of Sterba's Corydoras, it is crucial to provide them with a well-rounded and balanced diet. These omnivorous fish will happily consume a variety of foods, including dried, live, and frozen fare. To ensure optimum health, high-quality flakes and sinking pellets should serve as dietary staples, alongside the occasional supplementation of live worms and frozen brine shrimp.

Other Corydoras of interest