Enigmatic Venezuelan Corydoras: An In-Depth Guide to Care & Keeping

Species Snapshot

  • Species Name: Corydoras venezuelanus

  • Common Names: Orange Venezuelan Corydoras, Venezuelan Cory

  • Size: Up to 2.4 inches

  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years

  • Native Distribution: Rio Cabriales, Venezuela

Nothing livens up a thriving planted community tank like a shoal of Corydoras catfish. If you’re looking to add a unique species to your tank, consider the Venezuelan Corydoras (Corydoras venezuelanus). Sometimes confused with the bronze Corydoras (Corydoras aeneus), this species is distinguished by a bright orange coloration that develops as the fish matures.

Corydoras make excellent additions to a freshwater cleanup crew but they’re also delightful, active little fish. Here’s what you need to know about Venezuelan cories and how to care for them.

Anatomy and Appearance

The Venezuelan Corydoras is a type of freshwater catfish belonging to the Corydoras genus in the family Callichthyidae. Like all cories, they’re native to South America but this species is local to the Rio Cabriales in Venezuela. Because they’re almost exclusively found in closed drainage systems, Venezuelan cories are rarely exported – they are largely captive bred.

Venezuelan Corydoras.

Venezuelan cories are similar in appearance to the bronze Corydoras which has a pinkish body, white belly, and blue-grey coloration over the head and back. Unlike the bronze cory which exhibits darker coloration along the length of its body, the Venezuelan cory’s dark color is limited to a large oval spot on the shoulder.

This species is also sometimes called the orange Venezuelan Corydoras because the fish develops reddish-brown color as it matures. They have a noticeable spot on the nape and the same reddish-brown color develops on the back half of the body and the dorsal fin.

Ideal Aquarium Setup

The ideal tank for Venezuelan cories mimics their native tropical river habitat. They are most likely to thrive in densely planted tanks with sand or smooth gravel substrate and plenty of driftwood and rockwork. Moderate water movement is ideal to ensure proper oxygenation of the water.

Tank Size

Venezuelan cories grow up to 2.4 inches, so they’re not a particularly large fish. They are, however, a shoaling species that does best in groups of at least 6, so they require at least a 20-gallon tank. Larger tanks are preferred, however, especially if you plan to keep other species of fish. Because they are a bottom-dwelling species, long tanks are preferred to tall tanks.

Water Parameters

This species thrives in crystal-clear water. In their native habitat, they tend to seek out cooler temperatures, so it’s best to maintain the tank between 66°F and 77°F. Venezuelan cories are adaptable to warmer temperatures and may be more likely to breed in these conditions.

Venezuelan cories prefer softer neutral to slightly alkaline pH ranging from 6.8 to 8.0. The ideal water hardness for this species is 2 to 15 dKH. Again, however, the species is fairly adaptable because most specimens are tank-bred. The key is to maintain stable water parameters.

Adequate filtration is essential for a Venezuelan cory tank. Biological filtration will help keep ammonia and nitrate levels in check while circulation helps oxygenate the tank water. Strong flow is not necessarily required, however, because Corydoras are able to breathe air from the water’s surface as needed.

Tank Décor

The best tank setup for Venezuelan Corydoras is a densely planted tank with plenty of driftwood and rock décor. These fish prefer clear water, however, so be sure to soak any driftwood before adding it to your tank to remove as many tannins as possible. The more driftwood and rockwork in the tank, the more surface area for algae and biofilm to accumulate – these provide natural food sources for the fish.

Diet and Feeding

Like other Corydoras, the Venezuelan cory is an omnivorous forager. While these fish will consume food leftover by other species, they should be offered a staple diet of sinking pellets and algae wafers. Their diet should be supplemented with protein-rich foods as well, like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. They may also enjoy blanched vegetables.

Temperament and Tank Mates

As is characteristic of other Corydoras, Venezuelan cories are very peaceful by nature. They make excellent additions to the tropical community tank, as long as their needs for water conditions are met. Suitable options include dwarf cichlids, angelfish, danios, and rasboras.

Venezuelan cories are unlikely to bother other bottom feeders, though it’s generally best to avoid species that might out-compete them for food. Freshwater snails make good tankmates for Corydoras, as do larger freshwater shrimp like Amano shrimp. Dwarf shrimp, however, may be small enough for mature Venezuelan cories to prey upon.

Breeding Venezuelan Corydoras

If you plan to breed your Venezuelan cories, it’s best to keep them in a species-only tank. Prepare the tank according to the species’ ideal parameters and condition the fish with nutrient-rich foods. It’s best to introduce two males for every female and provide plenty of plants and other surfaces on which the females can deposit their eggs.

When the female cories become gravid with eggs, you can encourage spawning by performing a large water change with cooler water. Increasing oxygenation may help as well. Repeat the process daily until spawning occurs. After the eggs have been deposited, it’s best to remove the adult fish so they don’t eat them. You can also remove the eggs, but the raising tank needs to offer similar conditions to the breeding tank.

Other Interesting Facts

  • Venezuelan Corydoras are very active fish. While they are primarily bottom-dwelling fish by nature, they will swim all over the tank and even breathe air from the water’s surface.

  • Feeding your Venezuelan cories a varied diet will help them develop their bright orange coloration as they mature.

  • Female Venezuelan cories tend to be slightly larger than males with a rounder, broader body structure – especially when they are gravid with eggs.

  • The Venezuelan Corydoras is sometimes sold under the scientific name Corydoras aeneus venezuelanus. Though Corydoras venezuelanus is sometimes considered a junior synonym, it is different from the bronze Corydoras (Corydoras aeneus). If you wish to add these lovely fish to your freshwater tank, visit Shrimpy Business today!

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