Albino Cory

Armored Catfish

Family: Callichthyidae Picture of an Albino CoryCorydoras paleatusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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Cories are an excellent addition to any community tank! They get along great with all community fish and are very calm, friendly, fish. I love watching them swim in... (more)  -Kenzie

Albino Cories make good hardy community fish, great for beginners and experienced aquarist alike!

The Albino Cory is a pseudo-albino variety that was developed in the trade from the darker-bodied Peppered Cory Corydorus paleatus. It is a pinkish white in color with bright red eyes. it can make sounds with its pectoral fins and uses a clicking sound during courtship and for communication.

The Corydorus are members of the Callichthyidae family of catfish. They have sharp spines in the dorsal, pectoral and adipose fins that contain a mild poison used to ward off fish that may harm them. The overall appearance has an armored look which gives them the common name "Armored Catfish." Although there are over 180 species of Corydoras, only about 50 are available to the hobby and about 10 are bred commercially.

These are hardy little fish that are quite adaptable to varying water conditions. They are active during the day, hustling around scavenging bits of food from the bottom of the aquarium, which helps to keep it clean. Yet despite being quite active, these are very peaceful fish that enjoy the company of their own kind as well as other fish.

Albino cories are well suited for a smaller aquarium because when full grown, adult males only reach 2.5 inches (7 cm) in length and the larger females just a little bit more. A minimum 10 gallon tank is suggested. To be happy they need to be in groups of at least 5 or more fish, and a school of these very active little fish will make the bottom of your tank come to life! They are great fish for the beginning fish keeper and are good for signaling deteriorating water conditions.

They are not often bred in home aquariums, but they will breed rather easily and it is very interesting to watch! The female will drop a few eggs and catch them with her ventral fins, carrying them about to deposit them here and there about the plants and decor in the aquarium.

For Information on keeping freshwater fish, see:
Freshwater Aquarium Guide: Aquarium Setup and Care

Geographic Distribution
Corydoras paleatus
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Siluriformes
  • Family: Callichthyidae
  • Genus: Corydoras
  • Species: paleatus
Albino Cory (Corydora Aeneus)

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A mid-sized Albino Cory swimming peacefully.

A nice and decent length video showing off a happy and healthy Albino Cory swimming around its tank and looking for food. The video shows off the peaceful nature of the Albino Cory and offers quite a few close up shots of each side of the fish.

Albino Cory - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Size of fish - inches: 2.8 inches (6.99 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
  • Temperature: 72.0 to 79.0° F (22.2 to 26.1° C)
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The Albino Cory is a captive bred variety of the Peppered Cory Corydorus paleatus, which was described by Jenyns in 1842. They are found in the La Plata river basin in southeast Brazil. They are not listed on the, and there are no wild populations of this color morph.

The Peppered Corydoras can be found in rivers, tributaries and standing waters. They prefer oxygen enriched waters but will swim up and gulp air from the surface if needed. These albino cories where developed by breeders for the aquarium trade. They did this by selectively breeding the Paleatus or Bronze Corydoras to a colorless variety. As a result of the selective breeding as well as in-breeding, the Albino variety is almost blind and the fry are slow to develop. Corydoras in nature feeds on worms, insects, crustaceans, and plants. They are normally seen in schools of 20 plus fish.

  • Scientific Name: Corydoras paleatus
  • Social Grouping: Groups - They are normally seen in schools of 20 or more fish.
  • IUCN Red List: NE - Not Evaluated or not listed - There are no wild populations of this color morph.


   The Albino Cory has an amored look to it giving it the common name 'Armored Catfish'.  It is a pinkish white color with bright red eyes. The dorsal, pectoral and adipose fins have sharp barbs that contain a mild poison to ward of fish that may harm them.  These fish can even produce sounds from their pectoral fins.  The clicking sounds are used during courtship and communication. The females of this species are normally larger the the males and will grow to a little more then 2 1/2 inches. Like all catfish, they also have barbels, one on each side of  the mouth that aids them in looking for food.

  • Size of fish - inches: 2.8 inches (6.99 cm) - Females are larger than males.
  • Lifespan: 5 years

Fish Keeping Difficulty

The Albino Cory is not a difficult fish to care for and can be recommended for beginner fish keepers. They require clean water that is high in oxygen and a good supply of food on the bottom of the tank. If the tank is not established make sure to add algae wafers to the tank for food.

A filtration system that maintains clean water and ensures the entire tank is highly oxygenated will work well. In this regard, surface movement of the water is desireable for replenishing the water with oxygen. These fish do a great job keeping the bottom cleaned of food and debris, making them little living vacuums.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Foods and Feeding

   Since they are omnivores, the Albino Cory will generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. To keep a good balance give them a high quality sinking pellet or flake food everyday. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet Pellet: Yes
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
  • Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
  • Meaty Food: Some of Diet
  • Feeding Frequency: Daily

Aquarium Care

Do water changes of 10% to 20% biweekly or weekly, more or less depending on how high the bio-load is in your aquarium. If oxygen levels drop these fish will swim to the top and gulp air and swim back down. If air gulping becomes a common occurance it may be time to do a water change or increase surface water movement, as excessive gulping may be an indication that the water needs more oxygenation. The Albino is more likely to be out during the day and likes higher light levels than most other coryadoras species which prefer subdued aquarium lighting.  Weekly water changes are important to keep this fish healthy.

  • Water Changes: Weekly

Aquarium Setup

These fish prefer well planted tanks with twisted roots to hide in. Caves and drift wood make great hiding spots as well. Because these fish have sensitive barbels it is preferable to use a fine or rounded gravel to keep their barbels in good condition. Larger gravel with sharp edges may actually cut the barbels down until they are completely gone. The barbels are also prone to infection from a poorly kept substrate. A regularly vacuumed undergravel filter works well for this fish to keep the substrate clean and the entire tank oxygenated.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Substrate Type: Sand/Gravel Mix - Smaller gravel is better.
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
  • Temperature: 72.0 to 79.0° F (22.2 to 26.1° C)
  • Range ph: 6.0-8.0
  • Hardness Range: 2 - 25 dGH
  • Brackish: No
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: Bottom

Social Behaviors

The Albino Cory are a peaceful community fish. They should be kept in groups of 5 or more to be healthy and happy.

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Yes
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Monitor
    • Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
    • Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Monitor
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe - not aggressive
    • Plants: Monitor

Sex: Sexual differences

   Sexing is difficult, and breeding is best accomplished by natural pairing.

Breeding / Reproduction

   The Corydorus have a very interesting breeding routine. After bumping the male on the vent, the female will receive the sperm from the male into her mouth. She then discharges a few eggs which she catches and clasps with her ventral fins. She will then swim around and deposit a bit of sperm and just a few eggs at a time in select spots, such as a strong plant, the heater tube or ever the aquarium glass. When she has run out of sperm, she will go back to the male and repeat the process until the spawn is complete. See the description of how to breed these fish in Breeding Freshwater Fish.

  • Ease of Breeding: Easy

Fish Diseases

Albino Cories are extremely hardy and disease is not usually a problem in a well maintained aquarium. There is no guarantee that you won't have to deal with health problems or disease, but cory catfish are very resiliant.

High nitrate levels can cause albino cory catfish to develop infected barbels; this makes it difficult for them to navigate and eat normally. Maintain nitrate levels below 20 ppm through regular water changes. Because they are a scaleless fish, catfish can be treated with pimafix or melafix but should not be treated with potassium permanganate or copper based medications. Malachite green or formalin can be used at one half to one fourth the recommended dosage. All medications should be used with caution.

The best way to proactively prevent disease is to give your fish the proper environment and give them a well balanced diet. The closer to their natural habitat the less stress the fish will have, making them healthier and happy. A stressed fish will is more likely to acquire disease. Anything you add to your tank can bring disease with it. Not only other fish but plants, substrate, and decorations can harbor bacteria. Take great care and make sure to properly clean or quaranteen anything that you add to an established tank so as not to add new diseases to the tank. For information about fish diseases and illnesses, see Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments.


   The Albino Cory is readily available and sells for $2-$4 USD (2012).


Author: David Brough. CFS., Jeremy Roche
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Lastest Animal Stories on Albino Cory

-Kenzie - 2004-12-23
Cories are an excellent addition to any community tank! They get along great with all community fish and are very calm, friendly, fish. I love watching them swim in all areas of the tank! They are so peaceful and relaxing! They do best in groups of at least three or else they tend to get quite lonely! Cories are also excellent bottom feeders! They clean all leftover foods that fall on the bottom of the tank with their "vaccumm shaped" mouths! Good Luck to all Cori owners! I love these fish! (but they are very difficult to breed-i have had no luck so far)

  • joseph cavanah - 2014-12-08
    just change 20% of the water as sudden temperature change has been known to start breeding.
kendall.cavanah - 2014-12-08
I love this fish. it is quite peaceful with south American bumblebee catfish and pictus catfish. and a 3 1/2-4 in. dinosaur bichir. but move dinosaur bichir once it gets to be about 6 in.

Rechi - 2014-06-02
The albino Corydora is derived Corydoras aeneus. Text is erroneously stating that the albino variety Standing derived from another species.

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-06-08
    Possibly, but in our research so far we have found they are believed to be derived from Corydoras paleatus. Two of the references cited on the bottom of this page suggest this; Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod in his book 'Aquarium Fishes of the World' shows the albino form of C. paleatus (page 430); and also author Richard Geis,  in his book 'Catfish Keeping & Breeding Them in Captivity,' also suggests in the caption of his albino photo, this color form being C. paleatus (page 54). However if you can share a resource suggesting they are C. aeneus , we would love to review it.
Peggy - 2014-01-12
I have cory albino cat fish swimming at top half of tank. Had water check several times at pet say it is good. I bought power head think might be oxygen level problem. I can' t get temp down past 80 degree. I unplug the heater. Is any one had this problem before what can I do.

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-01-16
    The higher the temperature, the less oxygen in the tank. So I would agree that is probably why the fish is swimming at the surface.