Emerald Green Cory

Iridescent Plated Catfish, Armored Catfish

Family: Callichthyidae Picture of an Emerald Green CoryBrochis splendensPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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Can i keep a Rope Fish in a 45 gallon tank with 2 cory cats,1 ocellated squeaker catfish,1 silver dollar tetra,1 peppered loach,2 green spotted puffer fish (i have... (more)  Knife Fish Lover

The Emerald Green Cory has a most intriguing coloration. Depending on the light, this fish can appear a metallic blue or an emerald green!

The Emerald Green Cory is a beautiful and interesting fish that can be added to most any community aquarium. They will spend most of their time in the lower regions of your aquarium scavenging for uneaten food. This catfish has an iridescent, emerald green body with pink highlights on the lower parts of the fish.

Species of the genus Brochis strongly resemble the Corydorus, but they are larger and have more rays in the dorsal fin. The Emerald Green Cory will generally grow to about 3 inches (8.4 cm), though it can reach up to 3.5 inches (9.0 cm). Despite its size, this catfish is very peaceful, and can be recommended for a community aquarium.

There are currently three species in the genus Brochis: Brochis britskii Nijssen & Isbrücker, 1983 (Britski's Catfish), Brochis multiradiatus Orcés-V. 1960 (Hognosed brochis), and Brochis splendens Castelnau, 1855 (Emerald catfish).
The Emerald Green or Iridescent Plated Catfish, Brochis splendens, is the most commonly available in the pet industry. All three are from South America and have virtually the same maintenance and feeding requirements.

These catfish are known for their great skill of keeping the substrate clean, however that should not be their only source of food and the substrate should still be vacuumed with each water change.

All three of these fish in the Brochis genus are semi-active, with most of their activity consisting of scouting the bottom of the aquarium for food.

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

Geographic Distribution
Brochis splendens
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Siluriformes
  • Family: Callichthyidae
  • Genus: Brochis
  • Species: splendens
Emerald Green Cory

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Emerald Green Cory, Brochis splendens are a lively fish that can be kept in a community aquarium.

Emerald Green Cory - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Size of fish - inches: 3.5 inches (8.89 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gal (114 L)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Temperature: 68.0 to 72.0° F (20.0 to 22.2° C)
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The Emerald Green Cory, Brochis splendens, is also called the Iridescent Plated Catfish. The fish was first described by Castelnau in 1855. They are found in the upper Amazon river near Iquitos, Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador inhabiting rivers, tributaries and standing waters. These fish live in shallow waters with a muddy substrate and heavy aquatic plant life. They prefer oxygen enriched waters but will swim to the surface and gulp air if needed. In their natural habitat they feed on worms, insects, small crustaceans, and plants. They are found in shoals or schools of fish.

  • Scientific Name: Brochis splendens
  • Social Grouping: Groups - In the wild, they live in shoals or schools. The more the merrier!
  • IUCN Red List: NE - Not Evaluated or not listed


The Emerald Catfish appears to turn colors from the reflections of the light and decor and can be seen as a metallic green, blue-green or a deep blue. It's pectoral, ventral, and anal fins are all yellow with the dorsal, caudal and adipose fins being brown. Females normally have pinkish undersides and males have more of a yellowish underside. This catfish normally larger and thicker body and more of a pointed snout then many of the similar Corydorus species.

The genus Brochis can be distinguished from other species in the Callichthyidae family, which includes Corydoras, by the fact that Brochis have more than 10 dorsal fin rays as opposed to 7 rays for the smaller cories. B. splendens has fewer dorsal fin rays (10 - 12) than the other two species of Brochis

  • Size of fish - inches: 3.5 inches (8.89 cm)

Fish Keeping Difficulty

The Emerald 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 sinking carnivore pellets to the tank for food.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Foods and Feeding

Since they are omnivores, the Emerald Green 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), tubifex, or blood worms as a treat.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet Pellet: Yes - This fish will happily clean up leftover food from the fish in higher parts of the tank, however if this is not in ample supply, this fish appreciates the offer of sinking carnivore pellets or tablet food.
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
  • Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
  • Meaty Food: Some of Diet
  • Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day

Aquarium Care

These fish do best with filtration systems that will help keep the water highly oxygenated. If needed these fish will swim to the top and gulp air and swim back down. The Emerald Cory is more likely to be out during the day unlike most cories that need more of a subdued tank lighting. Weekly water changes are important to keep this fish happy.

  • Water Changes: Bi-weekly

Aquarium Setup

A minimum tank size of 30 gallons with near neutral pH is recommended for the Emerald Cory.

These little fish enjoy 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 important to use a fine gravel to keep their barbels in good condition. Larger gravel will actually cut the barbels down till that are completely gone. These barbels are prone to infection from poorly kept substrate. An undergravel filter works best for this fish to keep substrate clean and the entire tank oxygenated.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gal (114 L) - Individual fish can be kept in smaller aquariums but will generally be shy and retiring if kept by themselves. Because they requires groups of conspecifics to thrive, a minimum of 30 gallons is recommended.
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
  • Temperature: 68.0 to 72.0° F (20.0 to 22.2° C)
  • Range ph: 6.8-7.2
  • Hardness Range: 8 - 10 dGH
  • Brackish: No - This catfish can be sensitive to any salt levels.
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: Bottom

Social Behaviors

The Emerald Green Cory are considered a peaceful community fish. They swim in schools and can be kept with almost every other community type fish. Because they are very sociable, they are actually happiest in colonies of 10 or more.

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Yes - This sociable fish is happiest in a group of at least six. They are not aggressive towards other fish.
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Monitor
    • Aggressive (): Monitor
    • Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
    • Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Safe
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe - not aggressive
    • Plants: Safe

Sex: Sexual differences

Sexing is difficult, and breeding is best accomplished by natural pairing. Females are usually larger and thicker then the males when mature.

Breeding / Reproduction

Although considered difficult to breed aquarium spawnings are fairly common. They are considered difficult because conditions are not usually met in home aquariums so inducing spawning can be difficult. Also, the eggs are particularly prone to fungus so anti-fungal additives will probably be needed. Breeding can be induced by lowering water level and introducing colder water to get spawning to start. Spawning pairs have been known to produce 900 to 1,100 eggs. The female will gather the fertilized eggs in her pelvic fins and scatter them individually on plants, rocks, driftwood, and other objects.

  • Ease of Breeding: Difficult - Lowering the water level and adding cold water will sometimes induce spawning.

Fish Diseases

Emerald Cories are extremely hardy and disease is not usually a problem in a well maintained aquarium. That being said there is no guarantee that you won't have to deal with health problems or disease. It is recommended to read up on the common tank diseases like ich and fin rot. Knowing the signs and catching and treating them early makes a huge difference.

High nitrate levels can cause Emerald cory catfish to develop infected barbels; this makes it difficult for them to navigate and eat normally. Maintain nitrate levels below 20 ppm.

Remember anything you add to your tank can bring disease to your tank. 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 not to upset the balance

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 Emerald Green Cory is readily available and are moderately priced.


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

Knife Fish Lover - 2014-11-17
Can i keep a Rope Fish in a 45 gallon tank with 2 cory cats,1 ocellated squeaker catfish,1 silver dollar tetra,1 peppered loach,2 green spotted puffer fish (i have very peaceful puffers that NEVER nip fins),1 BN Pleco,1 male betta,1 half banded loach/kuhli loach,1 dragon goby,and 2 tadpoles.

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-11-17
    The Ropefish suggested tank size is 50 gallons, so you are really close. So I'm guessing it would probably be okay though the tank will be pretty heavily stocked. You may need to do more water changes to keep the water quality up. It is pretty peaceful fish, as are most of your others, but I'm not sure if the loach might get aggressive with it. That could be a concern.
  • Knife Fish Lover - 2014-11-19
    The puffers have been moved to a 10 gallon brackish and the loach is never aggressive.
Briana - 2003-12-19
I have two albino corys, one Julli cory and two emerald corys. They are in a 55 gallon with one pangasius cat, a pearl flowerhorn, a pleco, a banjo cat, and a spotted green puffer. Everyone gets along very well. The corys love to school together and you can tell the albinos are a pair - they are always together. I keep my temp for all of these fish at 78 degrees and feed a very large variety of food. The corys love bloodworms and beefheart! They have grown a lot since I first got them and I add 1 tablespoon of salt per every 5 gallons of water in my tank with no problems to these fish. Everyone in this tank is extremelly healthy and I have not had problems with any of them. Good luck to everyone!

Henry - 2003-09-05
I used to keep just one cory with 3 angelfish. i thought it was a dull fish, always still and at a corner, never active except when frightened. however, after adding 5 cories -- it totally changed! it got lively, chased after them curiously, and appeared sniffing at them! He loved their company! Now they are often travelling together, and they share food like good siblings. The best thing about them -- they never get jealous over whose share of food is more! Avoid salt at all, they are extremely sensitive to it.

Iv - 2003-08-27
Very peaceful, and good cleaners of your tank! Feed them every other day, so that way they will eat the algea, and the left over food on the bottom from the other fish, dont worry they will never starve! They are good cleaners and dont get very big (only 2 inches). When you want to feed them or give them a treat, buy them food tablets that sink down, and watch the fun unfold! Very active throughout the day.