Albino Cories make good hardy community fish, great for beginners and experienced aquarists alike!
The Albino Paleatus 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 is very similar in appearance to the Albino Aeneus Cory, which was developed from the Bronze Corydoras Corydoras aeneus, however, this variety tends to have a more orangish body.
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.
Albino Cories are great fish for the beginning fish keeper. They 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. They can make sounds with their pectoral fins and use a clicking sound during courtship and for communication.
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. Despite being quite active, these are very peaceful fish that enjoy the company of their own kind as well as other fish. 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 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
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.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Siluriformes
- Family: Callichthyidae
- Genus: Corydoras
- Species: paleatus
- Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
- 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 79.0Â° F (22.2 to 26.1° C)
- My Aquarium – Enter your aquarium to see if this fish is compatible!
Habitat: Distribution / Background
The Albino Cory is a captive bred variety of the Peppered CoryCorydorus paleatus, which was described by Jenyns in 1842. The Peppered Cory are found in the La Plata river basin in southeast Brazil. They are not listed on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species and there are no wild populations of this albino color morph.
Albino cory varieties were developed by breeders for the aquarium trade. This was done by selectively breeding Corydorus paleatus or the Bronze Corydoras Corydoras aeneus to a colorless variety. As a result of the selective breeding, as well as in-breeding, albino varieties are almost blind and their fry are slow to develop.
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. 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 – Peppered Cories 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 is a pinkish white color with bright red eyes. Its body is armored rather than scaled, giving it the common name ‘Armored Catfish’. It has two rows of overlapping bony plates that run down each side and there are large plates covering the head. Its very name Corydoras is derived from the Greek words “kory” which means “helmet,” and “doras” which means “skin.” They have a lifespan of 5 years or more, up to about 8 years with proper care.
Like all catfish, they have barbels, one on each side of the mouth that aids them in looking for food. There are sharp barbs on the dorsal, pectoral, and adipose fins that contain a mild poison used to ward off fish that may harm them; and the dorsal and pectoral fins also have strong, rigid spines. These fish can produce sounds from their pectoral fins by rubbing the spines into the grooves of their shoulder plates. Clicking sounds are used during courtship, for communication, and as distress warnings.
The females of this species are normally larger than the males, growing to just under 3 inches (7.5 cm) in length, though the dorsal fin and pectoral fins are longer on the male. This albino form is also a bit larger than the naturally occurring Peppered Cory Corydorus paleatus, which only reaches 2.3 inches (5.9 cm).
- Size of fish – inches: 2.8 inches (6.99 cm) – Females are larger than males.
- Lifespan: 5 years – They can live for 5 years or more, up to 8 years with optimal conditions.
Fish Keeping Difficulty
The Albino Cories are not difficult fish to care for and can be recommended for beginning 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 yet established, make sure to add algae wafers to the tank for food.
A filtration system is needed that maintains clean water and ensures the entire tank is highly oxygenated. In this regard, surface movement of the water is desirable 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.
Be careful when netting them because when they feel threatened they extend their sharp spined fins outward and lock them in a rigid position. Although the spines are small, just like this catfish, they are quite sharp and can pierce your skin.
- 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. Also offer occasional algae wafers. Feed frozen and live food, such as brine shrimp, blood worms, or daphnia as a treat.
- Diet Type: Omnivore
- Flake Food: Yes
- Tablet / Pellet: Yes – High quality sinking pellets and algae wagers can be offered.
- Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
- Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
- Meaty Food: Some of Diet
- Feeding Frequency: Daily – Feed as much as they will eat in about 5 minutes. They can be fed twice a day, offering as much as they will consume in about 3 minutes each.
Regular water changes with siphoning of the gravel is crucial to remove their waste and keep the Albino Cory tank clean. Their barbels are prone to infection from a poorly kept substrate. Change 10% to 25% of the water weekly or biweekly, depending on how high the bio-load is in your aquarium; and 80% once a month to keep up with the bio-load and for optimal health.
If oxygen levels drop these fish will swim to the top and gulp air and then swim back down. Excessive gulping may be an indication that the water needs more oxygenation. If air gulping becomes a common occurrence it may be time to do a water change or increase surface water movement. An undergravel filter that is regularly vacuumed works well for this fish to keep the substrate clean and the entire tank oxygenated.
- Water Changes: Weekly – Weekly water changes of 25% weekly and 80% once a month are recommended to keep the tank from becoming heavily fouled.
A minimum tank size of 10 gallons is suggested for these small, active fish, though 15 to 20 gallons would be much better to keep a school. They are more likely to be out during the day and like higher light levels than most other Corydorus species. Still these fish like a well planted tank with twisted roots to hide in. Caves and drift wood also make great hiding spots.
Because these fish have sensitive barbels it is preferable to use sand or fine 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. An undergravel filter that is regularly vacuumed works well for this fish to keep the substrate clean and the entire tank oxygenated.
- Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L) – 15 to 20 gallons is better to keep a school.
- Suitable for Nano Tank: Yes
- Substrate Type: Sand/Gravel Mix – Sand or fine gravel is best to protect their barbels from damage.
- Lighting Needs: Moderate – normal lighting – They like higher light levels than most other corydoras species.
- Temperature: 72.0 to 79.0Â° F (22.2 to 26.1° C)
- Breeding Temperature: – 71.6Â° – 78.8Â° (22Â° – 26 Â° C.) is needed for spawning.
- Range ph: 6.0-8.0
- Hardness Range: 2 – 25 dGH
- Brackish: No
- Water Movement: Moderate
- Water Region: Bottom – They will mostly swim at the bottom of the aquarium.
Albino Cories are peaceful community fish. They enjoy the company of other small, peaceful fish as well as a school of their own kind. Community fish such as live bearers, danios, and tetras make good tank mates. They will not fare well with aggressive fish. They should be kept in groups of at least 3 individuals, with 6 or more being ideal to keep them healthy and happy.
- Venomous: No
- Temperament: Peaceful
- Compatible with:
- Same species – conspecifics: Yes – Keep in groups of at least 3, with 6 or more being desirable.
- Peaceful fish (): Safe
- Semi-Aggressive (): Monitor
- Aggressive (): Threat
- Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
- Safe – Corydoras feed at the bottom of the aquarium, so are not in competition with other feeders.
- Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe – not aggressive – The natural diet of Corydoras paleatus is worms, crustaceans, and insects.
- Plants: Safe – May eat some plants, but algae rather than plants is more palatable to them.
Sex: Sexual differences
The female is slightly larger and plumper than the male, and the dorsal fin and pectoral fins are slightly longer on the male than on the female. But sexing is difficult and breeding is best accomplished through natural pairing.
Breeding / Reproduction
The Corydorus have a very interesting breeding routine. The female will clean a spot on the aquarium glass, or perhaps an object in the aquarium to lay her eggs on. The males initiate courting, which entails chasing the females around the aquarium. The female will swim away, and the males search for her until she is found. The males seem to Â€Âœ”shiver”Â€Â on the female, and may in fact, lie on top of her. When she is ready to spawn, she turns to the male next to her, and adamantly pounds his ventral fin, causing the male to release sperm.
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. Normally, this number is around 4 at a time. 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, the female may then rest for a brief period of time and then resume, as the males are quite adamant about breeding. She will go back to the male and repeat the process until the spawn is complete. Spawning lasts more than an hour and a great deal of eggs are laid.
A female can lay anywhere between 250 and 400 eggs. The eggs should hatch in 4-6 days after spawning. Do note that these fish will eat their own fry, so they will need to be separated from the parents. The fry should initially be fed protozoan organisms in the aquarium. As they grow, they will be able to accept foods such as baby brine shrimp. See the description of how to breed these fish in Breeding Freshwater Fish: Catfish.
- Ease of Breeding: Easy
Albino Cories are very 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 resilient.
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 quarantine 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 Paleatus Cory is generally available and moderately priced.
- Animal-World References: Freshwater Fish and Plants
- Corydoras paleatus (Jenyns, 1842) Peppered corydoras, Fishbase
- Corydoras paleatus, Wikipedia
- Lee Finley, Catfishes: The Complete Guide to the Successful Care and Breeding of More Than 100 Catfish Species, T.F.H Publications, Inc. 2003
- Dr. Rudiger Riehl and Hans A. Baensch, Aquarium Atlas Vol. 2, Publisher Hans A. Baensch, 1993
- Joseph S. Nelson, Fishes of the World, Wiley, 2006
- Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod, Aquarium Fishes of the World, TFH Publications, 1998
- Richard Geis, Catfish Keeping & Breeding Them in Captivity, T.F.H Publications, Inc. 1996
- Warren E. Burgess, Colored Atlas of Miniature Catfish: Every Species of Corydoras, Brochis & Aspidoras, T.F.H Publications, Inc. 1992
Featured Image Credit: Marcelo Saavedra, Shutterstock