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Horsemans Cory Catfish

(Corydoras eques)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 2"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F, KH 1-12, pH 6.0-7.8
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: South America, Amazon River basin   • Family: Callichthyidae
• Species: Cory Catfish   • Aquarium Type: Community

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Species Information

Horsemans Cory Catfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Corydoras eques, or as it is commonly referred to as the Horsemans Cory, is found living in numerous small streams and tributaries across the northern Amazon from Peru to western Brazil. Both the scientific and common name for this species was inspired by the large saddle shaped dark greenish brown body marking found on either side of their body. The Latin word eques means (horseman, rider or knight), with the common name Horsemans Cory being the name that this species is most commonly referred to within the aquarium hobby.

Cory Cats are a communal species who live in substantially sized groups of up to 30 individuals in the wild. Within the aquarium environment it is best to keep them in groups of at least 4 to 6 individuals. This can be a mix of different Corydoras species or all of a single species. While they can be kept as a single specimen or a pair, they tend to not do nearly as well as when kept in groups and will generally have a far shorter lifespan.

As is the case with all species in the genus, Cory Cats will regularly swim quickly to the surface for a gulp of air. The fish swallows the air, which blood vessels in the hind gut extract oxygen from; it is then expelled through the vent the next time the fish breaks the surface for another gulp of air. This adaptation is believed to have evolved so that the fish can survive in poorly-oxygenated water such as stagnant pools during the dry season. It is however essential to the fish's well-being that it regularly swallows air.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Horsemans Cory Catfish in the home aquarium.

The ideal aquarium environment for the Horsemans Cory is one that closely resembles their native jungle stream habitat. Basically your typical Amazon biotope consisting of a soft sandy substrate, areas of dense vegetation, open swimming areas and submerged wood or root along with some portions of the tank having filtered lighting, would be ideal.

To achieve this setup, hobbyists will want to use a substrate of river sand or a small sized smooth gravel, utilize plenty of driftwood or tree root along with some low light ground cover plants like Java Ferns, Anubias or taller plants with larger leaves like Sword plants, which will filter the bright aquarium lights and complete the look.

While their native habitat would have dried leaves littering the substrate, which would provide cover, filter sunlight and stain the water with brown tannins. This habitat is difficult to keep within the aquarium as it requires the hobbyist to remove the decaying leaves every few weeks to prevent the water from being fouled. As unlike their native streams which have a constant flow of freshwater passing through constantly, the home aquarium is much more of a closed ecosystem, which is more susceptible to adverse changes in water quality and chemistry if decaying matter is present within the aquarium.

Alternatively, Horsemans Cory Cats also do well in standard planted aquariums and very peaceful community aquariums. Quality water conditions are essential with this species as they are sensitive to deteriorating water conditions and high nitrates. As with all Cory Cats, do not use under gravel filtration and ensure the substrate receives some water flow and no large decaying items. Cory Cats are easily affected by poor water conditions, as they live right on the substrate where there is often less water flow and more decaying material and fish waste.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Horsemans Cory Catfish and provide a healthy diet.

The Horsemans Cory is a foraging omnivore whose diet should contain a mixture of plant material and meaty foods, which combined will provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals they need for a proper diet and strong immune system. They are very easy to feed as they will readily take to a wide variety of commercial fish foods, algae and decaying plant material. Some good food choices are freeze-dried bloodworms, black worms, sinking pellets, shrimp pellets, flake food, brine shrimp and frozen and live foods designed for freshwater tropical fish.

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