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Sterba's Cory Catfish

(Corydoras sterbai)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 3"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 70-79° F, KH 2-15, pH 6.0-7.8
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Brazil, Amazon, South America   • Family: Callichthyidae
• Species: Cory Catfish   • Aquarium Type: Community

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Species Information

Sterba's Cory Catfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Sterba's Cory Cats live in the streams and tributaries of Brazil and northern portions of South America, where they can be found living along river banks and river beds. They spend the vast majority of their time dwelling about the river bottom looking for both meaty of plant foods that have made their way to the river bottom. The Sterba's Cory has a light silver/blue body with a darker spotted pattern that runs over the whole body.

The Sterba's Cory coloration and pattern help it blend into the substrate, which helps the cory cat avoid larger predators. Sterba's Cory Cats live in large social groups in the wild and prefer to live in groups within the aquarium environment as well. It is recommended to keep at least a small group of 4 or more cory cats in the aquarium to satisfy their social requirements. Overall a very peaceful species that will be right at home in a peaceful community aquarium with other smaller peaceful fish species.

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 Sterba's Cory Catfish in the home aquarium.

Sterba's Cory Cats native habitat contains lots of tree root, a sandy substrate with a cover of fallen leaves. The jungle canopy that presides over their natural habitat creates many areas of diffused lighting and cooler mid 70s water temperatures. It is important to provide plenty areas within the aquarium that are shaded from the bright aquarium lights. They will absolutely appreciate the presence of driftwood, rocky caves and some vegetation, which will provide them a tank that resembles their native habitat.

Some important aquarium design elements when keeping Sterba's Corys is a sand or fine grain gravel substrate, plenty of internal water flow, areas of plants and wood root along with open swimming areas and locations in the aquarium where the fish can escape the bright aquarium lights.

Like all cory cat species, Sterba's Cory will do much better when kept in social groups of at least 4 individuals of their own species or mixed with other cory cat species. While the Sterba's Cory Cat will gladly scavenge the aquarium substrate for leftover foodstuffs and decaying plant material, they should also be provided sinking foods designed for bottom dwelling fish species. While conditions that closely resemble their native habitat is also desirable, Sterba's Cory Cats are tolerant of a fairly wide range of aquarium conditions.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Sterba's Cory Catfish and provide a healthy diet.

Sterba's Cory feed by scavenging the aquarium substrate for both meaty and vegetable based foods. They will receive a portion of their diet scavenging foods fed to other fish in the aquarium, but that end up on the bottom of the aquarium. However, in most aquariums scavenging should not make up 100% of their diet. They should be fed sinking pellet foods designed for omnivores. Hobbyists can also feed Cory Cats flake and freeze-dried foods as long as they make it to the aquarium substrate.

Sterba's Corys will also enjoy live or frozen blood worms, brine shrimp or other similar food items as either a treat or supplement to their diet. In larger aquariums that are heavily fed for a large fish populations, Cory Cats can be target fed just once a day as they will make up the remainder of their diet via scavenging. In smaller aquariums with lighter fish loads and feedings, it is best to feed sinking foods twice per day. Monitor the overall girth and health of all bottom feeders and adjust feedings accordingly.

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