Black Cory Catfish 101: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners!

Are you a beginner fish keeper looking to add a unique and captivating species to your aquarium? Look no further than the Black Cory Catfish! These charming little bottom-dwellers are popular for novice and experienced hobbyists, thanks to their peaceful nature and fascinating behavior.

This ultimate beginner guide will cover everything you need to know about caring for Black Cory Catfish, from their physical characteristics to their ideal tank setup and diet.

You’ll learn about their social behavior, compatibility with other fish, and common health issues to watch out for. Whether you’re a first-time fish owner or a seasoned aquarist, this guide will be your go-to resource for all things Black Cory Catfish.

By the end of this article, you’ll feel confident in providing the best care for these delightful little fish and creating a thriving environment for them in your aquarium. 

Stay tuned for expert tips and advice to ensure your Black Cory Catfish thrive in their new home! 

Understanding Black Venezuelan Cory Catfish

The Black Venezuelan Cory Catfish, also known as Corydoras aeneus, is a popular freshwater aquarium fish known for its peaceful nature and striking appearance.

These catfish are naturally found in the rivers and streams of South America, where they are known for their scavenging behavior and ability to thrive in various water conditions.

Venezuelan Cory Catfish

In the aquarium, they are best kept in groups of at least six individuals and should have plenty of hiding spaces, such as caves or driftwood. Their diet should consist of high-quality sinking pellets or flakes and occasional frozen and live foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp. 

Understanding the behavior and requirements of Black Venezuelan Cory Catfish is vital for their successful care in captivity, as they can be sensitive to water quality and require a well-maintained environment. With proper care, these catfish can live for several years and provide an entertaining and beneficial addition to a freshwater aquarium. 

NOTE: Originating from Peru rather than Venezuela, the black variant, which bears the misleading name “Venezuela,” was meticulously cultivated and selectively bred by skilled German aquarists in the 1990s. Since then, this distinct variant has gained popularity among aquarists across the globe.

ideal habitat for the Black Venezuela Corydoras

The cory catfish Black fish is a peaceful, fascinating bottom-dwelling freshwater fish native to the Orinoco River basin in Venezuela and Colombia. To thrive in your home aquarium, they require specific environmental conditions that mimic their natural habitat. Here’s a detailed look at the ideal habitat for the Black Venezuela Corydoras:

Tank Size:

  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons.
  • Larger tanks (30 gallons or more) are preferred as they provide more space for swimming and exploring.

Water Parameters:

  • Temperature: 72 – 82°F (22 – 28°C).
  • pH: 6.0 – 7.5.
  • Hardness: 2 – 12 dGH.
  • Ammonia and Nitrite: 0 ppm.
  • Nitrate: Less than 20 ppm.


  • Fine, smooth sand substrate is ideal for natural digging behavior.
  • Avoid gravel or other sharp substrates that can damage their delicate barbels.


  • Provide plenty of hideouts such as driftwood, rocks, and caves.
  • Live plants are also beneficial as they help to maintain water quality and provide additional hiding spaces.
  • Avoid sharp decorations that could harm the fish.


  • A good quality tank filter is essential to maintain water quality.
  • Choose a filter rated for larger aquariums than your actual tank size to ensure efficient filtration.


  • Moderate lighting is preferred.
  • Avoid bright overhead lighting as it can stress the fish.


  • Black Venezuelan corydoras are omnivores and require a varied diet.
  • Offer a high-quality sinking pellet or flake food as a staple diet.
  • Supplement their diet plan with live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.
  • Offer vegetables such as cucumber and blanched spinach as a source of fiber.


  • Black Venezuela Corydoras are peaceful fish and should be kept with other delicate community fish.
  • Avoid keeping them with aggressive fish or fish that may prey on them, such as dwarf cichlids.
  • Good tankmates include other Corydoras species, tetras, rasboras, and small catfish.

Additional Tips:

  • Perform regular water changes of 10-15% per week to maintain water quality.
  • Monitor water parameters regularly and adjust them as needed.
  • Provide a gentle water flow in the tank.
  • To avoid introducing diseases, quit any new pet fish before adding them to the main fish tank.

Following these pro tips and guidelines, you can create a healthy and stimulating fish tank environment for your Black Venezuela Corydoras to thrive in your aquarium. Remember, happy fish are healthy fish!

Compatible tank mates for black Corydoras

Black Corydoras are peaceful and social fish that do well in community tanks. When looking for compatible tank mates for black Corydoras, it’s essential to consider other friendly and non-aggressive fish occupying different tank levels.

Good tank mates for black Corydoras include other types of Corydoras, such as albino Corydoras or peppered Corydoras, as well as small peaceful community fish like tetras, guppies, and dwarf gouramis.

Shrimp and snails can also make good tank mates for black Corydoras as they help clean the tank. It’s best to avoid larger or more aggressive fish that may intimidate or outcompete the black Corydoras for food or space.

Choosing compatible tank mates with the same peaceful temperament and occupying different tank levels will ensure a harmonious and thriving community aquarium. 

ideal tank setup for black Corydoras

The ideal tank setup for black Corydoras should mimic their natural habitat in the Amazon River basin. A 20-gallon tank or larger would suit a small group of these peaceful bottom-dwelling catfish.

The Cory fish tank should have a soft, sandy substrate to allow the Corydoras to sift through for food and to protect their sensitive barbels. Decorate the tank with driftwood, rocks, and live plants to provide hiding places and mimic their natural environment.

These fish species prefer slightly acidic and soft water conditions, so a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 would be ideal. Provide gentle filtration and perform regular water changes to maintain good water quality.

Black Corydoras are omnivorous and eat sinking pellets, flakes, and live or frozen foods. They are peaceful fish and can be kept with other temperate species that won’t outcompete them for food or bully them.

Overall, a well-planted and decorated aquarium with soft, slightly acidic water and a peaceful fish community would be the ideal tank setup for black Corydoras. 

Black Cory Catfish Aquarium Kits

Unfortunately, few complete aquarium kits are specifically designed for Black Cory Catfish. However, purchasing the individual components separately can easily create your equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Minimum size: 15 gallons for a small school of 6 Corydoras.
  • Material: Glass or acrylic are both suitable.
  • Shape: Rectangular or long tanks are preferable, as they provide more swimming space.


  • Type: A sponge filter is a good option for Corydoras, providing gentle water flow and biological filtration.
  • Size: Choose a filter rated for a tank size larger than your actual tank to ensure good water quality.


  • Type: Fine sand or gravel is ideal. Avoid sharp rocks or substrates that could damage the Corydoras’ barbels.
  • Depth: 2-3 inches is sufficient.


  • Live plants: Corydoras appreciate live plants for hiding and grazing. Consider low-light plants like Java Moss or Anubias.
  • Driftwood: Provides hiding places and a natural look to the aquarium.
  • Rocks: Smooth, rounded stones can create caves and hiding places.


  • Intensity: Moderate lighting is sufficient. Avoid bright lights, as Corydoras prefers dim environments.
  • Type: LED lights are energy-efficient and provide a good spectrum of light.


  • Temperature: Black Corydoras prefer warm water temperatures between 72°F and 82°F (to22 °C and 28 °C).
  • Type: Choose a submersible heater with a built-in thermostat for accurate temperature control.

Additional equipment:

  • Net: For catching fish and removing debris.
  • Gravel siphon: For cleaning the substrate.
  • Water conditioner: To get rid of any chlorine and chloramines from tap water.
  • Test kits: Monitor water quality parameters like pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.


  • Number: A small school of 6-8 Corydoras is ideal.
  • Species: There are several species of Black Corydoras available, including Corydoras aeneus, Corydoras schultzei black, and Corydoras trilineatus.
  • Compatibility: Corydoras are peaceful fish and can be kept with other community fish.

common black Cory catfish health issues

Common health issues for black Cory catfish include fin rot, fungal infections, and parasitic infestations. Fin rot might be caused by poor water quality, leading to the deterioration of the catfish’s fins.

Fungal infections can also result from poor water conditions or injuries, causing white cottony growths on the fish’s body.

Additionally, parasitic infestations, such as ich and anchor worms, can afflict black Cory catfish, causing irritation and potentially leading to secondary infections.

To prevent all these health issues, it is crucial to maintain clean and well-oxygenated water in the aquarium, provide a balanced diet, and minimize stress for the catfish.

Regular water testing, proper filtration, and quarantine procedures for new fish can also help prevent disease spread. If any health issues arise, prompt treatment with appropriate medications and optimal water conditions can help black Cory catfish recover and thrive.

Where can You buy these aquarium fish?

There are several options for purchasing black Corydoras fish or invertebrates. You can find black Cory catfish for sale online and in person:


  • Fish stores: Many online fish stores offer black Corydoras fish. Popular options include Aquarium Co-Op, LiveAquaria, and Aquatic Arts. These stores offer a wide variety of species and often have competitive prices. Fish Shipping fees are calculated at checkout.
  • Online auctions: Websites like Aquabid and eBay sometimes have black Corydoras fish available for auction. This can be a good option for finding rare or unusual species.
  • Direct from breeders: Some breeders sell black Corydoras commercially to hobbyists. This can be a good option for getting healthy and well-acclimated fish to captivity. However, finding breeders who offer various species may take more work.


  • Local fish stores: Many local fish stores sell black Corydoras fish and invertebrates. This is a good option for seeing the fish before you buy them. However, the selection at local fish stores may be more limited than online stores.
  • Fish shows and conventions: Fish shows and conventions often have a wide variety of vendors selling fish and invertebrates. This can be an excellent opportunity to find rare or unusual species.
  • Breeder meetings: Some local fish clubs or organizations hold breeder meetings where hobbyists can sell and trade fish and invertebrates. This can be a good option for getting fish directly from breeders.

Venezuelan Black Corys Breeding and Tips

Breeding Venezuelan Black Corys can be a rewarding experience for aquarists. These small, peaceful fish are known for their distinctive black and dark maroon coloration and playful behavior, making them popular choices for community tanks.

When breeding Venezuelan Black Corys, providing them with a suitable tank environment that mimics their natural habitat is essential.

This includes a soft, sandy substrate, plenty of hiding spots, and clean, well-oxygenated water. To encourage breeding, try slightly increasing the water temperature and providing a varied protein-rich diet.

Spawning will often occur during the rainy season in their natural environment, so adding a small water change and adjusting the lighting in the tank may help simulate these conditions.

Once the eggs are laid, removing the parents from the breeding tank is best to prevent them from eating them. With the right conditions and patience, breeding Venezuelan Black Corys can be a fun and rewarding experience for any fish enthusiast. 

Venezuelan Black Corydoras (Corydoras schultzei) are relatively easy to breed in captivity with the proper setup and care. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

Setting up the breeding tank:

  • Tank size: A 10-20 gallon tank is sufficient for breeding a small group of Venezuelan Black Corys.
  • Water parameters: Maintain the water temperature between 68-77°F (20-25°C), pH between 6.8-8.0, and hardness between 2-15 dKH. 
  • Filtration: Good filtration is essential to maintain clean water and prevent ammonia and nitrite spikes.
  • Substrate: Use a fine sand or gravel substrate that the corys can easily sift through for food.
  • Hiding places: Provide enough hiding places for the corys, such as caves, driftwood, and plants.
  • Spawning triggers: To encourage spawning, perform a large water change (50%) with cooler water (a few degrees below the usual temperature). You can also increase aeration and add a small amount of almond leaves to the tank.

Breeding process:

  • Conditioning the fish: Before breeding, feed the corys a high-quality diet of protein and vitamins. This will help them produce healthy eggs and fry.
  • Spawning: The corys will typically spawn in the morning. The male fish will chase females around the tank and then “T-position” himself on top of her. The female fish will lay her eggs, which the male will fertilize.
  • Egg care: The female will deposit the eggs on various surfaces in the tank, such as plants, driftwood, and the aquarium walls. The eggs are small and sticky and should not be disturbed.
  • Hatching: The eggs will hatch within 3-4 days. Once the fry has hatched, they can swim freely and feed on infusoria or microworms.
  • Raising the fry: The fry should be in a separate tank with clean water and good filtration. Feed them a diet of infusoria, microworms, and baby brine shrimp. As they grow, you can gradually increase the size of their food.

Tips for success:

  • Keep the breeding tank clean and well-maintained.
  • Avoid overstocking the tank.
  • Be patient; it may take several tries before the corys spawn successfully.
  • Once the fry has hatched, remove the parents from the breeding tank to avoid them from eating the eggs or fry.
  • Feed the fry regularly and keep the water clean.

Are black Corydoras rare?

Yes, black Corydoras are rare. They are a color variant of the Gold Flash Cory Catfish and are not widely available in pet stores.

What size tank for black Corydoras?

A 20-gallon aquarium is the minimum size for a school of 6 black Corydoras. They need ample space to swim and forage for food.

What is the lifespan of a black Corydoras catfish?

Black Corydoras can live for 5-7 years with proper care, including a spacious tank, clean water, and a varied diet.

How many Corydoras should be kept together?

As schooling fish, Corydoras thrive in groups of at least 6 of the same species. This helps them feel safe and comfortable, exhibiting natural social behaviors.

How long do black Corydoras live?

Black Cory cats typically live in captivity for 5 to 7 years. Proper care, including a suitable tank environment and diet, can contribute to their longevity and well-being.

How big do black Venezuelan Corydoras get?

Black Venezuelan Corydoras reach a maximum size of around 2.5 inches (6.5 cm), making them a good choice for smaller tanks.

What happens if you only have 2 Cory catfish?

While 2 Corydoras can technically survive alone, they thrive in groups of 6 or more. They display natural social behaviors, feel safer, and are generally happier with more companions.

Can you keep 3 Corydoras?

Keeping only 3 Corydoras could be better. These social fish thrive in groups of 6 or more for optimal health and happiness. In a larger group, they display natural behaviors, feel more secure, and are less stressed. While 3 Corydoras can technically survive alone, they will not reach their full potential.


In conclusion, the black Cory cat is a captivating addition to any aquarium enthusiast’s collection. With its striking coloration and peaceful demeanor, this unique species brings beauty and tranquility to the underwater world. Whether you’re a seasoned hobbyist or a beginner looking to embark on an aquatic adventure, the black Venezuela Cory catfish is a perfect choice. Its compatibility with a wide range of tank mates and ease of care make it an ideal option for experienced and novice keepers. So, dive into the world of black cory catfish and witness the mesmerizing charm it brings to your aquatic haven.

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About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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