Native to parts of the upper Amazon in Peru. You’ll find it difficult to get hold of wild specimens these days, though. Virtually all of the fish entering the trade are produced commercially on farms. Most of the ones on sale in the UK originate from Eastern Europe or the Far East. These captive-bred fish are generally more hardy and adaptable than their wild counterparts, having been raised in conditions far removed from their natural habitat.
Inhabits both clear and blcakwater streams and tributaries, often flowing over sandy substrates. Many of these are fed with meltwater run-off from the snow-capped Andean mountains at certain points in the year. At these times the flow rate increases and the water temperature can be quite low (to around 66°F (19°C).
Maximum Standard Length
2″ (5cm), although usually a little smaller.
A tank measuring 18″ x 12″ x 12″ (45cm x 30cm x 30cm) – 42.5 litres is adequate for a small group of these.
C. panda will thrive in a tank set up to replicate an Amazon biotope. This would be very simple to arrange. Use a substrate of river sand and add a few driftwood branches (if you can’t find driftwood of the desired shape, common beech is safe to use if thoroughly dried and stripped of bark) and twisted roots. A few handfuls of dried leaves (again beech can be used, or oak leaves are also suitable) would complete the natural feel. Aquatic plants are not a feature of this species‘ natural waters. Allow the wood and leaves to stain the water the colour of weak tea, removing old leaves and replacing them every few weeks so they don’t rot and foul the water. A small net bag filled with aquarium-safe peat can be added to the filter to aid in the simulation of black water conditions. Use fairly dim lighting.
Alternatively, it also does well in a more standard, preferably well-planted tank. A good maintenance regime is essential with this species as it’s sensitive to deteriorating water conditions. As with all corys, don’t use undergravel filtration and ensure the substrate is kept scrupulously clean. These cats are sensitive to poorly-maintained or dirty substrates and can lose their barbels if kept in poor conditions.
Temperature: Wild fish prefer lower temperatures but tank-bred specimens are happy over the range 72 to 77°F (22 to 25°C). It won’t do well if kept in warmer water than this long-term, with the likelihood its lifespan will be reduced considerably.
pH: 6.0 to 7.4
Hardness: 1 to 12°H
Omnivorous and easy to feed. Use a good quality sinking pellet or tablet as the staple diet. Supplement this with live and frozen foods such as Daphnia, Artemia, bloodworm and similar.
Behaviour and Compatibility
Very peaceful and suitable for many community tanks. Don’t keep it with anything very large or aggressive. Good tankmates include small characins, cyprinids, anabantoids, dwarf cichlids and other peaceful catfish. Always try to maintain Corydoras in groups as they’re far more confident and active in the presence of conspecifics. A group of at least six is best.
Best sexed from above female will have more rounded belly and is likely to be slightly larger.