Habitat: The wild variety is found all over South America, from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Surinam, the Island of Trinidad and Venezuela
Acceptable Water Conditions:
Hardness: 2-25° dGH
Ph: 6.0 to 8.0
Temp: 72-79° F
Maximum length: 2.5 inches
Peaceful community fish
Since they are omniverous, these fish will generally eat all kinds of live fresh and flake foods. To keep a good balance give them a high quality flake food everyday. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat. They will normally get most of their oxygen from the water like most other fish, but they are one of several types of fish that have accessory organs or methods of taking oxygen from the air at the water surface. If the water has a low oxygen level, they can take a supplementary gulp from the surface. However, they also appear to do this as a reflex action, even if the water is well oxygenated, so it's nothing to worry about unless they suddenly start doing it excessively... This is one of the reasons why it is better not to keep certain fish in very deep tanks, as this behaviour may be inhibited, because the fish may be reluctant to make a very long dash to the surface.
One general tip: if you are buying a small number of fish and it's not a single specimen, we would really recommend getting three. With only two fish, the larger one is more likely to hog all the food, while the smaller one becomes weaker.
While they aren't shoaling fish, cories do like to be kept in small groups of five or more. Mixing various species is fine, though they will of course like it better if all of their friends are the same species.
Catfish also appreciate a large number of hiding places, especially along the bottom. These fish like a soft bottom material that they can burrow into, like sand, but they will do fine with gravel. Some people worry that rough gravel may harm the barbels at their mouths; loss of barbels is mostly likely caused by poor water quality One piece of advice that we've been given for cories and other bottom-dwelling fish is to aerate strongly. Since most of their time is spent on the bottom, where waste products build up, they are more sensitive to deteriorating water quality. Aeration increases circulation from the bottom to the top of the tank, and helps prevent build up of excess nitrates in between water changes.
I have heard these little guys referred to as 'ping pong fish'. This is because sometimes they go zinging around the tank. These fish will gulp air from the surface; they can extract oxygen from the air in their intestines.
These little catfish are bottom feeders; they feed from and spend most of their time on the bottom. They are often recommended to help keep a tank clean by eating food that has fallen to the bottom that other fish may not touch. However, they will not live on waste or rotten food. Sinking pellets are sold to feed these guys and other bottom dwellers (e.g. loaches). They don't need a lot of these pellets. If you end up with tufty fungus drifting around the bottom of the tank after a few days, you're feeding too much. Change the water and cut back!
Breeding/Reproduction: males are smaller and slimmer. females grow larger and wider which can be easily observed. The female lays eggs on leaves. Adhesive eggs are scattered about the aquarium and often are attached to the glass. Using cool water for partial water changes can encourage spawning.