Corydoras sterbai

Corydoras sterbai is a peaceful schooling fish that is very suitable for the community aquarium. They are often kept in combination with Discus fish.


Corydoras sterbai

Corydoras starbai can reach a total length of about 7.5 to 8 centimeters. This fish is anthracite gray with rows of silvery speckles all over its body. The pelvic and pectoral fins are bright orange which is very striking, and they have two pairs of beard threads. The females are more solidly built, the males have a more pointed dorsal fin.


Rio Guaporé, this river forms part of the border between Bolivia and Brazil. Corydoras sterbai inhabits the small tributaries, creeks, lakes and floodplains.

Because these Corydoras are very popular and they are willing to pay a fair amount, wild caught fish are rarely sent to Europe. The vast majority of fish offered here, are captive bred.

The Aquarium

Corydoras sterbai requires an aquarium with a length of at least 80 centimeters. Decorate the aquarium with some plants, driftwood and a fine sandy substrate in which they can dig without damaging their beard threads. They do need a lot of free swimming space. They appreciate some mild current.

Sometimes Corydoras sterbai wants to seek some hiding, so shelters in the form of broad-leaved plants, wood, stones or burrows are regularly visited.

Make sure that the water surface remains open, because they sometimes start breathing on the surface (intestinal breathing, they swallow the air and then squeeze it through the intestines).


Temperature: 23-28 graden.
pH: 6,5-7,5
GH: 5-12

In nature, fish have to deal with fluctuating temperatures. Keeping fish at the minimum or maximum temperature for a long time is not always desirable and can shorten the average life span.


Corydoras sterbai are omnivores, small live food such as mosquito larvae, tubifex and cyclops, also algae and green food, tablets, supplement with dry food. Although they are good cleaners in the aquarium, you should still provide enough variety in their food.


Corydoras sterbai is a peaceful and pleasant schooling fish that you can keep together in a group of 7 or more, they are also very suitable for a community aquarium. Do not hold together with cichlids. They are sifting through the substrate looking for food.

Breeding Corydoras sterbai

If you want to breed with Corydoras sterbai, you will need a group of adults with more males than females (4/3). Filtering over peat promotes egg deposition. They deposit about 50 eggs against the glass, leaves or stones. The eggs can be transferred to a breeding tank. Raising the fry with newly hatched brine shrimp, later with other live or frozen foods and crushed flakes or tablets.

Transporting Corydoras

Many Corydoras species have a poisonous defence mechanism to prevent being eaten by larger fish. In case of danger they can spread the spines in their dorsal and pectoral fins and lock them in place. This way the Corydoras gets stuck in the mouth or throat of the predator, a clear signal for other predators to leave them alone. When netting Corydoras you will see them get stuck in your net with their fins. Take care when you are getting them out, if the spine punctures your skin the tip can break off and remain in your skinn. The wounds can be painfull and often can become infected.

Besides the pointy spines some Corydoras species can release a toxin to the water when they are stressed or in danger. Transporting them in small amounts of water or too many Corydoras in a small space can lead to rapid death of fish. Just put a couple of Corydoras in a plastic bag but don’t add other species and make sure you give them some room. Not much research has been done to this toxin so its unclear whether the toxin is released from their spines or where their venom glands are located.




Copyright images

John de Lange

Additional information





Social Behaviour

Breeding behaviour


Minimum aquarium length in cm





Length maximum in cm

Temperature minimum

Temperature maximum

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pH maximum

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