Bronze Corydoras

Bronze Corydoras are captivating freshwater fish belonging to the Corydoras genus. With their appealing armored appearance and spirited behavior, they have captured the hearts of aquarium hobbyists. These amiable fish require low maintenance, making them a fantastic choice for community aquariums.

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Care DIfficulty


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South America

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2.5 inches (6.3 cm)

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5 years

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Table of contents

Origin, Appearance, Size, and Lifespan

The Bronze Corydoras, or Corydoras aeneus, is a well-liked freshwater fish originating from the rivers and tributaries of South America, including countries like Brazil, Venezuela, and Trinidad. These adaptable fish can survive in a variety of aquatic environments, from slow-moving rivers to shallow, swampy areas.

In their natural habitat, Bronze Corydoras are typically found in calm, shallow waters with plenty of plant life and soft sandy or muddy substrates. These plants serve not only as hiding spots but also as potential food sources, while the substrate provides an excellent surface for their barbels to forage. Being social fish, they thrive in groups of at least six, but larger groups are also common.

Their natural environment features warm, slightly acidic to neutral water. The temperature generally ranges between 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius), with a pH level of 6.0 to 8.0, and water hardness between 2 to 30 dGH. To replicate a similar environment in your aquarium, maintain a consistent water temperature, utilize a high-quality filtration system, and incorporate live plants and hiding spots.

By closely mimicking the Bronze Corydoras' natural habitat and maintaining the right water conditions, you'll be setting your fish up for a healthy and content life in your aquarium.

Bronze Corydoras are known for their charming, plated appearance, which is usually olive-green to bronze with hints of iridescence. Their bodies are adorned with a black patch on their dorsal fin and a dark horizontal stripe across their eyes. Though they are small, growing up to approximately 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) in size, their distinctive looks and lively demeanor make them an ideal choice for anyone wanting a captivating, dynamic aquatic display. These endearing fish captivate observers as they actively scavenge for food on the bottom of the tank, making them a popular favorite among hobbyists of all experience levels.

With proper care, Bronze Corydoras can enjoy a lifespan of up to five years. As social beings, they thrive in groups and are best kept in schools of a minimum of six individuals. To promote their well-being and ensure a long life in captivity, it's crucial to provide a well-planted aquarium with ample hiding spots, as well as a varied diet consisting of premium sinking pellets, flakes, and frozen foods.

Fun Facts

Now that we've learned more about the appearance and lifespan of Bronze Corydoras, in this section, we'll spotlight some intriguing facts about these charming fish that make them stand out in the aquarium hobby. From their unique appearance to their social behavior, Bronze Corydoras are full of surprises and are sure to charm any aquarist.

  • Adaptable swimmers: In the wild, Bronze Corydoras can be found in various aquatic environments, from slow-moving rivers to shallow, swampy areas. Their adaptability makes them an ideal choice for a range of aquarium setups.
  • Barbels for foraging: Bronze Corydoras are equipped with sensitive barbels around their mouths, which they use to search for food in the substrate. These whisker-like appendages help them locate and dig up bits of food from the tank bottom.
  • Armored protection: These fish have a distinct, armored appearance due to the bony plates covering their bodies. This armor not only serves as protection from predators but also adds to their unique charm in an aquarium setting.
  • Breathing air: An unusual feature of Bronze Corydoras is their ability to breathe air. They have a modified intestine that allows them to absorb oxygen directly from the atmosphere. This adaptation helps them survive in low-oxygen environments, such as stagnant ponds.
  • Social behavior: Bronze Corydoras are highly social fish, preferring to live in groups. They exhibit fascinating group dynamics, often swimming together and engaging in playful antics. Their friendly nature and entertaining behavior make them a delightful addition to community aquariums.

Now that you've uncovered some fascinating facts about Bronze Corydoras, you'll be better equipped to appreciate their charm and unique characteristics in your aquarium. In the following section, we'll provide recommendations on tank setups, ensuring your Bronze Corydoras have an ideal environment to thrive and showcase their endearing features.

Recommended Tank Setups

Each setup includes the core components—tank, filter, heater, lighting, substrate, and more—ensuring that you can create an appropriate environment for Bronze Corydoras and other compatible freshwater fish species in your aquarium. As you move from budget-friendly to high-end setups, you will also have more options for customization, aesthetics, and advanced features. Bronze Corydoras are bottom-dwelling fish and need to be kept in groups of at least six individuals to reduce stress and ensure their well-being. Typically, Bronze Corydoras are priced between $3 and $5 per fish, although prices can vary based on factors such as size, quality, and availability.

Budget-friendly setup (around $200):

  • Tank: 20-gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy‍ ($40 - $70)
  • Filter: Hang-on-back (HOB) or sponge filter rated for 20 gallons ($20 - $40)
  • Heater: 50-100 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($15 - $30)
  • Lighting: Basic LED aquarium light ($20 - $50)
  • Substrate: Inexpensive aquarium sand or small gravel ($10 - $20)
  • Decor: A few pieces of driftwood and rocks, along with low-cost live plants like Java Fern and Anubias ($20 - $40)
  • Fish: Minimum 6, maximum 10 Bronze Corydoras ($20 - $40)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Mid-range setup (around $400 - $650):‍

  • Tank: 20-30 gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($60 - $120)
  • Filter: Canister filter or high-quality HOB filter rated for the tank size ($60 - $150)
  • Heater: 100-150 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($25 - $50)
  • Lighting: LED aquarium light with adjustable settings for plant growth and color enhancement ($50 - $150)
  • Substrate: Nutrient-rich aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks ($20 - $40)
  • Decor: A mix of driftwood, rocks, and live plants such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($40 - $80)
  • Fish: Minimum 6, maximum 15 Bronze Corydoras ($30 - $60)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

High-end setup (above $800):‍

  • Tank: 30-40 gallon rimless aquarium with a glass canopy ($120 - $250)
  • Filter: High-quality canister filter rated for the tank size ($100 - $250)
  • Heater: 150-200 watt adjustable aquarium heater with an external temperature controller ($40 - $80)
  • Lighting: Advanced LED lighting system with customizable settings for plant growth, color enhancement, and day/night cycles ($150 - $300)
  • Substrate: Premium aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks, with added root tabs for extra plant nutrition ($30 - $60)
  • Decor: A combination of driftwood, rocks, and live plants to create a natural aquascape, featuring plant species such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, Cryptocoryne species, and carpeting plants like Dwarf Hairgrass or Monte Carlo ($60 - $150)
  • Fish: Minimum 6, maximum 20 Bronze Corydoras ($30 - $80)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Please note that these numbers are just recommendations, and you should consider other factors such as tank mates and individual fish behaviors when deciding how many Bronze Corydoras to keep in your aquarium. Prices may vary depending on location, brand, and availability.

Set Up Your Tank

In the previous section, we discussed the recommended tank setups for your Julii Corydoras and other fish. Now that you have a better understanding of what's required, let's dive into the step-by-step process of setting up your aquarium. These steps will guide you through selecting the ideal location for your tank, cleaning and preparing the tank, installing essential equipment, and cycling the water to create a healthy environment for your fish. We'll also cover the proper acclimation process to ensure a smooth transition for your Julii Corydoras and other fish into their new home. By following these guidelines, you'll be well on your way to creating a thriving aquatic ecosystem for your fish to flourish in.

  • Step #1: Choose the perfect spot for your aquarium, making sure it's away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and drafts. Ensure the surface is level and sturdy enough to support your filled tank. If your aquarium requires a stand, assemble it according to the manufacturer's instructions and place the empty tank on it.
  • Step #2: Next, clean the tank by rinsing it with clean water (avoid using soap or chemicals) to remove dust or debris. Wipe the inside with a clean cloth or paper towel. Rinse the substrate (sand or gravel) thoroughly in a bucket until the water runs clear, then spread it evenly across the bottom of the tank, creating a slight slope towards the back for visual depth.
  • Step #3: Before filling the tank with water, plan the layout of your aquarium, including the position of equipment like heaters and filters. This will make it easier to set up and maintain the tank in the long run. Install the heater and filter according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you're using a sponge or under-gravel filter, place it beneath the substrate before adding water.
  • Step #4: Decorate the tank with driftwood, rocks, and plants to create hiding spots and a visually appealing environment, ensuring there are open swimming areas for your fish. When decorating the tank, be careful to arrange driftwood, rocks, and plants in a way that won't damage or obstruct the equipment. You can also anchor plants to driftwood or rocks to help them stay in place.
  • Step #5: Fill the tank with water treated with a water conditioner if your tap water contains chlorine or chloramines. Place a clean plate or plastic bag on the substrate to prevent disturbance while filling. Fill the tank until it's about 2/3 full. Attach the aquarium light to the hood or canopy, following the manufacturer's instructions. Consider using a timer for your aquarium light to maintain a consistent day and night cycle, which is essential for fish and plants. Connect the heater, filter, and any additional equipment (air pump, CO2 system) to power sources, and install the thermometer in an easily visible location.
  • Step #6: Top off the water, leaving space between the water surface and the top of the tank for oxygen exchange. Turn on the filter, heater, and other equipment. Monitor the water temperature and adjust the heater as needed. Allow the tank to cycle for 4-6 weeks to establish beneficial bacteria and stabilize water parameters. During the cycling process, you can add a bacterial starter culture to speed up the establishment of beneficial bacteria in the tank. Use an aquarium test kit to monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
  • Step #7: After the tank has cycled and water parameters are stable, slowly acclimate your Julii Corydoras and other fish to the tank's conditions before introducing them. Begin by floating the unopened fish bag in the tank for 15-20 minutes to equalize the temperature. Afterward, open the bag and add a small amount of tank water to it. Continue adding small amounts of tank water to the bag every 5-10 minutes for at least 30-60 minutes, allowing the fish to adjust to the new water chemistry gradually. Use a net to gently transfer the fish from the bag to the tank, avoiding any unnecessary stress or exposure to the water from the bag.
  • Step #8: Once all the fish are introduced, establish a consistent daily feeding schedule, providing high-quality food in appropriate amounts for your fish species. Perform regular water changes (20-30% every 1-2 weeks) and monitor water parameters using a test kit to maintain a healthy environment for your fish. Observe your fish closely for any signs of stress or illness, especially during the first few weeks after introduction. Be prepared to take action if necessary, such as adjusting water parameters or seeking advice from an experienced aquarist.

By following this step-by-step guide and incorporating the additional setup tips, you can create a thriving aquatic environment that will help your Julii Corydoras and other fish flourish in their new home.

Recommended Water Parameters

Ensuring the well-being of your Bronze Corydoras requires maintaining specific water parameters in your aquarium. Here's what you should strive for:

  • Temperature: Optimal water temperature should range from 70°F to 78°F (21°C to 26°C).
  • pH: Aim to maintain a neutral pH, ideally between 6.5 and 7.5.
  • Hardness: Soft to slightly hard water is best, within a range of 2-15 dGH.
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate: Both ammonia and nitrite should be kept at 0 ppm, while nitrate levels should be kept below 20 ppm.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting conditions are preferred, considering areas of shade for the fish to rest.
  • Water movement: A gentle water flow mimics their natural riverine habitat.

Remember to conduct regular aquarium water tests and perform necessary water changes to keep the environment stable.

Routine Water Maintenance

Regular water changes are vital for maintaining a healthy Bronze Corydoras environment. This process aids in the removal of excess nutrients, waste, and toxins. Here's a suitable routine:

  • Weekly water changes: Swap out 25-30% of the tank water every week.
  • Test water parameters: Regularly verify pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and hardness levels.
  • Use a substrate vacuum: Clean the substrate during water changes to remove debris.
  • Dechlorinate the water: Always treat tap water with a water conditioner before introducing it to the tank.
  • Match temperature and pH: The new water should be similar to the tank water in temperature and pH.
  • Acclimate the fish: Allow your Bronze Corydoras time to adjust to new conditions after water changes.

In addition to regular water maintenance, consider the following actions to ensure the health of your fish and maintain the aesthetics of your aquarium:

  • Monitor lighting duration: Ensure a consistent daily photoperiod of around 8-10 hours, as excessive light can foster unwanted algae growth.
  • Plant maintenance: Regular pruning helps keep live plants healthy and attractive. Remove dead leaves or plant material to prevent any water quality issues.
  • Filter maintenance: As per the manufacturer's recommendations, clean or replace the filter media typically every 4-6 weeks. Avoid changing all filter media simultaneously to prevent disruption of beneficial bacteria and ensuing water quality problems.‍

Diet and Feeding Schedule

Bronze Corydoras are omnivores and appreciate a varied diet. Here are some feeding suggestions:

  • Flakes and pellets: Offer good quality flake or pellet food formulated for bottom feeders.
  • Frozen and live foods: Treat them with bloodworms, brine shrimp, or daphnia occasionally.
  • Vegetable matter: Incorporate blanched vegetables such as peas or spinach for additional nutrients.
  • Feeding frequency: Feed small quantities one to two times per day, ensuring no overfeeding occurs.

Stress and Diseases

Bronze Corydoras may suffer stress from various sources, such as poor water quality, aggression, or inadequate tank conditions. It's crucial to identify and rectify these stressors to ensure your fish's health:

  • Watch for stress signs: Keep an eye out for unusual behavior such as hiding, inactivity, color fading, or rapid breathing, which might indicate stress.
  • Check water quality: Regularly test your aquarium water to ensure it aligns with the ideal parameters and perform water changes as necessary.
  • Monitor tank mates: Ensure your Bronze Corydoras aren't subjected to bullying by other fish. If needed, remove any aggressive tank mates from the tank.• Create a suitable habitat: Equip your tank with ample hiding spots, appropriate lighting, and ensure it is spacious enough for your fish.

While generally robust, Bronze Corydoras can be prone to several common fish diseases, such as:

  • Ich (white spot disease): This widespread parasitic infection causes white spots on the body and fins, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Treat Ich with aquarium salt or anti-parasitic medication and increase the water temperature to around 82°F (28°C).
  • Fin rot: This bacterial infection leads to frayed or discolored fins. Treat fin rot with a partial water change, aquarium salt, and antibacterial medication containing erythromycin or tetracycline.
  • Velvet disease: This parasitic infection causes a velvet-like coating on the fish's body, appearing yellow or brown. Treat velvet disease with anti-parasitic medication containing copper sulfate or formalin.
  • Swim bladder disease: This condition impacts the fish's ability to swim upright. Address swim bladder disease by fasting the fish and offering them blanched peas, and consider using an antibacterial medication if needed.

Prevent diseases in Bronze Corydoras by maintaining top-notch water quality, not overfeeding, and providing a balanced diet. Quarantine new fish before introducing them to the main tank and promptly address any signs of illness.


Breeding Bronze Corydoras is a fairly straightforward process with the right setup and conditions. Here's a step-by-step guide to breed these fish:

  • Step #1: Set up a separate 10-gallon or larger breeding tank. Keep a neutral pH around 7.0, the water temperature about 75°F (24°C), and maintain soft water. Include hiding spots like plants and caves for the comfort of the fish.
  • Step #2: Choose healthy, mature Bronze Corydoras for breeding. You can differentiate the sexes by their body shape; females are generally larger and broader.
  • Step #3: Feed the breeding pair a high-protein diet of live or frozen foods for a couple of weeks to encourage spawning.
  • Step #4: Encourage spawning by performing a large water change with cooler water. This simulates the onset of the rainy season, which triggers breeding in the wild.
  • Step #5: After spawning, remove the adults as they might eat the eggs. The eggs will typically hatch within 3-5 days. Initially, feed the fry with infusoria or liquid fry food, then gradually introduce micro-worms and crushed flake food.
  • Step #6: Watch for the growth and development of the fry, and separate them by size if needed to prevent larger fry from preying on smaller ones.

Breeding Bronze Corydoras can be a rewarding experience, requiring patience and the right conditions for success.

Recommended Tank Mates

These are the top 10 recommended tank mates for Bronze Corydoras:

  1. Harlequin Rasboras
  2. Rummy-Nose Tetras
  3. Platies
  4. Mollies
  5. Swordtails
  6. Gouramis
  7. Ghost Shrimp
  8. Mystery Snails
  9. Zebra Danios
  10. Otocinclus Catfish

Avoid housing Bronze Corydoras with large, aggressive species such as cichlids and oscars, as these may intimidate or harm them. Monitor the behavior of new tank mates to ensure they coexist peacefully without causing stress or aggression towards the Bronze Corydoras.


In conclusion, Bronze Corydoras are an attractive and hardy freshwater fish species known for their unique behavior and ease of care. These fish require specific water conditions, a balanced diet, and a suitable environment to flourish in captivity. With the right care, they can live up to 5 years and make a fantastic addition to any community aquarium. Selecting compatible tank mates is essential to maintaining a peaceful and balanced aquarium environment. Breeding Bronze Corydoras can be a gratifying experience for dedicated aquarists, where patience and the right conditions are critical. All in all, Bronze Corydoras are a charming and active species that can bring a touch of nature's wonder to any home aquarium with their intriguing mannerisms and appealing appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Bronze Corydoras?

For Bronze Corydoras, a 20-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for a small group. A larger tank can provide a more stable environment and ample room for these active bottom dwellers.

How many Bronze Corydoras should be kept together?

Bronze Corydoras are social fish that prefer to live in groups of at least 5-6 individuals. Keeping them in larger groups can enhance their natural behaviors and provide them with a sense of security.

What water parameters do Bronze Corydoras require?

Bronze Corydoras prefer water temperatures between 70°F and 78°F (21°C to 25°C), a pH between 6.0 and 8.0, and moderately hard water with a hardness between 2 and 30 dGH.

What do Bronze Corydoras eat?

Bronze Corydoras are omnivorous and appreciate a diverse diet. Provide them with high-quality sinking pellets or flakes, supplemented with live or frozen foods like tubifex, bloodworms, and brine shrimp.

Are Bronze Corydoras compatible with other fish?

Yes, Bronze Corydoras are generally peaceful and can live harmoniously with a variety of similarly sized, non-aggressive fish species. Good tank mates include small tetras, rasboras, and peaceful gouramis.

How can I differentiate between male and female Bronze Corydoras?

Females are typically larger and have a rounder, broader body when viewed from above compared to males. Males are smaller with a more streamlined shape.

How long do Bronze Corydoras live?

With proper care and optimal tank conditions, Bronze Corydoras can live for 5 to 7 years.

How do I breed Bronze Corydoras?

Breeding Bronze Corydoras requires specific water conditions and a separate breeding tank. The fish should be well-conditioned with high-quality foods before breeding, and a cooler water change can often induce spawning.

Do Bronze Corydoras require a planted tank?

While Bronze Corydoras can do well in a variety of setups, a tank with live plants can provide added benefits. Plants offer additional hiding spots, assist in maintaining water quality, and replicate a more natural environment that closely mimics their natural habitat.

Can Bronze Corydoras change color?

Yes, Bronze Corydoras can change color in response to various factors such as stress, illness, or changes in water conditions. If your Bronze Corydoras show significant color changes, it's advisable to check the water parameters and monitor their health closely.