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Cory Cats Are a Popular Fish

Cory cats are very hardy, ship well, and provide a “cleanup” function by constantly poking around the bottom of the tank.


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Cory cats (various species of the genus Corydoras) are always a very popular fish. Everyone loves them, especially kids, with their cute little “whiskers,” and the way they are always probing around the bottom of the tank hoping to find a tender morsel. Cory cats are one group of fish where there are plenty of commercially raised fish available, and new and different specimens continue to be found in the wild. They are very hardy, ship well, and provide a “cleanup” function by constantly poking around the bottom of the tank.

To get an idea of the variety of cory cats available, I looked on the weekly availability lists for Ruinemans Aquarium (one of the largest importers of fish from South America, where cory cats are plentiful), and also on the list of a large fish wholesaler from the Far East. Between the two sources, there were 37 different varieties of cory cats for sale that week. When I wholesaled fish, I found that the best-sellers were aeneus or other “plain” cory cats, any kind of spotted cory and albino cory cats. The spotted cats usually are sold generically as “julii” or “julies,” even though it is highly improbable that they are true C. julii.

Please do not include any of the painted or dyed fish in your selection of cory cats; however well they might sell, any painted or dyed fish are, in my opinion, atrocious. The gold laser cory is a natural fish, and just as nice if not nicer than fish that have been dyed fluorescent gold, or have a bright stripe inserted on each side of the dorsal fin.

In the store tanks for selling fish, and also in the hobby aquarium, it is very important to make sure that cory cats get enough to eat. The notion that they are scavengers and can get along fine on the leftovers from the other fish is not true. Cory cats need to be fed directly, and cannot thrive on what the other fish in the tank don’t eat.

There is a wide variety of sinking, usually pelleted, foods that are ideal for cory cats. These foods should be fed to the corys in the store, and featured for sale specifically for bottom-dwelling fish.

This might be stating the obvious, but cory cats sell best if there is only one type in a selling tank. Having a tank of assorted cory cats creates a nightmare for you or any of your staff who have to catch the fish. With different varieties in a single tank, the customer will often want “that fish,” and you find yourself chasing a specific fish all around the tank—which is much easier if all of the fish are spotted corys or albinos, etc.

As with all fish, cory cats will sell better and faster the more fish that are in the tank. They will do fine in larger numbers than you would stock for other fish, and corys do well in greater numbers.

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