Family: Callichthyidae, Subfamily Corydoradinae
Origin and Habitat: Upper Rio Meta and Rio Negro basins, Columbia and Brazil. Found in blackwater streams and creeks in forested areas.
Compatibility/Temperament: Peaceful, typical cory species that should be kept in a group of at least five of its own species, though three or four will suffice if there are other cory species in the same tank. Perfect for a community aquarium of non-aggressive fish with similar water requirements.
Feeds on worms, small crustaceans and insect larvae in its habitat; accepts prepared foods that sink such as tablets and pellets, and frozen bloodworms and live worms for variety. A good variety is best for overall health.
Up to 2 inches.
Minimum Tank Suggestion
24 inches in length.
Water parameters for Corydoras melini
Soft to moderately hard (hardness below 10 dGH) acidic (pH up to 7.0) water, temperature 22-26C/70-79F.
This is one of three species bearing a very similar colour pattern: a buff/beige body with a black eye mask and black dorso-lateral stripe. Corydoras metae and C. davidsandsi are the other species, and the three can be individually distinguished by the black dorso-lateral stripe. On C. metae this stripe is narrow and solid along the ridge of the back and curves down onto the caudal peduncle at the base of the tail; in both C. melini and C. davidsandsi it is straighter and extends into the lower lobe of the caudal fin. On the subject species this band divides just after the dorsal fin, leaving the dorsal ridge buff coloured; on C. davidsandsi the band divides at the caudal peduncle. The accompanying photos within the respective species profiles illustrate this difference.
The aquarium should be well-planted with pieces of bogwood, a dark substrate (small gravel or sand, provided it is smooth-edged) with some open areas, and subdued lighting which can be partly achieved by floating plants; corys do not like bright lighting. As with all corys, mature females are rounder when viewed from above.
The Corydoras are quite sensitive to water parameters and quality, and highly intolerant of salt, chemicals and medications. Signs of stress usually begin with rapid respiration, then lethargy (often just "sitting" on plant leaves, wood or the substrate respirating heavily, sometimes near the surface) and sometimes rolling onto one side. At such signs, a partial water change of at least 50% with a good water conditioner should immediately be made, and appropriate steps taken to remove the cause. Any sudden fluctuation in water chemistry or temperature often induces shock, causing the fish to "faint" and fall over on its side. Corydoras introduced to new aquaria will settle in better if the tank is established; corys do not adjust well to a new aquarium with still-unstable water conditions and fluctuations.
The dorsal, pectoral and adipose fins are each preceded by a spine which is actually a hardened and modified ray; the pectoral fin spine can be "locked" into position by the fish; care must be taken when netting corys not to entangle these spines, which can also give the aquarist a nasty jab. They are believed to be a defense adaptation, to lodge the fish in the throat of a predator.
All species in the genus will periodically and fairly regularly swim quickly to the surface for a gulp of air. The fish swallows the air and blood vessels in the hind gut extract oxygen from the air; it is then expelled through the vent the next time the fish breaks the surface for another gulp of air. This adaptation is believed to have evolved so that the fish can survive in poorly-oxygenated water such as drying pools during the dry season. It is however essential to the fish's well-being that it regularly swallows air.
The name of the genus, which was erected by B.G.E. Lacepede in 1803, is derived from the Greek cory [= helmet] and doras [= skin, incorrectly used here for "armour"]; it refers to the dual row of overlapping plates (instead of scales) along the body, comparable to a suit of armour. This species was described by Lonnberg & Rendahl in 1930 and named to honour Dr. Doug Melin.
The following members have contributed to this profile: Byron
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