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False Network Catfish

Scientific Name: Corydoras sodalis
Family: Callichthyidae, Sub-Family Corydoradinae

About the False Network Catfish

Species Type: Freshwater Fish
Category: Catfish

Care Level: Easy. Does well in a slightly more narrow range of water parameters and shouldn't be used to cycle an aquarium. Will eat most prepared foods. May have some specific care requirements in terms of particular water parameters, social behaviors, food items etc.

Origin: Upper Amazon basin in the department of Loreto in Peru and the state of Amazonas in Brazil, particularly the Rio Yavari (Peru) and Rio Solimoes (Brazil). Occurs in streams, creeks, pools and flooded forest.

Compatibility/Temperament: Very peaceful bottom fish, well suited to any community aquarium of non-aggressive fishes. Must be kept in a group, minimum three but preferably five or more. A group of three can be kept with other cory species.


This attractive species bears a striking resemblance to Corydoras reticulatus; the two can be readily distinguished by their dorsal fin, which in the subject species is barred but lacks the large black blotch evident in C. reticulatus. The reticulated pattern on this fish as on C. reticulatus can vary from fish to fish as evidenced in the accompanying photos, and in both species the underlying silvery colouration has a lovely greenish metallic sheen depending upon how the light strikes the fish. C. sodalis occurs in the upper Amazon basin, while C. reticulatus occurs in the lower Amazon basin.

Another similar species is Corydoras geryi [which may be seen in the literature under its synonym, C. bolivianus], described and named by Nijssen & Isbrucker in 1983. It occurs in the Rio Mamore basin in Bolivia, and is very rare in the hobby.

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 have subdued lighting which may be partly achieved with floating plants; most cory species do not appreciate bright lighting, and this one very much prefers the shaded cover of plants and wood. 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; Cory's 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 Cory's 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 genus name is derived from the Greek "cory" meaning helmet, and "doras" meaning 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 Nijssen & Isbrucker in 1986 and the Latin name "sodalis" means companion or comrade, a reference to its close resemblance to Corydoras reticulatus.

False Network Catfish Diet

In its habit it feeds on worms, crustaceans, insect larvae. Readily accepts prepared foods that sink such as tablet and pellet; frozen bloodworms and live worms are relished as treats.


Attains 2.4 inches.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

24 inches in length.

Ideal water parameters for False Network Catfish

Soft (hardness up to 12 dGH) acidic (pH below 7.0) water, temperature 22-26C/72-79F.

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False Network Catfish 1
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False Network Catfish 2
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False Network Catfish 3

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