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Leopard Cory

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

About the Leopard Cory

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: Wide-ranging in rivers and streams of the western Amazon basin in Brazil, Peru and Ecuador. Originally believed to be restricted to coastal streams in Brazil, Nijssen & Isbrucker subsequently recorded it from Peru and Ecuador.

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.

Description

This is one of four very similarly-patterned corys that are frequently confused and will often be seen in stores under incorrect names. Corydoras julii, C. leopardus, C. punctatus and C. trilineatus all share a large black blotch in the dorsal fin, a barred caudal fin, and a horizontal stripe along the body at the juncture of the dorsal and ventral lateral plates; the body is spotted. However, all these species are highly variable in their pattern. The subject species is not all that common in the hobby, and can be distinguished by its longer snout profile.

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; like most other cory species, this one does not appreciate bright lighting. This species likes to spend time under cover or among plants. 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 Dr. George Meyers in 1933 and the name refers to the spotted pattern of the leopard cat. The name C. funnelli was assigned to this species by Fraser-Brunner in 1947 but is invalid.

Leopard Cory Diet

In its habit, 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.

Size

Attains 3 inches.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

36 inches in length

Ideal water parameters for Leopard Cory

Soft (hardness up to 12 dGH) acidic to very slightly basic (pH to 7.2) water, temperature 20-26C/68-79F but not warmer.

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