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Family: Callichthyidae, Subfamily Corydoradinae

Common Name: Schwartz's Cory

Origin and Habitat: Endemic to the Rio Perus system, a southern tributary of the middle Rio *****, Brazil. Found in small rivers, streams 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, preferably five or more. A group of three can be kept with other cory species.

Schwartz Cory 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.


May attain 2.8 inches.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

24 inches.

Water parameters for Schwartz Cory

Soft (hardness up to 15 dGH) acidic to slightly basic (pH to 7.5) water, temperature 22-25C/72-77F.


This is a very attractively-patterned cory that exists in several variants. And as with so many corys, it shares a very similar pattern with certain other species, in this case Corydoras surinamensis, C. ornatus, C. parallelus and C. pulcher. Originally, the very closely patterned C. surinamensis was described as a sub-species, C. schwartzi surinamensis, by Nijssen (1970) but in 1980 Nijssen & Isbrucker raised it to distinct species status; it is endemic to the Rio Coppename in Suriname. C. schwartzi has a deeper body and slightly longer dorsal and pectoral fin spines; the eye on C. surinamensis is smaller and the black blotch at the base of the dorsal fin that frequently extends well into the fin is usually absent in C. schwartzi.

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. 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.

This species was described by F. Rossel in 1963 and named in honour of Willi Schwartz, the Brazilian collector who first exported this species in 1962. 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.

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