An attractive yet tough little catfish to keep in your tropical tank is the ever popular Panda Cory. As the name suggests these bottom dwelling fish feature distinct white with black markings, very much like their name sakes, that are also very hardy, peaceful, entertaining and also practical in that they will help to keep the substrate clean as they vacuum up any leftover flake food or alike.
Common Name(s) : Panda Cory, Panda Catfish
Family : Callichthyidae
Subfamily : Corydoradinae
Genus : Corydoras
Species : Corydoras panda
Origin : South America
PH : 6.0 – 8.0
Hardness : Soft to Hard
Temperature : 16 – 26°C / 60.8–78.8 °F
Maximum Size : Male: 5cm (2″) / Female: 5.5cm (2.2″)
Lifespan : 5 years
Aggression Level : Peaceful (1/10)
Recommended Tank Size : 30 Litres +
Strata : Bottom
TANK SET UP
In the wild Corydoras panda inhabits clear river waters that are relatively fast-flowing, well-oxygenated, and flowing over substrates that may comprise soft sand or fine gravel. These rivers are usually well vegetated with assorted species of aquatic plants. In the aquarium you may replicate this with a strong filter and standard 3mm or 6mm gold gravel, some live plants and a few rocks or driftwood. Most of the time they are out and about playing in the bubbles or foraging for food among the grains of gravel. It has been reported that they can be more active in darker conditions – however in my experience, Corydoras are amongst the most active of all catfish available in the aquarium trade as they rarely hide, are very durable and look great in groups.
SUITABLE TANK MATES
Angelfish | Barb | Betta | African Cichlids | American Cichlids | American Dwarf Cichlids | Bristlenose Catfish | Corydorus Catfish | Tandanus Catfish | Other Catfish | Danios | Whiteclouds | Medakas | Discus | Eels | Flying Fox | Common Goldfish | Fancy Goldfish | Dwarf Gouramis | Large Gouramis | Gudgeons | Guppies | Killifish | Loaches and Botia | Mollies | Murray Cod | Oscars and other large Cichlids | Silver and Golden Perch | Plants | Platys | Rainbowfish | Rasbora | Saratoga | Sharks | Silver Dollar | Shrimp / Yabbies / Crabs | Snails | Swordtails | Tetras
Sinking Shrimp Pellets; Flake; Bloodworms; Spirulina
SEXING AND BREEDING
Sexing Panda Cory’s isn’t too difficult once you know what you are looking for. Females have a wider girth when looking directly overhead, more so than a male which will be narrower; females will also grow to a longer size.
Corys are stimulated for breeding when cooler, oxygenated waters flow into their habitat, usually corresponding (in the wild) with the onset of the wet season. However, while some Corydoras species require a temperature drop in the aquarium for spawning to be stimulated, in the case of Corydoras panda, the temperature drop appears to matter much less, as specimens have spawned in the aquarium without a temperature drop. The addition of new, clean, oxygenated water appears to be the primary stimulus for this species. In the wild, the appearance of new water courtesy of the rains is followed by an increase in the populations of assorted food organisms, and feeding upon these conditions the fishes for breeding.
Once conditioned fish are stimulated into spawning, males begin chasing females energetically. Females begin developing eggs within their reproductive tracts, and when ‘ripe’ (laden with eggs), become receptive to the attentions of the males. Eventually, one male will succeed in courting a female, using his barbels to provide stimulation to the female, usually beginning with caresses of the female’s caudal peduncle, followed by caresses of the fontanel and the front of the head. if the female is receptive, then the male positions himself before the female, so that the female’s mouth is in close proximity with one of the male’s pectoral fins. The male then clasps the female’s barbels between the pectoral fin and the body, and this stimulates the female to press against the male’s side. When seen from above, the fishes form a ‘T’ shape when conjoined thus, hence the term ‘T position’ has become conventional in aquarium circles when describing the breeding of Corydoras catfishes.
Once the male and female are in the ‘T position’, the pressing of the female against the male’s body stimulates his release of sperm. Though the exact mechanism of fertilisation has yet to be scientifically documented, from the observations of aquarists who have been successful in breeding Corydoras catfishes, it seems likely that the female takes the male’s sperm through her mouthparts, and directs them through the gills, in a current that carries the sperm to her pelvic fins. At this point, the female releases a single egg (occasionally two), and purses her pelvic fins in order to provide a receptacle for the freshly extruded egg, which is then fertilised.
One difference observed between the adoption of the ‘T position’ in Corydoras panda, when compared to other Corydoras species, is that the exercise is frequently more acrobatic in appearance, with the ‘T position’ being adopted in mid-water, some distance above the substrate, rather than resting upon the substrate as is the case with the majority of other Corydoras.
Once the female is carrying a fertilised egg within her pelvic fins, she then seeks an egg deposition site. The choice of such a site is frequently, though not always, a mass of fine leaved aquatic vegetation. In the aquarium, the plant known as Java moss, Vesicularia dubayana, is of considerable utility as an egg repository for Corydoras catfishes, even though the plant is not a South American native, and panda catfish females will choose large clumps of this plant readily as safe deposition sites for fertilised eggs. The female is frequently pursued by one or more males as she seeks the deposition site, each male presumably seeking to be the chosen mate to fertilise the next egg. Up to 25 eggs may be produced by a single female during a single spawning, which may take place over four to five hours.
OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION
In their natural habitat, Panda Corys inhabit waters adjacent to the Andes mountain range, and the replenishment of those rivers with meltwaters from Andean snows at higher altitudes. This has led the fish to be adaptable to cooler temperatures than the norm for ‘tropical’ fishes—the temperature range of the fish is 16 °C to 28 °C, though the fish exhibits a marked preference for the cooler regions of this temperature spectrum, particularly in captivity.
Indeed, the fish can, for limited periods, survive temperatures as low as 12 °C, though captive rearing at such low temperatures is not advised. The native waters of Corydoras panda are consequently mineral-deficient, with a neutral to slightly acid pH, and replication of such conditions in captivity are recommended for successful maintenance.
They are a scavenger, but they will not eat decomposing food and it is never a good idea to rely on them eating any decomposed food.
These fish love to “play” in the bubbles excreted from the filter or air stone. It is quite comical to watch them play within a group swimming up into the bubbles – only to be pushed away by the force. It is like a playground within the aquarium for them.
They have a schooling nature and look great in groups of 5 to 10.