Sterbai Cory (Corydora Sterbai): Ultimate Care Guide

Common NameSterbai Cory, Sterba’s Cory
Scientific NameCorydora Sterbai
OriginBolivia and Brazil
Temperature73°F to 82°F
Adult Size2.5 inches

Sterbai Cory Facts

  1. There are many different species of Corydora Catfish, and they are a very popular choice for home aquariums. There are over 200 species of Corydoras.
  2. Sterbai Cory have sharp spines, and produce a mild venom that will produce a stinging sensation if they penetrate the skin. These spines can easily be caught up in aquarium nets, and you should exercise caution when handling them.
Sterbai Cory
Sterbai Cory (Corydora Sterbai)

Are Sterbai Cory Venomous?

Sterbai Corys have a venom gland on their barbs as a defense mechanism against predators. It is mostly harmless to humans, but it has been known to irritate the skin. This is not their only defense mechanism against predators. The Sterbai Cory also has sharp fin spines that will produce a stinging sensation if they penetrate the skin. If you have to handle Sterbai Corys, then you should exercise caution.

Sterbai Cory Care

Sterbai Corys are a popular fish, and they are often chosen for home aquariums due to their striking markings. They have a black colored body with white spots dotting them all over. They have sharp pointed fins, and flat bellies. Sterbai Cory have barbels on their mouths. These barbels are like their taste buds, and they use them to feel along the bottom for food. In appearance, barbels look like little whiskers that protrude from the bottom sides of their mouths. These barbels are important as they help the fish find food in murky water.

It is almost impossible to tell the difference between the males and the females until they reach maturity. A grouping of Sterbai Cory when viewed from above will show that the females appear to be more rounded than the males are.

Sterbai Cory Food & Diet

Sterbai Cory are omnivorous, and they do best with a varied diet. You will notice Sterbai Cory spend most of their time scavenging along the bottom of the tank, and scooping up the bits of food that their tank mates leave behind. Even though they are efficient at cleaning up what is left behind, Sterbai Cory will still need their diet supplemented. They should only be fed high protein foods about once a week.

Sterbai Corys are more active in the evening, so it is best to feed them during this time. It is possible to overfeed these fish, so you will want to feed them only enough food that they can completely consume all of it in 2 to 3 minutes.

It is important to observe these fish during feeding time, especially if they are being housed in a community tank. Sterbai Corys feed on the bottom of the tank, so you will want to make sure that the other fish aren’t consuming all of their food before it hits the substrate.

Sterbai Cory Size & Lifespan

Sterbai Cory will reach 2.5 inches in length at full maturity. There have even been some cases of them growing as long as 4 inches, but that is rare. This small size is what makes them a popular choice for those who have limited space for an aquarium.

When properly cared for, the Sterbai Cory can live 15 to 20 years.The key to their longevity is keeping them in a clean, stress free environment. 

Sterbai Cory Tank Size & Requirements

Sterbai Corys should be kept in a group of at least 4 to 6. They should be housed in a tank that is at least 20 gallons. The more Sterbai Corys you plan on keeping together, the larger the tank will have to be to accommodate their scavenging behavior.

Sterbai Cory Tank Setup

Setting up a tank for Sterbai Cory, you will want to consider the substrate carefully. Sterbai Cory are scavenging fish that spend most of their time along the bottom of the tank looking for food. They use their barbels, which are taste bud-like organs that the fish use to find food. Rough edges of the tank or rough substrate could potentially damage these sensitive organs. You will want to choose a fine sandy substrate for their tank. It is important to use decor to give the Sterbai Cory places to hide. Driftwood, plants, and rocks to create shaded spots for them. Floating plants would be good for them as well, since they aren’t taking up the space at the bottom of their tank.

Sterbai Cory spend their time at the bottom of the tank, so it is a must to make sure that they have enough space to roam the bottom of the tank.

How Many Sterbai Cory Can You Keep in a 10 Gallon Tank?

Some keepers of Sterbai Cory suggest that you can keep them in a 10 gallon tank, but it is not an ideal setup for them. Sterbai Cory need to be kept in a grouping of 4 to 6, and this would require them to be housed in at least a 20 gallon aquarium. If you are wanting to keep them in a community tank, you will want to provide them with a minimum of a 50 gallon tank.

Sterbai Cory Tank Mates

The most compatible tank mates for the Sterbai Cory are other Sterbai Corys. These fish do best when they are in a group of at least 4 to 6.

Sterbai Corys can be kept with the more aggressive Betta fish, since these fish will not get in their way, or challenge them for food or space.

It is possible to keep almost any species of fish along with your Sterbai Corys as long as they share the same water parameters. You will want to avoid keeping them with any other larger, bottom dwelling fish such as Oscars and some Cichlids. Non-compatible fish could harass and stress out your Sterbai Corys, and potentially make them ill or kill them. 

Sterbai Cory and Shrimp

Sterbai Corys make great tank mates for Shrimp. Even though Sterbai Corys may eat some of the Shrimp juveniles. It will not be a significant enough amount, and you will still notice your Shrimp population increasing.

Sterbai Cory Breeding

If you are planning on breeding Sterbai Cory, you will want to provide them with a separate breeding tank. It is not difficult to get them to breed, as they will readily do so in captivity. You will want to place the bonded pair in the breeding tank. A key to getting these fish to spawn is making sure that the water parameters are right, and you perform regular water changes. Making partial water changes to cool the temperature in the breeding tank to lower the temperature will likely trigger these fish to spawn.

When the female is ready to spawn, she will place her eggs in between her fins, and the male will wrap around her and the eggs to fertilize them. It is often referred to as a T shape. Once the eggs are fertilized, the female will then place the semi-adhesive eggs onto plants, decor, or even the sides of the tank. The female and male will repeat this process a few times.

After the eggs have been fertilized and placed, the parent fish will need to be removed from the breeding tank to help the survival of the fry. Once the fry are free swimming, they do not require any help from the parents to survive.

How Long Does it Take for Sterbai Cory Eggs to Hatch?

Sterbai Cory eggs take around 5 days to hatch, and roughly 96 hours to become free swimming after that.

Sterbai Cory Growth Rate

Sterbai Corys grow at a fairly fast rate in the first 3 to 4 months of their lives. You can expect these fish to reach their sexual maturity at around 6 to 9 months old, but they should not be bred until they are around 2 inches in length.

Sterbai Cory Disease

Sterbai Cory are considered hardy fish, but they are still susceptible to many of the same ailments that all freshwater fish are. These fish often suffer from damaged barbels, bacterial infections, and fungal infections. The key to keeping these fish healthy is providing them with the appropriate setup, a clean home, and a stress free environment. Added stress to these fish will lower their immune system, and make them susceptible to sickness.

Where Can I Find Sterbai Cory for Sale?

You can purchase Sterbai Cory at local pet stores, or from sellers online. You will want to make sure that you are purchasing your fish from a reputable source so that you are ensuring that you are getting a healthy fish. You can expect to pay around $6 per Sterbai Cory.

Sterbai Cory vs Julii Cory

Sterbai Cory (Corydora Sterbai) tend to be slightly larger at full maturity then the Julii Cory (Corydoras Julii). Both have similar temperaments and shoaling habits, but you will notice these fish not mingling species in a community setup. Instead you will notice them sticking to their own group, but cohabiting peacefully with one another. It can be difficult to tell these two fish apart because they are so similar in markings and behavior. The Sterbai Cory has a white dotted look on its darker body, and the Julii Cory has dots too. The dots on the Julii Cory, however, have the appearance that they are connected rather than separate like in the Sterbai Cory.