Sterba’s corydoras Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: October 23, 2022

Sterba’s corydoras is a peaceful and hardy freshwater fish that makes a great addition to any community tank.

This species is relatively easy to care for and is a great beginner fish. They are also very active and playful, which makes them fun to watch.

If you’re thinking about getting Sterba’s corydoras, this guide will teach you everything you need to know about their care.

Species overview

Sterba’s corydoras (Corydoras sterbai) are a type of armored catfish that is native to Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia.

They prefer slow-moving rivers and streams with a high amount of vegetation. This is because they are bottom-dwellers that like to scavenge for food among the plants.

Sterba’s corydoras are peaceful fish that do well in community tanks. They are also relatively easy to care for, which makes them a good choice for beginner aquarists.

These fish are named after Dr. Ernst Sterba, who was a renowned Czech ichthyologist. He is credited with discovering and describing many different species of fish, including the Sterba’s corydoras.


Sterba's corydoras

Sterba’s corydoras is a very attractive fish that has a unique coloration. They are mostly a light brown color with dark brown stripes running down their body. The stripes are widest at the fish’s head and taper down to a point at the tail.

The fins on this fish are also very unique. The dorsal fin is tall and thin, while the anal fin is shorter and thicker. The caudal fin is forked and slightly taller than the anal fin. The pectoral fins are also very thin and long.

One of the most interesting things about this fish is their eyes. They have very large eyes for their body size and they are positioned on the top of their head. This gives them a very unique appearance.


Sterba’s corydoras have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years.

This is a very long lifespan for a fish, especially one that is as active as Sterba’s corydoras.

The main reason why they have such a long lifespan is because they are very low maintenance fish. They are also very hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions.


Corydoras Sterba’s grow to a length of around 2.5 inches (6.5 cm), although some have been known to reach 3 inches (7.5 cm) under the right conditions. As bottom-dwellers, they don’t require a lot of swimming space, so a 20-gallon aquarium is sufficient for a small school of these fish.


Tank Size

The recommended minimum tank size for Sterba’s corydoras is 20 gallons. This is assuming you’re keeping them in a school of at least 5 or 6 fish (which you should).

We personally recommend a slightly larger tank if you can accommodate it. Every extra space will make a big difference and allow you to keep a larger school or more tank mates if you’re interested in a community tank.

Water Parameters

Sterba’s corydoras are a tropical fish that come from the rivers of South America. As such, they need warm water with a little bit of flow to stay healthy.

The water temperature should be between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5, and the water hardness should be between 2 and 12 dGH.

You should also do regular water changes to keep the water clean and the nitrate levels low. Ammonia and nitrite are extremely dangerous to fish and even in small amounts can prove fatal to Sterba’s corydoras. Always keep these levels at 0 ppm.

  • Water Temperature: 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH Levels: 6.5-7.5
  • Water Hardness: 2-12 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Sterba’s corydoras are a pretty standard fish when it comes to their housing requirements.

You’ll want to use a substrate that’s soft and sandy, and include some rocks and driftwood for them to hide in and around.

Plants are always a nice addition to any aquarium, but be careful not to use anything that’s too delicate. These fish like to root around a bit, and they might uproot or damage more delicate plants.

Hornwort, water wisteria, and Java moss are all good choices.

As for decorations, feel free to get creative! These fish don’t have any specific requirements, so you can really let your imagination run wild.

Common Diseases

The Sterba’s corydoras is a hardy and disease-resistant fish. However, like all other animals, they are still susceptible to sickness and disease.

The most common illness that these fish experience is known as “ich.” This is a parasitic infection that is characterized by the presence of white spots on the body of the fish.

If left untreated, ich can be deadly. However, it is relatively easy to treat and most fish will make a full recovery if they are treated promptly.

Other potential illnesses and diseases that can affect the Sterba’s corydoras include fungal infections, bacterial infections, and parasites.

As with ich, these diseases are relatively easy to treat if they are caught early. However, they can quickly become deadly if they are left untreated.

The best way to prevent your fish from getting sick is to maintain a clean and stable environment in their tank. A healthy tank will lead to healthy fish who are much less likely to get sick.

Behavior & Temperament

Sterba’s corydoras are a peaceful and social species of fish that do best in groups. They are relatively active fish that enjoy swimming and will often be seen playing with each other or exploring their surroundings.

While they are not aggressive, they can be territorial with other fish if they feel threatened. They have sharp spikes on their sides that they will use to defend themselves if necessary.

Sterba’s corydoras are also known to be good jumpers, so it is important to have a lid on your tank to prevent them from escaping.

Tank Mates

Sterba’s corydoras are a peaceful and social species. They do best in groups of 6 or more and will shoal with other corydoras species.

When choosing tank mates for Sterba’s corydoras, it’s best to stick with other peaceful fish that won’t outcompete them for food.

Some good tank mates for Sterba’s corydoras include:

  • Tetras
  • Danios
  • Rainbows
  • Guppies
  • Mollies
  • Platies


Want to breed Sterba’s Corydoras? This species is a little more difficult to breed than some others, but it can be done with some patience and the right environment.

The first step is to set up a breeding tank. It should hold at least 20 gallons of water and have a sandy bottom. Live plants are a good idea, too.

Corydoras are bottom-dwellers, so the tank should have plenty of hiding places. That could be in the form of caves, rocks, or plants.

The water should be well-filtered and have a moderate flow. The temperature should be between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

When ready, add two females for every male. Corydoras are egg-scatterers, so the female will lay her eggs all over the tank. The male will then fertilize them.

Once the eggs are laid, remove the adults. The eggs will hatch in about a week.

When the fry are free-swimming, you can start feeding them live foods. Baby brine shrimp and microworms are good choices. As they grow, you can transition them to flake food.


If you’re looking for a Corydoras that is a little bit different than the standard, Sterba’s Corydoras is a great option. These fish are relatively easy to care for and make a great addition to any community tank.

They’re also a bit more hardy than other Corydoras, so they’re a good option for beginner aquarists.

Overall, we think Sterba’s Corydoras are a great option for anyone looking for a slightly different Corydoras to add to their tank.