Bandit Cory Fish Information

Corydoras metae

Because the charming tiny bandit cory has no scales, it demands clean water. They get along nicely with other little species as a calm addition to a community tank. They prefer to be in groups of three or more, but because they eat at night, they may be timid during the day. However, during the breeding season, this fish becomes incredibly busy, and its breeding rituals are meticulously planned.

Species Overview

Common Names: Bandit catfish, bandit cory, masked cory, meta river catfish, rio meta cory

Scientific Name: Corydoras metae

Adult Size: 2 inches

Life Expectancy: 5 years


Family Callichthyidae
Origin Colombia
Social Peaceful
Bottom dweller
10 gallons
Diet Omnivore, eats most foods
Breeding Egglayer
Care Easy to Intermediate
pH 6.5 to 7.0
Hardness 5 to 10 dGH
Temperature 72 to 79 F (22 to 26 C)

Origin and Distribution

Corydoras metae was first described in 1914 and named after the Rio Meta River, where it was discovered. Rio Meta is a major tributary of Colombia's Orinoco River and the main river in the country's eastern lowlands. This region's little rivers and streams are home to the bandit cory. It is one of the most popular Corydoras species and is commonly accessible in the aquarium trade.

Colors and Markings

The black band that runs from gill to gill, across the top of the head, and covers both eyes like a mask gives the bandit cory its name. The body is a pink-tinged light beige. The dorsal fin is the exception; the lowest two-thirds to one-half of the dorsal fin is black, while the remainder is colorless. A black stripe extends down the back ridge from the dorsal fin to the caudal fin. From top to bottom, this stripe curls downward and runs parallel with the base of the tail, finishing without extending into the tail itself.

The bandit cory, like other cories, has numerous specialized fin rays. These rays are strengthened, razor-sharp, and can be locked into a stiff posture to guard against a predator that may consume this small fish. These spines may be seen on the adipose, dorsal, and pectoral fins. When netting or handling cories, always take aware that the sharp spines can slash both net and skin.

Bandit cories belong to the armored catfish family, which means they lack scales. Instead, two rows of overlapping bony plates cover their sides. Their head is similarly covered with bony plates. Two pairs of soft barbels are located at the mouth's tip. These are extremely sensitive to scent, making it easy to detect food.


Because bandit corys are so calm, they're ideal for community tanks with tiny to medium-sized, peaceful fish. Always keep them in groups of at least three, but ideally six or more, of the same species. If you preserve just one specimen, it will grow quite timid. Cories' lifetime is sometimes shortened due to their solitary existence.

Bandit Cory Habitat and Care

The bandit cory, like all cory species, forages among the gravel in search of food particles. Sharp edges on the substrate might harm the fragile barbels, resulting in infection and possibly death. For corydoras habitat, always use sand or tiny smooth-edged pebbles, preferably black in color. The lighting should be dim.

Create open regions for swimming in the tank. Cories can be found hidden among driftwood or bogwood, as well as plants. This species does not tolerate prolonged periods of lower or higher than normal water temperatures, thus frequent care is required. All scale-less fish, such as the bandit cory, are susceptible to bad water conditions; avoid all salt, copper, and most pharmaceuticals with them. Such products are likely to do more harm than the ailment they are intended to treat.

Bandit Cory Diet and Feeding

The bandit cory is easy to please and will eat a broad variety of meals. The most frequent diet consists of flake food and sinking pellets or tablets. Brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms, either freeze-dried or frozen, should also be included in their diet. Supplement with living foods whenever feasible.

Remember that the bandit cory is a bottom-feeding fish that will only consume food that sinks or is transported to that depth through tongs and lodged. They also like to eat at night because that is when they are most active. Just before turning out the lights for the day, feed them.

Gender Differences

When viewed from above, bandit cories are the easiest to classify. Females will be significantly rounder and broader than men. Males are also often smaller than females. The adult male's ventral fins are more pointed than those of the female.

Breeding the Bandit Cory

Cories are seasonal spawners who respond to variations in water chemistry and temperature throughout the wet winter months. Inducing spawning by mimicking these seasonal shifts is a great way to go. This may be accomplished by decreasing the pH, lowering the temperature, and softening the water (do not lower below 6.0). Every other day, change the water in the tank with water that is several degrees colder. The pH of the water can be reduced by adding peat to the filter or utilizing blackwater treatment. Check the pH of the water to make sure it's not too low.

If feasible, the spawning group should include two males per female. Live and frozen brine shrimp and worms are used to condition the breeders. As the females load up with eggs, they will get plumper, signaling that they are about ready to spawn. The breeders will become quite energetic and vivacious at this stage. This activity might last for several days until spawning occurs.

The tank's activity will continue, with intervals of strong movement followed by times of relaxation. Females might be immobile and uninterested at times. Males will dart around or shake their bodies in place. Males are known to participate in simulated fights. Males will feel thrilled and rush into action as soon as the female moves, chasing her mercilessly.

When a female is ready to spawn, she will allow the male to stroke her barrels and eventually form a "T" in front of her head. The female draws her pelvic fins together in this posture, producing a basket into which she deposits one or two eggs. After that, the male releases sperm, which fertilizes the eggs.

The female swims away with the eggs after fertilization and finds a suitable location to lay them. Males anticipate the laying of the egg with bated breath, sometimes chasing the female before she finishes. This cycle will continue until 60 to 80 eggs have been deposited (not all eggs are fertilized). The fertilization rate of bandit cories is normally 50 to 80 percent.

Parents and eggs must be separated after spawning since adults will consume the eggs. Many breeders prefer to transport the eggs instead of the adults. The entire plant can be relocated if the eggs are attached to it. When the eggs are stuck to the glass, gently roll them off with your fingertip.

The water in the raising tank should have the same temperature and chemical as the water in the breeding tank. To avoid egg fungus, use a sponge filter and a few drops of methylene blue in the water. Remove any fungus-infected eggs as soon as possible. Cherry Shrimp are occasionally utilized in hatcheries because they consume damaged eggs but leave good eggs alone.

In four to five days, the eggs will hatch. The fry will devour their yolk sacs completely after two to three days and should be fed freshly born brine shrimp. As the fry mature, they may be gradually switched to larger feeds. Daily water changes are required throughout this period. Failure to replace the water and maintain the tank clean is usually the cause of significant numbers of newborn fry being lost.

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