Origins of Pygmy Cory
The Pygmy corydoras or Pygmy catfish is a tropical and freshwater fish belonging to the family Callichthyidae. This fish species originates in tropical inland waters in South America and is commonly found in Madeira River basin in Brazil.
The first scientific description of the fish species – Corydoras pygmaeus was published in 1966 by German biologist and physician Joachim Knaack. This fish species was placed in the genus Corydoras. The scientific name uses the Latin word pygmaeus which implies dwarf or pygmy. Corydoras pygmaeus is commonly known as Pygmy Corydoras (Pygmy Cory) and Pygmy Catfish. Corydoras pygmaeus is often mistaken for Corydoras hastatus; this is because at one point, hastatus was the only known miniature Corydoras species.
Natural Habitat of Pygmy Cory
Pygmy Cory is native to South America and they are widely distributed in inland waters: in Peru- in tributaries of the Nanay River, in Ecuador- in tributaries of the Aguarico River, and predominantly in Western Brazil – in tributaries of the Madeira River.
In nature, they can be found in large numbers hiding in tree roots, marginal vegetation, and creeks.
Pygmy Cory Description
Pygmy Cory looks like most Corydoras Catfish, apart from their size of course. As the name suggests, Pygmy Cory’s are known to be very small. Females tend to range from 1 – 1.3 inches (2.5 – 3.2 cm) long whereas their male counterparts are even smaller, reaching just 0.75 inches (~2 cm). Moreover, the females are rounder and broader especially when full of eggs.
The body of Pygmy Cory is adorned by a silver coloration with a solid black line that runs horizontally all the way from the snout to the tail fin. This is accompanied by another thinner black line that runs lower down the body. Its upper part is visibly darker than the lower part.
Newly hatched fry possess vertical stripes on their sides, these will gradually fade to be replaced by the horizontal stripes at the end of their first month.
Pygmy Cory Behavior
Pygmy Cory’s are adorable, peaceful, non-aggressive, and very shy fish, they are best kept in a community tank of non-aggressive and small fish species. They are usually kept in groups of at least 6 and even better in larger groups of preferably 10 or more (more is always better). They love swimming in shoals around the mid and lower levels of the tank.
Although the fish is generally a mid-water dweller, they will occasionally move downwards to burrow into the substrate. Therefore, a fine-grained substrate should be adequately provided so that the fish won’t harm its barbels in the process.
Cory’s are air breathers by nature, this means that they have the ability to breathe atmospheric air when necessary. They have a modified, highly vascularised intestine which aids the intake of oxygen from the air.
This adaptive feature helps them to survive if their habitat becomes oxygen-deprived for any reason. Occasionally, in the aquarium, you will see them swimming up to the surface to take in gulps of air. Their visits to the surface of the water will be more frequent if poor water conditions exist in the tank.
Informtation adapted from: https://aquariumbreeder.com/pygmy-cory-detailed-guide-care-diet-and-breeding/