Corydoras Schwartz Catfish: Diet | Size | Lifespan | Care

By nature, the Corydoras Shwartzi is extraordinarily peaceful. These small, finely-colored fish prefer to spend their time grazing, methodically eating detritus along the bottom of a river. These social fish are happiest in a shoal, where they will companionably feed next to each other. Among fish enthusiasts, gentle ‘Corys’ are quite popular.

Let us take a closer look at Corydoras Schwartz Catfish and see if they are suitable for your freshwater aquarium and home fish tank.


Something rather unique about the Corydoras Shwartz Catfish is that many of them are wild-caught! These little guys can be found in South America, as a tropical fish variety that lives in freshwater.

Specifically, Corys live in the small tributaries, creeks, and sandbanks of Brazil.

OriginBrazil, South America
Size3" Max
Temp22-25 deg C (72-77 deg F)
pHpH: 6.0-7.5
dHup to 18 degrees.
Species TypeCommunity
Tank LevelBottom Dweller
Scientific Name Corydoras schwartzi
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Aquarium Size10 Gallons Plus

Appearance and Size

The Corydoras Shwartzi can look rather fearsome, with their armored and spiny exterior. Actually, these are protective measures taken because Corys are not fighters, and must have a way to protect themselves in order to survive. Their spines contain a mild toxin (these are located on the pectoral and dorsal fins). Ideally, this will help deter a hungry predator. No one wants a mouthful of sharp, toxic spines, after all.

Did you know, Corydoradinae is a member of the sub-family, Callichthyidae. They’ve earned their name for their similar appearance, as well as for comparable bottom-feeding behavior. These unique-looking fish are stunningly colored and patterned, with shimmery white bodies and dark, inky spots traveling in stripes across their sides (horizontally).

As they seldom exceed 1.5 inches, and sometimes as little as 1 inch in size, this Cory is rather small. When it comes to differences between genders, the females are wider, particularly when seen from above. Female Corys are also longer.

How Long Do Corys Live?

This Corydoras Schwartz Catfish will live 3-5 years, on average. Maximize your Cory’s lifespan by feeding them properly, pairing them with peaceful companions, and by keeping a nice, clean tank.

The Diet of the Corydoras Shwartzi

This fish is a natural-born bottom-feeder. Corydoras Shwartz Catfishes are omnivores… but they are carnivorous above all. Corys troll the bottom of rivers and sandbanks, nibbling on larvae and worms, and sometimes plant matter.

You will, of course, want to reflect this diet at home -feed your Corys sinking food, like catfish pellets, shrimp pellets, etc. Supplemental algae wafers can also be OK.

Your Corydoras Shwartzi fishes will also thank you for a live, rich meal, such as bloodworms or live shrimp, once a week. Cories will generally not find plant-based foods beneficial.

These fish are most active at nighttime and prefer to eat then, but they can be persuaded to eat during the day, as well.

With most fish, you will want to give no more than they can eat in roughly 5 min. Corydoras Schwartzi fishes are slower eaters than most, however. They may need up to 30 min to get their fill. Promptly remove any leftovers from the water.


Create a Proper Environment in Your Corydoras Schwartzi Tank

Corys should be kept no less than 5-6 to 20-30-gallon tank. The pH should be between 6-8, and the levels of ammonia should stay at 0.

Use Sand at the Bottom of the Tank and Never Gravel

Rule #1 if you plan to keep Corydoras Shwartz Catfish in your tank: forgo the gravel. Corys will root around the bottom of a river or tank. Their bellies are very sensitive and are abraded by gravel. Small stones or gravel can even cause their deceptively delicate spines to fall off.

Instead, layer about 2 inches of fine sand along the bottom of your tank. This will prove considerably gentler, and they will be able to sift through the substrate much more easily, as well.


When creating a habitat for any fish, you will want to reflect their natural environment; for Corydoras, you can accomplish this in a couple of ways. You can make an Amazon biotope or opt for a more standard tank. This will also depend on what other fish are in the tank, as their requirements may differ.

Make an Amazon Biotope Yourself

To make an Amazon Biotope, you will require wood and leaves. First, add some driftwood, or some branches (preferably made from toxin-free common beech or oak). Just make sure that whatever wood you used is dry and stripped of bark.

Next, add a few handfuls of leaves, again from a beech tree or an oak. Allow the leaves to ever-so-slightly stain the water. Replace them every couple of weeks so that they do not become foul. Additionally, you can have a net with fish-safe peat inside the tank, which will also help create conditions similar to blackwater.

Opt for an Equally-Good Standard Corydoras Shwartzi Tank

Your Corys will be just as happy without simulated blackwater. Instead, feel free to opt for your standard fish tank. Just make sure to include plenty of plants, such as the Java fern, the Amazon Sword, Water Sprites, Moss Balls, Hornwort, Anubias Nana, and more. Your Corys will also appreciate caves and other spots to hide in!

Keep A Clean Corydora Shwartzi Tank

Though Corys are bottom feeders, they are accustomed to circulating freshwater. Stagnant conditions will cause them to become sick. Always maintain clean sand, decorations, and water in your tank. Never expose Corys to salts of any kind; they are strictly freshwater.

Tank Mates

The Corys make wonderful tank mates, as they are so very peaceful. They actually prefer to live in a 5-6 fish minimum school or shoal. Make sure your Corys are the same variation, or else they may not form a cohesive shoal (you may need to find same-variety companions for any left out, so they can make their own shoal). Corydoras Schwartz fish get along swimmingly with other gentle fish, like Tetras, Swordtails, Guppies, Dwarf Cichlids, etc.

Never pair Corys with large predators of any kind, or cichlids, aquarium crayfish, roughens, etc.

So, there you have it: everything you need to know about the Corydoras Schwartzi. These sweet-natured, hard-working, and beautifully-patterned fish will make a truly lovely addition to any proper and predator-free tank.