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Corydoras sterbai - The 2020 Fish Wars winner

2020 was a year like no other. While the world navigated through a pandemic, the aquarium hobby sat back and enjoyed all that extra time at home. That extra time allowed for more and more fish keepers to fall in love with the Corydoras sterbai. It was no surprise when they were voted champion of Fish Wars 2020.

The Sterbai Corydoras, bearing the scientific name Corydoras Sterbai, is an alluring freshwater fish species that has become a favourite among aquarium lovers worldwide. Its striking aesthetic and tranquil demeanour make it a highly coveted addition to the home aquarium. This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on these intriguing aquatic creatures, discussing everything from their distinctive physical characteristics to the specifics of their care requirements.


A Detailed Examination of the Sterbai Corydoras

Hailing from the crystal clear, slow-moving rivers and floodplain pools of Brazil and Bolivia in South America, the Sterbai Corydoras is a species that commands attention. This delightful species stands out due to its captivating black-and-white colour scheme.


Typically, this compact fish reaches up to about 2.7 inches in length, with the females slightly larger than their male counterparts. Their bodies are primarily of a light or silvery-white hue, beautifully contrasted by dark patches that almost appear black, creating a visually stunning pattern. Their distinctive orange pectoral fins add to their unique appearance, a vibrant splash of colour against their otherwise monochrome bodies.


Nutritional Requirements and Optimal Water Conditions

In their natural environment, Sterbai Corydoras are omnivores, feeding on various small insects, plant matter, and minuscule microorganisms. When in the confines of an aquarium, they thrive on a balanced diet of high-quality flake or pellet food. For optimum health, a varied diet of tablets and sinking foods with the occasional treats of live or frozen foods such as bloodworms and brine shrimp.


The quality and conditions of the water play a pivotal role in the overall well-being of your Sterbai Corydoras. These fish prefer soft to moderately hard water, with an ideal pH range between 6.0 and 7.5. The water temperature should always be maintained between 24°C to 28°C (75°F to 82°F). Regular water changes are necessary, as this species is sensitive to water quality, and elevated nitrate levels can lead to serious health complications.


Disposition and Compatibility: The Perfect Tank Companions

Sterbai Corydoras are renowned for their peaceful and friendly disposition. They are schooling fish that derive comfort from being in the company of their kind. Keeping them in groups of at least six is advisable to ensure they feel secure.


As bottom dwellers, Sterbai Corydoras coexist harmoniously with mid-to-top dwelling species. Ideal tank mates include small, peaceful fish such as tetras and rasboras. However, it's essential to avoid housing them with larger or aggressive fish that could potentially view them as a source of food.


Health Considerations and Suggested Medications

Despite their general resilience, Sterbai Corydoras can fall prey to common fish diseases, particularly if water conditions deteriorate. One such ailment is fin rot, a bacterial infection that causes the fins to fray and disintegrate. Over-the-counter medications for such ailments are typically effective. However, given the Sterbai Corydoras' sensitivity to certain medicines, it's always best to consult an aquarium specialist before administering any treatment.


Breeding Sterbai Corydoras: An Exciting Venture

The process of breeding Sterbai Corydoras can prove to be an exciting and fulfilling venture for aquarium hobbyists. Set up a separate breeding tank with soft, slightly acidic water to encourage spawning. The water temperature should be at the higher end of their preferred range.


Condition the fish for breeding by increasing feedings of live or frozen foods. Once spawning has occurred, removing the adults to protect the eggs from being consumed is essential. After the fry hatch, they should be fed high-quality food until they are large enough to consume regular fish food.


Crafting the Ideal Habitat: Aquarium Decorations and Setup

When setting up your aquarium for Sterbai Corydoras, the aim should be to emulate their natural habitat. Use fine-grained sand or smooth gravel as a substrate to protect their delicate barbels (whisker-like appendages near their mouth).

Ensure plenty of hiding spots using rocks, caves, and driftwood. Live plants enhance the aesthetic appeal of the tank and help maintain water quality by absorbing excess nitrates. Plants such as Java Fern, Amazon Sword, and Anubias are excellent choices as they are hardy and easy to care for.

The Sterbai Corydoras is a fantastic addition to any freshwater aquarium. Their unique appearance, coupled with their peaceful demeanour, significantly contributes to a harmonious aquatic environment. With the proper care and attention, your Sterbai Corydoras can thrive, providing endless enjoyment. Here's to happy and successful fish-keeping!


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