Freshwater sharks

three stripe corydoras (Corydoras trilineatus), leopard catfish, false julii corydoras, or three line catfish

The three stripe corydoras (Corydoras trilineatus), leopard catfishfalse julii corydoras, or three line catfish is a freshwater fish that can make a good addition to your aquarium if you are looking for a bottom feeder who keeps the tank clean. These charming, bottom-dwelling fish are not only visually appealing but also serve as an excellent armored catfish algae eater and bottom feeders for your freshwater aquarium. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the origin, appearance, and care of Threestripe Corydoras, also referred to as the Three Line Corydoras.

Common NamesThreestripe Corydoras, Three-Stripe Corydoras, Leopard Catfish
Scientific NameCorydoras trilineatus
Size2.5 to 3 inches (6 to 7.5 cm)
Difficulty ScoreEasy to moderate
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons
Best Compatible Tank MatesTetras, Guppies, Gouramis, Non-aggressive tropical fish
DietOmnivore, high-quality pellets, live/frozen foods, veggies
Tank SetupSoft substrate (sand or smooth gravel), plants, heater
Water Temperature72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C)
FiltrationCanister filter recommended
BehaviorPeaceful, schooling behavior
source: wikipedia

Origin of Threestripe Corydoras

The Threestripe Corydoras, scientifically known as Corydoras trilineatus, hails from the warm, slow-moving waters of South America. More specifically, they are native to the Amazon River basin, which is a hotspot of biodiversity for tropical fish enthusiasts. These peaceful fish are often found in groups, known as schools, which is a testament to their social nature.

Threestripe Corydoras Appearance

The three stripe corydoras (Corydoras trilineatus), leopard catfish, false julii corydoras, or three line catfish
Source: discus

Distinctive Three Stripes

One of the most striking features of Threestripe Corydoras is their three distinct dark stripes running along their bodies, giving them their common name. These stripes contrast beautifully with their silvery-white background color. These stripes not only add to their aesthetic appeal but also play a role in their camouflage in the wild.

Size and Shape

Threestripe Corydoras are relatively small, reaching an average length of 2.5 to 3 inches (6 to 7.5 cm) when fully grown. They have a streamlined, elongated body with an armored plating that covers their entire body, providing protection against potential predators.

Whisker-Like Barbels

Another fascinating feature of these catfish is their whisker-like barbels around their mouths. These barbels are highly sensitive and help Threestripe Corydoras in locating food on the substrate, making them efficient bottom feeders.

Care Guide for Threestripe Corydoras

Threestripe Corydoras are known for being hardy fish, making them an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced aquarists. Here’s a comprehensive care guide to ensure your Three-Stripe Corydoras thrive in your freshwater aquarium.

Tank Setup

Setting up the perfect tank for your Threestripe Corydoras is crucial to ensuring their well-being and longevity in your aquarium. A well-thought-out tank setup will mimic their natural habitat and create an environment where they can thrive. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to set up a tank for these delightful freshwater catfish.

Tank Size and Requirements:

Tank Size: When it comes to choosing the right tank size for your Threestripe Corydoras, it’s essential to consider their social nature. These catfish are most comfortable and active when kept in groups. Therefore, a minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for a small school of six or more Threestripe Corydoras. This size provides enough swimming space and allows for the establishment of a proper hierarchy within the group.

Substrate: Threestripe Corydoras are bottom-dwelling fish with delicate barbels around their mouths. To ensure their well-being, choose a soft, fine-grained substrate such as sand or smooth gravel. Sharp gravel can potentially injure their sensitive barbels and lead to health issues. CaribSea’s Super Naturals Aquarium Sand and Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum are excellent options known for their safety and aesthetic appeal.

Filtration: Effective filtration is essential for maintaining water quality in your Threestripe Corydoras’ tank. A canister filter is a top choice as it provides efficient mechanical and biological filtration while remaining discreet. Brands like Fluval, Eheim, and Penn Plax offer reliable canister filters suitable for various tank sizes. Ensure the filter’s flow rate is adjusted to avoid creating strong currents that could stress your fish.

Choosing the Best Filters for Cory Catfish: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best filters: three stripe corydoras (Corydoras trilineatus), leopard catfish, false julii corydoras, or three line catfish

Plants: Threestripe Corydoras enjoy a well-planted environment with plenty of hiding spots. Opt for live plants to enhance water quality and provide natural shelter. Popular plant choices include Java Fern, Anubias, Amazon Sword, and Cryptocoryne species. These plants are hardy, compatible with most aquarium setups, and readily available from reputable aquarium retailers.

Heater: Maintaining a stable water temperature within the recommended range of 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C) is vital for the comfort and health of your Threestripe Corydoras. A reliable aquarium heater is necessary to achieve this. Brands like Eheim, Fluval, and Aqueon offer adjustable heaters with built-in thermostats to help regulate the water temperature accurately. Position the heater near the filter outlet to ensure even heat distribution throughout the tank.

Incorporating these elements into your Threestripe Corydoras’ tank setup will create an familiar environment for these charming catfish. Remember to perform regular water tests, partial water changes, and provide proper lighting to support the growth of live plants. With attention to detail and the right equipment, your Threestripe Corydoras will flourish, showcasing their unique beauty and playful behavior in your freshwater aquarium.


Threestripe Corydoras are omnivores, which means they eat a varied diet. In their natural habitat, they feed on small invertebrates, plant matter, and detritus. To replicate this in your aquarium, consider feeding them a diet that includes:

  • High-Quality Pellets: Specially formulated sinking pellets provide essential nutrients.
  • Live or Frozen Food: Treat them occasionally with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia.
  • Vegetables: Blanched vegetables like zucchini or cucumber slices can also be a part of their diet.

Tank Mates

Threestripe Corydoras are peaceful fish that get along well with a variety of tank mates. They are excellent additions to community tanks. Compatible tank mates include tetras, guppies, gouramis, and other non-aggressive tropical freshwater fish.

Some other species of cory cats that make good tankmates are:

Behavior and Schooling

These fish are known for their playful and active nature. They often engage in schooling behavior, which means they feel most comfortable when kept in a group of their own kind. Observing a school of Threestripe Corydoras gracefully gliding along the substrate is a sight to behold.


Breeding Threestripe Corydoras in captivity is possible and can be a rewarding experience for aquarists. To encourage breeding, provide a separate breeding tank with slightly warmer water and plenty of hiding places like caves or PVC pipes. After spawning, the male will fertilize the eggs, and you should remove the adults to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs will hatch in about a week, and you can start feeding the fry with finely crushed flakes and small live foods.

How to Breed Cory (corydoras) Catfish for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide With Step By Step Instructions : three stripe corydoras (Corydoras trilineatus), leopard catfish, false julii corydoras, or three line catfish

Threestripe Corydoras: A Popular Aquarium Choice

In conclusion, the Threestripe Corydoras, also known as the Three-Stripe Corydoras or Leopard Catfish, is a popular aquarium fish that brings both beauty and utility to your freshwater tank. Their distinctive appearance, social behavior, and easy-to-care-for nature make them an ideal choice for aquarists of all levels. By providing them with the right tank setup, diet, and tank mates, you can ensure that these peaceful, hardy bottom feeders thrive and add a touch of elegance to your aquatic world. So, if you’re looking to enhance your aquarium with a schooling fish that’s both captivating and beneficial, consider the Threestripe Corydoras. Your aquarium will thank you for it.