Skunk Cory: Fish Species Profile

Skunk Cory


Like many other species of Corydoras catfish, the Skunk Cory Cat, is a peaceful, bottom dwelling freshwater community fish. They have a distinctive black bar across both sides, giving them their "skunk" moniker. These fish make a good addition to many aquariums and will often be seen foraging around in soft substrate.

Species Overview

Common Names: Skunk Cory Cat, Arched Corydoras

Scientific Name: Corydoras arcuatus

Adult Size: 2 to 2.5 inches

Life Expectancy: 5 to 8 years

Family Callichthyidae 
Origin  South America 
Social  Peaceful 
Tank Level  Bottom dweller 
Minimum Tank Size  20 gallon 
Diet  Omnivore 
Breeding  Egglayer 
Care  Intermediate 
pH  6.2 to 7.2 
Hardness  2 to 12 dkH 
Temperature  68 to 77 F (20 to 25 C) 

Origin and Distribution

The Skunk Cory is native to the upper Amazon River basin in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. This area has a lot of active whitewater, which this species of cory cat appreciates with its faster moving current.

Colors and Markings

As you may imagine, the Skunk Cory gets its name from it's distinctive black and white coloration. The main body and fins of the Skunk Cory are white to almost translucent, with a bold black stripe that runs along both sides of the dorsal ridge from the mouth to the tail. The eyes are often black and fall within the stiped portion of the body.


Like many other corydoras, the Skunk Cory is very peaceful and gets along with many other communal fish. Being a bottom dweller, they do not take up mid-tank swimming space. They can be easily bullied, so be sure that they have lots of places to hide among plants or rocks on the bottom of their aquarium. Here are some good tankmates for the Skunk Cory: Plecostomus, Zebra Danio, White Cloud Mountain Minnow, and small schooling fish.

Suckermouth catfish on substrate
Suckermouth Catfish

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Zebra danio in planted aquarium
Zebra Fish

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White cloud mountain minnow in planted aquarium
White Cloud Mountain Minnow

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Skunk Cory Habitat and Care

Your Skunk Cory will spend most of its time on the bottom of their tank, so the substrate should be fairly smooth. It is recommended to use sand or smaller gravel for these fish. This will allow them to easily root around in the substrate while looking for tasty bits leftover from feedings. You should expect your cory to spend most of their day foraging, so be sure to have lots of room for them to explore.

Live aquatic plants work well with Skunk Corys, as they will not dig up roots or voraciously eat plants. It is best to chose taller live plants so they do not interfere with the Skunk Cory's bottom activity. Lots of low, dense plants can entangle bottom dwelling fish, like the Skunk Cory.

Skunk Cory Diet and Feeding

Skunk Corys are omnivores and will be busy cleaning up all the leftover bits from other fish higher up in the water column. However, this doesn't mean that they shouldn't get any special foods for themselves! Provide your Skunk Cory with a high quality tropical pellet. Flakes will be mostly eaten by other fish before they reach the bottom of your tank. You can certainly provide occasional treats such as veggies or frozen diets, but most of their diet should be a sinking pellet.

You should feed your Skunk Cory at least once a day. If your aquarium water temperature is above 72 to 74F (22 to 23 C), you can increase this to twice a day.

Be sure to pay attention to all your fish during feeding time! Make sure enough food gets down to your corys at the bottom of the tank. Often, you will see your Skunk Cory swim up to the surface during feeding time, but if you have more aggressive eaters in the water column above, it may be very hard for your cory to get enough to eat. If they are struggling, you can send sinking pellets down a straw, directly into the mouths of your hungry bottom dwellers.

Gender Differences

It can be very difficult to tell male vs. female Skunk Corys. In general, females tend to be larger with rounder bodies, but this can be very hard to determine if you only have one fish. Unless you want to breed your Skunk Corys, it really doesn't matter if you have males or females since they are not aggressive fish.

Breeding the Skunk Cory

As with most fish, providing the correct diet and habitat goes a long way in successful breeding practices. Reproductively active fish will require more protein and fat in the diet to produce robust eggs. The female Skunk Cory will hold two to four eggs between her pelvic fins, where the male fertilizes them for about 30 seconds. Only then the female swims to a suitable spot, where she attaches the very sticky eggs. The pair repeats this process until about 100 eggs have been fertilized and attached. The eggs will hatch within a few days provided they are not eaten by other fish in the aquarium. When breeding any fish, it is recommended to have your fish spawn in a separate breeding tank in order to preserve as many viable offspring as possible.

More Pet Species and Further Research

If you are interested in the Skunk Cory, you may want to check out some of these similar species: