False Bandit Cory (Corydoras melini)

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False Bandit Cory

Corydoras melini.jpg
False Bandit Cory

Corydoras melini

76 Litres (20 US G.)

2.5-4.6cm (1-1.8 ")




5.5 - 7.0

22.2-26.1°C (72 -79 °F)

0-10 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

15-25 years



Additional names

False Bandit Cory, Bandit Cory


South America: Upper Negro and Meta River basins.


When properly conditioned, the difference between the male and female Corydoras is usually quite evident. Females will look a lot wider when viewed from the top, as they have a larger underbelly. Males are also shorter in length than females.

Determining the can be challenging, as sexual dimorphism is not as pronounced as in some other species of Corydoras catfish. However, there are subtle characteristics that experienced aquarists and researchers may use to distinguish between male and female False Bandit Corydoras.

One method to identify the sex of False Bandit Cory is by observing the body shape. Females often appear slightly larger and broader, especially when viewed from above. This difference may become more noticeable as the fish mature. Males, on the other hand, might exhibit a slightly sleeker and more streamlined body shape.

Another characteristic to consider is the size and shape of the dorsal fin. In some cases, males may have a slightly more extended and pointed dorsal fin compared to females. This difference may be subtle, so close observation is necessary.

During the breeding season, when the False Bandit Cory engages in reproductive behaviors, such as courtship and spawning, it may become easier to differentiate between the sexes. Females may appear rounder and fuller, especially when carrying eggs. Additionally, males might display more intense coloration and increased activity as they court potential mates.

Tank compatibility[edit]

Very peaceful community fish. Will not intentionally bother tank inhabitants, however their bumbling about the tank may bother more delicate fish or other bottom dwellers. Are best kept in groups of 5-6 or more.


As with most Corydoras, these fish will eat most food which sinks to the bottom of the tank. Sinking algae pellets should be supplemented with flake food or other sinking foods like catfish pellets.
Be aware these fish do have a carnivorous side to them and love foods such as Bloodworm and Brine Shrimp. Vegetable-based foods offer little nutrition to them. They will also eat any dead, dying, or even injured fish, that sit on the substrate too long. They're very opportunistic!

Feeding regime[edit]

These fish are most active at night, so feeding once before lights out is typically enough. Though they can easily be persuaded to feed during the day. Since they are slower eaters they should be allowed at least 30 minutes to consume their food.

Environment specifics[edit]

Requires a sand or small gravel substrate and prefers a planted tank. Keeping a cory on sharp or large gravel can lead to damage to their barbels, which when infected will make it hard for the cory to find food.
Corys are sensitive to salt, as with other scaleless fish, adding salt to the tank will cause them harm.


  • The Corydoras group of fish frequently gulps air. This is normal and is not a cause for concern. If too little room is available between the water surface and the hood (<2") the fish may hit the hood. They hold the air in their stomach and the thin lining dissipates the oxygen.
  • This fish likes the company of its own kind. It is recommended to keep at least 2, or better yet, several of the same species. The more you have, the more secure they are and the more you will see them.
  • They are known to 'blink' their eyes to the amazement of onlookers. The Cory has the ability to tilt its eye down to examine the nearby substrate.


Typical Corydora in shape, the False Bandit Cory has a pale cream body with some light speckling. There is a black band over the eyes and a second black band running from the dorsal (including the dorsal fin) diagonally to the base of the caudal fin.
     Identifying False Bandit Cory (Corydoras melini) involves a close examination of their physical characteristics, behavior, and coloration. These small catfish, commonly kept in aquariums, possess distinctive features that aid in their recognition.

Body Shape and Size: False Bandit Corydoras typically have a sleek and compact body shape, with a flat ventral surface. They are relatively small, usually reaching lengths of 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 centimeters). The body is covered in bony plates, giving them a somewhat armored appearance.

Coloration: False Bandit Corys are known for their striking coloration. They often display a pale, silvery background with a bold, black stripe running horizontally along their bodies. This dark band extends from the snout to the caudal fin, resembling a "bandit mask," which is a key characteristic distinguishing them from other Corydoras species.

Fins: The dorsal fin of False Bandit Corydoras is typically triangular, and its shape may vary slightly between individuals and sexes. The pectoral and pelvic fins are well-developed, aiding in their characteristic bottom-dwelling behavior.

Behavior: False Bandit Corydoras are active, social fish that are often found in groups at the bottom of the aquarium. They exhibit the typical behavior of Corydoras catfish, using their barbels to search for food particles in the substrate. When comfortable, they may also engage in short bursts of swimming, especially during feeding or courtship.

Eye Position: Like many Corydoras species, False Bandit Corys have eyes positioned on the upper part of their heads. This adaptation allows them to keep most of their body concealed while searching for food on the substrate.

Sexual Dimorphism: As mentioned earlier, distinguishing between male and female False Bandit Corydoras can be challenging. However, observing subtle differences in body shape, dorsal fin size, and behavior, especially during the breeding season, may provide clues.


  • These fish are incredibly docile, very peaceful and are a wonderfully easy fish to own. However it is a remarkably little known fact that Corydoras species have a very sharp barb just under each eye, one in the adipose fin, and a large one in the front of their dorsal fin.
  • The fish uses these barbs to protect itself from being swallowed by a larger fish. Therefore when using a net to catch these fish, be prepared for the Cory to become caught up in the mesh of the net. Also, ensure you don't try to catch this fish in your hand!
  • What is also little known is that most species of Corydoras have a poison gland in their barbs which causes fish which try to eat them to get stung. This causes the attacking fish to suffer a lot of pain rather like a jellyfish sting. Needless to say this causes an annoying, but harmless, irritant to aquarists skin if they get stung also.
  • The Cory has a sensitive sense of smell and its barbels allow it to taste food hidden in the substrate.
  • These fish are armoured, not scaled, catfish. They have two rows of overlapping bony plates running down each side and large plates covering their head. Indeed, the name Corydoras is derived from the Greek kory (helmet) and doras (skin).


External links[edit]