Although the Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus) or Red Sailfin Venezuelan Cory Catfish is said to be found throughout much of South America from Colombia and Trinidad in the north, to as far south as the Río de la Plata drainage on the border of Uruguay and Argentina; true Corydoras aeneus “venezuela” are collected from a few river systems in the central and southern parts of Trinidad Island, in the West Indies.
Similarly patterned specimens have been collected in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela but the huge geographical range appears to be of the many similar looking distinct taxa; not of a single species.
Because it is the only member of the genus that occurs on the island of Trinidad, only Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish collected from this locale are considered true Corydoras aeneus “venezuela”.
For several decades thousands of specimens traded to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in the aquarium hobby were sold as Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish; however, the vast majority were farmed in commercial facilities throughout the world. True Corydoras aeneus “Venezuela” are rarely available to importers, and when they are, they rightly demand very high prices.
Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish are facultative air breathers that possess a modified, highly vascularised intestine that has evolved to allow the uptake of atmospheric oxygen and aid their survival in oxygen depleted environments. This is why you will occasionally see them rising to the surface of the aquarium to gulp in air.
They possess stiffened pectoral fin spines that are capable of piercing human skin and inflicting a painful “sting”, so care should be exercised when handling them.
The Red Sailfin Venezuelan Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus “Venezuela”) is a natural geographic color variant of the popular Bronze Cory Catfish. Mature Corydoras aeneus “Venezuela” develop an increasingly bright orange coloration along its back which creates a striking contrast to the metallic blue green colors along the sides of the fish.
Males are slightly more intensely colored than females. Sexually mature Females grow larger than the males and have a broader and noticeably rounder body; especially during spawning when the females are gravid.
Like most Corydoras, Red Sailfin Venezuelan Cory Catfish are a peaceful, gregarious, species that should be maintained in groups of at least 4 to 6 individuals. They do well in most nano aquariums and are compatible with dwarf cichlids, angelfish, larger shrimp, and most other peaceful ornamental species. They may chase and prey on some of the smaller shrimp species.
Red Sailfin Venezuelan Cory Catfish are best housed in a densely planted aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity with a sand or fine gravel substrate, a rock or two, for the fish to hide among. As long as regular maintenance is performed and sudden water changes are avoided, Corydoras aeneus “Venezuela” are adaptable to most tropical freshwater conditions.
The Red Sailfin Venezuelan Cory Catfish are bred in a similar fashion to many other Corydoras species. Place several specimens in a breeding tank and allow them to pair off. If possible, use a ratio of 2 males per female in the breeding tank. Condition the fish for spawning and when the females are visibly gravid, perform a 50 to 60% water change with cooler water and increase the water flow and oxygenation in the tank by placing a powerhead in the aquarium. Repeat this daily until the fish spawn.
The eggs are usually deposited on fine leaved water plants, a smooth river rock, or most often on the aquarium glass where they are fertilized by the male. Once spawning is completed, most breeders will remove either the eggs or the adults from the tank. Eggs can normally be removed by gently rolling them up the glass with a finger and placing them in a rearing tank with the same water as the spawning tank.
At this point most breeders add a few drops of methylene blue or or an alder cone to prevent fungus from developing on the eggs. The eggs will hatch in approximately 3 to 4 days. The fry will absorb their egg sacs and are free swimming in approximately five days; at which time they can be fed baby brine shrimp,es and are easy to feed in an aquarium environment. They will accept most sinking dried foods and enjoy live, frozen, or freeze dried bloodworms, , brine shrimp, etc. To keep them in optimum condition and color; they should be given a varied diet and under no circumstances be expected to survive on left overs from other aquarium residents.
The TRUE Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus “Venezuela”) variant is seldom available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts and usually demand a very high price. Check specialty tropical fish shops, online catfish forums, direct importers, and auction sites for availability. They are usually 3/4″ to 1-1/2″ in size when available for purchase.
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 70-80.5° F, dKH 2-15, pH 5.8-8.0
Max. Size: 2.9″
Color Form: Blue green, Orange
Compatibility: Community tanks
Origin: island of Trinidad
Life Span: Up to 10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner