Catfish, Bandit

Corydoras metae

Usually when properly conditioned, the difference between the male and
female becomes quite evident. Females have a larger underbelly, and,
when viewed from the top will look a lot wider than a male. Males are
smaller in length than females. Coloration: pale white-pink body, a
black band stretching over the eyes, and another covers the dorsal fin,
running down the spine to the caudal peduncle; all other fins are
translucent. Adult length: up to 1.8 in (4.8 cm)









South America: Meta River basin in Colombia


Tropical climate freshwater with a 6.0 - 8.0 pH, a water hardness of 2 - 25 dGH, and a temperature range of 72 - 79°F (22 - 26°C)

Life Expectancy

5 years

Sexual Maturity



In the wild, they eat worms, benthic crustaceans, insects, and plant matter; in the Zoo, they are fed a scientifically developed, commercially available high quality sinking pelleted fish food and algae wafers.


IUCN - Least Concern


These fish are most active at night. 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”) over an aquarium the fish may hit the hood. They hold the air in their stomach and the thin lining dissipates the oxygen. Reproduction: The female holds 2-4 eggs between her pelvic fins, where the male fertilizes them for about 30 seconds. After fertilization the female swims to a suitable spot, where she attaches the very sticky eggs. The Masked Corydoras lays eggs in dense vegetation without adult protection. The pair repeats this process until about 100 eggs have been fertilized and attached. Tank compatibility: Very peaceful community fish. Bandit catfish will not intentionally bother tank inhabitants. However, their bumbling about the tank may bother more delicate fish or other bottom dwellers. They are best kept in groups of 3-4 or more.


The bandit catfish is known to ‘blink’ its eyes to the amazement of onlookers. It has the ability to tilt its eye down to examine the nearby substrate. 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. These barbs protect this catfish from being swallowed by a larger fish.What is also little known is that most species of Corydoras have a poison gland in their barbs, which causes fish trying 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 armored, 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).

Special Interests

It was originally described by Carl H. Eigenmann in 1914. Other common names include: masked corydoras, bandit catfish, bandit corydoras, bandit cory, masked cory or Meta River corydoras. The C. metae is often confused with Corydoras melini (which has an unbroken black stripe from dorsal to caudal fins), and Corydoras davidsandsi (which is more elongate and more orange in body color). Corydoras simulates also looks very similar but has a much longer snout.



Jacksonville Zoo History

Bandit catfish have been part of our animal inventory since 2004.