Corridoras Shterba – Spotted Shell Catfish

In our article, we will focus on the armored catfish – the Sterb corridor, not as well known as its closest relative, the speckled corridor, but the popularity of this species is growing every year, primarily due to its striking body color. For the rest, the catfish is unpretentious in keeping and feeding, and if desired, it will be easy to get offspring from it.

General information

Corridors Sterba (Corydoras sterbai) is a freshwater ray-finned fish from the Armor (Kallikhtovaya) catfish family. The species was scientifically described not so long ago, just over 50 years ago. The fish is named in honor of a professor at the University of Leipzig, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Gunther Sterba, a famous ichthyologist, author of popular books on aquaristics.

The Šterba corridor attracts aquarists with its beautiful coloration, which includes many light spots on a brown background. Like other members of the genus, fish prefer to live in schools. Peaceful catfish are perfectly compatible with most calm tropical fish. It is a pleasure to watch the flock of active and playful corridors of Sterb.


The fish has a body shape typical of corridors. It is short, the abdomen is rounded, and the back, on the contrary, is convex. Closer to the caudal fin, the body tapers. On the sides of the body, there are rows of bone plates that form a real shell.

The mouth at the Sterb corridor is adapted to eat food from the bottom of the aquarium. Three pairs of antennae are located near the mouth opening, which performs several functions: they help to dig in the ground and serve as an organ of touch.

The body color of the fish is not bright, but interesting. The main background is dark brown or gray with a lot of light spots forming a pearl pattern. In the region of the head, they are scattered chaotically, and closer to the tail they form even dashed lines, the number of which can vary from 4 to 8. The dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are also strewn with rows of spots. The pectoral and pelvic fins are orange.

The fish is not large in size. The maximum body length is 6.5 cm.


The Sterb corridors have their origins in South America. They can be found in Brazil and Bolivia, primarily in the basins of the Rio Guaporé and Mato Grosso rivers.

Fish prefer to live in rivers and streams with weak currents. They can also be found in lakes, ponds, small swamps, and backwaters. Often in such places at the bottom, there is a deficiency of oxygen, which led to the formation of intestinal respiration near the corridors.

Care and maintenance

It is best to keep the Shterb corridors in flocks of 5-7 individuals. For such a number of fish, you will need an aquarium with a volume of 60 liters or more. Since catfish lead a bottom life, the bottom area plays an important role. The bigger it is, the better. It is important that the fish always have access to the surface of the water so that they can take a breath of air if necessary.

Particular attention must be paid to the soil. Shterb’s corridors spend most of their time in search of food, digging at the bottom. Therefore, it is necessary to use a substrate without sharp edges, against which the fish cannot damage their sensitive antennae. Quartz sand, small rounded pebbles, special lightweight baked clay soils (Tetra ActiveSubstrate) are perfect.

It is advisable to use natural stones and driftwood in the design of the aquarium. It is also necessary to create a large number of shelters: you can use coconut halves, ceramic pots, decorative grottoes. Be sure to add dense vegetation to your aquarium. For this purpose, the following are perfect: Vallisneria, Indian fern, hygrophila cinema, cryptocorynes, anubias.

For the comfortable existence of the Shterb corridors, you will need a filter and a compressor of suitable power. Change 20% of water weekly. Fish are sensitive to salt and copper in the water. Lighting should be diffused, this can be achieved with floating plants.


It will not be difficult to find neighbors in a common aquarium with Sterb’s corridors. Like all corridors, these catfish are distinguished by their peacefulness and calm disposition. The best neighbors are small carp, harassing (neons, tetras), labyrinths (gourami, cockerels, lalius), iris, dwarf cichlids. The corridors get along well with other peaceful catfish, both from their own kind and from others. True, it should be borne in mind that the corridors can eat the eggs of other fish and fry.

It is not recommended to add Shterba corridors to large or territorial fish, for example, cichlids.

Feeding the Sterb corridor

Shterb’s corridors are unassuming in food and gladly eat the remains of other fish that fall to the bottom. Fish prefer to eat near the bottom, although they are able to float to the surface behind a tasty morsel. It is better to refuse the use of live and frozen food, they will not provide the catfish with a full range of nutrients, and in the worst case, they can also introduce an infection into the aquarium.

The best food for the Sterb corridors will be special sinking tablets for catfish. They quickly sink to the bottom and retain their shape for a long time. These tablets are especially relevant for general aquariums. After all, more active neighbors can eat the feed so quickly that the corridors simply will not get anything.

Tetra has developed Tetra Cory ShrimpWafers in the form of thin sinking plates especially for all types of corridors. It is rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids, which promote healthy growth, and thanks to its special consistency, the plates do not pollute the water.

We also recommend paying attention to universal food for all types of bottom fish – Tetra Tablets TabiMin, Tetra Wafer Mix. Due to the content of ingredients of both animal and plant origin, the feed fully satisfies the nutritional needs of catfish, ensures healthy growth and longevity.

It is best to feed your fish after turning off the lights in the aquarium.

Reproduction and breeding

To breed the Shterb corridors at home, you will need a separate spawning aquarium with a volume of 10-20 liters. At its bottom, it is necessary to place more small-leaved plants, for example, Javanese moss, and one large-leaved one (Echinodorus, Cryptocoryne). For aeration and filtration, an airlift filter such as the Tetra Brillant Filter is best suited.

It is necessary to select the healthiest and strongest catfish for spawning. You can determine the gender by the physique of the fish. Females are larger, with a convex abdomen and shorter pectoral fins. The easiest way to distinguish males from females is by looking at the catfish from above.

Puberty in the Sterb corridors occurs at the age of 1-2 years. A week before the start of breeding, the producers are planted and abundantly fed. The spawning is stimulated by frequent large changes (up to 50% of the volume of the aquarium) with soft water. Spawning is group, usually one female and several males are planted.

The female lays eggs on glass and plants. Fertility can range from 30 eggs or more. Caviar has a whitish color and a size of about 2 mm.

After the end of spawning, producers should be removed, because they can easily feast on their own caviar. An antifungal agent should be added to the spawning aquarium water and the larvae should be expected to hatch. Eggs affected by the fungus should be removed from the spawning grounds.

Egg incubation lasts about a week. The hatched larvae feed on the contents of the yolk sac for about 2 more days, after which they switch to independent feeding.

Growth rates are high, at the age of about a month, the body length is about 1 cm. And after another month, the fry begins to stain.

They grow quickly and by the age of one month, their length is already 1 cm. By two months, the adult color begins to appear.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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