Fish Tank Maintenance Tips: Avoid wide fluctuations in your water parameters such as temperature and pH. Try to refill your aquarium with water that is as close to the current tank water as possible.
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Corydoras panda is a species of catfish belonging to the genus Corydoras, of the Family Callichthyidae, and is a native member of the riverine fauna of South America. It is found in Peru, most notably in the Huanaco region, where it inhabits the Rio Aquas, the Rio Amarillae, a tributary of the Rio Pachitea, and the Rio Ucayali river system. The species was first collected by H.R. Richards in 1968, and was named Corydoras panda by Nijssen and Isbrücker in 1971. The specific name is an allusion to the appearance of the fish, which possesses large black patches surrounding the eyes, reminiscent of those found on the Giant Panda. Accordingly, the common names for this fish, which is a popular aquarium species, are Panda Corydoras and Panda Catfish.
Corydoras panda has an off-white to pinkish-orange ground colour, and when observed under certain lighting conditions, a faint greenish iridescence is present upon the flanks and the operculum. The fins of the fish match the body in ground colour, upon close inspection being seen to be hyaline or translucent with coloured fin rays, with the dorsal fin being marked by a conspicuous black blotch that covers almost the entire fin area. The caudal peduncle is marked with a black band, this black band encircling the caudal peduncle from dorsal to ventral surface. The adipose fin, supported by a small fin spine, sometimes contains black pigmentation. The head is the same ground colour as the body, with a black mask surrounding the eyes, descending vertically from the fontanel, over each eye, and ending in a triangular wedge immediately before the ventral surface of the head. The pectoral fins are positioned immediately behind the operculum, and are usually oriented horizontally when the fish is at rest, extended in a manner similar to the wings of an aeroplane. The pelvic fins are positioned upon the ventral surface of the fish, located some way behind the pectoral fins. The first ray of the dorsal fin emanates from the body at approximately its point of greatest elevation, and a vertical line drawn downwards from this point meets the attachment point of the pelvic fins. The anal fin is located far to the rear of the ventral surface of the body, the attachment point of the first fin ray being somewhat forward of the black caudal peduncle marking described above.
In common with all other members of the Family Callichthyidae, the body surface is covered, not with scales, but with bony plates known as scutes. The lines of demarcation between individual scutes can be seen upon close examination of this and almost all other Callichthyid fishes, and in the case of some specimens of this species, are highlighted by additional black pigment.
The fish possesses, in common with almost all Corydoras species, three pairs of barbels – one pair of maxillary barbels and two pairs of rictal barbels.
A fully mature adult specimen of this species attains a standard length of 55 millimetres (2.1 inches): this is the length attained by mature females, which grow larger than mature males, and also possess more rounded body outlines.
Corydoras panda inhabits clear river waters that are relatively fast-flowing, well-oxygenated, and flowing over substrates that may comprise soft sand or fine gravel. These rivers are usually well vegetated with assorted species of aquatic plants. The proximity of the home rivers of the fish to the Andes mountain range, and the replenishment of those rivers with meltwaters from Andean snows at higher altitudes, has led the fish to be adaptable to cooler temperatures than the norm for ‘tropical’ fishes – the temperature range of the fish is 16°C to 28°C, though the fish exhibits a marked preference for the cooler regions of this temperature spectrum, particularly in captivity. Indeed, the fish can, for limited periods, survive temperatures as low as 12°C, though captive rearing at such low temperatures is ill-advised. The native waters of Corydoras panda are consequently mineral-deficient, with a neutral to slightly acid pH, and replication of such conditions in captivity are recommended for successful maintenance.