6 Reasons Your Albino Corydoras Are Turning Yellow!

Albino corydoras may develop a yellow tint primarily due to their diet, but factors like water quality, tannins, substrate, and natural aging can also influence their coloration.

I recently noticed that some of my albino corydoras were starting to develop a yellow tint.

After checking my tank’s water parameters to rule out any serious issues with ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate, I decided to investigate further to understand what was happening to my fish.

There are several natural reasons an albino corydoras may develop a yellow coloration, so there may be no cause for concern, and your fish could still be in good health.

What Does An Albino Corydoras Look Like When Turning Yellow?

Normal Albino Corydoras And Yellow Albino Corydoras
Normal Albino Corydoras And Yellow Albino Corydoras

Albino corydoras can develop various shades of yellow, ranging from subtle changes in their skin color to more noticeable alterations.

The photograph at the start of this section shows regular white albino corydoras at a local pet store and two of my corydoras in one of my tanks, each displaying different shades of yellow.

During my investigation, I found multiple photographs online from other aquarists with albino corydoras exhibiting yellow or orange tints. This demonstrates the spectrum of color changes that can occur under different circumstances.

Two Regular Albino Corydoras And Two With A Yellow Tint

Depending on the cause of your albino corydoras turning yellow, there might be additional symptoms to help identify the source of the color change.

For instance, issues with water parameters can also cause red marks to appear on the fish, while high levels of tannins can give the entire tank a yellow or brown tint.

Corydoras Aeneus Vs Corydoras Paleatus

The Difference Between Bronze And Peppered Corydoras.
Difference Between Bronze And Peppered Corydoras.

The majority of albino corydoras are albino Corydoras Aeneus, but pseudo albino Corydoras Paleatus are also relatively common, especially in Europe.

In the photograph above, you can see non-albino versions of these fish, which better illustrate the different shapes of their dorsal fins. This can help you determine whether you have albino bronze corydoras or pseudo albino peppered corydoras.

The dorsal fin on the bronze corydoras tends to slope backward, whereas the dorsal fin on the peppered cory is usually more vertical. Additionally, the fish have slightly differently shaped heads.

It’s important to note that albino peppered corydoras are actually pseudo albino fish rather than true albino fish. This often causes them to develop a yellow or orange tint to their skin naturally as they reach adulthood, which is completely normal and nothing to worry about.

If you have pseudo albino peppered corydoras in your tank, this is likely why your cory is starting to turn yellow or orange. If you have albino bronze corydoras, the yellowing is probably due to one of the potential causes mentioned below.

Diet

The Diet Of My Corydoras
The Diet Of My Corydoras

The most common reason that albino Corydoras aeneus develop a yellow tint is due to their diet.

Several different foods can cause this yellow tint, as the lack of pigment in the cory makes it easy for high-protein foods to affect its color.

Here are some foods that can cause albino corydoras to turn yellow:

  • Daphnia
  • Cyclops
  • Bloodworms
  • Brine shrimp
  • Krill

Since I feed my own corydoras frozen daphnia, frozen cyclops, and Bug Bites Pellets, I believe this is the cause of my albino cory catfish turning yellow.

I found some reports suggesting that this is just a temporary color change and that the yellow tint will fade if you switch to other foods.

My corydoras absolutely love frozen daphnia and Bug Bites, so I have no plans to change their diet. The yellow tint doesn’t bother me now that I know it’s not due to a serious condition in the fish.

Substrate

Corydoras Foraging For Food

Several types of corydoras catfish can adjust their color to blend into their surroundings.

This forum thread features a pair of photographs of the same cory catfish on a light substrate and then on a dark substrate, demonstrating how drastic this change can be.

I keep my albino corydoras on a darker substrate, so the yellow tint may be their attempt to darken their skin and blend in with their environment.

Albino Corydoras aeneus are true albino fish, so their absence of pigment makes this unlikely in my case. However, if you have pseudo-albino Corydoras paleatus, this may be why your cory is turning yellow.

Water Quality

Water Quality In My Cory Tank
Water Quality In My Cory Tank

Issues with ammonia, nitrite, and pH can cause some albino corydoras to turn yellow, and very high levels of nitrates may also play a role.

You can use a water test kit to check your tank’s water parameters to rule these out. Problems with water parameters often have secondary symptoms in your fish, which can help identify this as the cause.

These secondary symptoms include red marks on the body of your corydoras and inflamed gills that can turn dark red.

Here are the recommended water parameters for albino Corydoras aeneus, with anything outside these ranges potentially causing the yellow tint in your fish:

Water Temperature68 to 82 °F (20 to 28 °C)
Water FlowStill-Moderate
pH6.0–8.0
GH2–30 dGH
KH2-15 dKH
Ammonia0 ppm
Nitrite0 ppm
Nitrate<10 ppm
Corydoras Aeneus Water Parameters

Many people recommend a straightforward water change to fix water parameter issues, but it’s not always that simple. If your tank hasn’t been properly cycled and lacks beneficial bacteria, high levels of ammonia or nitrites will reoccur soon after the water change.

In such cases, you may need to reset your tank and gradually add fish, allowing beneficial bacteria to grow steadily to manage the bioload and maintain stable ammonia and nitrite levels.

Tannins In Your Water

Driftwood In The Aquarium
Driftwood In The Aquarium

Tannins, released from driftwood, Indian almond leaves, and other common items in the fish-keeping hobby, can be beneficial for some fish.

Under certain lighting conditions, tannins can create an optical illusion, making white and albino fish appear yellow, orange, or brown.

This effect is due to the yellow/brown tint added to your water by the tannins. Even minimal levels can cause this illusion, especially under low-powered aquarium lights.

Most people leave the tannins in their tank water, but you can add a pouch of Purigen to your filter to remove the tannins and achieve crystal-clear water.

Natural Color Change

Two Of My Corydoras
Two Of My Corydoras

Some people claim that albino catfish naturally darken and develop a yellow, orange, or brown tint as they age.

This is controversial, as many argue that this does not happen with true albino fish and only occurs in pseudo-albino fish.

Depending on the type of albino corydoras you have, this may explain the yellow tint in your fish.