A Long Wait
This species was first discovered and
collected by C. Kalinowski in 1949 (five
specimens), but it wasn’t until 22 years later
(1971) that it was described by Nijssen.
Nijssen had only one new specimen, which
he collected in 1969. Thus there are five
paratypes, and the type locality is listed as
the Vilcanota river system near Cusco in
The precise locality was not given—
either local collectors forgot or
didn’t want to reveal it. The original
description noted that C. weitzmani
resides at a relatively inaccessible
elevation of 3350 meters ( 11,000 feet).
Recently this information has come
into question, as it frequently does with
rare specimens whose locality collectors
want to keep secret. (It has significance
for the hobbyist, since fish from that
elevation would prefer much cooler
temperatures. The best information at
present is that they come from lower
elevations and enjoy normal aquarium
temperatures.) The species was, of
course, named to honor Dr. Stanley
Weitzman, TFH senior consulting editor
and Curator of the Division of Fishes
at the National Museum of Natural
History, Smithsonian Institution.
For a long time, cory lovers searched for
this rare and desirable fish and tried to find
its locality without any success. The half-million tourists that visited Cusco every
year included many would-be collectors,
even the likes of famed catfish expert Dr.
David Sands, but none could find the fish.
It was not until 2004 that the fish was
seen alive. An expedition led by Shigezo
Kamihata collected it and arranged its
export to Japan in November 2004. There
is a very strong interest in Corydoras
catfish in Japan, and young specimens of
this highly sought-after species that were
only 2 cm (¾ inch) long sold for about
The males (above) pursue the female (below) into the Java moss, where they will spawn.
Hobbyists learned about the new fish
in an article by Keisuke Kobayashi in the
Japanese magazine Aqualife in February
2005. The original Japanese name given to
them translates roughly as “dream cory,”
but other names given to the fish include
“Weitzman’s cory” or “two-saddled cory.”
Pictures were published on the Internet,
and when I saw them this species became
my own number one dream fish.
The first successful breedings of this
cory occurred some months later around
the world, I believe by Ian Fuller in
Britain, the Hoffmans and Kurt Mack in
Germany, and Frank “guppyman” Flacone
in the United States, among others.
These spawnings sent the price spiraling
downward, and today it is possible to buy
specimens for about $20 to $30 each. In
addition, Peruvian exporters must have
discovered new collecting sites, because
this initially rare species is occasionally
available from them.
The female C. weitzmani carries an egg into
the Java moss with her fins.
C. weitzmani eggs.
My Own Quest
I hunted the fish for more than a year.
In January 2006 the first F fish I heard
of were offered at a price that was high,
but I was willing to pay it. What I wasn’t
willing to pay was the huge freight charge
from Germany to Prague of €150 ($200)
for one box.
I informed many people about my quest,
including my friend Miloš Kroupa. He
works at a wholesaler and tried to import
Weitzman’s cories from Peru several times.
He ordered them, but they were never
included in the shipments. The exporter