Cory catfish are great for any freshwater tank because they’re hardy, peaceful, adaptable, and help keep the tank clean.
Cory catfish overview
Cory catfish are one of the most popular freshwater community fish and are in the Callichthyidae family. They’re also known as Corydoras catfish or Cory fish and are native to South America.
Being between one and four inches, Corys are small, peaceful, and easy to care for. They’re bottom feeders and do a great job at cleaning the tank.
When you’re getting a Cory, look for fish that are alert and moving. Also, be sure to check its tail, fins, and barbels, which are on the side of its mouth. Make sure everything is in good condition.
Different species of Cory catfish
There are more than 160 recognized species of Corydoras. However, the following are the most common and popular:
- Bandit Cory (Corydoras metae). It’s known for its vertical black stripe across its eyes, which resembles a mask.
- Bronze Cory (Corydoras aeneus). They’re known for having areas of color, such as bronze, green, albino, light pink, and black.
- Julii Cory (Corydoras julii). They’re also called leopard Corys because of their spots.
- Panda Cory (Corydoras panda). They stay small and have a similar pattern to a black and white panda.
- Peppered Cory (Corydoras paleatus). They have a high contrast pattern and are easy to get along with.
- Pygmy Cory (Corydoras pygmaeus). They stay about 1-inch long and are distinguishable by the silver body and black horizontal stripe.
- Sterbai Cory (Corydoras sterbai). It’s recognized by its beautiful speckled black and white dots.
When it comes to Corys, there are so many different types. They’re bottom-dwelling fish and love to be in groups. Being so friendly and peaceful, Corys are one of the most popular fish.
Since Cory catfish range from 1 to 4 inches long, they’re considered small fish. You’ll need a covered tank with a capacity of 10 gallons or more.
While you can have one or two Corys, they love to be in groups. They’re social fish and will be much happier with friends.
If you want to have different species or more than two fish, it’s best to get a larger tank. A 20 or 30-gallon tank is excellent. It’s common to get a group of 6 or more.
Cory catfish originate from South America. They’re originally tropical fish, which means it’s best to mimic the same water conditions. However, they’re resilient, easygoing, and can do well in different conditions.
The ideal water temperature for Corys is between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. For pH levels, aim to get it between 7.0 and 8.0.
Aside from water temperature and pH levels, fill the tank with plenty of live plants because Corys love plants. Also, fill the bottom of the tank with soft sand because they’re bottom dwellers.
It’s also important for you to check for nitrite and ammonia. Make sure it’s at 0 ppm because a small amount can be dangerous to Cory catfish. It can even be fatal, so, regularly test the water.
Most community tank fish will get along with Cory catfish. Look for fish that are friendly and get along with groups.
Cory catfish tank mates include other Corys, feeding shrimp, angelfish, fancy guppies, freshwater snails, neon tetras, common molly, and swordtails.
Make sure the tank mates aren’t aggressive. Avoid cichlids, barbs, and oscars.
Diet and food
Cory catfish aren’t picky eaters. If it fits in its mouth, the Cory will likely eat it. While they’re great at cleaning up leftovers, you shouldn’t rely on that. Feed your Corys a good diet.
The standard diet consists of live or freeze-dried worms, fish flakes, sinking wafers, shrimp pellets, and bottom feeder tablets.
Aside from being easy to care for and peaceful, Cory catfish live longer than much other fish. The average lifespan for Corys is 5 years.
With the right care and conditions, they may be able to live longer. The opposite is also true. If they’re stressed or aren’t being taken care of, they can die sooner.
Frequently asked questions
Why do Cory catfish swim to the top?
It’s common for Cory catfish to swim to the surface and take a big gulp of air. It’s natural for them to do this because it’s how they survived in low-oxygen waters. When they do this, you may hear a pop when they break through the surface. It’s normal.
How many Cory catfish should be kept together?
A group of 6 or more Cory catfish is ideal. They’re happier in groups because they’re social fish. It’s also best to keep them in a 20 or 30-gallon tank.
Are Corys easy to breed?
Yes, Cory catfish are easy to breed. If you get a separate tank that’s dedicated to breeding, the Corys may feel more comfortable and secure. Also, cooler water helps induce spawning. It simulates cool rainfall, which is when they would breed.
Is gravel bad for Cory catfish?
Gravel is rough, and it can hurt the Cory catfish when they’re swimming. It can cause scratches and bruises. Since they’re bottom dwellers, soft sand is better.
Can Cory catfish live with betta fish?
Yes, Cory catfish and betta fish can be tank makes. Betta fish typically stay at the top of the tank, while Corys stay at the bottom. Make sure you provide plants in the tank, as well.
Cory catfish are excellent to add to a community of peaceful and friendly fish. There are many different species, and they help keep your tank clean. Corys are also beginner-friendly, as they’re easy to take care of.
Featured image courtesy of Canva.
About David Em
David Em is the founder of Nola & Luna Pets, a leading resource for everything you need to know about pets and adorable pet accessories.