Care Guide for Cory Catfish – The Perfect Community Bottom Dweller
Are you looking for a calm beginner fish with lots of personality? Look no further! Corydoras, also known as Corycatfish, are a very popular species of community fish. They’re happy-go lucky, easy-breeding, and a great clean-up crew. In this care guide, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this adorable bottom dweller.
What is Corydoras?
This genus of South American catfish includes more than 160 species, with several hundred more that are waiting to be classified. Ranging from 1 to 3 inches long in the aquarium hobby, they’re named after the bony plates of armor on their body. These little catfish have sharp spines on their fins to protect them from predators. They can also produce mild venom when stressed, so don’t attempt to catch them without a net.
Depending on the species, most cory catfish enjoy temperatures between 72 and 82degF. For example, peppered cory catfish (Corydoras paleatus) and julii cory catfish (Corydoras julii) are found on the cooler end of the spectrum, whereas sterbai cory catfish (Corydoras sterbai) can live in higher temperatures. They are also tolerant to pH levels from 6.5 to 7.8.
Corydoras are often seen in large groups, ranging from 20 to hundreds of the exact species. They are most active in the daytime, with peak activity occurring at dawn and dusk. The most popular varieties in the pet trade include the bronze cory and albino cory (Corydoras aeneus), panda cory (Corydoras panda), emerald green cory (Corydoras splendens), and pygmy cory (Corydoras pygmaeus).
Pygmy cory catfish is one of the smallest species. They love to swim in and around the tank’s middle and not at the bottom.
What Size Tank Do Cory Catfish Need?
For dwarf species, a 10-gallon aquarium may be suitable, but we recommend 20 gallons or more for most other varieties. They are a small fish and crave safety. Therefore, a group of six corydoras (all the same species) is recommended. These peaceful bottom dwellers can be kept alongside any fish that doesn’t attack or eat them. You should not keep corydoras in a tank with goldfish. These fish can grow quite large and will inhale everything that gets in their mouth.
If you’re looking for fish stocking ideas, a 20-gallon aquarium could house a school of cory catfish swimming at the bottom, a school of small tetras swimming in the middle layer, and a centerpiece fish like a honey gourami. Add some lush aquarium plants and you’ve got a miniature ecosystem in your living room!
Cory catfish prefer to shoal (or swim loosely together) with others, so ensure they have at most six of the same species.
Cory Catfish need sand substrate
Corydoras have wispy barbels or whiskers to help them find food, so smooth sand or gravel is preferred. (That being said, our CEO Cory McElroy visited their natural habitat in the Amazon and found the substrate to be quite sharp, as seen in this video.) In general, it helps to feed larger foods like worms and Repashy gel food that can sit on top of the substrate and not get trapped in between cracks where the corys can’t reach them.
In the wild, corydoras can be found on sharp substrate, so if their barbels start to erode, it may be caused by other factors like poor water quality.
What should I feed my Cory Catfish,
Corydoras don’t have a particular diet and will eat any food that is small or soft enough for them to eat. You can find them eating all kinds of worms. They will eat frozen bloodworms and live blackworms. They also enjoy Repashy gel foods, sinking wafers, and other sinking community foods.
They don’t eat a lot of algae so they will require you to give them specific nutrition. Cory catfish can become overwhelmed by more aggressive predators and waste away easily during feeding times.
Corydoras are not algae eaters and therefore must be regularly fed in order to live a long, healthy life.
Can You Breed Cory Catfish in Aquariums?
Yes, it is possible! Many fish keepers find that corydoras can breed spontaneously without any effort. Males have a smaller and thinner profile, whereas females are rounder and larger to hold all the eggs. Preparing them for breeding (or conditioning them) is possible by providing them with lots of nutritious foods such as live blackworms or frozen bloodworms. Inducing spawning can be done by using cooler water than normal (by a few degree) during water changes that mimic the rainy season. Soon you will find sticky round eggs covering your tank walls and decor.
If you wish to breed catfish in the same aquarium they live in, you will need to provide plenty of cover. All fish (including the parents themselves) will happily eat the eggs, given the chance. For a higher survival rate, you can remove the eggs (with your fingers or a credit card) into a separate aquarium to raise the fry. Keep the baby catfish well-fed with live baby brine shrimps and powdered fry food. This will allow you to enjoy a new generation of corydoras.
We wish you the best for your new cory fish!