Care Guide for Cory Catfish – The Perfect Community Bottom Dweller
Looking for a peaceful beginner fish with tons 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. We answer the most common questions about this cute bottom dweller in this care guide.
What are 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.
The temperature range for cory catfish varies depending on its species. Peppered cory cats (Corydoras paleatus) and julii Cory catfishs (Corydoras jelii) live at the lower end of the temperature range, while sterbai cory cats (Corydoras stabai) can survive at higher temperatures. They prefer pH levels between 6.5 and 7.8.
Corydoras can be seen in large groups of up to 20 species. Peak activity occurs at dawn and sunset. They are most active during the daytime. The most sought-after varieties in the pet trade are the bronze and albino corys (Corydoras albino), panda corys (Corydoras panada), emerald corys (Corydoras splendens), pygmy (Corydoras piygmaeus).
Pygmy cory cats are one of the smallest corydora species and they love to swim in the middle, not at the bottom.
What size tank is best for Cory Catfish?
For dwarf species, a 10-gallon aquarium may be suitable, but we recommend 20 gallons or more for most other varieties. A corydora is a group of 6 or more fish that are all the same species. This is because they are small and need safety. They can be kept with any other community fish that will not eat or attack them. Corydoras should not be kept with goldfish. They can get quite large and inhale any food that is available to them.
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 like to shoal together (or swim loosely in a group), so get at least six of the same species so they feel safe and comfortable.
Are Cory Catfish Require Sand Substrates?
Corydoras have wispy barbels or whiskers to help them find food, so smooth sand or gravel is preferred. Cory McElroy (our CEO) visited their Amazon habitat and discovered that the substrate was quite sharp. It’s a great way to feed larger foods, such as Repashy gel and worms, that can sit on top and not get stuck between cracks.
Corydoras in the wild can be found on sharp substrate. This means that if their barbels start eroding, it could be caused by poor water quality.
What should I feed my Cory Catfish?
Corydoras do not have a strict diet. They will eat whatever is soft or small enough to fit into their mouths. They love worms of all types, so try live blackworms, frozen bloodworms, and Hikari Vibra Bites (tiny food sticks that look like bloodworms). They also enjoy Repashy gel foods, sinking wafers, and other sinking community foods.
They are not primarily algae eaters, so you will need to specifically feed them to make sure they get enough nutrition. Cory catfish can get overwhelmed when they are surrounded by other aggressive fish, which can lead to them wasting away.
Corydoras do not eat algae and must be fed regularly to ensure a healthy, long-lived life.
Can You Breed Cory Catfish in Aquariums?
Yes, it is possible! Many fish keepers find that their corydoras breed randomly all the time without any special effort. Males have a smaller and thinner profile, whereas females are rounder and larger to hold all the eggs. Condition them (or prepare them for breeding) by feeding lots of nutritious foods, such as live blackworms and 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 enough, you’ll find sticky round eggs all over 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. If given the chance, all fish (including parents) will happily eat eggs. 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. You can feed the baby catfish lots of baby brine shrimp and powdered food. Keep an eye on the water changes and you will enjoy a whole new generation.
Best of luck with your new cory catfish!