Care Guide for Cory Catfish – The Perfect Community Bottom Dweller
Looking for a peaceful beginner fish with tons of personality? Look no further! The cory catfish, or Corydoras catfish, is one of the most popular community fish because they’re so happy-go-lucky, easy to breed, and helpful as a clean-up crew. In this care guide, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this adorable bottom dweller.
What are Corydoras, you ask?
The South American catfish genus includes over 160 species. Several hundred more are in the process of being classified. Ranging from 1 to 3 inches long in the aquarium hobby, they’re named after the bony plates of armor on their body. For protection against predators, these little catfish also have sharp spines in their fins that can sometimes produce a mild venom when stressed (in other words, don’t try to catch them with your bare hands).
Most cory catfish can live in temperatures between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on their 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 are often seen in large groups, ranging from 20 to hundreds of the exact species. They are most active during daylight hours, peak activity taking place 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. They can be kept with any other community fish that will not eat or attack 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.
Are Cory Catfish Require Sand Substrates?
Corydoras use wispy whiskers or barbels to find food. Therefore, smooth sand and gravel are preferred. Cory McElroy, our CEO, visited the Amazon to see the substrate in action. It is a good idea to feed large foods such as Repashy gel food and worms that can sit on top. This will prevent them from getting trapped 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 don’t have a particular diet and will eat any food that is small or soft enough for them to eat. They love worms of all types, so try live blackworms, frozen bloodworms, and Hikari Vibra Bites (tiny food sticks that look like bloodworms). Repashy gel foods, sinking Wafers and other sinking foods are all favorites.
They don’t eat a lot of algae so they will require you to give them specific nutrition. Cory catfish can get overwhelmed when they are surrounded by other aggressive fish, which can lead to them wasting away.
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 shorter profile and are smaller in size, while females are larger and more robust to hold all their 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 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. If the eggs are given the chance, all fish will eat them. Even the parents. 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!