Cory Catfish – Types, Care, Feeding, Breeding and Details!

Cory catfish (Corydoras) are sure to revitalize the aquarium space. They swim in flocks, rush after each other, play catch-up. The birthplace of these funny Fish is in South America. There they live in freshwater with warm, soft water and a muddy bottom.

The fish are unpretentious in care; even a novice aquarist will cope with them. There are more than 150 types of cory catfishes that differ in color, size, and behavior.

Quick Stats

Family: Callichthyidae
Care Level: Easy
Diet: Omnivore
Scientific name: Corydoras
Lifespan: 5 years, or significantly more, under the right conditions
Temperament: Peaceful
Tank Size: 20 Gallons or More
Temperature: from 20 to 26 ° C
Hardness: from 0 to 12 dH
Acidity: from 6.4 to 7.4 Ph

Description of Cory catfish

Cory catfish is a small fish with a flattened body. She has a curved back and a flat abdomen. Scales are replaced with bone plates, so the Fish is sometimes called armored shell catfish.

The mouth is at the bottom as the Fish gets food at the bottom. On the lips, three pairs of mustaches help the catfish navigate in troubled waters.

The cory catfish’s body length is from 3 to 10 cm. Life expectancy reaches 15 years. Catfish have a dual respiratory system. They absorb oxygen not only by the gills but also by the intestines.

Cory Catfish swallows air bubbles that are absorbed by their digestive system. The coloring in this Fish is the most diverse, albinos are quite common. Females differ from males in less intense coloring and a rounded dorsal fin.

Types of Cory Catfishes

Among all the variety of catfish species, only a few of them are kept in the aquarium.

The Most Popular Cory Fish are:

Panda Cory – These Fish come from Peru. Their length is 3-4 cm. They have a white color, sometimes with a pinkish tint. There are black spots on the fins, eyes, and near the tail.

The more Fish get live food, the larger they grow. Catfish of this species prefer slightly acidified clean water with proper aeration and a temperature of 22 ºС.

Sterbai Cory – They have a length of up to 5 cm. Their body is covered with small spots, which near the tail turn into parallel stripes.

Fins on the abdomen are orange; pectorals have rays. Fish can mimic, that is, they can change color depending on the color of the bottom.

Adolfo’s Catfish – Small individuals get up to 5 cm long. They have a white body and an orange spot on their heads. On the back are black stripes that catch your eye. This species does not spawn in aquariums.

Leopard Catfish – It has a spectacular yellow-brown color, reminiscent of a leopard skin. Body length does not exceed 6 cm.

Tankmates for Cory Catfish

Cory Catfish do not tolerate loneliness and prefer to live in flocks. They contain groups of 5-8 individuals.

Cory catfishes are good aquarium orderlies. Most often, they are in the lower layers of water or on the surface of the soil, where they are looking for fallen food from above.

They have always engaged in searches very actively and raise all the dregs from the bottom, so you need to install a powerful filter in the aquarium. Aquarium cory catfish have a peaceful character.

They get along well with Tank Mates such as:

When kept together with goldfish, koi carps, and Oscar fish, conflicts can arise. Cory’s cannot be settled with cichlids of American and African species.

Conditions of Keeping Cory Catfish

Cory catfish belong to the bottom fish category. For them, the bottom area of ​​the aquarium is of primary importance.

In the calculation, the following rules are used: for every 20−25 cm of the total length of the trunk of catfish, 0.5 m² of the area is needed. Usually, a flock of 5-8 fish is kept in a 50-liter aquarium.

Water suitable for catfish has a wide range of parameters so that they can be settled both with tropical Fish and with inhabitants of cold liquids.

Catfish can live at a water temperature of 20 to 30 ºC, hardness from 0 to 18 dH, acidity from 5.8 to 7.8 Ph,

but the following conditions will be best for them:

  • temperature from 20 to 26 ° C;
  • hardness from 0 to 12 dH;
  • the acidity from 6.4 to 7.4 Ph.

It is required that you take great care of the content of nitrates and nitrites in the aquatic environment – it should be minimal.

For the treatment of Fish and the destruction of parasites, salt cannot be used – cory catfishes do not tolerate it.

Fine sand or gravel is used as aquarium soil. It should not have sharp stones, about which the Fish can get hurt. It is better to use dark soil if you don’t want to hurt your catfish and keep your floor looking impressive.

The bottom is decorated with snags and rounded stones, in which the Fish will hide. Do not use products made of polymeric materials that will release harmful substances into the aquatic environment.

Plants can be planted in the aquarium, but there should be enough space between them so that catfishes can freely search for food.

For decoration, moss, fern, and algae in the form of spreading bushes are suitable. Catfish can undermine their roots, so you need to choose plants with an extensive root system or fix them in the ground. Floating algae should not cover the surface of the water too much.


Cory catfishes are omnivorous; they pick up leftover food from the bottom. But you can’t leave catfishes on one “past” feed, as they will starve.

Dry feeds for bottom Fish are suitable, as well as live and frozen bloodworms, artemia, tubule, daphnia, corvette, and tablets with a vegetable composition are also included in the diet.

Breeding Cory Catfish

Cory catfish become sexually mature at the age of 12-18 months. For spawning, it is necessary to equip a separate tank with a capacity of at least 60 liters.

Broadleaf plants are planted there, and the bottom is decorated with snags and flat stones. The water temperature should be one to two degrees lower than in a conventional aquarium.

One female and several males participate in spawning.

Males chase the female throughout the aquarium.

After which she selects one of them and takes his milk into her mouth. At this time, she lays several eggs in the ventral fins, folded in the form of a bag.

Then the female selects a smooth surface (usually a stone, aquarium glass, or driftwood), lubricates it with milk, and glues eggs. The same thing is repeated with other males.

Sometimes males eat laid eggs. To prevent this from happening, they are distracted with a small amount of feed or planted in a typical aquarium.

After 7-10 days, the fish are again ready for spawning. It can last for a whole year.

One week after spawning, fry appear. As a starter feed for them using “live dust.” After four weeks, young animals can be run in a standard aquarium.

How To Select Catfish For The Aquarium

In order not to be disappointed in the breeding of catfish or cory catfish, you need to buy healthy individuals.

When buying, observe the following rules:

  1. Only vigorous, active Fish are selected. Individuals lying at the bottom and not responding to customers should not be taken.
  2. When choosing, you should pay attention to the breathing of Fish. A healthy fish quickly rises to the surface, swallows air, and falls energetically. The patient increases with difficulty and drops like a stone.
  3. If the Fish moves sideways or irregularly, is poorly oriented in space, or has balance problems, then you should not take it. Such an individual is unhealthy.
  4. If the Fish on the body have unusual growths or spots, this means that they are affected by the fungus. Reddish spots in the lower torso indicate a bacterial infection.
  5. Do not take an individual with a damaged mustache.
  6. The fins of the Fish should be intact and straightened. You should not buy an individual whose fins are stuck together or have stripes.
  7. The eyes of the catfish should be bright, not tarnished by turbidity, not sunken, and not too convex.
  8. Do not buy individuals with mucus-covered or inflamed gills. The black color in fish gill means that it was poisoned with nitrogen.
  9. If the Fish’s abdomen is hollow, then this individual is too exhausted or infected with helminths. Even If it is also convex, it can be a consequence of various diseases. Such Fish should not be bought either.


You should not buy catfish of the same size. Purchased Fish can not be immediately released into a standard aquarium. They should be quarantined for some time.

Cory catfish are active Fish that clean the bottom of the aquarium well from pollution. They are unpretentious to the conditions of detention and quickly breed. With proper care, they will remain healthy and live a long life.

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