Panda Cory – Care, Feeding, Tank Mates & Full Details!

Panda Corydoras, commonly referred to as Panda Cories, Panda Cory Catfish, Panda Cory and Panda Catfish are a striking type of catfish. They derive their name from their distinct color pattern, resembling the Giant Panda, with black and off-white markings.

Panda Cories are known to be peaceful, sociable creatures, making them excellent candidates for community tanks. In addition, their care requirements are beginner-friendly, ensuring a pleasant experience for novice and seasoned aquarists alike.

The Panda Cory offers a delightful and unique addition to your freshwater aquarium, combining a lively personality with beginner-friendly care requirements.

Welcome to your definitive guide to the Panda Cory, an attractive species of catfish widely appreciated by aquarists around the globe for its characteristic black and off-white markings.

Our aim is to equip you with comprehensive information on the care, habitat, and optimal conditions for raising Panda Cories and much more!

Quick Stats About Panda Cory

Care Level: Very easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Color Form: Various
Lifespan: 10 years
Size: 2 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Family: Callichthyidae
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater with plants
Compatibility: Peaceful commnunity

Panda Cory Appearance

Right off the bat, one of the Panda Cory’s most distinguishing features is its striking resemblance to the giant Panda, hence its name.

The black and off-white pattern mirrored on their body easily identifies them. The Panda Corydoras, as they are scientifically known, sport an off-white or pinkish hue, coupled with unique black markings akin to a panda bear.

Characteristically, these captivating creatures lack scales, instead boasting rows of overlapping bony plates, known as scutes, which provide them with an extra layer of protection.

Adding to their distinct look, they possess three sets of barbels, or whiskers, and a few defensive barbs on their dorsal and adipose fins, and under each eye.

Measuring approximately 2 inches (5 cm) in length, they make for an appealing addition to your aquarium without requiring much space.

Natural Habitat of Panda Cory

Understanding a species’ natural habitat is essential for recreating an environment conducive to its health and overall wellbeing.

The Panda Cory thrives in the Ucayali river system of Peru, a blackwater environment known for its soft, slightly acidic water with low mineral content.

This fast-flowing water body is oxygen-rich, a feature you’d want to replicate in your aquarium setup to ensure your Panda Cories’ comfort.

In these native habitats, Panda Cories enjoy the protection of heavy plant cover and the softness of sandy substrates, elements that they would certainly appreciate in their aquarium home.

Ensuring the right amount of light is also crucial, given that these charming creatures are predominantly nocturnal, being more active during the darker hours.

Origin and Distribution of Panda Cory

The Panda Corydoras trace their origin back to the Ucayali river system, the primary headwater of the legendary Amazon River in Peru.

It’s fascinating to note that these unique fish bear such a striking resemblance to the panda that they’ve been dubbed the Panda Cory.

While their existence in the wild is rare, the Panda Cory is not endangered, largely due to successful breeding in captivity.

However, the chances of spotting a Panda Corydoras in the wild on your next trip to Peru are slim, further emphasizing their charm and desirability for fish keepers worldwide.

Growth, Size & Lifespan of Panda Cory

On average, the Panda Cory grows to a size of approximately 2 inches or 5 centimeters in captivity, though wild specimens have been known to exceed this.

Providing them with suitable conditions and diet is integral to ensuring their healthy growth and development.

One of the most appealing attributes of the Panda Cory is its relatively long lifespan, which can reach up to 10 years. This longevity, combined with their gentle nature, makes them a favorite choice among both novice and experienced aquarists.

As with any living creature, their lifespan and overall health heavily depend on their care, tank conditions, and diet.

Through this exploration of the Panda Cory’s unique characteristics and natural environment, it’s clear that these engaging fish make for a delightful addition to any aquarium community.

Their striking appearance, coupled with their social demeanor, ensures they are not only visually appealing but also entertaining to observe.

By providing them with a tank environment closely mirroring their natural habitat, you’re sure to enjoy the company of these wonderful creatures for many years to come.

A key reason behind the Panda Cory’s popularity in the world of aquarists is not only its unique physical attributes but also its fascinating behavior and temperament.

Moreover, understanding their optimal tank setup is paramount to ensure their longevity and wellbeing.

Behavior and Temperament of the Panda Cory

The Panda Cory, or Corydoras panda, stands out due to its calm and peaceful demeanor. These charming fish are non-aggressive and friendly, making them an ideal choice for community tanks.

As social creatures, they enjoy the company of their own kind and prefer to live in groups of at least five or six.

In terms of activity, Panda Cories are bottom dwellers, spending much of their time exploring the tank floor in search of food. However, their explorative nature doesn’t stop there.

You’ll often spot them making brief dashes to the water surface to gulp air, a natural behavior exhibited due to their labyrinth organ, an evolutionary adaptation to their oxygen-poor natural habitats.

Tank Setup for the Panda Cory

Now that you understand the behavior and temperament of the Panda Cory, let’s delve into the specifics of their ideal tank setup.

Tank Size

For a group of five to six Panda Cories, a tank of 20 gallons is generally recommended. Providing them with ample space is essential to prevent stress and encourage natural behaviors.


In their natural habitat, Panda Cories frequent soft, sandy substrates. It’s best to replicate this in the tank. Choose a fine-grained, smooth substrate to avoid damage to their delicate barbels.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

To mimic their natural environment and cater to their love for hiding, add plenty of plants, driftwood, and rocks. Provide enough spaces for them to retreat to when they need a break from their exploratory activities.

Water Parameters

The water in your tank should emulate the Panda Cory’s natural habitat. The temperature should be between 72-78°F, and the pH should range between 6.0-7.0. The water hardness should be kept within a dGH of 2-15.

Filtration and Aeration

A good filter is key to maintaining clean and oxygen-rich water. A sponge filter is often recommended for these fish as it also prevents the small Cory from being sucked up. Regular water changes are also crucial to prevent the build-up of harmful toxins.


Since Panda Cories are nocturnal, dim or moderate lighting is preferred to mirror their natural light conditions. This will also promote their natural behaviors and help maintain their overall wellbeing.

Tank Mates

As a peaceful species, Panda Cories can coexist well with other non-aggressive fish of similar size. Tetras, Guppies, and other Corydoras species make great tank mates. Remember, always avoid housing them with larger or aggressive fish.


Panda Cories are omnivorous. A balanced diet including high-quality flake or pellet food, along with occasional servings of live or frozen foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp, will keep them healthy. Remember, they’re bottom feeders, so sinking pellets are a must.

By understanding the behavior, temperament, and optimal tank setup for the Panda Cory, you can ensure these charming creatures thrive in their aquatic home.

Their peaceful nature and fascinating behaviors make them a joy to observe, and with the right care, they’ll be a delightful addition to your aquarium for years to come.

Tank Maintenance Of Panda Cory

Keeping Panda Corydoras in your home aquarium is a pleasure, not a chore. With their peaceful behavior and unique appearance, they add a distinctive charm to your setup.

However, to maintain their health and vibrancy, regular and effective tank maintenance is vital.

In this guide, we’ll dive into the specifics of taking care of your Panda Cory’s habitat.

Regular Water Changes

Regular water changes are the cornerstone of tank maintenance. It helps maintain water quality and control harmful substances that could endanger the health of your Panda Cories.

It’s recommended to change 25-30% of the tank water weekly. However, never replace all the water at once as it can cause a drastic shift in water parameters, stressing your fish.

When adding new water, ensure it matches the temperature, pH, and hardness of the tank water to avoid shocking your fish. Using a water conditioner can also help remove chlorine and other harmful chemicals from tap water.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

Beyond water changes, the physical cleaning of the tank and decorations plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy environment. Over time, uneaten food and waste can accumulate, leading to the growth of harmful bacteria and algae.

Clean the tank glass with an algae scraper and vacuum the substrate to remove detritus.

For decorations like rocks, plants, or caves, gently scrub them with a brush in tank water removed during the water change. Never use soap or detergents as these are toxic to fish.

Filter Maintenance

The filter is the powerhouse of your tank, working tirelessly to keep the water clean and oxygenated. However, it also requires regular cleaning to maintain its efficiency.

Rinse the filter media in tank water (not tap water) to keep beneficial bacteria alive. It’s also recommended to check the filter for any blockages and replace the media as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Monitor Fish Health

An essential part of maintenance is regularly observing your fish. Look out for signs of distress or disease, such as changes in behavior, loss of appetite, faded colors, spots, or fungus on the body.

The Panda Cory is a hardy species, but maintaining optimal tank conditions can prevent most common fish diseases. If you do notice anything out of the ordinary, consult with a vet or fish expert immediately.

Providing a clean and safe environment is crucial for the wellbeing of your Panda Cory. Regular water changes, cleaning the tank and decorations, filter maintenance, and constant monitoring of your fish’s health are all essential aspects of successful tank maintenance.

By committing to these practices, you ensure your Panda Cory will live a long, happy, and healthy life in your care.

Acclimating Panda Cory

Introducing Panda Corydoras to a new environment demands care and attention. Acclimation is a vital process that helps your new fish adapt to the water parameters of your aquarium, reducing the risk of stress and illness.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide for acclimating your Panda Cory:

  1. Float the bag: Start by floating the sealed bag with the Panda Cory in your aquarium. This helps to gradually match the temperature inside the bag to that of your tank. Typically, this process should take around 15-30 minutes.

  2. Add tank water to the bag: Once the temperatures have matched, slowly add a small amount of your tank water to the bag. Repeat this step every five minutes for about half an hour. This allows the fish to adjust to the pH level and hardness of your tank’s water.

  3. Gently release the fish: Using a soft net, carefully transfer the Panda Cory from the bag to the tank. Avoid pouring water from the bag into the aquarium to prevent any potential contaminants from entering your tank.

Remember, it’s normal for your Panda Cory to appear stressed or disoriented after acclimation. Give them some time to adjust to their new surroundings.

Panda Cory Diet and Feeding

Panda Cories are omnivorous creatures. They are not fussy eaters and can accept a wide variety of foods.

Here’s a detailed rundown of what you should feed your Panda Cory:

Pellets and Flakes

Commercially available fish pellets and flakes serve as a staple diet for Panda Cories. Ensure that these foods sink to the bottom of the tank, as Panda Cories are bottom-feeders. They typically feed at night, so consider dropping in their food shortly before turning the lights off.

Live and Frozen Foods

To supplement their diet, consider providing live or frozen foods once or twice a week. These include brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, and tubifex. These foods are nutrient-rich and help boost the immune system of your Panda Cory.

Vegetable Matter

Even though they’re omnivores, Panda Cories do enjoy a bit of green in their diet. Blanched vegetables like peas, zucchini, or spinach can make for a tasty and healthy treat.

Feeding Frequency

Panda Cories should be fed once or twice a day, only as much as they can consume within 2-3 minutes. Overfeeding can lead to water pollution and health issues, so it’s best to stick to a feeding schedule.

Monitoring Their Eating Habits

Always watch your Panda Cories during feeding times. If they seem uninterested in food or are eating less than usual, this could signal a potential health problem. Regular observation can help you identify and address any issues early.

A balanced and varied diet is the key to your Panda Cory’s health and longevity. Combine commercial foods with natural treats to ensure they receive all the nutrients they need.

Remember to follow a consistent feeding schedule and monitor their eating habits to maintain their overall well-being.

Choosing the Perfect Panda Cory Tank Mates

Panda Cories are social, peaceful fish, making them excellent additions to community tanks. However, choosing the right tank mates is crucial to maintain a harmonious environment.

Here are some top choices for Panda Cory tank mates:

  1. Tetras: Neon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, or Rummy nose Tetras are all great choices. They are small, peaceful, and fast enough to escape any unwanted attention.

  2. Guppies: Known for their vibrant colors and peaceful nature, Guppies are a perfect match for Panda Cories.

  3. Rasboras: These schooling fish, such as Harlequin Rasboras, are active, peaceful, and coexist well with Panda Cories.

  4. Dwarf Cichlids: Dwarf Cichlids, like Bolivian Rams or Apistogrammas, make good companions, provided they have plenty of space.

  5. Other Corydoras: Different Corydoras species can live together harmoniously, including the peaceful Panda Cory.

Tank Mates to Avoid For Panda Cory

On the flip side, it’s essential to avoid certain fish that could stress or harm your Panda Cories.

Here are a few to steer clear of:

  1. Large Cichlids: Bigger Cichlids like Oscar fish or Jack Dempseys can see Panda Cories as a meal.

  2. Aggressive Fish: Species like Tiger Barbs or Red-Tailed Sharks can nip at the fins of your Panda Cories.

  3. Large Catfish: Avoid species like the Common Pleco, which can grow too big and may intimidate your Panda Cories.

Breeding Panda Cory

Breeding Panda Cories is an engaging process that can be rewarding for any aquarist.

Here’s a detailed look into the breeding process and fry care:

Pre-Breeding Care

To breed Panda Cories, it’s best to set up a separate breeding tank with a similar setup to their main tank. Increase the ratio of males to females, ideally with two males for each female. Feeding them a high-quality diet rich in live foods can trigger breeding behavior.


When ready to spawn, females will carry eggs in a ‘T’ position with the males. After fertilization, the female will select a location, often on the tank glass or plants, to deposit the eggs. This can continue for several hours until 100-150 eggs are laid.

Post-Spawning Care

Once spawning is complete, it’s best to remove adult Panda Cories to prevent them from eating the eggs. A gentle water change with slightly cooler water can help mimic natural rain showers, triggering the hatching process.

Fry Care

After 3-5 days, the eggs will hatch, and the fry will consume their yolk sacs for another 2-3 days. After that, they should be fed with infusoria or liquid fry food until they are big enough to eat crushed flake food and micro-worms.

Regular, small water changes are crucial at this stage to maintain water quality. Keep a keen eye on the fry’s growth and provide them with ample hiding spots.

As they grow, you can gradually introduce them to a diet similar to adult Panda Cories.

Remember, patience and consistent care are the keys to successfully breeding and raising Panda Cory fry.

Signs of Stress in Panda Cory

A stressed Panda Cory may show several signs, indicating that something is amiss in their environment:

  1. Loss of Appetite: If Panda Cories are not interested in food, stress could be the cause.

  2. Erratic Behavior: Darting around the tank, hiding more than usual, or displaying unusual swimming patterns can be stress indicators.

  3. Color Fading: Stress can cause Panda Cories to lose some of their vibrant coloration.

  4. Clamped Fins: If their fins are not spread out as usual, your Panda Cory could be stressed.

If you notice these signs, it’s crucial to act quickly. Review tank conditions, water parameters, and interactions with tank mates to identify the stress source and address it.

Common Health Issues and Treatments for Panda Cory

Like any fish species, Panda Cories can face some common health issues:

  1. Ich: This parasitic infection causes white spots on the fish’s body. Treat it by raising the tank temperature gradually to 86°F and consider using a recommended Ich medication.

  2. Fin Rot: Often caused by poor water conditions, fin rot can be treated with regular water changes and antibacterial medication if needed.

  3. Skin and Gill Flukes: These parasites can cause erratic swimming and rapid gill movement. A reliable parasitic medication can help.

Remember, the best treatment is always prevention. Keeping a clean tank with ideal water parameters is the best way to keep your Panda Cories healthy.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

  • Consistency is Key: Maintain a stable environment with regular water changes and temperature checks.

  • Monitor Water Parameters: Keeping a close eye on pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates can help prevent many health issues.

  • Quarantine New Additions: Always quarantine new fish before adding them to your main tank to prevent the spread of diseases.

Should You Get a Panda Cory for Your Aquarium?

If you appreciate active, peaceful, and social fish that can add a new dynamic to your aquarium, then Panda Cories could be an excellent choice for you. They are hardy and relatively easy to care for, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced aquarists.

Remember, every fish requires a level of commitment. As long as you can provide the right tank conditions, diet, and care, you’ll have the pleasure of watching these small creatures thrive in your aquarium.

Conservation Status

As of now, the Panda Cory (Corydoras panda) is not listed as endangered or threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

However, it’s crucial to support responsible fishing practices to ensure the long-term sustainability of all aquatic species.

Availability & Pricing

Panda Cories are a popular choice among aquarists and are readily available at most local pet stores and online vendors. The price can vary based on the size and age of the fish, with juveniles often being cheaper than fully-grown adults.

As of the date of writing, you can expect to pay anywhere between $5 to $10 for a healthy Panda Cory. However, prices can fluctuate based on availability and the specific retailer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Panda Cory

Q1: How many Panda Cories should be kept together?

Panda Cories are social creatures and thrive in groups. A minimum group of five is recommended, but they will be happier and more active in larger numbers.

Q2: What is the ideal tank size for Panda Cories?

A 20-gallon tank is the minimum suggested size for keeping Panda Cories. This allows them enough space to swim and explore.

Q3: Are Panda Cories suitable for beginners?

Yes, Panda Cories are hardy and relatively easy to care for, making them suitable for beginners.


In conclusion, Panda Cories make an excellent addition to any freshwater aquarium due to their peaceful temperament and vibrant appearance.

They are social, active, and relatively easy to care for, making them perfect for both beginners and experienced aquarists.

Although they require specific conditions to thrive, once these conditions are met, they can bring endless enjoyment to any home aquarium.

Remember to always practice responsible fishkeeping. Maintain good water quality, feed a balanced diet, and always monitor your fish for signs of stress or disease.

With the right care, your Panda Cories will thrive and serve as a captivating centerpiece in your aquarium.