Care Guide for Cory Catfish – The Perfect Community Bottom Dweller
You are looking for a quiet beginner fish that has lots of personality and is easy to handle? Look no further! Corydoras or corycatfish is a popular fish in the community. They are happy-go-lucky and easy-to-breed. We answer the most common questions about this cute bottom dweller in this care guide.
What are Corydoras?
The genus South American catfish has more than 160 species. There are many more species that are still 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 tiny catfish are protected against predators by having sharp spines in the fins. This can sometimes cause mild venom if stressed.
Depending on the species, most cory catfish enjoy temperatures between 72 and 82degF. 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.
In the wild, corydoras have been observed in large groups numbering from 20 to hundreds of the same species. Peak activity occurs at dawn and sunset. They are most active during the daytime. The most common varieties in the pet market are the albino and bronze cory corys, Corydoras corys aeneus, panda (Corydoras Panda), panda (Corydoras Panda), emerald-green corys and the pygmy 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 does 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 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.
Cory Catfish need sand substrate
Corydoras use wispy whiskers or barbels to find food. Therefore, smooth sand and gravel are preferred. Cory McElroy (our CEO) visited their Amazon habitat and discovered that the substrate was quite sharp. 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?
Speaking of diet, corydoras are not picky eaters and will eat anything small or soft enough to fit in their mouths. They are fond of all kinds of worms. So, they love frozen blackworms, live blackworms, and Hikari Vibra Bits (tiny food sticks that look just like bloodworms). Repashy gel foods and sinking wafers are also favorites.
They are not primarily algae eaters, so you will need to specifically feed them to make sure they get enough 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! Many fish keepers find that their corydoras breed randomly all the time without any special effort. Males have a shorter profile and are smaller in size, while females are larger and more robust to hold all their 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. You can also induce spawning by introducing cooler than normal water (by a few degrees) during water changes to imitate 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 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. 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.
Best of luck with your new cory catfish!