How to Care for Cory Catfish? (Tank, Water, Diet, Plants)

Cory catfish are quite easy to take care of. If you are just starting to keep fish as pets, Cory catfish will be a good choice because of their low maintenance.

Read on to find out how to care for Cory catfish.

How to Care for Cory Catfish?

By making sure your fish tank is in ideal condition, you can increase Cory catfish’s longevity and quality of life.

Tank Size

Cory catfish like to swim around and explore different parts of the fish tank.

You need to ensure your fish tank is large enough for your Cory catfish to move around.

The minimum tank size for keeping Cory catfish is 20 gallons if you have 5 Cory catfish.

Experts recommend keeping a 30-gallon tank as it will be more than enough to keep them happy.

Water Quality

Because of the delicate nervous system of Cory catfish, they need extra care.

They are prone to be affected by even minor changes in their environment, especially water quality.

Cory catfish require a temperature ranging from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

They are a little more tolerant when it comes to pH levels. The tank water should have a pH level between 5.5 to 7.2.

Cory catfish will live best when the hardness of the water is around 5-10 dGH. However, the water hardness may vary depending on the size of the home aquarium.

You should also make sure the nitrate and ammonia levels of the tank water are kept zero or, at best, very low.

Nitrate can cause a lot of infections and stress for Cory catfish.

All these conditions will make your fish tank suitable for housing Cory catfish. However, any rapid changes in the water quality will have severe consequences on their health.

Healthy Diet

Cory catfish are omnivores as they can eat both plants and meat. They are usually found at the bottom of the tank when feeding.

However, they will swim near the water surface when they are hungry.

Cory catfish are particularly fond of eating worms. You can give them frozen bloodworms and live blackworms.

For maximum nutrition, Cory catfish should be given a varied diet. This diet ideally consists of a mixture of algae rounds, bottom feeder tablets, and shrimp pellets.

Cory catfish also prefer having gel foods and sinking wafers. This is because they prefer living near the bottom of the tank.

They need to get back to their comfort zones as quickly as possible.

Also read: Can Cory Catfish Eat Betta Food?

Aquarium Plants

Cory catfish like to find a space where they can rest or hide from others.

It is best to put live plants in your fish tank like Echinodorus Tenellus and Cryptocoryne Parva. Java fern, hornworts, java moss, and Amazon Sword are also good options.

These plants are useful in providing shade to the areas surrounding them. Cory catfish like spending some time in these shaded areas, away from the hustle of the aquarium.

How Many Cory Catfish Can Live Together in a Fish Tank?

Cory catfish are social creatures that like to spend time in groups. People recommend keeping four to five Cory catfish together in one fish tank.

If Cory catfish are kept alone, they will show signs of loneliness. This can be noticed by their loss of appetite or general lethargy.

If you have these signs in your Cory catfish, consider putting more of them to keep them company.

How Long Can Cory Catfish Live Without Food?

Without food, Cory catfish can survive for a week if it is well-fed. But after a week, Cory catfish will exhibit signs of weakness.

2 weeks of being unfed will cause them to die of hunger.

It is important to make sure they are regularly taken care of. Even if you are unavailable, you should always make arrangements for their feeding and tank maintenance.

What Type of Substrate Is Best for Cory Catfish?

The substrate is a highly important part of keeping your Cory catfish happy as they are bottom dwellers. Sand substrate is best for their lifestyle.

Fish tank experts recommend not putting gravel substrate in the aquarium. The sharp edges of the stones can hurt Cory catfish and damage their bodies and fins.

The fish also like to dig in the sand substrate, looking for leftover pieces of food; hence gravel substrate should be avoided at all costs.

An important tip to remember is that when you need to clean the fish tank, you should try your best not to disturb the substrate.

Stirring the sand substrate will cause the contaminants and other decaying materials to float around and reduce water quality.

This can also cause bacteria to flourish, thereby increasing the chances of catching diseases.

Too much stirring of the sand substrate will also cause a spike in the ammonia levels of the tank water. You should also make sure that, when replacing the water, the new water is dechlorinated.

What Fish Shouldn’t Be Kept with Cory Catfish?

Cory catfish are quite docile and peaceful creatures and will live comfortably with other peaceful tank mates.

However, they cannot survive with aggressive tank mates.

Some of the fish that you need to avoid are Cichlids, Oscars, and Barbs. These are popular among fish tank owners; however, they are quite aggressive by nature and will try to fight and dominate other fish.

Aquarium crayfish is another type that should be kept away from Cory catfish. These fish can injure or even kill your Cory catfish.

Even when not directly harmed, their presence will cause an extreme amount of stress for your catfish.

Also read: Are Cory Catfish Aggressive?

What Diseases Can Affect Cory Catfish?

Cory catfish have a rather delicate immune system, and as such, they are prone to many diseases. Some of the most common include:


Ich, or white spot disease, is a parasitic disease common in freshwater fish. It is caused by a parasite that affects the fish’s skin and fins.

Ich can be fatal to catfish if left untreated. It is commonly seen as white spots on the fish’s body.

Ich can be treated with a variety of methods. First of all, you will need to put the infected fish in quarantine. This will prevent the disease from spreading on to others.

One common treatment is to raise the temperature of the water. This will speed up the parasite’s life cycle, allowing the fish to recover more quickly.

Other treatments include adding salt to the water or using a commercial ich treatment product.

Nitrite Poisoning

While nitrite poisoning isn’t technically a disease, it is the leading cause of early death of Cory catfish.

Nitrite poisoning usually happens because of low water quality in the fish tank.

Water quality will decline sharply if the nitrite levels aren’t maintained at regular intervals. Cory catfish suffering from nitrite poisoning will swim quite slowly near the surface of the water.

Nitrite poisoning can be treated by changing 25% of the water and adding nitrite absorbers to the aquarium filter.

You can also add more plants to the tank which will prevent nitrite from increasing.

Also read: Ammonia Poisoning in Betta Fish – Causes and Prevention!

Red Blotch Disease

Red Blotch disease is another common disease caused by bacteria. This is usually because of poor aquarium conditions.

The Cory catfish will have red blotches all over their body.

To prevent this from happening, fish owners should make sure their tank is maintained throughout.

They should use a soft substrate that will prevent any scratches, hence leading to infections.

If the disease persists, you can add one to two teaspoons of salt per gallon in the fish tank. You can also use a broad-spectrum antibiotic that will cure the Cory catfish of this disease.

Swim Bladder Disease

Swim bladder disease is a common problem in catfish and can be caused by a number of different things.

The swim bladder is a sac located just behind the catfish’s intestines, and it is filled with gas.

This gas allows the fish to control its buoyancy and helps it to swim upright.

If the swim bladder becomes diseased, it can lose its ability to function properly, and the fish will have difficulty swimming.

There are several different types of swim bladder disease, but the most common one is a bacterial infection.

This type of infection is usually caused by dirty water or eating contaminated food.

It can also be caused by stress, which weakens the fish’s immune system and makes it more susceptible to infection.

Symptoms of swim bladder disease include lethargy, loss of appetite, and difficulty swimming. The fish may float upside down or have trouble staying afloat.

If you suspect that your Cory catfish has swim bladder disease, the best course of action is to take it to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

There are a number of different medications that can be used to treat the disease, but it is important to catch it early so that it can be treated before the fish suffers any permanent damage.

How to Prevent Cory Catfish from Getting Sick

There are a few things you can do to help prevent your Cory catfish from getting sick.

Some of the most important prevention methods include quarantining new fish before adding them to the main tank.

You should also do regular water changes and clean the tank regularly.

You need to ensure your Cory catfish are fed a balanced diet. If you overfeed them, they will suffer from various health issues.

Just like any other pet, it is recommended to take your fish to the vet for regular check-ups. If there is any potential for a problem, you can address it in its early stages.

By taking these measures, you can help keep your Cory catfish healthy and happy for many years to come.

How to Breed Cory Catfish

The breeding process of Cory catfish is quite easy. For beginners in fish keeping, Cory catfish are good to start with.

Cory catfish take around six to eight months to mature sexually.

If you want to breed Cory catfish, you will have to start with choosing a healthy pair of them and putting them in a separate tank. This tank should have a sand substrate and aquarium plants.

Make sure the breeding fish are fed live food like insects or bloodworms. The water temperature should be lowered slowly by three degrees to stimulate the breeding process.

When the female Cory catfish wants to be impregnated, it will develop a rounder body. This is an indication that the eggs have started to form.

The female Cory catfish will go up to the male and receive the sperm for fertilizing its eggs.

It will lay the eggs on the pelvic fin and then deposit them on the surface of the substrate.

Unfortunately, Cory catfish can eat their young. Hence, once all the eggs are laid, return both of the Cory catfish to their original tank to let the eggs hatch in peace.

How to Care for the Young Cory Catfish

When the parents have been separated from the breeding tank, you need to keep a careful eye on the eggs.

You must replace the breeding tank’s water with a new one at least thrice a day. This will help the eggs be safe from any fungus growth. Cory catfish eggs normally take a week to hatch.

Once the eggs are hatched, the fry doesn’t need any food for at least two days. When you see the fry starting to swim on their own, you can give them baby brine shrimp.

Once the length for Cory catfish fry is of 1 inch, you can put them in the home tank.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

How many Cory catfish should be kept in a fish tank?

The recommended number of Cory catfish in a fish tank is 5 to 6 in a 30-gallon home aquarium.

What is the best diet for Cory catfish?

Cory catfish can eat both plants and meat.

They should be given a diet of shrimp pellets, bottom feeder tablets, and worms such as bloodworms or Daphnia.

What is the average size of an adult Cory catfish?

Cory catfish can grow up to 2 inches to 2.5 inches when fully mature.

However, it also depends on what species they are. Adult Pygmy Corydoras are only 1 inch long.


Cory catfish are excellent fish for beginners.

They are quite easy to take care of and will get along well with most other creatures because of their friendly nature.

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