How Long Do Cory Catfish Live?

Cory catfish are a favorite among fish owners for their playful nature and low maintenance requirements.

But how long do cory catfish live?

This question is often asked by those looking to add these fish to their tank.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the average lifespan of cory catfish and some tips on how you can help them live a long and healthy life.

How Long Do Cory Catfish Live?

Cory catfish can typically live up to five or six years. Some species have a lifespan of ten years or more.

Smaller variants of Cory catfish can live for three to four years.

Read on to find out more about different factors that affect how long Cory catfish can live.

Types of Cory Catfish and Their Lifespans

Different species of Cory catfish have different lifespans.

Some of the popular Cory catfish species are given below.

Bronze Cory Catfish

This species of Cory catfish is the most popular type among fish tank owners. They can live in aquariums for up to 5 years.

Some of them may live even longer if they are well taken care of.

Peppered Cory Catfish

Peppered Cory catfish are hugely popular because of their rather unique appearance.

These can also live up to four years, five if you take care of them properly.

Panda Cory Catfish

Panda cory catfish have marks on their bodies that make them look similar to pandas.

They have a longer lifespan than most other Cory catfish, as they can live up to ten years. With good care, some of them may live even longer.

Emerald Green Cory Catfish

Emerald Green Cory catfish are among the larger species of Cory catfish. They can grow up to three to four inches in length.

Emerald Green Cory catfish also have a huge lifespan. They can live normally for thirteen years or even longer if their owners take good care of them.

Pygmy Cory Catfish

These are not only the smallest species of Cory catfish, but they also have the shortest lifespan.

Even if you care for them well, they will live for a maximum of three years.

Sterba’s Cory Catfish

Undoubtedly, this particular type of Cory catfish has the longest lifespan among all the species.

Their average lifespan is fifteen years, but it can be extended to an astonishing twenty years. However, this requires premium quality of care.

Cory Catfish SpeciesLifespan
Bronze Cory CatfishUp to 5 Years
Peppered Cory Catfish4-5 Years
Panda Cory CatfishUp to 10 Years
Emerald Green Cory CatfishUp to 13 Years
Pygmy Cory CatfishUp to 3 Years
Sterba’s Cory CatfishUp to 15 Years

Can Cory Catfish’s Lifespan Be Increased?

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

Make Sure the Tank Size is Enough for Cory Catfish

Cory catfish prefer swimming around and exploring different parts of the fish tank.

Your tank should have sufficient space to give them a lot of freedom as they tend to move in groups.

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.

Keep Water Quality in Check

Cory catfish have a rather delicate nervous system, and as such, they need extra care.

They are susceptible to even minor changes in their environment, especially water quality.

Cory catfish require a temperature ranging from 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 81 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.

The hardness of the water should be around 15 dKH at the most. However, it usually depends on how big your home aquarium is.

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

Even a small amount of nitrate and ammonia can be fatal for Cory catfish. Ideally, they should be kept at 0 ppm.

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.

Give Them a 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.

For maximum nutrition, Cory catfish should be given a varied diet. This diet can include algae rounds, bottom feeder tablets, and shrimp pellets.

You can also give them bloodworms and Daphnia as they love eating them. You should always give them food in such quantities that they can eat it within 2 to 3 minutes.

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: Are Cory Catfish Bottom Feeders?

Keep Aquarium Plants

While Cory catfish like moving around the fish tank, they also prefer having a space to rest or hide from others.

You should put live plants in your fish tank such as Cryptocoryne Parva and Echinodorus Tenellus. Java fern, hornworts, java moss, and Amazon Sword are also good options.

The plants shade some of the areas from light. Cory catfish like to spend some time in these shaded areas.

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

Cory catfish like to socialize and be in groups. Most people recommend having five or six Cory catfish in your 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?

A well-fed Cory catfish can survive without food for one week. However, they will soon start showing health issues after a week of not eating food.

If unfed for two weeks, Cory catfish can 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.

Also read: Can Cory Catfish Eat Betta Food?

What Type of Substrate Is Best for Cory Catfish?

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

Avoid putting gravel substrate as the sharp edges of the stones can damage Cory catfish.

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.

What Diseases Can Infect Cory Catfish?

One of the most common diseases that infect Cory catfish is white spot disease.

This damages the skin and the gills of Cory catfish, causing breathing problems for them. If untreated, this will lead to their death.

If you notice your Cory catfish suffering from white spot disease, you should immediately put the infected fish in quarantine.

White spot disease is highly contagious as it can quickly spread to other fish and plants. It can even infect humans. Hence, you should always sanitize your hands.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

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.

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.


Cory catfish can live up to an average of five years.

However, some species can even reach fifteen or twenty years, while others can live for three years at the most.

The lifespan of Cory catfish also depends on the tank conditions. Make sure the water parameters are kept at the optimum levels, and the tank is regularly cleaned.

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