Corydoras Catfish Care Guide: Diet, Size, Lifespan – Video

Cory catfish or Corydoras catfish are one of the most popular freshwater fish. Though there are different cory catfish types, they are all easy to care for. Here’s everything you need to know about keeping Cory catfish in your fish tank.

Cory Catfish Video

Corydoras Catfish Images

Tank Size

Cory Catfish can thrive in most tank sizes and dimensions. A 10-gallon aquarium can work, but larger aquariums are always best. If you do decide to go with a 10-gallon tank, do not overstock the tank. Each added fish, snail, clam, or shrimp adds to the bioload. Too many fish and ammonia levels spike, and your fish will die. Too many fish and there won’t be enough space; your fish become stressed and die.

No matter the tank, place a lid or cover on it. Corydoras catfish sometimes spring out of the water, trying to get food or air. This behavior is normal but take proper precautions to stop them from jumping out of the tank.

Water Parameters

Corydoras Catfish can survive in a variety of water conditions, but it is best to keep them in a cycled fish tank. Water parameters should be:

  • Aquarium pH: 7.0 – 7.8,
  • Temperature: 72 – 78 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • Lighting: Simple tank lighting

Always keep an eye on ammonia and nitrite levels. They both need to be 0 ppm. Perform regular water changes to keep nitrate under control. You can use machines to measure the level of ammonia and nitrate.

Corydoras Catfish won’t survive in aquariums with poor water conditions. For instance, high levels of nitrate can stress fish and make them prone to disease.


Corydoras Catfish are bottom-dwelling and like to scavenge the substrate for food. So, try to add at least two inches of gravel or another substrate on the aquarium floor.

Live plants are also beneficial for Corydoras as they like to hide or rest under plants. You can also add other artificial fish tank decorations to keep them occupied.

Cory Catfish Size

Cory catfish can range from 1 inch to 2.5 inches in length, depending on the species. They tend to be thicker at the head and slimmer near the tail.


Cory Cats eat fish flakes and pellets. They prefer to swim around the bottom in search of food. Don’t assume that there will be leftover fish food for Cory Cats to eat.

You can buy food that made for Cory Cats so that you are sure that they get proper nutrition. For example, sinking pellets or bottom feeder pellets mimic their natural feeding habits. Feed Corydoras once daily, and only give them as much food as they can eat in 3-5 minutes.


Cory Catfish can live for five years or more. It all depends on the condition of the aquarium. Sometimes, a Cory Catfish might die soon after you place it in a new tank. It could be due to stress during transportation, or it didn’t acclimate to the new environment.

Tank Mates

Cory Cats can live in the same tank without other non-aggressive fish. For instance, Otocinclus Catfish, Tetras, Guppies, or Mollies.

Filter feeding shrimp like the Bamboo Shrimp or Vampire Shrimp are also suitable tank mates for Cory Catfish. And, algae-eating Amano Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, and Red Cherry Shrimp can even live with Cory Cats.

If you want, you can also keep freshwater snails and Cory Cats in the same tank. For example,

Never keep Cory Cats in the same tanks as aquarium crayfish or cichlids. Oscars and Jack Dempsey fish can attack, injure, and kill cory cats.

Types of Corydoras Catfish

These are the most popular Cory Catfish types in the aquarium trade:

  • Peppered Cory Catfish
  • Pygmy Cory Catfish
  • Julii Cory Catfish
  • Emerald Cory Catfish
  • Sterbai Cory Catfish
  • Green Cory Catfish
  • Albino Cory Catfish

Things To Consider

If you plan to buy Cory catfish, look for a healthy fish. Healthy Cory catfish will have both eyes, undamaged fins, and tails. A healthy Cory catfish will also have all their little whiskers to the side of their mouths. The fish should be alert and moving around. There should be no dead, sick, or diseased fish sharing the tank with the fish you want to buy.


Cory catfish like to school. So, if you keep six or more of the same species of Cory catfish in the same tank, they will do everything together. But, you don’t need to have more than one Cory cats in the tank. They can survive by themselves, but they will be happier in groups. Be sure that your tank can house more than one Cory catfish if you want more.


Cory catfish are a bottom dweller fish. They spend most of their time hiding but will school with each other to feed and generally swim about. Sometimes, they will come to the surface of the tank to get some air. But, if they do this too often, it could be a sign that your tank has low oxygen. You can add some live plants or an air bubble to provide oxygen.

Venomous Cory Catfish

Cory cats are peaceful fish and do not attack their tank mates. They are also shy and run away to hide when they feel threatened. But, some species of cory cats are venomous. Venomous cory catfish excrete toxins when they feel stressed. This toxin can kill the cory cat and all other fish in the aquarium. Here’s a list of known venomous cory catfish:

  • C. adolfoi
  • C. arcuatus
  • C. melini
  • C. metae
  • C. panda
  • C. robineae’
  • C. rabauti
  • C. atropersonatus
  • C. sterbai
  • C. trilineatus