Cory Catfish

A Complete Care and Breeding Guide for the Cory Catfish (Corydoras)

The Cory Catfish, also known as the Cory Cat, Corydoras or the Armored Catfish is a huge genus of fish that contains several different species. 170 species to be exact, most of which are yet to be named. Native to South America, these fish have a very peaceful temperament and are super easy to care for. This makes them a favorite buy for any aquarist.

Read on to learn more about how to care for your Corydoras and how to breed them properly.

Scientific Name

Corydoras

Origin

South America

Size

2 inches

Minimum Tank Size

20 Gallons per 5-6 Fish

Lifespan

7-12 Years

Ease of Care

Easy

Temperament

Very Peaceful

cory catfish care

Types of Corydoras Catfish

The Corydoras genus has a wide selection of species, most of cory cats have yet to be named. Some of the most common and most loved species are:

Panda Cory

The Panda Cory, also known as the Corydoras Panda, gets its name because of the black spots on its cream-white body. A Corydoras species that grows up to a size of 2” but the females appear plumper during the breeding season.

Scientific Name

Corydoras Panda

Panda cory catfish Size

2”

pH

6.0-7.0

Temperature

70-78 F

panda cory catfish
image Source: iSoft/ Getty Images

Albino Cory Catfish

The light color contrast of albino corydoras allows for a beautiful aesthetic touch to your aquarium against dark substrate and plants. A golden-white body and pink eyes, plus an energetic personality make them a favorite in the aquarium trade.

It is said that the Albino Cory is not a species but a bred variation of the bronze Cory.

Scientific Name

Corydoras aeneus

Albino Cory Size

2.5”

pH

6.0-7.0

Temperature

72-80 F

albino cory
Image source: Pxfuel

Peppered Cory

As the name suggests, they feature dark coloration. A tan with shades of green and black, often giving out a green shine. It is said that the color variation in Peppered Corys is so diverse that no two Peppered Corys are the same.

Peppered cory Scientific Name

Corydoras paleatus

Peppered Cory Size

2.5-3”

pH

6.0-7.0

Temperature

72-80 F

Pepper cory catfish
Image Source: Flicker

Bronze Cory

Not the most attractive Cory fish out there but it most definitely is the most active and friendly. An easy to keep fish that can help prepare aquarists for the Corydoras genus. The Bronze Cory is a variation of the Green Cory that grows up to 2.5” but females are known to grow up to 3” during the breeding season.

Scientific Name

Corydoras aeneus

Size

2.5”

pH

6.0-7.0

Temperature

72-80 F

Bronze cory
Image Source: Flicker

Julii Cory Catfish

A very unique Corydoras that is quite easy to take care of and will definitely stand out in your aquarium. There are two types of them, the true Julii Cory and the false Julii Cory (Corydoras trilineatus). The true Julii is rare but the false one is readily available in the market. They are in demand because of their mesmerizing stripe pattern.

Julii Cory Scientific Name

Corydoras Julii

Julii Cory Size

2.5”

pH

6.5-8.0

Temperature

72-80 F

julii cory
Image source: PxFuel

Sterbai Cory

A Cory with very striking features. The Sterbai Cory is a favorite of many freshwater aquarists, this is a fish that will bring flare to your aquarium because of its energetic nature.

Sterbai Scientific Name

Corydoras Sterbai

Sterbai Cory Size

2.5”

pH

6.0-7.5

Temperature

73-82 F

Sterbai Cory
Image Source: aquariadise

Pygmy Cory catfish

The most different-looking Cory out there is Pygmy Cory Catfish. It differs from others in both personality and appearance. Growing up to a max size of 1”, this fish prefers to roam about the entire tank instead of sticking to the bottom like its brethren. Appearance-wise, this fish looks almost translucent at first glance but it has an overall dark and gloomy vibe to it.

Scientific Name

Corydoras Pygmaeus

Pygmy Cory Size

1”

pH

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6.4-7.4

Temperature

72-80 F

pygmy cory Corydoras Pygmaeus
Image Source: aquariumbreeder

Cory Catfish Appearance

The general appearance of the Corydoras genus cannot be summarized under a single heading because of the level of diversity that exists within it. Every species has unique traits to show off.

Size:

1-3”. The Corydoras are generally quite tiny by catfish standards. They do not grow bigger than 3 inches, save females during the breeding season.

Color:

Just like appearance, this genus showcases a ginormous variety of color. So it cannot be summarized under a single heading or on a single page.

Difference between Male and Female:

There is no striking difference between the sexes but females can be easily distinguished during breeding season due to their plumpness. Males also appear to have longer dorsal and pectoral fins.

Cory Catfish Life Span

Their lifespan differs in the wild and in captivity. Data claims that in the wild they live up to 5-7 years but in captivity, under the right tank conditions, they can live for up to 12 years. There is also recorded proof of a Cory surviving 20+ years in an aquarium.

Cory Catfish Diet

These are scavenger fish and will scrape off algae and other waste in search of food, but this does not mean that you should not feed them. Cory Catfish Coridoras are omnivores and require a balanced plant and meat-based diet. The aquarium owner can feed them plant-based wafers, flakes, or frozen bloodworms.

Care should be taken not to overfeed them. Excess waste can result in an increased level of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites, which are harmful.

Behavior and Temperament

They are a very playful, peaceful, and energetic bunch. The Corydoras are known to be quite social, they will make friends with just about any other species of fish, as long as they are non-aggressive. Their calm and cool demeanor makes them an ideal tank addition because they are easy to care for and provide eye candy for just about anyone. Watching them play around and interact is a true treat.

Aquarium and Water Parameters

Cory Catfish are great for beginners because the difficulty of their care level is quite low. They are resilient to water parameter changes and are otherwise quite hardy. A small tank will be ideal for them, unlike other Catfish.

Tank Size:

Corydoras do not require a huge living space, they will make do with small tanks of 10, 20, or 30 gallons. Care should be taken not to keep them alone, they are schooling fish and require company for socializing. They are peaceful so you should not be worried about them not getting along with other tank mates.

Decor:

Native to South America. These fish have healthy plant life and soft sand in the streams and lakes of South America, so it is ideal to try and replicate these conditions. Dense vegetation will provide hiding spots and the soft substrate will prevent damage to its fins and whiskers that could be caused by gravel substrate.

Soft substrate for cory catfish
Image Source: aquariumblueprints

Equipment:

About equipment needed for Cory Catfish, a water flow regulator is required because these fish like to swim in water that has noticeable flow. Along with this, a filter is recommended, that will keep the levels of ammonia and nitrates low, these can be deadly and kill the Corydoras in no time. Canister or bag filters will do the job.

For live plants, and led light will be required to keep them healthy. Some options for live plants are as follows:

  • Anubias Nana
  • Java Fern
  • Crypts
  • Pennywort
  • Hornwort
  • Java Moss

Root tabs and other supplements will be required to keep the plants healthy until they mature up.

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Cory Catfish Water Parameters:

Temperature

70-80 F

pH

6.0-8.0

Water Hardness

3-10 dKH

Tank-bred Corydoras are quite hardy and resilient but when caught freshly from the wild, they can be a bit sensitive to changing water parameters. They will not be harmed by slight changes in pH, hardness, or temperature but instability in water parameters will significantly harm them. Stability is key.

Substances like ammonia, nitrates, or nitrites are deadly for Corydoras, care should be taken about their levels. For this reason, a water testing kit is highly recommended for anyone planning on buying a Corydoras.

Cory Catfish Tank Mates

They are very friendly fish and will not fight over anything with their tank mates. cory cats will spend most of their time schooling around the tank and feeding on their food. They will live happily with anything that does not try to eat them.

Best Tank Mates:

Here are some ideal tank mates that will coexist peacefully with the Corydoras:

Worst Tank Mates:

Fish to absolutely avoid as neighbors or the Corydoras include:

  • Cichlids are very territorial fish and will not think twice before attacking the Corydoras.
  • Barbs are not as aggressive as cichlids, but with them in the tank, the Corydoras may die of hunger and stress because Barbs will eat up all the food and keep any others from feeding.

Cory Catfish Breeding: How to?

In this section, we will guide you about all the necessary tips and requirements you will need to know about how to successfully breed your Corydoras.

  1. Dedicated Tank

    Fry survival rate is high in the fry tank but Corydoras are at risk of becoming ill if they are constantly moved from one tank to another.

  2. Conditioning them for Breeding

    Corydoras breed when they know that water conditions are stable and there is no shortage of food. So it is vital to keep a close eye on water parameters and not to let them feed on only scraps. Pellets, flakes, and bloodworms work like a treat, if you keep on feeding them periodically, they will assume that there is plenty of food and no shortage. This will allow them to find a mate and start breeding.

  3. Inducing them to spawn

    Most of your Corydoras will spawn without any trouble, but some of them will have trouble and might require intervention. In the wild, Corydoras breed during the rainy season. The aquarium owner can do a 25% water shift to lower the temperature by 2-4 F to stimulate rainfall.
    If this does not help then the process must be repeated. However, care must be taken not to lower the temperature to 65 F or below because that can result in health risks for the Corydoras.
    Females will usually lay eggs within a few days, on the walls of the aquarium, on wildlife, or even on mystery snails.

Caring for Eggs of Cory Catfish:

Experts suggest moving the eggs and fry to a different tank dedicated to breeding. This function allows a higher fry and egg survival rate. There are two ways to go about this, one is shifting Corydoras to the breeding tank and letting them mate and lay eggs, before transferring them to the main tank. The other method is letting the fish lay eggs in the main tank and moving the eggs and fry to a separate tank.

Both methods have their merits. If Corydoras are constantly shifted from one tank or another, they will have a difficult time breeding because of the constantly changing environment, they will also suffer stress and health issues. If they are allowed to breed in the main tank, then the eggs and fry are in danger of being eaten by tank mates or the Corydoras.

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Fry Tank Care

Once the eggs have been laid, the hungry tank fish (including the Corydoras) will feed on them. To avoid this, remove them by gently scraping them off the aquarium walls or plant or any other surface you spot them on. Put them in a small container and gently place them in the separate fry tank.

The fry tank should be minimalistic. No plant life, no substrate, nothing. This will make it easy to clean it up. The tank should be about 10 gallons to start with, having a filter and heater. It should be ensured to keep water parameters as stable as possible because instability will severely deteriorate the occupant’s health. Water testing kits should be kept in handy to constantly monitor ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels.

Care must be taken not to just throw them inside, but to gently place them on the bottom of the tank with an air stone that stimulates water flow.

When dealing with the eggs, they must be observed for whiteness or fuzziness. Eggs that appear like that are usually infected with fungus and risk spreading it.

Fry Care:

The eggs will hatch within 4-6 days. During the initial days, the fry feeds off nutrients from their shells. Afterward, it is advised to feed them fry food that is dissolved in water and squirted using a syringe near them. Care must be taken not to overfeed them because this might result in poor water conditions. Water parameters are required to remain in pristine condition, otherwise, the fry might die.

When they grow up, you can shift them to more solid food like blood worms, baby brine shrimp, or crushed flakes. You can transfer them back to the main tank after they grow to a minimum size of 1 inch.

Common Problems

There are no common issues specific to these fish but one should always be careful to maintain stable water parameters. An unstable environment can become host to a plethora of problems, including ich, for these little inhabitants of your fish tank.

Frequently Asked Questions: FAQs

How often do Cory Catfish lay eggs?

This depends on the number of pairs in the tank. Normally it is recommended to keep one male per two females, this proportion and water parameter stability are major factors in the Cory catfish breeding department. However, normally they will lay eggs every seven days.

What do Cory Catfish eggs look like?

Look for whitish, jelly-like balls attached in bunches to the aquarium walls, plant life or even mystery snails (if your tank has any). They are around 1.88mm in diameter.

Q: Do Cory Catfish lay eggs?

Yes, cory catfish do lay eggs.

Conclusion

Corydoras Catfish will do quite well in community tanks because of their peaceful and playful nature. They can easily be paired with any fish as long as that fish does not eat the Cory catfish. They are hardy and resilient, making them ideal for beginners, but care should be taken to keep water parameters stable.

Breeding them is also not difficult. All it requires is a few steps and soon you can have your own baby Cory catfish to either keep or sell to a local fish shop.

We hope this article proved useful and answered all your questions regarding the Corydoras and their breeding process. Keep a lookout for more articles regarding the fish you love.

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