Corydoras Catfish, Cory Cat
Updated August 6, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
The Corydoras Catfish, or Cory Cat, is an excellent addition to most community tanks because of their peaceful nature. Bottom dwellers, they are content to constantly rummage around the bottom of the tank looking for scraps. This is a very cute and endearing catfish with many different species.
They prefer to be in schools of 6 or more but many keep one or two in their smaller tanks. They do much better when kept in groups though.
Cory cats enjoy feeding on tropical fish food that will sink to the bottom such as algae wafers or shrimp pellets.
Corydoras Care Details
Scientific Name : Corydoras spp.
Common Names : Albino Corydoras, Armored Catfish, Plated Catfish, Bronze Catfish, Mailed Catfish, Cory Catfish
Care Level : Easy
Size : 2.5 inches (6 cm)
pH : 6 - 8
Temperature : 72°F - 78°F (22°C - 26°C)
Water Hardness : 5° to 18° dH,
Lifespan : 3 - 5 years
Origin / Habitat : South America
Temperament / Behavior : Very peaceful.
Breeding : Breeding them can be difficult in the home aquarium.
Aquarium Size : 10 gallon or larger.
Tank Mates : Many, due to their peaceful nature.
Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment
Diet / Foods : Bottom feeder, they will scavenge around the tank looking for scraps. Supplement their diet with algae wafers that sink to the bottom of the tank.
Tank Region : Bottom
Gender : Females are larger and rounder than the males of the same age.
Fish Lore Forum : Corydoras ForumForum Avatar :
Corydoras Frequently Asked Questions(credit: Coradee on the forum)
Corys are one of the most misunderstood fish kept in aquariums & there are often lots of questions about them so I thought I'd try & answer a couple of the most frequently asked ones.
Q. How many corys should I have & will different ones stay together?
A. Corys are a shoaling fish & as such should be kept in groups of 6+ of their own kind. It might seem like a good idea to have 2 albino, 2 Panda, 2 peppered etc but it's really not, yes they may seem happy to stick together but that is only because they have no choice. You wouldn't keep a group of 2 neons, 2 Rummynose, 2 ember tetra etc & expect them to school happily together just because they're all tetras. Keeping them in proper sized groups of their own kind you will see much more natural behaviour & isn't that what we all want to see in our tanks?
Q. What do I feed them?
A. They're often thought of as being part of the clean up crew & will be ok on any scraps that fall to the bottom or that they're algae eaters. They get little to no nutrition from algae or veg as their digestive systems are not set up to process it efficiently. Yes they will eat any food that hits the bottom but corys need their own diet which should consist of frozen or live bloodworm, brine shrimp, daphnia, etc and catfish pellets or wafers.
Q. What substrate should I keep them on?
A. Corys are sand sifters, they take a mouthful & sift it through their gills retaining the food & letting the sand fall through. Have a look at this video, not mine but shows how the sand is expelled through the gills. They can be kept on gravel but use a fine grade & make sure it's smooth with no sharp edges. If you've looked at the video I hope you'll choose sand for them there's nothing nicer than seeing your corys head first in the sand looking for morsels of food.
Q. What tank size do corys need?
A. There are several species of smaller corys the most commonly seen are C. Pygmaeus, C. Habrosus, & occasionally C.Hastatus, a group of 6 could be comfortably kept in a 15 US gallon. Pygmys & Hastatus tend to spend a lot of their time in the middle levels so that should be taken into account when choosing tankmates. Other small species not often, if ever seen are C.Gracilis, C.Cochui, if you see these snap them up!
There are currently around 400 species of corys (new ones are still being found) most don't exceed 3 inches, the larger species I'd suggest a 20 US gallon (75 litre) some of the smaller species could be kept in a 15 US gallon (60litre) but of course bigger is always better.
Just a word on temperature requirements, most corys are happy in the mid range, around 24C whilst peppered require much cooler temperature 20-22C. Sterbai like warmer temperatures 26C plus and are often kept with Discus for that reason. Some other species that have wider ranges & can handle higher temperature are C.adolfoi, C. Splendens (emerald brochis), C.duplicareus, C.haraldschultzi, C.gossei, C.suessi, C.oiapoquensis & C.aenus. There are of course other species for warmer & cooler water, I've just mentioned a few.
As you've probably guessed they're my favourite fish & I want to help them live long (15-20+years) & happy lives in everyone's tanks
Cory Catfish Comments and Tips
Corys are the most peaceful fish I've ever owned. They seem to get along with every other fish, and mine even allow themselves to be transferred to their travel tanks by HAND for cleaning purposes!
Can I have them if i have a pleco?
They should be fine with a pleco. We have cory cats in many of our tanks with plecos and have not witnessed any problems or issues and have not heard of any.
I want to keep several because I've always liked them since I was little. I was wondering though, if it is best to keep 4 or more corys of the same color or if it didn't matter if I kept multiple varieties (bronze, skunk, leopard, albino, peppered or green) together?
Generally speaking, you should be fine mixing the various cory species. You may not get to see the schooling behavior that these little guys can exhibit if you mix the different types. Research the various types before you buy them because certain breeds are hardier than others.
I too have a cory, and must I say they should be part of any community tank. My little guys stayed small for two years now. And I don't know what's wrong. I know my cories a boy, (they tend to be smaller) but is it something I'm feeding him? Oh! And also I found out cories can get along well with almost any bottom dweller! (Not plecos) Mine hangs out with a plated catfish, and they have been buds every since I put them in. But it's a great fish, get's along with everyone!
I started out with two cories, which a few months later I found out were of opposite sex because I found about a hundred eggs adhering to the glass of the tank. My two algae eaters took out all of the eggs, or so I thought until I found an almost microscopic thing that I at first thought was a piece of flake food scurrying about the gravel. It was a surviving baby. He is now three months old and all three cats are doing well.
Our bronze cory "Mr. Catfish" moved from South GA to NH in a jar, and back to GA. He was a wonderful pet. He died at age 15. I thought that was a short life for a fish! Little did I know! We still miss him.
I have several corys, 3 pandas, 2 bronze and 3 spotted. I too have witnessed a bronze cory laying eggs everywhere, and the other fish, pleco included, come along and eat them. But about a week ago I found a baby panda. This is unusual in that I've had my 3 pandas for over a year with no offspring. This new baby is almost half the size of the grown ones, so it's been hidden very well since birth. So my advice, never give up on offspring, they come along when you least expect it.
We got a cory and he is just awesome! I keep reading everywhere that they're peaceful and shy but mine is a little out there. He hangs out with all the other fish and when he sees our barbs chasing each other he JOINS them! He'll chase them around the tank and it really is the cutest thing ever. We call him puppy because he acts more like a pup. They're very entertaining and highly recommend them for any tank.
I have 9 of them in my community tank. 2 Peppered, 1 panda and 6 bronzes. They are the funniest things and very lively. Most of them are juveniles but I have at least 1 adult female and she is bothering the boys for attention, she is so full of eggs if she doesn't mate she will burst. They bother no-one and no-one bothers them. They flock together in groups according to species but will intermingle a bit. The panda is alone because several pandas I have bought have died. These guys stress out very easily and are subject to illness after being freaked out by moves etc. Wouldn't be without my cory cats now.
I have a little cory in my community tank as well and he isn't shy in the least. Every morning when I drop his wafer in there's a little three way tug awar over it between him, one of my tetras and the female betta in the tank and the cory holds his own. Literally the three of them will take turns scooping up the little wafer, dragging it as far as they can and then when they get tired some one else snags it until the tetra and betta get tired and let the Cory have his breakfast which he gobbles down happily. Everyone told me he would hide in the plants and tower and I would rarely see the little guy but he's always out there when I look in the tank and some times even comes off the bottom to see what the others are up to.
Yep, these are great little fish packed with tons of personality.
I have only just stumbled across the pleasures of the Corys, but I have a tip if you want to breed them. When you see them doing their little dance, especially just after they've gone into the 'T' position, the female will start laying eggs. Once she's finished, very gently, roll your finger over the eggs. The eggs will then roll over till the sticky side comes into contact with your finger. Gently move the egg to the plastic holding tank remebering not to take the eggs out of water. Reverse the proceedure placing the egg against the side of the plastic holding tank. If fertilized, they'll turn from white to brown to black, then hatch, depending upon the temperature in 3-7 days. I'm feeding mine frozen brine and they're doing great. Hope this helps and good luck.
They are very peaceful in nature. However I have noticed for he last couple of months that when feedings Plecos and Corydoras the same food (Algae wafers or shrimp pellets), the Pleco's can be very territorial about the food. If a Cory tries to eat, it can get pounced on for the food. Ideal time to feed both is when the lights are off. Also I've been experimenting and to stop this problem I feed them seperate food (Algae wafers for the Pleco and Shrimp pellets for the Corydoras).
I would not suggest taking your cories, or any fish, out of their tank by hand as it can cause stress to the fish. They also have a mucus layer that prevents illnesses and acts as an immunity of sorts, by touching your fish, you can break this down or completely dissolve it, thus resulting in the death of your fish.
I've got cories with my Betta in a 10 gallon tank and they all get along wonderfully. I would dare say that cories can get along with anything... unless it is a highly aggressive species!
I have 6 corydoras and they live in a cave made out of pebbles that I got from the beach. They get along with all my others fish and do a great job cleaning up the tank floor.
I have a single cory cat and he gets along fine with my mollies. He even schools with them. Corys are great fish and get along with anything. I even saw a friend keep one with a betta!
I have 3 albino corydoras, and noticed that one of them was growing much quicker than the other two. Not long after I had 70 - 80 eggs stuck all over the inside of my aquarium. I thought it was great! She layed her eggs so quickly! But not even 12 hours later and they were all gobbled up. I have bala sharks, platies, guppies, snails and 3 suckermouthed catfish and I'm not sure which one was the culprit. So if you have eggs, and you wan't them to survive, please remove them asap.
Related Catfish Profiles
One of three pygmy corydoras species. Gets to about 1 inch in size, needs to be kept in schools.
The first thing to notice about the Glass catfish is that it has transparent flesh, which allows us to see the spinal cord and internal organs. This transparent fish is also a picky eater; it has been known not to accept flake foods with ease.
Gold Nugget Pleco
From 6 to 9 inches and can be quite expensive for a freshwater fish.