Caring for Cory Catfish: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

If you’re looking for a small, peaceful fish to add to your aquarium, the cory catfish may be the perfect fit. These adorable bottom-dwellers are known for their playful antics and social nature, making them a popular choice for both beginner and experienced fish keepers alike. In this article, I’ll be covering everything you need to know about cory catfish care, from tank setup to breeding and more!

Cory catfish require a well-maintained aquarium with suitable water conditions, a varied diet, and a peaceful environment. They need a pH range of 6.0-8.0 and a temperature range between 72-78°F. The aquarium should be decorated with hiding places, and regular water changes should be performed to ensure their health. They are peaceful and social fish, making them an excellent choice for community tanks.

First and foremost, it’s important to ensure that your cory catfish have a suitable tank setup. These fish are happiest in groups of at least six, so be sure to provide ample space for them to swim and play. A tank size of 20 gallons or more is recommended, and you’ll want to include plenty of hiding places and plants for them to explore. Additionally, it’s important to maintain good water quality by performing regular water changes and keeping the tank well-filtered.

When it comes to diet, cory catfish are relatively easy to please. They’ll happily eat a variety of foods, including sinking pellets, frozen or live foods, and even fresh vegetables. Just be sure to avoid overfeeding, as these fish have a tendency to overeat. In terms of tank mates, cory catfish are generally peaceful and get along well with other non-aggressive species. However, it’s best to avoid keeping them with larger, more aggressive fish that may bully or harm them.

Caring for Cory Catfish 3

Species Summary

When it comes to keeping Cory Catfish in your aquarium, it’s important to understand their basic characteristics.

In this section, we’ll cover their origin, lifespan, appearance, size, growth rate, behavior and temperament, and how to tell male from female.


Cory Catfish are native to South America, where they can be found in the Amazon River basin and other freshwater habitats.

There are over 150 species of Cory Catfish, each with its unique characteristics and requirements.


Cory Catfish can live up to 5 years in captivity, provided they are given proper care and a healthy environment.

However, their lifespan can be significantly shorter if they are kept in poor conditions.


Cory Catfish are small, peaceful, and very cute. They have a distinctive appearance, with a flattened head and a long, slender body.

Most species have a pattern of spots or stripes, which can vary in color depending on the species.


Cory Catfish are relatively small, usually growing to 2-3 inches in length. However, some species can grow up to 4-5 inches in length.

Growth Rate

The growth rate of Cory Catfish can vary depending on the species and the conditions in which they are kept.

In general, they grow slowly and steadily, reaching their full size in about 2-3 years.

Behavior & Temperament

Cory Catfish are peaceful and social fish that do well in groups. They are also active and curious, constantly exploring their environment.

They are bottom-dwellers, spending most of their time scavenging for food on the substrate.

Male vs Female

Distinguishing between male and female Cory Catfish can be challenging.

However, females are generally larger and rounder than males, especially when they are carrying eggs. Males may also have more pointed fins than females.

Overall, Cory Catfish are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium.

They are hardy, peaceful, and easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for beginners and experienced aquarists alike.

Personally, I find the behavior of Cory Catfish fascinating. I love watching them swim around the tank, exploring their environment and interacting with each other.

They are also great at keeping the substrate clean, which helps maintain a healthy environment for all the other fish in the tank.

Tank Setup

Setting up a tank for Cory Catfish can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Proper tank setup is essential to keep your fish healthy and happy. Here are some important factors to consider:

Tank Size and Shape

The minimum tank size for Cory Catfish is 20 gallons. However, larger tanks are always better. A larger tank will provide more swimming space and allow for a larger school of fish.

Cory Catfish are bottom dwellers, so a longer tank is better than a taller one. A tank with a length of at least 30 inches is ideal.


Cory Catfish do not require any special lighting. A standard aquarium light is sufficient.

Avoid placing the tank in direct sunlight as it can cause algae growth and temperature fluctuations.


A good filtration system is crucial for the health of your fish. A canister filter or hang-on-back filter is recommended for a Cory Catfish tank.

The filter should be able to handle at least 5 times the volume of the tank per hour.


Cory Catfish require a well-oxygenated environment.

Aeration can be provided through the use of an air stone or a sponge filter. The filter will also provide some aeration.


Cory Catfish are tropical fish and require a water temperature between 72-78°F.

A heater is necessary to maintain a consistent temperature in the tank.


A fine-grained substrate is recommended for Cory Catfish. Sand or smooth gravel is ideal. Avoid using sharp or rough substrates that can damage the fish’s barbels.


Cory Catfish enjoy having hiding places in the tank. Decorations such as caves, driftwood, and rocks can provide hiding places for the fish.


Live plants can provide a natural environment for Cory Catfish. Plants such as Java Moss, Anubias, and Amazon Sword are good choices. Artificial plants can also be used.

Overall, providing a well-equipped and comfortable tank is essential for the health and happiness of your Cory Catfish.

By following these guidelines, you can create a beautiful and thriving environment for your fish.

Personally, I found that adding some live plants to my Cory Catfish tank not only provided a natural environment but also helped to keep the water clean. The plants absorbed excess nutrients and provided oxygen for the fish. It was a win-win situation!

Water Quality

As a Cory Catfish owner, maintaining the water quality of your tank is crucial for the health and well-being of your fish.

Here are the key factors to consider when it comes to water quality:

Water Temperature

The ideal water temperature for Cory Catfish is between 72-78°F.

It is important to avoid sudden temperature changes, as this can cause stress and even death in your fish.

I personally use a heater to maintain a consistent temperature in my tank.

Water pH

The optimal pH range for Cory Catfish is between 7.0-7.8. It is important to regularly test the pH levels in your tank and make adjustments as necessary.

I have found that adding driftwood or almond leaves can help stabilize the pH levels in my tank.

Water Hardness

Cory Catfish prefer soft to moderately hard water, with a range of 5-12 dGH. I recommend testing the water hardness in your tank regularly and adjusting as necessary.

Adding Indian Almond Leaves to your tank can also help to soften the water.

Water Testing

Regularly testing the water parameters in your tank is crucial for maintaining the health of your Cory Catfish.

I personally use a liquid test kit to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and water hardness.

It is important to test the water weekly, or more frequently if you notice any changes in your fish’s behavior or health.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are essential for maintaining the water quality in your tank. I recommend changing 20-30% of the water in your tank every week.

This helps to remove any excess waste and nitrates from the water, which can be harmful to your fish.

When performing water changes, be sure to use a dechlorinator to remove any harmful chemicals from tap water.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish

When it comes to selecting tank mates for your Cory Catfish, it’s important to choose fish that are peaceful and won’t compete for food. Some good options include:

  • Neon Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Otocinclus Catfish
  • Platies

These fish are all small and peaceful, making them great companions for Cory Catfish. They also have similar water requirements, which means they can all thrive in the same tank.

Incompatible Fish

While there are many fish that can live happily with Cory Catfish, there are also some that should be avoided. These include:

  • Cichlids
  • Angelfish
  • Bettas
  • Gouramis

These fish are all known for being aggressive and territorial, which can cause stress and harm to your Cory Catfish.

Additionally, they have different water requirements, which can make it difficult to maintain a healthy tank environment for all fish.

When selecting tank mates for your Cory Catfish, it’s important to research each fish’s temperament and water requirements to ensure they are compatible.

By choosing peaceful fish with similar needs, you can create a harmonious and healthy aquarium environment for all your fish to thrive in.

Personally, I have found that adding a school of neon tetras to my Cory Catfish tank has been a great addition. They add a pop of color and activity to the tank, while also being peaceful and getting along well with my Cory Catfish.

How Many Cory Catfish Should Be Kept Together?

Caring for Cory Catfish 2

When it comes to keeping cory catfish, it’s important to consider how many you should keep in one tank.

Cory catfish are social creatures and enjoy being in groups, so it’s recommended to keep at least six in a tank.

In my personal experience, I’ve found that keeping a group of eight to ten cory catfish together creates a lively and active community in the tank.

It’s important to note that the size of your tank will also play a role in how many cory catfish you can keep. A general rule of thumb is to have at least 20 gallons of water for six cory catfish.

If you want to keep more, you’ll need to increase the size of your tank accordingly. When it comes to selecting tank mates for your cory catfish, it’s important to choose peaceful fish that won’t harass or bully them.

Good tank mates for cory catfish include other peaceful species such as tetras, guppies, and rasboras. In terms of feeding, cory catfish are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods.

It’s important to provide them with a balanced diet that includes both plant-based and protein-based foods. Some good options include sinking pellets, frozen or live brine shrimp, and blanched vegetables like zucchini or spinach.

In terms of breeding, cory catfish are relatively easy to breed in captivity. However, it’s important to provide them with the right conditions, including a separate breeding tank and plenty of hiding spots for the eggs.

If you’re interested in breeding cory catfish, do your research and make sure you have the right setup before getting started.

Overall, cory catfish are a great addition to any community tank.

By keeping them in groups and providing them with the right conditions, you can create a lively and active community that’s fun to watch and easy to care for.


As a Cory Catfish owner, I know how important it is to provide them with a balanced and nutritious diet.

In this section, I will discuss the feeding schedule, types of food, and feeding techniques that have worked for me.

Feeding Schedule

I feed my Cory Catfish once a day, usually in the evening. It’s important not to overfeed them, as they have small stomachs and can easily become bloated.

I also fast them one day a week to give their digestive system a break.

Types of Food

Cory Catfish are omnivores and will eat both meat and plant-based foods. I feed my Cory Catfish a variety of foods, including:

  • High-quality sinking pellets
  • Frozen or live brine shrimp
  • Frozen or live bloodworms
  • Algae wafers

It’s important to vary their diet to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients. I also avoid feeding them flakes, as they can cause bloating and digestive issues.

Feeding Techniques

Cory Catfish are bottom feeders, so it’s important to make sure the food sinks to the bottom of the tank. I drop the pellets or other food near their hiding spots to make sure they get their fair share.

I also make sure to remove any uneaten food after about 10 minutes to prevent it from fouling the water. In conclusion, feeding your Cory Catfish a balanced diet is crucial to their health and well-being.

By following a feeding schedule, providing a variety of foods, and using proper feeding techniques, you can ensure your Cory Catfish are happy and healthy.

Common Diseases


As a Cory Catfish owner, it’s important to be aware of the common diseases that can affect your fish.

One of the most common diseases is Ich, which is caused by a parasite that attaches itself to the fish’s body. Other common diseases include fin rot, bacterial infections, and fungal infections.

I have personally experienced Ich with my Cory Catfish, and it can be quite alarming to see your fish covered in white spots.

It’s important to treat Ich as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading to other fish in the tank.


It’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of common diseases in your Cory Catfish. Symptoms of Ich include white spots on the body, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Fin rot is characterized by frayed fins, while bacterial and fungal infections can cause redness, swelling, and lesions on the body.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your fish, it’s important to take action immediately to prevent the disease from spreading and causing further harm.


The treatment for common diseases in Cory Catfish varies depending on the specific disease.

For Ich, there are a variety of medications available that can be added to the tank water to kill the parasite.

Fin rot can often be treated by improving water quality and adding aquarium salt to the tank.

If you suspect that your fish has a bacterial or fungal infection, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian who can prescribe the appropriate medication.

It’s important to note that prevention is key when it comes to common diseases in Cory Catfish.

Maintaining good water quality, providing a balanced diet, and avoiding overcrowding in the tank can all help to prevent diseases from occurring in the first place.

Signs of a Healthy Cory Catfish

When it comes to keeping cory catfish, it’s important to ensure that they are healthy and happy in their environment. Here are some signs that your cory catfish is healthy:

  1. Active and Energetic I’ve noticed that my cory catfish are always on the move, exploring their tank and interacting with their tank mates. A healthy cory catfish will be active and energetic, swimming around the tank and even playing with their tank mates.
  2. Appetite and Digestion A healthy cory catfish will have a good appetite and be able to digest their food properly. They should be eager to eat when you feed them and have regular bowel movements. If you notice that your cory catfish is not eating or has abnormal bowel movements, it could be a sign of illness.
  3. Clean and Clear Eyes The eyes of a healthy cory catfish should be clear and free of any cloudiness or discoloration. If you notice any abnormalities in their eyes, it could be a sign of an infection or disease.
  4. Smooth and Shiny Skin A healthy cory catfish will have smooth, shiny skin without any lesions or discoloration. Their skin should be free of any bumps or lumps, which could be a sign of a bacterial or fungal infection.
  5. Good Breathing A healthy cory catfish will have good breathing, which means that they will not be gasping for air or breathing rapidly. They should be able to breathe comfortably and effortlessly. In conclusion, keeping your cory catfish healthy is essential to their overall well-being. By monitoring their behavior, appearance, and appetite, you can ensure that they are happy and thriving in their environment.

Signs of a Sick Cory Catfish

Caring for Cory Catfish

As a cory catfish owner, it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs of illness in your fish. Here are a few things to look for:

  1. Loss of appetite: If your cory catfish is not eating, it could be a sign of illness. Check the water quality and make sure it’s within the proper parameters.
  2. Abnormal swimming behavior: If your cory catfish is swimming erratically or seems to be struggling to swim, it could be a sign of a swim bladder issue or other health problem.
  3. Visible signs of disease: Keep an eye out for any visible signs of disease, such as white spots, redness, or swelling. These could be signs of a bacterial or fungal infection.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take action quickly. Isolate the sick fish in a quarantine tank and treat it with an appropriate medication.

Make sure to also test the water quality and make any necessary adjustments to prevent further illness.

Personally, I once had a cory catfish that seemed to be struggling to swim and was not eating. I immediately isolated it in a quarantine tank and treated it with medication. After a few days, it started to improve and eventually made a full recovery.


Breeding Cory catfish can be a rewarding experience for any aquarist.

It’s important to note that breeding Cory catfish requires some patience and careful attention to detail.

Here are some tips on how to breed Cory catfish successfully.

Breeding Setup

To breed Cory catfish, you’ll need a breeding tank that’s at least 20 gallons in size.

The tank should be heavily planted, with plenty of hiding places for the fish.

Use a sponge filter to provide gentle filtration, and keep the water temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Breeding Behavior

Cory catfish are egg layers, and breeding usually occurs in the early morning hours.

The male will chase the female around the tank, and once they’ve found a suitable spot, the female will lay her eggs.

The male will then fertilize the eggs, and the female will lay more eggs in the same spot.

Fry Care

Once the eggs have been fertilized, they’ll hatch in about 2-3 days. The fry will attach themselves to the glass or other surfaces in the tank, and they’ll begin to feed on their yolk sacs.

After a few days, you can start feeding them infusoria or other small foods. Be sure to keep the water clean and well-oxygenated, and do frequent water changes to keep the fry healthy.

Breeding Cory catfish can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it does require some patience and attention to detail.

With the right setup and care, you can successfully breed these beautiful fish and enjoy watching the fry grow and develop.

I remember the first time I successfully bred my Cory catfish, it was a magical experience watching the little fry grow and develop into healthy fish.

Product recommendations for Cory Catfish:

  1. Hikari Tropical Sinking Wafers: This high-quality fish food is specifically formulated for bottom-dwelling fish like Cory Catfish, providing a balanced diet that promotes health and vitality.
  2. Seachem Prime: This water conditioner is essential for maintaining a healthy aquatic environment for Cory Catfish. It detoxifies ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and also provides essential electrolytes and vitamins.
  3. API Freshwater Master Test Kit: This comprehensive test kit allows you to monitor the water quality in your Cory Catfish aquarium, ensuring that the pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are within safe ranges.
  4. Zoo Med Laboratories AZMBL20 Betta Hammock: This hammock provides a resting place for your Cory Catfish, allowing them to rest and relax in a comfortable and safe environment.
  5. Fluval Edge Aquarium Gravel Cleaner: This easy-to-use gravel cleaner makes maintaining your Cory Catfish aquarium a breeze. It removes debris and waste from the substrate without disturbing your fish.
  6. Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters: This high-performance filter is designed to keep your Cory Catfish aquarium clean and healthy. It features a five-stage filtration system and LED lighting for added convenience.
  7. Marina Floating Thermometer with Suction Cup: This reliable thermometer ensures that the water temperature in your Cory Catfish aquarium is within the ideal range. Its floating design makes it easy to read and adjust.
  8. Marina 3-in-1 Fish Tank Scraper: This versatile tool allows you to clean the glass, remove algae, and scrape the substrate in your Cory Catfish aquarium. Its ergonomic design makes it comfortable to use.
  9. Zoo Med Aquatic BettaMatic Automatic Daily Betta Feeder: This automatic fish feeder is perfect for busy fish owners who want to ensure that their Cory Catfish are fed on a regular schedule. It dispenses food automatically and can be programmed to feed up to three times per day.


After years of keeping Cory catfish, I can confidently say that they are one of the best fish to keep in a community tank. They are easy to care for, peaceful, and have a lot of personality.

When it comes to tank setup, make sure to provide plenty of hiding places and a soft substrate. Keep the water quality high by doing regular water changes and maintaining a proper filtration system.

As for tank mates, choose peaceful fish that won’t harass or outcompete the Corys for food. A varied diet that includes sinking pellets, frozen foods, and live foods will keep your Corys healthy and happy.

Common diseases like Ich and fin rot can be prevented by maintaining good water quality and quarantining new fish before adding them to the tank.

If you’re interested in breeding Cory catfish, make sure to do your research and provide the proper conditions for breeding. It can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Overall, Cory catfish are a great addition to any community tank. Their playful antics and peaceful nature make them a joy to watch. I highly recommend giving them a try if you haven’t already.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Cory Catfish care:

Q: Can Cory Catfish live with other fish?

A: Yes, Cory Catfish are generally peaceful and can live with a variety of other fish. However, it’s important to choose tank mates that are not aggressive and won’t bully or harm the Cory Catfish. Good tank mates include other peaceful community fish such as tetras, guppies, and rasboras.

Q: How often should I clean my Cory Catfish tank?

A: It’s important to maintain good water quality in your Cory Catfish tank by performing regular water changes and cleaning the tank as needed. Generally, you should aim to do a 25% water change every 2-4 weeks, depending on the size of your tank and the number of fish you have. You should also remove any uneaten food or debris from the tank on a regular basis.

Q: What should I feed my Cory Catfish?

A: Cory Catfish are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including sinking pellets, flakes, and frozen or live foods such as bloodworms and brine shrimp. It’s important to provide a balanced diet and avoid overfeeding, as Cory Catfish can be prone to obesity.

Q: How can I tell if my Cory Catfish is sick?

A: Signs of illness in Cory Catfish can include lethargy, loss of appetite, abnormal swimming behavior, and visible signs of disease such as fungus or parasites. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take action quickly to diagnose and treat the problem.

Q: Can Cory Catfish breed in captivity?

A: Yes, Cory Catfish can breed in captivity. To encourage breeding, you should provide a suitable breeding environment with plenty of hiding places and a flat surface for the fish to lay their eggs on. Once the eggs are laid, they will hatch in 3-4 days and the fry will need to be fed small, frequent meals of baby brine shrimp or other suitable foods.

Q: Do Cory Catfish need a heater in their tank?

A: Cory Catfish are tropical fish and prefer water temperatures between 72-78°F. If your room temperature is consistently within this range, you may not need a heater. However, if your room temperature fluctuates or falls outside of this range, you will need a heater to maintain a stable temperature in the tank.

Overall, Cory Catfish are a great addition to any aquarium and can be easy to care for with the right setup and attention to their needs. By providing a suitable tank environment, good water quality, and a balanced diet, you can help ensure that your Cory Catfish thrive and live a long, healthy life.

Personally, I’ve found that Cory Catfish are a joy to watch in the aquarium and can be very entertaining with their playful behavior and social interactions. With a little care and attention, you can enjoy these fascinating fish in your own home aquarium.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts