How to take care of Cory Fish?

We will talk about cory fish care in this blog post.We will also discuss important factors such as their habitat,types,lifespan,tank set-up, water parameters and healthcare,etc.Everything you need to know about cory fish care will be briefly discussed.


In this blog

  • Key specifications of cory fish
  • Why is cory fish care important?
  • How many cory fish should you start with as a newcomer?
  • Habitat of cory fish
  • Types of cory fish
  • Different strains or colors of cory fish
  • General and physical attributes of cory fish
  • Cory fish lifespan
  • Cory fish tank set-up
  • Cory fish diet and feeding requirements
  • Cory fish healthcare and health conditions
  • Cory fish daily care and Bi-weekly care tips
  • Summary

How to take care of Cory Fish?

Daily care tips for cory fish

  • Clean the aquarium glass daily.
  • They should be fed once a day. Don’t overfeed.
  • 1-2 shrimp pellets should be given everyday.
  • Check all the tank equipment everyday.
  • Water,temperature and pH should be monitored everyday.
  • Observe their swimming patterns and immediately take action when you see them breathing on the surface of the aquarium.

Bi-weekly care tips  for cory fish

  • Gravels should be cleaned once a week
  • Tank plants should be cleaned once a week
  • 20% Water changes should be done weekly.
  • Take utmost care while cleaning the tank or reorganizing decors, avoid excessive stirring because the harmful bacterias will pollute the water by increasing the nitrate levels.
  • Live food should not be fed without quarininting at least for 15 days to avoid infections.
  • Clean decors and other equipment every week to avoid water contamination.

Key specifications of Cory fish

Genus Corydoras 
HabitatSouth america
LifespanUpto 5 years
DietCarnivore (natural habitat)Omnivore (aquarium conditions)
Body sizeBody shapeColorSpecial trait
Sexual dimorphism
1-2.5 inches in lengthTriangular shaped bodyVivid colourations Barbels for navigating foodCan survive in low oxygen levelsYes 
Another namesCorydoras Cory catfish Armored catfish
Optimum temperatureOptimum pHWater hardness74F-80F7.0-8.03-10 dKh
TemperamentBeginner/experienced Peaceful Both levels
Care levelEasy 
Tank size and set-upTank type (Prefered)5-20 gallonsCommunity tank
Preferred plants/decorationsLive plants(heavily planted tank)
CompatibilityOther peaceful community fish
Number of cory fish species found 170 recognised corydoras species
BreedingEasy to breed in aquarium settingsThey eat their own eggs

Why is cory fish care important?

Corydoras have small whiskers or barbels around their mouth for navigating food in the aquarium,so you need to keep in mind while choosing substrate and tank mates for them.

Rough substrates and finnippers can hurt their barbels and also due to excessive nitrate concentration in water, they get barbel infections too.

Corydoras get stressed while transporting them from a pet store to their new home.This stress could be fatal.

Please consult the pet store owner about tank water parameters and how to shift them to a new tank in such conditions.

How many cory fish should you start with as a newcomer?

First and the foremost thing to do as a newcomer is start with a group of 6 together,because they are schooling fish and shoals together. They do very well with their own kind.

They look quite unhealthy and skinny in pet stores,so choose properly. Buy corydoras  with intact barbels.

Habitat of cory fish

  • Natural habitat- South america
  • Distribution- Small streams and ponds
  • Water type- Tropical Freshwater fish

Types of cory fish

  • Bandit cory fish
  • Green cory fish or bronze cory fish (most common aquarium fish)
  • Julii cory fish
  • Panda cory or panda catfish
  • Blue leopard cory fish or pepper cory fish
  • Albino corydoras
  • Skunk cory fish
  • Three stripe cory fish
  • Pygmy corydoras (smallest corydoras)
  • Sterbai cory fish

Different strains or colors of cory fish

Mostly combination of these three colors:

  • Brown 
  • Gray 
  • Black 

Other colors:

  • Green 
  • Albino 
  • Bronze
  • Red 

General and physical attributes of cory fish

  • Bony plate armor.
  • Specialized head and snout for finding food from substrate.
  • Spines are present on their dorsal and pectoral fin.
  • Easily adapt to low oxygen levels.
  • Cory catfish grow quickly and within 3 months they are fully grown. 

Cory fish lifespan

Cory fish can upto five years in aquarium conditions if all the vital parameters are maintained well.

Cory fish tank set-up

Tank sizeLight intensitySubstrateWater parametersTemperatureTank plantsTank mates

Tank size for cory fish

  • For single and dwarf cory fish a 10 gallons tank is sufficient.
  • Larger cory fish can be accommodated in a 30 gallons tank.
  • Corydoras are small sized,schooling fish.They like to live in groups so, a bigger tank is recommended for them.
  • Corydoras are community fish and enjoy the company of their own kind very much.
  • Corydoras love to play and shoal together with eachother.So never keep them alone in a solitary tank.They will get bored when left alone.They might fall sick due to loneliness.
  • Cory fish has a habit of jumping to the water surface,for food and gulping air.It is recommended to cover the tank with a lid.

Light intensity for cory fish

  • Subdued lighting is preferred in cory aquariums.
  • Artificial lights like LED lighting can be used.
  • Indirect sunlight for keeping tank plants healthy.

Substrate/Decoration for cory fish

  • For a bottom feeder like corydoras 2 inches small  smooth gravels or fine sandy substrate is recommended.
  • Leave some open space in the bottom for them to receive submerged food.
  • Avoid sharp-edged substrate,as it can damage their barbels. 
  • Rock works,driftwood and caves act as hiding spots. 

Water parameters for cory fish

  • Always dechlorinate the tank before adding new fish to the tank.
  • Cory fish thrive well in clean water.
  • Water movement should be slow in their tank.
  • Cory fish do better in soft  and acidic water. 
  • Very sensitive to nitrate levels.
  • It is advised to keep the organic pollutant levels zero by testing water on a regular basis using a water testing kit.
  • Air pump or air bubbler-It is required to provide continuous oxygen consistently to corydoras.
  • Filter-Among all cory fish,pictus catfish produce a lot of biological waste in the aquarium,so filter is definitely required to keep the aquarium free of ammonia and other waste. 
  • Cory fish keep their tank clean by eating leftovers which go and settle in the bottom of the tank.
  • Partial water changes should be done weekly to keep nitrates level in check.

Temperature for cory fish

  • Being a tropical fish ,Corydoras thrive well in warm waters.
  • Ideal temperature- 74F-80F
  • Julii cory fish and pepper cory fish can thrive in cooler temperatures (ideal temperature -73F-79F)
  • Sterbai cory fish can thrive in higher temperatures (ideal temperature-75F)
  • Albino catfish and bronze catfish prefer a temperature between 77F-82F, and aquarium heaters are also required in their tanks.

Tank plants for cory fish

Corydoras live in heavy plantation areas in their natural habitat,so it would be better to replicate the same environment in their tanks.

Tank plants naturally aerate and oxygenate the aquarium and provide hiding place to protect them when they feel anxious or threatened.Add plants which are easy to care for.

Suitable tank plants for cory fish:

  • Live floating plants
  • Carpet plants 
  • Root tabs under the fine substrate
  • Moss balls acts as natural filters

Tank mates for cory fish

Corydoras get along well with almost everyone because of their peaceful and non-aggressive temperament.Small-medium sized tank mates and community tank fish do well with them.

They get along very well with their own kind and even perform dance in synchronization.Avoid fin nippers,aggressive fish and goldfish.

Suitable tank mates:

  • Livebearers 
  • Angelfish 
  • Gouramis 
  • Neon and cardinal tetras
  • Red cherry and bamboo shrimps
  • Cherry barbs
  • Algae eater like otocinclus catfish

Cory fish diet and feeding requirements

Corydoras are ground feeders and scavengers.They eat by digging the ground.Three pairs of barbels or little whiskers help them to find little nuggets of food around sand,rocks,wood and debris.

Cory fish should be fed soft and small bites,which don’t mess with their barbels.

Utmost care should be taken while feeding flake food because fast moving fish can finish all the flakes on the surface levels quickly.

List of their favorite food:

  • High quality sinking pellet
  • Live food supplement- blackworms, meal of brine shrimp
  • Frozen food supplement- bloodworms
  • Fish flake food 
  • Bottom feeder tablets
  • Larvae present in substrate
  • Sinking algae wafers (rarely)

Cory fish healthcare and health conditions

  • Cory fish get barbels infection due to spikes in nitrate levels and sharp-edged substrate.
  • Ich or white spot infection, a parasitic infection and can be cured by adding salt in the water.
  • Red blotch disease
  • Cory fish get stressed due to improper acclimatization,water temperature & pH fluctuations,water poisoning & self-poisoning.
  • Panda cory catfish are more susceptible to disease so they need utmost care and water parameters should be maintained properly.
  • They need a temperature of 68F-77F,pH of 6-7 and water hardness of 2-12 dKH.


  • Peaceful bottom dwellers and can be kept with any community fish.
  • Cory fish can thrive well in low oxygen levels by a technique called aerial respiration.
  • Cory fish search their food in the substrate regions,so make sure the substrate is not sharp.
  • Cory prefers to stay in groups of 6,if they are not kept in groups they might not do well in their tanks.
  • They keep their aquarium clean by finding and eating uneaten food and debris.Keep in mind they don’t do algae maintenance.
  • It’s still under debate, but handlers should take utmost care while handling them, because they release toxins which can cause skin irritation. 
  • Highly recommended for beginners because they are very peaceful and pretty easy to care for.

Frequently asked questions on cory fish care

Are corydoras poisonous aquarium fish?

As per some scientists,they have very sharp spines on their pectoral and dorsal fin which release toxins in stress and anxiety, which are toxic to corydoras.Its still under debate.

Which cory fish is inexpensive and makes the best choice as your first pet among corydoras?

Bronze cory,in a group of three makes the best choice as first cory pets among corydoras.

What are the signs of stress in cory catfish?

A stressed cory catfish will start swimming upside down,stop eating, breathe on the surface,pale coloured body,white spots on their body and gills start losing its colors when they are under stress.