How To Raise The Friendly Cory Catfish

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This elusive freshwater fish goes by many names – often called the Cory Cat, Cory Catfish, the Armored Catfish, and more, this lovely fish is one of the most popular in the freshwater fishkeeping world. Beloved by aquarium hobbyists for all kinds of reasons – from its gentle demeanor to its unique appearance – this fish is one you just have to consider raising.

Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know in order to raise a healthy Cory Catfish.

Cory Catfish

Background Of Corydoras Catfish

Cory Catfish 1
Photo by amanda.h.smith

Corydoras Catfish is the scientific name of this peaceful fish. Found in South America, this fish is easy to care for and originates in the small lakes and streams of the continent. Corydoras Catfish enjoy spending their time in live plants and other densely planted areas in the wild- they like to be hidden.

These fish prefer to occupy bodies of water in which there are plenty of live plants and sandy substrates. They do not do well on rocky or gravel substrates because they have a tendency to damage the delicate fins and barbels of the Corydoras.

These fish can live for up to 12 to 16 years in captivity! In the wild, they don’t tend to live as long – usually only 5-7 years – but if you care for your fish properly you may find that it reaches 20 years of age or more.

There are hundreds of types of Cory catfish, many of which haven’t been identified or named yet. We will tell you about someone to the most popular types of Corydoras Catfish later, but know that the care requirements and personalities of these fish will largely remain the same across these species.

What Are The Different Types Of Corydoras Catfish?

Cory Catfish 2
Photo by Geoff Holden

There are more than 170 different kinds of Cory Catfish. Here are some of the most common to be raised in an aquarium setting.

1 Panda Cory

Panda Cory
Photo by Tmcjj

This catfish is marked by a crema-colored body with dark black spots. It has spots all over its head and tail and grows only to about two inches long. One of the most popular species of Cory Cats, it can be found at most fish stores.

2 Peppered Cory

Photo by gil.ong81

Another popular type of Corydoras, this fish is found at most fish stores and acne can also be purchased online. A tan-colored fish with dark black and green patterns and an iridescent glow, this fish is unique in that each individual has a different appearance. It can grow to three inches in length and prefers slightly cooler temperatures in the tank.

3 Bronze Cory

Bronze Cory
Photo by Jes

This Cory is a variation of the Green Cory and is known for its active, easy going demeanor. Even when compared to the other peaceful, laidback species of Corydoras, this fish is an easy one to keep. Fish can grow to well over three inches, and while this fish might not have the bright coloration of other species on the list, it’s still a great choice for people who want to learn more about breeding and keeping Cory Catfish.

4 Albino Cory

 Albino Cory
Photo by Krista Kennedy

This fish has a bit of a spooky appearance, but don’t let that scare you away! A selectively bred variant of the Bronze Cory, this fish is incredibly unique. It has a golden-white body that is almost translucent, along with pale pink eyes. It stands out sharply against dark substrates and plants, making it easy to keep an eye on. And trust us, you’ll want to spend a lot of time watching this fish – it has a quirky, energetic personality that makes it the star of the show in any aquarium.

5 Julii Cory

This fish is admired and most well known for its gorgeous patterns and stripes. These fish can be taught to find, but there is another species, False Julii Cories, that tend to be more prevalent. This is a good option for people who adore the striping but can’t find the Julii in a store near them.

This fish is easy to care for and threes in most settings. You should provide it with temperatures of around 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

6 Sterbai Cory

 Sterbai Cory
Photo by Ricardo Kobe

This Cor fish is visually appealing with bright black, grey, and yellow patterns. It grows to about two and a half inches and has a humorous, energetic personality. Tolerant of most water conditions, this fish is a staple in most pet stores around the country.

7 Pygmy Cory

Pygmy Cory
Photo by Lisa Mease

This fish is another unique fish, only growing to about an inch long. It can live in small aquariums and likes to swim around in the middle levels of the water column – a feature that is unique among Cory Catfish. This tiny fish prefers waters that are about 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Appearance And Behavior Of Corydoras Catfish

Cory Catfish 3
Photo by Cheryl

Corydoras Catfish are friendly fish, preferring to spend most of their time by themselves. They are peaceful and will get along with just about any other kind of fish, making them the ideal species for a community tank. That being said, they are so docile that they tend to not want to stick up for themselves – this can spell disaster for the Cory Cat if you keep it with aggressive, hostile tank mates.

Despite their peaceful demeanor, these fish are still a ton of fun to watch. They are very active throughout all hours of the day and are quite social, preferring to be kept in groups of five or more. Watching your fish interact with each other is an experience that is unlike any other.

Cory Catfish are small compared to other kinds of catfish. Usually, they will only grow to about two and a half inches max depending on the individual species. Breeding females, though, can sometimes reach over three inches in length by the time they are fully grown.

How Ro Feed A Corydoras Catfish

Cory Catfish 4
Photo by Johanes cheval

Cory Catfish are not picky eaters and are interested phenomenal scavenges, these fish find most of their food by securing the bottom of the tank – however you should not rely on the scraps from your other fish alone to feed your Cory Catfish.

These omnivores should be fed well-balanced diets of plants and meat. You might want to give them foods like algae worms or bloodworms to make sure they are receiving all the nutrients they need. You may also be able to feed them small chunks of fresh fruits and vegetables, too – this will help keep them healthy in the long term.

Corys are extremely sensitive to changes in water quality, so it’s important that you do not overfeed. Feed your fish only as much as they can consume in a few minutes and take away anything they don’t like – this will prevent food from settling and decomposing at the bottom of your tank.

How To Set Up A Corydoras Catfish Tank

Cory Catfish 6
Photo by Birgithm

Corydoras Catfish are very easy to care for when it comes to the tank setting. Because they are small fish, they don’t need a lot of room – usually, a tank of 20 gallons will b e more than enough for a school of five fish.

You can keep a single Cory Cat in a tank of ten gallons or so, but the problem in this is that Corydoras do not like being kept by themselves. Therefore, you should keep them in a slightly larger tank but with additional tank mates to keep them happy.

These fish prefer tanks with lots of water flow. In fact, you will find them spending most of their time in the areas of the tank that has a lot of flow. You should include a few low-flow spots, too, where your fish can rest – think slate, rock, and plants.

Cory Catfish are very hardy in most tank settings. Interestingly, this was not always so – these fish were selectively bred over many years to be more resistant to common tank problems. Today, you will have the most success in keeping your Cory Cat in a tank that has a pH of 6.0 to 8.0 with temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The alkalinity should be between 3 and 10 dKH.

Being stable with your water parameters is far more important than reaching the perfect temperature and pH every time. If things are a few degrees or units off, don’t panic – just try to keep things stable and avoid major fluctuations in temperature, pH, or water quality.

These fish are exceptionally sensitive to contaminants tin eh water, like nitrite, ammonia, and nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite can be particularly deadly – make sure your tank is cycled properly before you add any fish to your tank. Nitrates, on the other hand, build up in the water gradually, and you must conduct weekly or bi-weekly water changes in order to keep nitrate levels down. It’s also a good idea to invest in a n aquarium test kit to make sure your levels are hitting the ideal marks.

When you set up your tank, make sure it is a minimum of twenty or thirty gallons so that it can support a healthy goal. You might want to add a canister filter to help keep toxins out of the water. These are the best and most thorough options, but if you can’t afford a canister filter, a hang-on-back option should work just fine.

You will also want to add a heat to help keep temperatures stable. You should also include an LED light. Your Cories themselves do not need light, but they do need plants to hide in – which of course need light themselves.

The Most important factor to consider in setting up your Corydoras Catfish tank is what kind of substrate you will use. Most freshwater fish do just fine on a gravel substrate, but these fish should not be kept in such a tank. Corydoras can easily be cut open by the jagged edges of the gravel, and it will damage their stomachs and fins.

The best option is sand. This will help prevent any damage to the barbels and fins of your Corydoras. You should avoid a white sand material, as this will make your tank appear dirtier as algae and debris will stand out sharply.

It can be difficult to grow plants in sand, once it has low amounts of nutrients. You can add a root tab to help support your plants. These should be placed beneath these substrate until your plants gain the traction needed to start going.

You can add just about any kind of live plant to your Corydoras tank. These is love plants and most species will work just fine. Some good options for beginners to consider include Java Fern, Anubias Nana, Hornwort, Pennywort, Crypts, or Java Moss. Most of these can be grown as rooted or floating plants.

You may also want to add driftwood and other decorations to your tank. This will give your fish plenty of spaces to hide and will really let your creativity shine.

Add lighting to support the plants – LED lights work bet as they put off less heat and can produce healthier plants. Remember that while the plants need lots of light, the Corys don’t necessarily need to be sunbathing at all time. They prefer lower light, so adding plenty of decorations like caves can help your fish receive some rest from the light every now and then.

Before you and your Corydoras fish to the tank, make sure you cycle it completely. This willhelp remove any damaging nitrates but will also introduce appropriate bacteria. Make sure you take the time to cycle your tank and make sure it is functioning at optimal levels before you add a Cory fish to the tank.

Common Tankmates For The Corydoras Catfish

Cory Catfish 5
Photo by Kristen Steffenhagen

Corydoras Catfish can be kept with just about any tankmate. It’s good to give these fish some companions, as they like being with others and will do best when they are given some friends.

At the very least, you need to make sure you keep your Cory Catfish in a school of four or more (but five is better). These social fish will swim and play with others of these same species, engaging in unique antics that are not only fun to watch, but also improve the health and happiness of your fish.

That said, Corydoras Catfish can be kept with just about any other kind of fish. Some good options include Danio, Tetras, Platies, Mollies, Guppies, Swordtails, Angelfish, and Gouramis. You can keep them with any peaceful community fish – the smaller the better.

There are a few types of fish that you should avoid keeping with your Corydoras Catfish. These include Barbs and Cichlids. Cichlids are too aggressive to be kept with most other community fish – and that includes Corys. Large cichlids, like the Oscars, may even try to eat them. Barbs aren’t aggressive, per say, but they do have a tendency to nip. They will often take advantage of your peaceful Corydoras, causing significant stress and competition in your tank.

Breeding Corydoras Catfish

Many people decide to breed their Corydoras Catfish. This is not a difficult thing to do – in fact, Cory catfish are some of the easiest fish you can breed. You just need to have the right set up.

Make sure you have a dedicated breeding tank. This should be bare and have no substrate, which will make it easier for you to clean and raise your fry in it. You will need to move your breeding pair form the main tank and acclimate them fully to the new tank in order to encourage breeding. After spawning, your Corys should be placed back in the main tank with the eggs left in the breeding tank.

Alternatively, you can choose to allow your breeding pairs to spawn in the main tank. You will then transfer your eggs to a fry tank. You won’t have to stress your adult Cories, but the success rate in hatching fry from this method tends to be a bit lower.

It is often better to remove the breeding adults because Cories and other fish have a tendency to want to snack on the eggs. If you’re not quick enough to remove the eggs before the other fish notice them, you may not have any survive.

Your fry tank should be pretty sparse -you don’t need to add any substrate, decorations, or plants. This will help keep the water parameters stable and will also make your work a bit easier.

You should start with a ten gallon tank and use water and filter media from the main tank. Rub the media on the walls of the tanks to hat you can transfer beneficial bacteria and skip the process of cycling the new tank. Use a sponge filter in the fry tank, because anything else will suck up the baby Cories.

You will need both females and males if you are interested in breeding your Cories. Ideally, you should have a ratio of two males per female. Females will be thicker around their stomachs and rest higher above the bottom for her ankle, while males tend to be more streamlined. It can be very difficult to sex a Cory Catfish until it reaches maturity, so may just want to hedge your bets by raising several Corys.

To prepare them for breeding, you will want to feed them a varied, nutritious diet. You can feed frozen and live foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp along with high-quality flakes and pellets. Feed small quantities frequently to signal that there is no food shortage which will give your Cory’s confidence in the breeding potential. You will follow this regular feeding schedule – about five times a day – for a week of two.

Once your Corydoras are full of eggs, you can start to spawn. To encourage spawning, conduct a 50% water change with water that is somewhat colder- this will signal summer rainfall, which is when Cories breed. You can empty out some water and repeat if the Cories don’t spawn in a few hours, but make sure the water temperature doesn’t dip too much. Your females will lay their eggs on the wall of the tank, filters, plants, or even decorations.

Once you see your eggs, you can remove them (or remove your fish). If you need to move the eggs, make sure you do not expose them to air. Use a breeder net to transfer them in the tank and leave them there while they are getting acclimated to the new tank.

Your eggs will hatch in less than six days and you won’t need to feed your fry during the first few days. You can start them on fry food or baby brine shrimp after the egg sacs are absorbed and theft ry are swimming. They will start growing quickly from here on out! They can be fed dried brine shrimp and crushed up flakes later on, and when they’re about an inch long you can transfer them to the main tank.

Is The Corydoras Catfish Right For Me?

If you’re new to raising fish, Corydoras Catfish is a species that you ought to give a try. Not only is this fish incredibly fun to watch, but there are multiple breeds available that can help you make the most of you renew fishkeeping hobby. They’re so easy to care for that every aquarium hobbyist should have at least three or four in his tank.

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