Cory Catfish: Quick Guide To Keeping These Peaceful Freshwater Aquarium Fish

Cory Catfish

Are you a beginner at fish keeping, or do you want to add a fish to your freshwater aquarium? Either way, Cory Catfish is a suitable choice. Even the word suitable is an understatement for these beautiful, adaptable, and peaceful fish. 

Not only do they add liveliness to your fish tank, but also keep it clean by finding leftover food. Cory Catfish is easy to keep as they are calm omnivores that adapt to various living conditions. 

However, to maintain their happy personalities and good health, you need to know the ins and outs of keeping them in a freshwater aquarium.

Let’s dig in the details of this thorough guide. 

Ideal Habitat 

They hail from the US east coast and the Andean mountains. They are found in shallow streams with soft residue and slow-moving water. Their fondness for clear and calm water tells us how their tank environment should be. 

Tank Size

The tank size depends on the specie of Cory Catfish you want to keep. The minimum tank size should be 10 gallons, but feel free to keep them in a bigger aquarium, especially if you want to house schools. 

  • Rule of thumb: Add 2 to 4 gallons per additional Cory Catfish 

Tank Set-Up

Temperature: As you already know by now, Cory Catfish originates from tropical areas. So, they need warmer waters. We are talking about 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • Keep the temperature consistent and avoid sudden changes in it as that can result in stress for these fish. 

pH: If you have got a Cory Catfish that was captive-bred, it will need a pH between 7.0 to 8.0. On the contrary, if the fish was caught from the wild, it will require a lower pH between 5.5 to 7.0.

Nitrate levels: Remember that high nitrate levels can induce stress in Cory Catfish. Stress can lead to barbel infections. You don’t want your fish to be ill, right? Inspect the water regularly and keep the nitrate levels at 0ppm. 

Substrate: Cory Catfish like soft sediments, but love sand. The softer the better! LOL. You can also put small and rounded gravel as the substrate. Make sure it’s not sharp as that can lead to cuts that can cause infections. 

Water flow: They like slower streams. Also, they look for inlets that they can take refuge in from fast-moving water. Set the filter to a weaker setting. 

Plants: You can add plants to the aquarium as those help to break the water flow. Not only do they oxygenate the water, but also provide shelter from light. Some of the plants that you can choose from are crypts, penny warts, dwarf hairgrass, and amazon swords. 

Tank Mates 

We all like good company, eh? It’s important to keep calm fish with Cory Catfish, so they don’t injure or eat these adorable little fish. 

Let’s see which fish are compatible with Cory Catfish and can stay in the same tank. 

  1. Tetras
  2. Guppies
  3. Mollies
  4. Swordtails
  5. Ottos
  6. Plecs
  7. Filter shrimps
  8. Nerite snails

All of the above-mentioned types of fish, shrimp, and snail are peaceful. Their calm natures, coupled with easy care requirements, make them ideal to be kept with Cory Catfish.

  • Can you keep Cory Catfish together?

Yes, absolutely. They are schooling fish, so they want a group (Recommended: 6). They’ll be happy to live with other species of Cory Catfish. In the wild, they live in much bigger groups, so don’t shy away from having a big collection. 

Sometimes, Cory Catfish even shoal with tetras that have colors similar to theirs. 


In the wild, Cory Catfish eat:

However, they enjoy the following foods as well. 

Since they like to bury half their face into the substrate while digging for food, food that sinks to the bottom e.g. sinking pellets gives them the feeling of their natural feeding habits.

You can switch their food every few days to make sure that they get a good variety of nutrients.

Feeding routine:  Cory Catfish should be fed once daily. The amount of food should be as much as they can consume in 3 to 5 minutes. 

Warning: This fish has been known to eat small eggs of other species in the aquarium. Keep this in mind when you plan on breeding any of Cory Catfish’s tank mates. 


There is no doubt that Cory Catfish is easy going. But you still need to clean their tank each week. This practice should include hoovering the excess waste from the gravel along with cleaning the aquarium glass. 

By the way, these cute fish are likely to hide while you clean. It’s the shy part of their personality, LOL. 

You should also change the tank water weekly or at least 20% of the water. Dechlorinate the new water and add it slowly to the tank. This is to prevent the distribution of substrate that can result in ammonia spikes. 

If you keep the water’s quality in check, your Cory Catfish will be very satisfied as they can be sensitive to water parameters.


Don’t you feel like an expert at keeping Cory Catfish already? You should because you just gained a lot of knowledge from this comprehensive guide. 

One thing is for sure; you won’t regret adding this fish in the aquarium. Appropriate care goes a long way for them. 

I hope you enjoy keeping Cory Catfish!

John Kilmerstone

I love keeping pet fish and receive a lot of joy and peace from watching these colorful creatures. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of pet fish. Discover how to care for and look after pet fish and amplify your satisfaction.

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