Cory Catfish: Facts, Lifespan, Care, Feeding, & Breeding

The Cory catfish is a popular freshwater pet. This creature possesses a bone-like material running its body, which is one of the reasons why the fish is often described as an armored fish, or you can say “a tiny tank fish.” These Corydoras come in various types of coloration and size, the most common of them all is the bronze colored Corydoras.

The Cory catfish has all the traits you need in a pet. It’s a gentle animal with a mild temperament, which makes them suitable for any beginner pet owner. Along with those is a list of unique features that makes them stand out among other pet fishes. 

Facts about Corydoras


Let’s begin with its origin of place and comfortable breeding ground. The Cory Catfish can be found in the lakes and streams of southern America. That location is dominated by vegetation.  So if you are considering to build a comfortable place for your pet, take those to note.

When building the tanked home, put sandy substrates at the bottom because it is what they prefer.  Rough substrate like gravel is not an option. If substrates like gravel are placed in the tanked home, there is a high possibility of damaging the fins and barbell (like whiskers) of your pet Cory Catfish.

How big can a Corydora get?

Their physical growth follows the standards for catfishes. Small catfishes to be clear. The size of a Corydora is within the range from 1.5 – 2.5 inches. It mainly depends on the species of Corydoras and gender. The previous range given is typical for males.  In the case of females, they are a bit bigger with 3 inches plus.

The lifespan of a Cory Catfish

You can tell for its bone-like outer structure it is a durable fish. They can last longer than other fishes. A Corydora can live up to 5 years or more if it is taken care of very well. It may not last longer than all other fishes, but mainly the small ones that can live in your home fish tank. 

Naturally, Cory Catfish have a long lifespan but only in the right conditions. Without those right conditions, your new pet fish can die shortly after putting it in your home aquarium. Some factors can cause this.

It could be due to the stress it feels during its transport from one place to another. Also, it could be due to the shift in water conditions. The tank you have prepared for your pet Corydora may not meet the water parameters of its home water.

They can breathe air

The Cory Catfish possesses a labyrinth organ which allows it to breathe atmospheric oxygen like us mammals. This labyrinth organ is an addition to the natural gills you see in all fishes. The fact that both the oxygen breathing labyrinth and gills are presents means that they prefer to live in freshwater regions where both oxygen and water is available.

You would find them swimming towards the shore or edges of lakes and streams in southern America. They are there so they can gulp up some air. 

They prefer to eat meals that sink

They Corydoras a quite pick when it comes to feeding. The largely prefer to feed on prey or proceeded fish food that sinks all the way to the bottom of the tank. They can eat-freeze dried worms and live pray as long as it sinks to the bottom. This method of feeding shows that the Cory Catfish feast while facing downwards.

They prefer to live in a community

Corydoras are docile and friendly in nature. They don’t mind living with a group of the same species or different fishes (as long as the other fishes are docile). The corydoras would even be quite interesting if it has neighbors in the tank with them.

The reason is due to their social ability. They can play around or swim in sync with other fishes of their species. This will make your pet Corydora both happy and healthy. If you wish to make your pet enjoy its home, add other Cory Catfish. They prefer to be in schools of 4, but you can always go as far as 5.

Types of common Corydoras species

It is in the record that there are over 170 different species of the Cory Catfish. There are still others out there that exist through the mating of two species out of the 170 species recorded. If you find it hard to make a choice on which species you will prefer, here are a few out if the 170 species on record:

Bronze Cory

This species of Cory Catfish is also known Corydoras aeneus. It is a green colored catfish which is known for being very active, easy to care for and expressive.  They can grow to the size of about 2.5 inches. The females can go as far as 3 inches.

The pH level of the water in its tank should be within the range of 6.0 – 7.0. And the temperature it prefers is with the range of 72 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.      

Panda Cory

The panda Cory is also known as Corydoras panda. This species is one of the most popular species of Cory catfish; it’s easy to find them in local pet stores. They have a dominant creamy white color on the body, with some black spots its head and tail. When looking at the Cory catfish with that description, you can conclude it looks to mimic a panda regarding coloration.

The general height limit in which a Corydora can reach is 2 inches. In the case of a breeding female, they can be larger than that limit. Its water pH level should be within 6’0 – 7.0. The suitable temperature of the tank should be within 70 – 78 degree Fahrenheit.

Albino Cory

This Cory catfish is a selective- bred variation of a bronze Cory catfish. These albino breeds have a unique look. They possess a golden white body coloration and light pink eyes which create contrast on dark substrates and plants. This physical feature makes the species of this Cory catfish popular amongst Cory catfish enthusiast.

 This species of Cory Catfish happens to be “spazzy” behavior. This means that it is quite unpredictable which increases the interest of the owners. The maximum size of the albino Cory is 2.5 inches. The appropriate pH level should be within the range of 6.0 – 7.0. The suitable temperature condition should be within the range of 72 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Peppered Cory

The peppered Cory, also known as Corydoras paleatus is among the most common Cory catfish. It can be found in most stores or online stores. They possess a tanned dark green coloration with black patterns all over. The green shines out when light rays are focused on it, but not in all of them.

The max size in which a peppered Cory can attain is 3 inches. The pH level of the water is with the range of 6.0 – 7.0. The tank must be at a suitable temperature within the range of 72 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Julii Cory

This species is also known as Corydoras julii. It is considered unique all due to its striped patterns which are similar to that of a leopard or tiger. This species happens to be one of the rarest to find. The value of this particular Cory catfish will be high in pet stores.

Just like other Cory catfish, they are quite easy to care for. The maximum size they grow to is 2.5 inches. The pH level of the water should be within the range of 6.5 – 8.0. The temperature with the tank should be within 72 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sterbai Cory

The Serbia cory (or corydoras sterbai) is one of the most appealing species of Corydoras to the eyes of Cory enthusiast worldwide. They have an energetic, tolerant (to various water conditions) and comical behavior, which makes them very interesting.

The can grow to a maximum size of 2.5 inches. The water in their tank should possess a pH level within the range of 6.0 – 7.5. The temperature of the water should be within the range of 73 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pygmy Cory

Corydoras pygmaeus is one of the smallest Cory catfish species with only 1 inch of maximum height growth. It occupies fewer spaces, and its feed is a bit smaller than what you would feed a 2.5-inch size Cory catfish.

The pygmy Cory prefers to stay at the top or mid-point of the fish tank. Its water pH level is within the range of 6.4 – 7.4. The temperature of its tank water should be with the range of 72 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to determine the gender of Corydoras

There is a perfect method for doing this. The best time to no their sex is after they’ve grown mature. In the male Cories. You will find that they are thinner and streamlined, while the females are thicker on the mid-section.

How to set up a tank for your pet Cory Catfish

The equipment needed:

•    A tank – the best size of tank to use should a 20 gallon or 30-gallon tank. The reason why the tank needs to be large is so that there will be enough spaces for your Cories. This will help keep them healthy and happy, given that there is enough space for playing around.

•    Filtration (for water) – make use of a canister filter, they are great for filtrating the water. Just hang them on the tank while maintaining contact with the tank’s water.

•    Heater – make use of a heater so you can control the temperature of the tank’s water. This way you can manage the temperature of the water with respect to the preference of the Cory catfish species.

•    Lighting – this will be a suitable addition to the tank if you wish to add live plants to the tank. It best to make use of LED lights. 

Choose the appropriate substrate

This part of setting up the tank is crucial. Most freshwater fishes prefer gravel substrate, but not Corydoras. If gravel were used, the risk of damaging the fish’s fins and stomach is extremely possible. 

Sandy substrate is a much better option. It is so soft; it can’t do damage to the Corydora fins, barbels or stomach. Also, fine sand can make them look more appealing.

Add live plants

To make the tank feel a lot more natural, you can a few live plants. They placed it in the tank in such a way the base of the plant is underneath the substrate. There is no specification to which the Corydoras prefer plant life. The reason is that they are not that picky when it comes to plants.

However, the best kind of plants to use is the one that does not require much light to sustain itself. Here are a few plants to consider:

•    Pennywort

•    Java moss

•    Crypts

•    Anubias Nana

•    Hornwort

Breeding Corydoras

This to begin the Corydoras need to be grown to a size that makes them suitable for mating ( 2.5 inches or 1 inch in the case of pygmy cories). The females have to be wider in size, as it shows they have eggs ready for fertilization.

During reproduction, the female will lay down her unfertilized eggs and then put her mouth against the genital of the male Corydora. The female will then begin to swallow the sperm from the male. The sperm then goes through her digestive system, then it comes from the anus to fertilize the eggs she released earlier.

After fertilization of her eggs, she carries them with her fins onto a flat surface of the tank such as plant area or on the glass. After a few days, those eggs will begin to hatch.


It is best to have another tank for mating. If you have a community of cories in your tank and your pet female Corydora has laid and fertilized her eggs. There is a high possibility of the eggs being eaten up by other cories.


So there you go… all the necessary information you need about this exotic aquatic animal. All it is features and various species are all unique and fun to have. Taking care of them isn’t hard at all. The only hardest part will be setting up their habitat.

In the end, The Cory catfish is a great pet to have, with their longer lifespan and strong bone-like structure. These characteristics show that the Cory Catfish is best for first-time pet owners.