Cory catfish (Corydoras) is a petite, timid and very cute fish for small fish tank. Cory catfish is also one of the best fish for a minimum 10 gallon fish tank. They aren’t very colorful but very cute and helpful to cleaning their tank. Let’s read this article to know what makes this fish the most favorite fish for small aquariums.

Why Cory Catfish are loved by many hobbyists?

Their scientific name is Corydoras hastatus. They are also known with the name: Cory cat, Pygmy corydoras, Dwarf corydoras, Mini spotlight corydoras, Tail spot pygmy catfish.


They originate from Brazil though are commonly exported out of Colombia and you can easily buy them with the very affordable prices, as you know two to four dollars apiece.

When I firstly see cory catfish in an image, I thought these fish may be very large and can eat all small fish in my community aquarium like other catfish do. I’ve even thought that I will never keep this ugly and horrible fish in my aquarium.

However, it’s a serious wrong thoughts, cory catfish are very small and so cute fish, they are very timid and not be aggressive towards their tank mates. Besides, like most bottom feeders, these little fish are very helpful to cleaning the leftovers that sink to the bottom of their tank. So, you surely very love them when you know their features.

There are many types of Cory catfish with various colors that attracts everyone who easily fall in love with them. Here is ~ 50 types of Corydoras. It’s easy to distinct between males and females Cory cats. The males are smaller, more slender and have a more pointed dorsal fin than the females. The mature females are noticeably fatter, bigger and broader than the males.

How to care for Cory catfish in a small fish tank?


  • Stocking: 5-7 fish in a tank larger than 10 gallons,
  • Aquatic plants and decor: dense vegetation and decor,
  • Substrate and light: Use dark soil and tempered light,
  • Optimal temperature: 70-80°F (22-26°C),
  • Optimal pH: 6-7.5,
  • Water hardness (dH): 1-15.

Fish tank setup

Corydoras are absolutely adorable and petite, they can live for 5 years and the length of the mature fish reach maximum 3 cm (~ 1.25 inch). The baby size makes Cory cats extremely relative to small fish tanks and a 10 gallon aquarium is sufficient for them live healthily.


It’s really incredible to see they make a wonderful display in a larger community tank. However, they’re also suitable for smaller ones as well people like to keep them in the picture above with other fish like ember tetras, ruby tetras, neon tetras or other small tetra fish.

They are peaceful and schooling fish so it’s better to keep them in groups of 10 or more, the more the better with this little fish. Do not combine with medium to large sized fish, they are very timid and vulnerable.


They preper to live together

An ideal tank setup would have either sand or find gravel and drift wood like the above picture if you’re doing a biotope aquarium with no more plants. However, they certainly do quite well in the tank with lots of aquarium plants.

Fish foods for Cory catfish

They’re omnivorous, versatile and very easy to feed; pellets and small flakes are their common foods. They also love small live foods such as micro worms, daphnia, frozen brine or fresh tiny shrimp. They are bottom feeders so Wardley Shrimp Pellets and algae wafers are strongly recommended for them.

Wardley sinking shrimp pelletsWardley sinking shrimp pellets

Tetraveggie algae wafersTetraveggie algae wafers

Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried DaphniaHikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Daphnia

Breeding Cory catfish

Step 1: prepare the proper aquarium set-up

At least a 20 gallon aquarium is recommended for breeding Corydoras. Sand is the best substrate for Corydoras breeding tank. Stocking a school of Cory catfish in the breeding tank, it is best if the males out number of the females. Ideally you would have two males to every female.

It’s easy to distinct between males and females Cory cats. The males are smaller, more slender and have a more pointed dorsal fin than the females. The mature females are noticeably fatter, bigger and broader than the males as you see in the picture above.

Step 2: feed them well

If you want to spawn these fish, feeding them a high fat and protein diet of frozen or live foods followed by a cool water change will help induce the spawning.

Wardley sinking shrimp pelletsWardley sinking shrimp pellets

Omega One Freeze Dried Brine ShrimpOmega One Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp

Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried DaphniaHikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Daphnia

Step 3: kick starting the breeding process

In the wild, Corydoras usually spawn after a rain so the number one way to aid in spawning is cool water changes. 50% water changes of about 2-4 degree cooler water should be performed about every 4-5 days, however, do not lower the temperature below 70 degrees.

Step 4: mating corydoras

You’ll see the male’s chasing females like crazy, they’re going to mating and they do it in a typical T position.


The female and male will form a T shape as the males transfers sperm to the female to fertilize the eggs.

Step 5: spawning

After mating, the female swim away and places the eggs off on the glass or broad leaves or some things hard like decorations. They tend to lay their eggs closer to two flow so increasing your oxygenation can also encourage them to spawn. Around 7 to 15 eggs are spawned in one day and spawning occurs for three to four days.

Step 6: caring for eggs

The parents tend to eat their eggs so collecting the eggs after they are spawned. The eggs should be collected using a sharp knife or razor blade. Once the eggs are collected, placing them in a breeding box.

Marina Hang-On Breeding BoxMarina Hang-On Breeding Box

The eggs must be kept moving, so an air stone or air line should be added. To prevent fungus Methylene Blue can be added. Fertilized eggs turn from clear to tannish-brow. Unfertilized eggs turn a deep white color. Unfertilized eggs usually fungus first, so they should be removed.

Daily water changes of 40-50% should be performed until the eggs hatch. The eggs hatch in 3-5 days depending on temperature. The fry are born almost colorless and do not resemble adult Corydoras.

Raising and caring the fry Corydoras

Day 1-2: Newly hatched fry do not need to be feed because their yolk is the main nutrient for them in two first days.

Day 3-7: Feed the fry with powered fry food (Hikari First Bites) or liquid fry food (boiled egg yolk) or a mix of them. In about a week the fry will gain color and began to look like Corydoras.

Week 2-3: Feed them with Hikari First Bites + Baby Brine Shrimp or Decapped Brine Shrimp.

Week 4: Hikari First Bites + Shrimp Pellets, Baby Brine Shrimp, Blood-worms, Daphnia, and Micro-worms are a few options.


Baby Cory catfish after 3 months

In about 3 months the fry will look like miniature versions of adult Cory Catfish. They will be ready for the fry tank at this time or you can place them into the main tank with their parents.

In about 6-8 months, the baby Corydoras mature.

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