7 Cory Catfish Species for Your Aquarium Tank

Meet the Gentle Bottom-Dwelling Corys

Cory catfish are small, peaceful, bottom-dwelling scavengers that are beloved by all who have owned them. Virtually all Cory species should be kept in schools; stories of single Corys pining away from loneliness are not uncommon. Corys should be kept only with small to medium sized peaceful fish.

Corys, like all catfish, are bottom feeders and scavengers (though they also appreciate a meal of brine shrimp). On the one hand, that means they can help to keep your tank clean by finding and eating bits of uneaten food and other debris. On the other hand, Corys tend to make a bit of a mess as they poke through the substrate and send algae and other muck into the water. Bottom line, while they can be considered part of your tank's "clean up crew," they'll need a little help from snails, shrimp, and other scavengers.

  • 01 of 07

    Bandit Cory

    Corydoras metae
    Bandit Cory. Acuario

    Scientific Name: Corydoras metae
    Adult Size: 2 inches (5 cm)
    Lifespan: 5 years
    Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
    pH: 6.5–7.0
    Hardness: 5–10 degrees dGH
    Temperature: 72–79 degrees F (22–26 degrees C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful schooling species

    Bandit Corys have been in the aquarium trade for a long time and are one of the more popular members of this family. They are easily identifiable by the black mask over the eyes. Bandits are more sensitive to variations in water temperature than some other species. .

  • 02 of 07

    Bronze Cory

    Corydoras aeneus
    Bronze Cory. Hung-Jou Chen

    Scientific Name: Corydoras aeneus
    Also Known As: Green Corydoras
    Adult Size: 2.5 inches (6 cm)
    Lifespan: 5 years​
    Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
    pH: 5.8–7.0
    Hardness: 2–30 degrees dGH
    Temperature: 72–79 degrees F (22–26 degrees C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful schooling fish

    Like Pepper Corys, Bronze Corys are very popular and readily available everywhere. These two species of Corys are hands down the most commonly kept members of this family. Bronze Corys are available in several color morphs, including green, bronze, albino, and black. They do well in a range of conditions but should be kept in schools. 

  • 03 of 07

    Julii Cory

    Corydoras julii
    Corydoras julii. h080

    Scientific Name: Corydoras julii
    Adult Size: 2.5 inches (6 cm)
    Lifespan: 5+ years
    Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
    pH: 6.5–7.8
    Hardness: to 20 degrees dGH
    Temperature: 73–79 degrees F (23–26 degrees C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful bottom dwelling schooling fish

    Although this species may be seen for sale in pet shops, it rarely is the real McCoy. Instead what is labeled as a Julii is actually its kissing cousin the Three Stripe Cory. True Julis have spots that are generally not connected into long chains, as they are in the Three Stripe Cory. 

  • 04 of 07

    Panda Cory

    Haplochromis

    Scientific Name: Corydoras panda
    Also Known As: Panda Catfish, Panda Corydoras
    Adult Size: 2 inches (5 cm)
    Lifespan: 10+ years
    Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
    pH: 6.0–7.0
    Hardness: 2–12 degrees dGH
    Temperature: 68–77 degrees F (20–25 degrees C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful, compatible with all species, keep in schools

    Panda Corys are highly social and should always be kept in schools of its own kind. They get along with virtually all other peaceful species and have been known to school along with other bottom dwelling species. Pandas prefer cooler temps and are suitable for unheated aquariums. 

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  • 05 of 07

    Pepper Cory

    Hiyotada

    Scientific Name: Corydoras paleatus
    Also Known As: Blue Leopard Corydoras, Peppered Catfish, Peppered Cory
    Adult Size: Males–2.5 inches (6.5 cm), Females–3 inches (7.5 cm)
    Lifespan: 5 years
    Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallon
    pH: 6.0–7.0
    Hardness: to 12 degrees dGH
    Temperature: 72–78 degrees F (22–26 degrees C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful, best kept in schools with other smaller fish

    Pepper Corys are perhaps the most commonly kept member of this family and are widely available at pet shops everywhere. They are peaceful and get along with virtually all fish, but should not be kept with large aggressive species.

  • 06 of 07

    Skunk Cory

    Shirlie L Sharpe

    Scientific Name: Corydoras arcuatus
    Adult Size: 2 inches (5 cm)
    Lifespan: 5 years
    Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
    pH: 6.8–7.5
    Hardness: 2–25 degrees dGH
    Temperature: 72–79°F (22–26 degrees C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful, enjoys a large school

    Skunk Corys are more sensitive to elevated ammonia and nitrates than other species. For this reason, they are not recommended for a brand new aquarium. Instead, wait until the tank is matured before adding this species. 

  • 07 of 07

    Three Stripe Cory

    Corydoras trilineatus
    Corydoras trilineatus. Gerald Schneider

    Scientific Name: Corydoras trilineatus
    Adult Size: 2.5 inches (6 cm)
    Lifespan: 10 years
    Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
    pH: 5.8–7.2
    Hardness: to 18 degrees dGH
    Temperature: 72–78 degrees F (22–26 degrees C)
    Tankmates: Peaceful, keep in small schools

    The Three Stripe Cory is readily available in most pet shops, but it may actually be a Julii Cory. Three Stripe Corys can be distinguished by the spots on the head that are connected together in a  long string, giving them a maze-like appearance.