how long do cory catfish live

How Long do Cory Catfish Live? (Averages)

Cory catfish are easy to care for and make excellent tank mates with other species of fish for home aquariums. If you are considering getting a Cory catfish, you’ll want to know how long they live and how to take care of them to increase their lifespan.

How long do Cory catfish live? Cory catfish usually live to be about 5-7 years old. With proper care, they can live to be 10-15 years old. Some species have even been known to live up to 20 years.

There is a lot that you can do to keep your Cory’s healthy so that you can enjoy their energetic personalities for many years. Read on to see how…

Cory catfish get lonely by themselves

The first thing you should know is that you should never get just one Cory catfish.

how old do cory catfish get

A solitary Cory cat can survive on its own, but they are a schooling fish and are happiest in groups of at least 4-6. As a larger school of fish, they will cheerfully cruise along the bottom of their tank, eating algae and getting along with all your other fish.

Keep in mind that Cory catfish will school with other species of Cory cats, but they will not have the same social interactions, so it’s still best to get at least five of each species.

Tank requirements for Cory catfish

It’s important that you have a large enough tank for your fish. While one Cory catfish can live in a ten-gallon tank, it is recommended that you have at least 20 gallons for a group of five Corydoras.

When sizing your tank for Cory cats, take into account that some of the space will be taken up by gravel, rocks and ornaments. Driftwood and caves are popular with Cory catfish and make them feel safe.

Their natural habitat is small streams and lakes. This is why Cory catfish like to have areas in the tank where there is good water flow. You should also have areas where there is low water flow, too, such as near plants and rocks, so that they can rest.

Remember that they will spend most of their time at the bottom of your tank. However, they are fast swimmers and will sometimes jump out of the water, so make sure you have a tightly fitting tank lid.

Cory catfish are a hardy aquarium fish, but every effort should be made to keep the water as clean as possible in the tank. It’s important to keep the conditions of their tank as stable as possible and make sure that these conditions are met:

  • Temperature 70-80 °F
  • pH 6.0-8.0
  • Alkalinity 3°-10° dKH

A freshwater testing kit will help you monitor your tank’s water quality and help prevent problems that you can’t see.

There are many different Cory species

Cory catfish grow to about 2.5 inches long and breeding females can even get up to 3 inches. Different species vary in color and size. They have a variety of traits and they may have specific care requirements.

Cory catfish are sometimes dyed different colors to make them more appealing. Since this can cause them health issues, it is best to avoid fish that have been dyed.

There are over 150 different subspecies of Corydora catfish, but here are some of the popular ones:

SpeciesDescriptionNotesSizeScientific name
AlbinoPinkish white with glowing red eyesDeveloped from peppered Cory catfish and not available from the wild2.5”Corydoras aeneus
GreenAvailable in four colors: green, black, bronze and albinoShy compared to other Cory catfish2.5-3”Corydoras aeneus
PandaCream white or orange with black patches on head and tailPrefer cooler waters because of their native high mountain habitat2”Corydoras panda
Peppered (or spotted)Tan with black patches on body and a green shineMost common, but no two are alike2.5-3”Corydoras paleatus
PygmySimilar to most Cory catfish, but much smallerSmallest (under 1 inch) and cannot be paired with larger fish1”Corydoras pygmaeus
Julii, TrueSmall dots and striped patterns on their topDifficult to find, can look like they are winking when they move their eyes2.5”Corydoras julii
Julii, FalseSimilar to true Julii CorySubstitute for the hard to find true Julii Cory catfish2.5”Corydoras trilineatus
Emeraldiridescent green with pink highlightsGood for beginners2.75”Corydoras splendens
SterbaiWhite spots on a dark body, yellow underneath, rings around the eyesKnown for their comical personalities2.5”Corydoras sterbai

Why are my Corydora catfish suddenly dying?

Even though Cory catfish are generally easy to take care of, challenges will arise. They are known for their gregariousness and cheerful personalities, though, so it is easy to tell if they are acting sick or lethargic.

There’s a variety of problems that can cause death in Corydora catfish. Often, aquarium hobbyists won’t even know anything is wrong until one of their Cory cats is found floating dead at the top of the tank.

The most common reason for a Cory dying is improper introduction into a new tank. It’s important to acclimatize them from their old tank to their new one to avoid sharp pH and temperature changes. Remember, stability is the most important thing about their tank water.

You should also know whether or not your Cory catfish were wild-caught or bred in an aquarium, because this will affect how easily they adapt to your tank.

Corydora symptoms, diseases and treatment

If your Corydora catfish start having problems, keep a close watch on them. Pay attention to their symptoms because this can help you diagnose their disease and then find a treatment before they die.

Here is a list of common symptoms that Cory catfish will display if they are diseased.

  • problems breathing, gasping for air
  • erratic swimming, lethargic or slow swimming, or swimming upside down
  • loss of color
  • bloating
  • cloudy eyes
  • open sores
  • bulging eyes
  • skin inflammation
  • white spots on the body
  • not eating

These symptoms are usually caused by one of three common infections: bacterial, fungal or parasitic. There are other types of diseases, but those are the most common.

Always remove dead fish as soon as possible from the tank. You should thoroughly clean and disinfect your tank and the tank water, taking care not to destabilize your fish.

Lastly, depending on what type of infection your fish have, you may need to administer some over the counter medication. If they aren’t eating, you can feed them some live food, such as vegetables or brine shrimp. Make sure to steer clear of any antibiotics that aren’t meant for scale-less fish.

To avoid disease altogether, keep stress levels down.

  • Keep tank mates that are not aggressive
  • Regularly test the water chemistry
  • Provide adequate tank space
  • Provide adequate food and lighting for your Cory species (pygmy Corys need less light than others)
  • Don’t isolate them

Will my Cory catfish have babies?

Did you know that Cory catfish can lay eggs every week? There’s a lot that you can do to manage the breeding process or even prevent your Corys from breeding.

The key to getting Cory catfish to breed is changing the water and lowering the temperature. If you have a breeding male and female, put them in a new tank, and then it will be easy to pull them out and leave the eggs.

It’s difficult to tell the difference between the boys and the girls, however, even after they have reached breeding age. The  male is more streamlined, and sometimes, the males will chase a female during breeding season. If they do, it’s usually a few males chasing one female.

A breeding female is longer than her male counterparts, but she has a wider abdomen where her eggs are stored. If you do notice a swollen fish, keep an eye out for when the swelling goes away; that means the eggs have been laid, often on the tank glass or near a plant.

Their eggs are easy to see on the tank and you can scrape them off and dispose of them. They will probably only lay 10 or 15 eggs a week, so it’s manageable. And it’s very easy to tell if they are fertilized or not by the color. Unfertilized eggs are white and translucent, while fertile eggs are beige with dark spots.

Conclusion: How Long do Cory Catfish Live?

With proper care, Cory catfish can live long lives.

There are a lot of reasons to love this happy-go-lucky little catfish species. Hopefully, you will be able to enjoy at least 10 long years with your Corydora catfish.

Take proper care of them, keep them free from disease and make sure they have plenty of friends. They’ll reward you with their colorful forms, friendly dispositions and winking eyes.