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The Best Cory Catfish Tank Size By Species

The Best Cory Catfish Tank Size By Species

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you’re looking for a good and peaceful fish to add to your fish tank, then cory catfish will fit the bill. These fish are very pretty, and they are among the most peaceful fish that you’ll ever see.

The temperament of these fish is very calm overall. They’re also rather fun to observe.

They make great community fish tank members, but you need to ensure that you do the necessary research before adding them to an aquarium. Cory catfish aren’t generally very big, but they still need to have the right tank size if you want them to stay healthy.

Read on to learn about the right tank size for cory catfish. You’ll get information about different types of cory catfish as well as advice about how to best care for them.

After you’ve been given the necessary information, you’ll be able to care for these fish with full confidence. They’re great fish to own, but doing the appropriate research ensures that you can keep them healthy in your fish tank.

There Are Many Cory Catfish Species

First, you should know that there are many cory catfish species out there. There are some cory catfish that are going to be very small, and others will be a little bit bigger.

Some dwarf species of cory catfish will be able to fit in slightly smaller fish tanks. Average cory catfish will need tanks that are a bit larger.

It is best to research the specific type of cory catfish that you wish to purchase. For example, if you want to buy a bandit cory catfish, it’s going to have different requirements than a peppered cory catfish.

Take the time to learn about some of the most common and popular cory catfish types below. This will help to give you an idea of how big the tank should be for each of these fish.

Peppered Cory Catfish

Peppered Cory Catfish

The peppered cory catfish will need a 15-gallon fish tank or larger. Males grow to be two and a half inches long while females routinely reach three inches long at maturity.

The peppered cory catfish might be the most common cory catfish that you’ll find at pet stores. They have a great look that helps them to stand out in community fish tanks.

Since these fish are so peaceful, they’re perfect for community aquariums. They’re not going to do well if you put them in a tank with aggressive bully fish, though.

Bandit Cory Catfish Tank Size

Bandit cory catfish are very neat little fish that only grow to be two inches. They will fit in 10-gallon fish tanks.

The black “mask” markings that they have over their eyes make them resemble cartoon robbers. These are fun fish to own, but they are a bit sensitive.

Fluctuating water temperatures can make these fish go into shock. You’ll need to keep a close eye on the water temperature and the preferred parameters to protect this fish.

Bronze Cory Catfish Tank Size

Bronze cory catfish are some of the most common that you will find. They’re very popular, and you’ll see why if you choose to buy some of your own.

A bronze cory catfish will grow to be two and a half inches long. This puts it in the right range to fit in a 10-gallon fish tank.

However, many enthusiasts suggest that using a 20-gallon fish tank is better for this species. This is often true because you want to keep these fish in groups, and that means that you should try to give them more space.

Panda Cory Catfish Tank Size

Two Panda Cory Catfish

Panda cory catfish have a distinctive look that helps to make them well-loved. They have markings near the eyes that make them resemble pandas.

An adult panda cory catfish will grow to be two inches long. It’s small enough that it should be fine in a 10-gallon fish tank.

These are very social fish that need to be kept with many other cory catfish. If you want to keep a large number of them in the same tank, then you’ll probably want a tank that is a bit bigger.

Julii Cory Catfish Tank Size

Julii cory catfish will reach two and a half inches long when they reach adulthood. They’re very peaceful fish that get along well with other fish for the most part.

It’ll be fine to keep julii cory catfish in 10-gallon fish tanks. Depending on how many you want to buy, it might be better to go with a 20-gallon fish tank.

Sometimes, you’ll go to buy these fish in pet stores and find out that what you’re being sold is actually a three stripe cory catfish. The two fish are so similar that some pet stores don’t know the difference.

Skunk Cory Catfish Tank Size

Skunk cory catfish are incredibly popular little fish. These cory catfish will only grow to be two inches long at maturity.

They don’t live quite as long as some other cory catfish varieties. You can expect these pretty fish to stick around your tank for five years with proper care.

You’ll be able to fit skunk cory catfish in a 10-gallon tank comfortably. Just watch out for these fish because they’re very sensitive to heightened ammonia and nitrate levels.

Three Stripe Cory Catfish Tank Size

Three Stripe Cory Catfish Swimming at Bottom of Tank

Three stripe cory catfish will look very cool in a fish tank setting. These fish aren’t incredibly big, but they do have a bold look due to their stripes.

An adult three stripe cory catfish will grow to be approximately two and a half inches long. This means that it should be able to fit in a 10-gallon fish tank.

It’s notable that people often mistake these fish for the julii cory catfish mentioned earlier. You can tell the fish apart by looking for the spots on the head that are connected and appear to look like a maze.

Emerald Green Cory Catfish Tank Size

Emerald green cory catfish are the biggest ones that have been mentioned so far. These fish grow to be between three and four inches long at maturity.

If you want these fish to thrive, then you’ll need to give them a 20-gallon fish tank at a minimum. Those who want to keep a larger group of these fish together might benefit from going with a 29-gallon fish tank instead.

Interestingly, these fish also enjoy slightly warmer temperatures than most other cory catfish. This is because they can be found near the equator in the wild where water temperatures are a bit warmer.

Pygmy Cory Catfish Tank Size

Pygmy cory catfish are very small and will be fine living in smaller fish tanks. It should be acceptable to put them in a 5-gallon fish tank, but you might want to go with a 10-gallon tank to be safe.

If you’re only keeping the minimum number of pygmy cory catfish together, then a 5-gallon tank will likely be okay. Males only grow to be three-fourths of an inch long while females will reach one inch in length.

These peaceful fish need to be kept safe. Be careful if you try to put them in community tanks since they’re small and vulnerable to many other fish.

Sterba’s Cory Catfish Tank Size

A Group of Sterbas Corydoras at the Bottom of a Freshwater Tank

Sterba’s cory catfish will grow to be two and a half inches long when they reach adulthood. They are stunning fish to behold due to their eye-catching patterns and prominent pectoral spines.

A fish such as this should be able to do fine in a 15-gallon fish tank or larger. If you want to own many of these fish, then go with a 20-gallon fish tank or larger.

How Many Cory Catfish in a 5-Gallon Fish Tank?

This depends on the type of cory catfish that you’re talking about. Only the smallest cory catfish such as pygmy cory catfish can be kept in a 5-gallon fish tank.

Generally, only two or so fish will fit fine in a tank like this. You’ll usually want to keep more fish together than this, though.

Most enthusiasts say that going with a larger tank is a better idea. Even when caring for pygmy cory catfish, it might be best to go with a 10-gallon fish tank to get good results.

How Many Cory Catfish in a 10-Gallon Fish Tank?

Corydoras trilineatus Fish Searching for Food on Aquarium Bottom
Corydoras trilineatus Fish Searching for Food on Aquarium Bottom

Generally, you should be able to keep between two and four cory catfish in a 10-gallon fish tank. This means that some fish will do pretty well in small tanks like this while others will not.

Certain cory catfish will be too big for tanks of this size. Others will be fine so long as you’re not keeping too many fish together.

Cory catfish like being kept in groups. This means that it’s usually more practical to go with a 20-gallon fish tank or something even larger.

Can a Cory Catfish Be Kept in a Fishbowl?

No, you shouldn’t keep cory catfish in a fishbowl. Most fishbowls are only going to have one gallon of space. Some might be a bit larger than that, but these vessels are usually quite small.

You aren’t meant to keep these fish alone. One very small cory catfish might fit in a fishbowl, but it wouldn’t be happy.

If you don’t have room for a 10-gallon tank in your home, then you should probably not buy cory catfish. Wait until you can buy a fish tank that will be the right size for these fish.

How Many Cory Catfish Per Gallon?

You shouldn’t look at it like this. It isn’t quite possible to say how many cory catfish will fit in a tank on a per-gallon basis.

These fish are kept in small groups. You’re always going to need to have enough room for all of the fish.

If you’re going to be keeping at least four or five fish together, then you need to have a tank that will fit all of them. Technically, one fish might fit in a 5-gallon tank, but you can’t have just one fish.

Some might say that the five gallons per fish figure is fairly safe. Others might say that you have to consider other factors such as space for plants, decorations, and other essential things.

Cory Catfish Minimum Tank Size

The minimum tank size will differ depending on the type of cory catfish that you’re buying. Generally, 10-gallon fish tanks are considered to be the smallest acceptable size.

Pygmy cory catfish might be okay in a 5-gallon tank since they’re so small. Otherwise, you’ll be better off purchasing a 10-gallon fish tank or even a 20-gallon fish tank.

It isn’t uncommon for people to keep these fish in 29-gallon fish tanks or ones that are even larger. This is because many choose to keep these fish in greater numbers.

Minimum Number of Cory Catfish in a Tank

Group of Cory Catfish Swimming Together

If you want things to go well when caring for cory catfish, you’re supposed to keep at least six of them in one tank. Many people keep fewer cory catfish together than this, though.

Some say that it’s okay to keep the fish in groups of four or five. Keeping fewer than four in the same tank would not be a good idea.

These are very social fish that need to be kept with others of their kind. They like to hang out together, and these fish can potentially experience health issues if they become lonely.

For this reason, it’s wise to keep six in the tank if you’re able to do so. Anecdotal evidence suggests that keeping four or five fish in the tank will suffice, but six is still the recommended number.

Are Cory Catfish Schooling Fish?

Yes, cory catfish are considered to be schooling fish. They like to be around other cory catfish because it makes them feel safe.

It isn’t going to be possible to keep these fish by themselves. If you try to do so, then the fish will suffer from extreme loneliness.

Schooling fish such as this like to hang out with many of their own kind. They will school in groups of five or six.

It’s notable that cory catfish will school even when put in fish tanks with other types of cory catfish. You might need to research specific compatibility if you own very small cory catfish such as pygmy cory cats, though.

Can a Cory Catfish Live Alone?

No, cory catfish can absolutely not live alone. A cory catfish that is put in a small tank by itself will just wind up dying of loneliness.

You’ll likely notice the poor fish glass surfing and trying to get out of the tank. It will want to get away to find more of its kind.

Putting just one fish in a fish tank is cruel. You must buy a group of these fish or things will not go well at all.

How Many Cory Catfish Should Be Kept Together?

As mentioned earlier, cory catfish are fish that like to stay in groups. You want to keep them with other fish of their kind so that they will feel comfortable.

Ideally, you want to keep six cory catfish together. You might even want to keep more of them together than this if you have a large enough fish tank.

Some people like keeping eleven or so cory catfish in the same aquarium. Just avoid keeping only one or two cory catfish since they will get too lonely.

Final Thoughts

Cory catfish are amazing fish that you’ll wind up loving a lot. You just need to make sure that you give them tanks that are big enough.

Some people try to put these fish in tanks that are too small. While most cory catfish aren’t that big, they’ll usually appreciate being put in 20-gallon fish tanks or larger ones.

This is partially because they’re schooling fish that need to be kept in groups. You want to be able to buy six of these fish at once to be kept in the same tank together.

Keeping fewer fish in the tank can give you worse results. It might be fine to keep four or five together, but it’s best to go with six fish or more.

Since these fish are popular community tank fish, remember that you’ll need the community tank to be even larger. If you’re adding more fish to the tank, then you need more space so that all of the fish will have enough room.

Generally, bigger tanks are better and easier to keep clean. You’ll find that smaller tanks will get dirty faster, and this can be bad since cory catfish don’t tolerate heightened nitrate levels in the tank.

Do your best to make good decisions when setting up a cory catfish tank. Whether you’re setting up a community tank or one that is specifically meant for cory catfish, you’ll be able to do things right.

Be sure to let your friends and family know what you learned today. These are popular fish that can be a joy to own, but you don’t want to do things the wrong way or the fish won’t survive for long.

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