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Cory Catfish vs. Pleco (The Best Choice for Your Tank)

Cory Catfish vs. Pleco (The Best Choice for Your Tank)

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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.

Many aquarium enthusiasts love caring for both cory catfish and plecos. These fish are similar in certain ways, but they’re also quite different.

It’d be normal for a newcomer to the hobby to think that cory catfish and plecos are very close to one another. However, you should understand that they’re very different in some important ways.

Keep reading to get information about both plecos and cory catfish. You’ll learn about how these fish behave, how large they become, and various other important topics.

This will make it easier to decide which type of fish will be right for your situation. For some, owning cory catfish will be a more practical choice, but plecos are definitely appealing fish that can be found in many home aquariums as well.

Plecos Are Algae Eaters

Bristlenose Pleco Eating Algae Off of Rock

One big difference to know about right away is that plecos are algae eaters. Some people make the mistake of thinking that cory catfish will also be algae eaters.

Cory cats actually don’t like to eat algae. They won’t eat algae off of the sides of the tank nor will they eat algae in the substrate.

They generally avoid algae, but they will eat algae when it’s given to them in certain types of fish food. For example, many people give cory catfish algae wafers and they eat them up just fine.

Plecos are true algae eaters that you can put in your aquarium for the purpose of keeping algae under control. This is the reason why so many people choose to put plecos in their tanks.

Plecos Are Generally Bigger Than Cory Catfish

Another thing that you need to know is that plecos are generally bigger than cory catfish. Some plecos have the potential to reach twelve inches in length.

Of course, there are several different types of plecos that you can buy. Some will get bigger than others.

The same can be said for cory catfish, but they are just much smaller on average. Even the largest cory catfish will only reach three inches in length once it reaches maturity.

Most cory catfish will be around two and a half inches long at adulthood. Since plecos are so much bigger on average, they won’t be a good fit for smaller tanks.

Cory catfish can be kept in smaller tanks, but they aren’t meant to be kept in tanks that are too small. This is especially true since cory catfish need to be kept in a group.

Both Are Schooling Fish

Several Burgess' Cory Catfish Resting on Bottom of Tank

Both of these types of fish are schooling fish. That means that you’ll have to keep them in a small group so that they will be comfortable in your aquarium.

Cory catfish are supposed to be kept in groups of six or more. These fish do very poorly when kept alone and have even been known to die of loneliness.

Plecos also do best when they’re kept in a group. You should buy at least five or six plecos for your tank if you want to own some.

Since plecos are larger fish, this means that you will need a bigger fish tank to accommodate them. It might be more practical for beginners to take care of cory catfish for this reason.

Both Fish Are Hardy

It’s also good to know that both of these fish are hardy. Cory catfish have a good reputation for being beginner-friendly fish.

They are going to be able to thrive in your aquarium so long as you keep a close eye on the water parameters. They are highly susceptible to nitrite poisoning, but as long as you keep a clean fish tank it’ll be easy to keep them alive.

Plecos are also very hardy fish that shouldn’t be hard to take care of. They’ll be easy enough even for beginners to get used to.

It’s also true that plecos can tolerate a range of different temperatures and pH balance settings. So either plecos or cory catfish will be easy to care for in your fish tank.

Both Are Bottom-Dwellers

Corydoras at Bottom of Tank

Another similarity between plecos and cory cats involves where they live in the fish tank. Both of these fish are bottom dwellers, and that means that they spend all of their time at the bottom of the tank.

Plecos will look for algae that they can eat since they’re algae eaters. Cory catfish will sift through the substrate looking for leftover food.

You’ll also find that these fish are both peaceful in nature. For the most part, both types of fish leave tank mates alone and just do their own thing at the bottom of the tank.

They can both be good additions to community fish tanks. Which you’ll want to buy will come down to what you’re looking for in a bottom-dwelling fish.

Can Plecos and Cory Catfish Live Together?

Some types of plecos can live with cory catfish. As mentioned earlier, plecos have the potential to get much larger than cory catfish.

This means that not all of them will be compatible tank mates for cory catfish. If you want to keep both plecos and cory catfish in the same tank, then you should go with bristlenose plecos.

Bristlenose plecos and cory catfish will be able to get along pretty well in a community fish tank. They’re both bottom-dwelling fish, though, and this means that you must give them enough space.

You’ll need a large enough fish tank to keep the fish comfortable. This will ensure that the cory cats and plecos never come into conflict.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned all that you need to know about plecos and cory catfish. These fish are a bit similar, but they’re really very different when you get down to it.

The biggest similarity is that they’re both bottom-dwelling fish. They’re also both considered to be peaceful enough to be good community fish tank members.

Plecos are larger than cory catfish on average. So you’ll need a bigger tank to keep them healthy and happy.

You’ll also need to keep in mind that both of these fish are schooling fish. You’ll need enough room for five to six plecos and at least six cory cats.

Decide which of these fish you like the best. Most beginners will find cory catfish to be preferable, but plecos do have a lot of charm as well.

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kim hefner

Thursday 21st of July 2022

Will the cory eat the Pleco eggs?


Tuesday 6th of September 2022

@Jeff, how many Cory cats could hang in a 10 gallon tank


Monday 25th of July 2022

It's likely that they will, as it's pretty common for them to eat eggs (their own and other fish).