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How Long Do Cory Catfish Live? (Lifespan By Species)

How Long Do Cory Catfish Live? (Lifespan By Species)

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

Cory catfish are very popular fish because they’re so peaceful. It’s common for people to keep these fish in community aquariums.

Whether you’re caring for cory catfish in a community tank, or if you’re keeping them in their own tank, it’ll be a good experience. They’re hardy fish that shouldn’t be that difficult to take care of overall.

If you’ve had your cory catfish for a little bit, then you could be wondering how long you can expect them to live. Are these fish that will survive for only a few years, or are they considered to be long-lived fish?

Continue reading to learn about the life expectancy of cory catfish. You’ll learn about different types of these fish so that you can have a good understanding of what to expect.

Life Expectancy Varies Based On the Species

The first thing to know is that the life expectancy of these fish varies based on the species. As touched upon above, there are different types of fish that you will need to know about.

Below, you’ll learn about the different types of common cory catfish that people like to keep in their aquariums. You’ll get information on the life expectancy of these fish as well as other tidbits of knowledge.

Bronze Cory Catfish

Bronze Cory Catfish

Bronze cory catfish might be the most well-known type of cory catfish. These are among the most common types of cory cats that you’ll see being sold in pet stores.

They’re generally considered to be great fish for beginners since they’re hardy. These fish will look excellent in your fish tank if you choose to purchase them.

A bronze cory catfish is going to grow to be two and a half inches long at adulthood. It’s very peaceful overall, and the fish should get along with many other types of fish.

It’s said that these fish have a life expectancy of five years. Some might live a little longer, while others might live a little less time, depending on the quality of care that they receive.

Bandit Cory Catfish

Bandit Cory Catfish

Bandit cory catfish are well-loved because of how neat they look. These little fish really do look like bandits because of the markings that they have over their eyes.

These fish grow to be two inches long at maturity. They’re sensitive to temperature changes in the water, so you’ll need to be careful when caring for these fish.

A bandit cory catfish should be able to live for five years in your fish tank. If you do a good job of caring for the fish and watch out for temperature fluctuations, it’s likely that the fish will survive for five years.

Peppered Cory Catfish

Peppered Cory Catfish

Peppered cory catfish are also very popular because of how they look. They look as if they have been peppered, and this makes them stand out from the other types of cory catfish on the market.

Males are smaller than the females. Females will grow to be three inches while males will only reach two and a half inches on average.

It’s likely that these fish will live for five years in your fish tank. This is assuming that you’ve done a great job caring for them.

Panda Cory Catfish

Two Panda Cory Catfish

Panda cory catfish are another type of cory catfish that has distinct markings on the eyes. These markings happen to make the fish resemble pandas.

They’re among the most social cory catfish that you can buy. They love being kept with groups of other cory catfish, and they get along well with other species of cory cats.

A panda cory catfish has the potential to live for ten years or longer. If you do a superb job caring for these fish, then they will be in your tank for a long time to come.

Emerald Green Cory Catfish

Emerald Green Cory Catfish

Emerald green cory catfish are larger than most of the fish on this list. They grow to be between three and four inches long.

They’re gorgeous fish overall, and many people find them to be their favorite type of cory catfish. Like all cory catfish, they need to be kept in groups to feel comfortable in a fish tank.

Keep these fish in a 29-gallon fish tank or something slightly larger. If you do a good job of meeting the care needs of these fish, they can live for thirteen years or longer.

Bearded Cory Catfish

Bearded Cory Catfish

You’ll find that bearded cory catfish are the largest types of cory catfish. These fish grow to be between three and a half inches and four inches in length.

This puts them just above the green emerald cory catfish mentioned above. If you want the biggest type of cory catfish for your tank, then this species will be the one to buy.

A bearded cory catfish should be able to live for five years or longer. With optimal care, it might live a good bit longer than five years.

Pygmy Cory Catfish

Pygmy Cory Resting at Bottom of Tank

Pygmy cory catfish are the smallest ones that you can buy. The males of this species grow to be three-fourths of an inch long, but females are slightly larger at one inch long.

Since they’re smaller, they do better in smaller fish tanks than many of the other fish that have already been mentioned. It’s still usually best to keep them in a 10-gallon fish tank or larger with six or more of their own kind.

These fish don’t live as long as many other cory catfish. They can survive for around three years in your fish tank when you care for them the right way.

Julii Cory Catfish

Julii Cory Catfish

Julii cory catfish are pretty, and many people think they’re the best. They’re very close to the three stripe cory catfish that you’ll learn about later, though.

Both fish look similar, and this means that people often mistakenly sell one fish as the other. You can tell them apart by looking at the markings on the head, but not everyone knows this.

Julii cory catfish grow to be two and a half inches long, and they can live for five years or longer. With proper care, these fish can live for a lot longer than five years in your tank.

Three Stripe Cory Catfish

Three Stripe Cory Catfish Swimming at Bottom of Tank

Three stripe cory catfish are the cousins of the julii cory catfish mentioned above. They also grow to be two and a half inches long at maturity.

Since they’re so close to the julii cory catfish, you’d expect them to have the same lifespan. However, these fish can live for ten years.

In some ways, it might be better to buy a three stripe cory catfish. It’s likely to live longer when you take good care of it.

Skunk Cory Catfish

Arched Cory, or Skunk Cory, Resting Under Wood

Skunk cory catfish are loved by many because they are peaceful and look pretty. They do sort of look like skunks due to their markings.

These two-inch long fish will live for five years in most fish tanks. They will only live that long if you’re careful, though.

You see, skunk cory catfish are more sensitive to elevated nitrate and ammonia levels in the tank. This means that you must keep the tank clean and properly filtered to protect the fish.

Sterba’s Cory Catfish

Sterba's Cory Catfish

Sterba’s cory catfish are interesting because they possess eye-catching markings. Many people think that these fish are hard to look away from.

It’s also great that these fish can live for a long time. They have the potential to live between fifteen and twenty years.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the fish will live that long. You’ll need to work hard to give the fish optimal care to make that happen.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the life expectancy of cory catfish will differ a lot. Depending on what species you decide to buy, the fish might live for only three years.

It could also live for as long as fifteen to twenty years. Typically, these fish will live five years, but some are able to reach ten years old.

Research the specific type of cory catfish that you bought to learn its life expectancy. Understand that the fish isn’t guaranteed to live that long, though.

A fish could potentially die after spending just a few weeks in your tank. Cory catfish can be killed by nitrate spikes easier than most fish.

Do your best to monitor the water parameters to keep the fish safe. Feed your cory catfish the right foods, and give them an environment where they will be happy.

Remember that these are schooling fish that need to be among their own kind. They like to be kept in groups of six or more so that they will feel safe in a fish tank setting.

Also, remember to pick appropriate tank mates for these fish if you wish to put them in a community tank. They get along with many other fish, but certain types of aggressive fish will be a threat to them.

So long as you remember all of this, you’re going to have a good experience caring for cory catfish. They should live for as long as they can in your tank when you put the effort in.