So many people are buying cory catfish for their community fish tanks. They’ve gained a reputation for being among the best community tank members.
This is largely because they are peaceful fish that hang out at the bottom of the tank. They mind their own business and generally just hang out with each other.
You’re meant to keep these fish in groups. It’s said that you’re supposed to keep at least six cory catfish in a tank.
If one of your fish disappeared, then you’re likely very worried about what happened. Where did the fish go and what is the likely cause of the disappearance?
Below, you’ll learn about some things that might have happened in the tank. This should make it easier to care for your fish to the best of your ability moving forward.
Did the Cory Catfish Get Eaten?
One sad possibility is that the cory catfish in question could have been eaten. If you’re doing a good job of picking tank mates for the fish, then something like this shouldn’t occur.
However, it’s not impossible for beginners to make mistakes when putting together a community aquarium. You might have put the cory catfish in a fish tank with fish that are aggressive.
Aggressive fish that are much larger than the cory catfish could wind up eating them. If your cory catfish was eaten, then that would explain why it no longer appears to be in the tank.
Another possibility is that the cory catfish died and was then eaten by the fish. If the other fish in the tank aren’t large enough to swallow a cory catfish whole, then they still might eat a dead cory catfish.
Cory catfish have been known to die suddenly when exposed to elevated nitrite levels in a fish tank. It might be prudent to check the water to see if the levels are in acceptable ranges.
Why is My Cory Catfish Hiding?
Perhaps the cory catfish is just hiding and you haven’t found it yet. These fish actually really like to hide.
There are many reasons why a cory catfish will choose to hide. It will often hide when it is first introduced to a tank because it doesn’t feel comfortable yet.
As several days pass, the cory catfish should get more comfortable with its new environment. It will then come out of hiding and start exhibiting more normal behaviors.
Of course, these fish will hide for various other reasons. If the cory cats feel threatened, then they will hide from other fish in a community tank.
You should ensure that you don’t have incompatible tank mates in the tank with the cory catfish. They might be causing them to want to hide even more than usual.
It’s worth noting that cory cats can be shy fish even under normal circumstances, though. They stay at the bottom of the tank and they hide in the aquatic plants when they aren’t sifting through the substrate.
Hiding Due to Not Having Enough Cory Catfish in the Tank
Did you know that cory catfish are considered to be schooling fish? If you weren’t aware of this, then you might have bought too few fish at the pet store.
You’re supposed to keep at least six cory catfish in the aquarium together. Groups of six or more will thrive in an aquarium setting.
If you only have one or two of these fish, then they aren’t going to be very comfortable in the tank. They will become a lot bolder if you ensure that they have enough friends in the tank.
You’ll see them be more active when you put six or more of them in the aquarium. They will still hide from time to time, but they will be more outgoing than they would otherwise be.
It’s also worth noting that cory catfish can die from loneliness. These schooling fish truly do need to be kept in groups of six or more or they won’t survive in your tank.
Do Cory Catfish Bury Themselves?
No, cory catfish do not bury themselves in the sand at the bottom of the tank. This wouldn’t be a normal behavior for the fish.
They do like to sift through the substrate to scavenge for food, though. Cory cats sort of look as if they are digging through the sand, and what they’re doing is looking for leftover food that happens to be in the substrate.
In the wild, they would do this to see what they can find. They might find all sorts of things that they can eat by sifting through substrate.
If it looks like the cory catfish is burying itself, then that’s not what it’s doing. It’s just scavenging for food which is a normal behavior for the fish.
Will Cory Catfish Uproot Plants?
For the most part, you don’t have to worry about cory catfish uprooting plants. These fish will dig around and look for food, but they won’t be able to uproot plants.
It is possible for certain types of cory catfish to uproot plants that haven’t been established yet. Plants with shallow root systems might be uprooted by paleatus or aeneus cory cats.
This generally isn’t anything to worry about, though. If you have established plants with good root systems, then there is nothing to fear.
Even if you don’t, only certain types of cory cats have been known to uproot certain types of plants. It’s not something to be concerned with since it’s unlikely that you will have to deal with such an issue.
You should be able to find your fish if it disappeared in the tank. Unless the fish was eaten, it should be somewhere in the tank.
It’s very likely that the fish is simply hiding and you haven’t spotted it yet. It could be hiding among the plants at the bottom of the tank.
Try to look for it and see if you can spot it. Note that hiding is normal behavior for these fish.
The fish will hide more if they are afraid of bully fish in the tank. They’ll also hide if they feel uncomfortable due to being kept in a group that is too small.
Remedy these issues and the cory cats should become a bit bolder. Do your best to provide the cory cats with the best environment that you can to make them comfortable in the tank.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.