Cory Catfish are very fun and peaceful small catfish for in your aquarium. In this post, you’ll learn how long cory catfish live and how you can make sure they live a long and happy life.

Cory Catfish Lifespan

On average, Cory Catfish live between 10 and 15 years. This depends on the tank conditions. In optimal conditions, Cory Catfish may get up to 20 years old. 

It’s often claimed that Cory Catfish only get up to 5 years old. This is because, unfortunately, it’s often kept in not optimal conditions. Read further to know how to ensure your Cory Catfish live a long and happy life.

How to ensure your Cory Catfish lives a long life

In optimal conditions, Cory Catfish can get up to 20 years old. If you want your Corydoras to get up to this age, there are a few things you can do to make it live a healthy and happy life. 

1. Keep Cory Catfish in Groups

One of the most important things of keeping Cory Catfish successfully is keeping them in a group of at least 6 individuals of the same species. The bigger the group, the better Cory Catfish will feel.

In the wild, Cory Catfish will school in groups of hundreds or even thousands of fish. This protects them from predators and makes them feel safe. Thus, in order to imitate their natural habitat you should house a small group. 

3. Proper Tank Setup

It might seem that Cory Catfish don’t need a big tank, since they aren’t as active swimmers. Yet, since Cory Catfish need to be kept in groups, the minimum tank size for the smallest Cory Catfish species is 10 gallons. Even though a 15-gallon tank is better. 

For bigger species, like Bronze or Albino Corydoras, a 20-gallon tank is the minimum. 

Cory Catfish do well in heavily planted and naturally decorated setups. If you are setting up a tank, add natural covers like stones, wood, and plants.

Lastly, it’s recommended to add sand as a substrate. Even though in their wild habitat Cory Catfish sometimes live on sharp substrates, in an aquarium, sand tends to do better.

This is because Cory Catfish are bottom dwellers who like to dig through the substrate looking for food. If a sharp substrate is used, their barbels might get damaged. This isn’t a problem if you have clean water, but cory catfish feel better overall in the sand, so why take the risk? Read more in my full guide.

4. Diet

It’s often claimed that Cory Catfish are just cleaner fish, or that they can survive on algae. A Cory Catfish does, however, need its own varied diet to live a healthy life and is not able to live off of the leftovers or waste in the aquarium tank.

Cory Catfish also do not eat algae or plant-based foods and should be fed a carnivorous diet. This includes things like pellets or live foods such as tubifex or black worms. Some plant-based foods can be fed, though, but it should be a small part of their diet.

5. Buy healthy fish

IF you are looking to buy Cory Catfish, you should always buy healthy fish. Here’s how to make sure the fish you are planning to buy are healthy:

  • Check the fins and barbels for possible damage – Damaged fins or body parts can be signs of illness.
  • Check the skin/scales – Scaling should be uniform and their colors should be vibrant.
  • Check the eyes – Their eyes should be clear and in no circumstances have a white shine.
  • Watch their behavior – Cory Catfish should swim and scavenge through the bottom layer. They should act lively, even though they like to sit and watch what’s going on, too.