What makes the Cory Catfish so special? Could it be because of their ability to live in peace and harmony with other more aggressive species? Maybe it is because these bottom feeders have the unique ability to keep the aquarium clean simply by doing what all fish do best – eating. At the end of the day, aquarium enthusiasts confirm that these freshwater fish can be a great addition to your aquarium.
What Is a Cory Catfish?
Also known as Corydoras or Cory Cats, these freshwater fish belong to the same family as armored catfish. With more than 142 species available for the taking, the Corydoras are loved by aquarists the world over. In the wild, these fish can be found in small streams, in ponds and in the shallows along the banks of rivers. Native to South America, these bottom-dwellers are often seen in shoals. If you intend to keep them in your tank, ensure that you have more than three at a time. In the wild, their diet generally consists of larvae, worms, vegetative matter and bottom-dwelling insects. As opposed to larger and more aggressive fish, the Corydoras suck up food with their mouths. In tanks and aquariums, these fish get along well with other species and are a great addition to a community aquarium. On average, they have been known to live up to 20 years in captivity so if you decide to get one, you are in for the long haul.
How Can Corydoras Be Beneficial To Your Fish Tank?
What many people do not realize is how beneficial having these fish in their tanks can be. If you are thinking of adding a new species to your community tank, here are some reasons why this catfish will be a safe bet. Not only are they pretty to look at, they are generally timid and will not pick a fight or be aggressive towards their tank mates. They are also extremely beneficial when it comes to playing a role in your aquarium’s ecosystem.
1. Adaptable To a Variety of Water Conditions
Although most Corydoras prefer softer water with a generally acidic pH, they tend to be very tolerant when it comes to different conditions. Like other fish, they dislike sudden changes in water parameters and conditions so if you are switching tanks, do so gradually. If you are introducing Corys into your tank, turn off the aquarium light and put them into a plastic transport bag filled with oxygen or a transparent plastic cup. Let it float on the surface for half an hour. Next, introduce some of the aquarium water into the cup with the Corys and let it sit for another half an hour. You can then release the fish into the tank and watch them explore their new home. As a gauge, stick to water temperatures between 68 to 82 °F and keep the pH level between 6-8. You should also test the hardness of the water before adding in your Cory fish and try to keep it between 2-30 DGH.
2. Exceptional Cleaning Abilities
One of the main reasons why you should add Cory Cats to your tank is because they have excellent cleaning abilities. Like most bottom feeders, these little fish finish up leftovers that sink to the bottom of the tank. However, keep in mind that you should also supplement their diet with sinking pellets or flakes. This is because sometimes, there simply are not enough leftovers that make it to the bottom of the tank. This is probably due to the unwavering appetite of some of the faster moving surface fish. Because the Corys lend a hand in cleaning up your aquarium substrate, they play a huge role in maintaining good and consistent water quality so keep them as happy and comfortable as possible.
3. Small In Size
Cory Cats generally grow to between one to four inches in length. Their small size allows them to remain unfazed if you transfer them into smaller tanks. They do not take up much space in aquariums and the fact that they are bottom feeders means that they tend to stay out of the way of other quicker-moving fish at the top and central regions. Because of their relatively small size, they are able to scavenge for leftovers amongst tight plant stalks and reach into corners that other fish are unable to get to. Remember to place gravel or sand at the bottom of the aquarium as it helps them obtain submerged food.
4. Active During the Day
As opposed to many other catfish species, Cory Cats are not nocturnal. They are very active during the day, giving their owners plenty of opportunities to observe and record their antics. They tend to propel themselves to the very top and suck air from the surface. Although this is not unusual, you should be worried if they do it too often as it is an indication of poor water conditions. Another benefit to them being active during the day is that they feed when their other tank mates are fed. This means that leftovers are immediately consumed and not given any time to break down and pollute the water in the aquarium.
5. Easy To Breed
Another benefit to adding several Cory Cats to the tank is the fact that they are relatively easy to breed. You can tell if you have males or females simply by looking at their body shape. Males are generally slimmer and boast a more streamlined physique whereas females tend to be thicker around the abdomen. If you intend to breed your Cory Cats, whether to sell off or simply as an experiment, keep in mind that water temperatures play a very important role in their ability to spawn. Most Cory fish will respond to a series of water changes with temperatures that are lower than what was in the original tank. Cory enthusiasts have also noted that water changes along with a drop in barometric pressure will encourage them to breed.