Can Cory Catfish Live Alone?

Cory catfish should not live alone but can still survive if they are the only fish in an aquarium. Cory catfish are shoaling fish which means they hunt together and prefer to live in a group. This species is happier when surrounded by other fish, especially cory catfish. 

Cory catfish are easy to take care of and, in the wild, thrive when they are in groups with hundreds of other catfish. Staying in a group helps the corydoras stay safe from predators but in an aquarium environment, keeping a large shoal of cory catfish is not necessary.

Should Cory Catfish Live Alone?

Cory catfish are social fish and ideally should not live alone. They are most social with other corydoras but are happy to live with other fish species.

Cory fish are happier and thrive in their aquarium when they are together. So when you own more than one cory catfish, you’ll notice them swimming together and feeding together.

Cory catfish are schooling fish and can only carry out this instinctive behavior when surrounded by other corydoras.

Albino Cory Resting on Sand

Reasons Why Cory Catfish Should Not Live Alone

Cory catfish do not handle being alone well. There are a few reasons why you want to avoid keeping a single cory catfish; these include:

  • Keeping a single cory catfish in an aquarium is very stressful for your fish.
  • Many cory catfish left alone may stop feeding, remain in the corner of the tank, and display antisocial behaviors.
  • Unhappy fish are more prone to getting sick and susceptible to parasites and diseases.

How Many Cory Catfish Can Live Together?

For cory catfish to form a school and thrive in their aquarium, it’s best to keep between 5 and 6 cory catfish. This amount of fish is a comfortable number to keep in an aquarium and to keep your corydoras happy.

If you keep less than 5 or 6 corydoras, you may be putting your corydoras under stress. When owning some cory catfish, it’s important to note the amount of fish that can be kept per tank.

In a 10-gallon tank, you can have 10 corys, and each cory will require at least 1 gallon of water. Although cory catfish are bottom dwellers and clean up the tank, they also produce waste.

Too many corys will significantly increase the ammonia level in your tank, which is unhealthy for your fish and put more pressure on your filtration system to filter the excess waste.

Can A Cory Catfish Survive On Their Own?

Cory catfish can survive independently like many other fish species, but this isn’t the ideal environment for them. While their physical needs are taken care of in the aquarium, they will be lonely and prefer a few other corydoras for company.

How Long Can A Cory Catfish Live Alone?

In theory, a cory catfish can live alone for their entire lifetime, roughly 5-8 years, in an aquarium. But this isn’t always the case.

Because cory catfish are social fish, they should not be kept alone. If they are alone, their life expectancy will decrease dramatically. Instead of living 5-8 years, they may only live a year or two.

How To Keep Your Cory Catfish Happy If They Are Alone

Before adding cory catfish to your aquarium, you must understand that they need to socialize. Unfortunately, many stores may not inform those purchasing cory catfish about the needs of corydoras.

In many instances, these fish will be left alone in an aquarium. If your cory catfish is alone in an aquarium, you can make it as comfortable as possible by doing the following:

  • Ensuring that your cory catfish has lots of room to swim around in the aquarium
  • Add plants, caves, rocks, and other decorations to the aquarium, so the cory has lots of hiding places
  • Provide good quality food for your cory catfish
  • Avoid placing aggressive fish in the tank
  • Ensure that the water clarity and temperature are sufficient for keeping cory catfish. Corys prefer clear water and a water temperature between 74- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit

Will Cory Catfish Be Lonely Even With Other Species Of Fish?

Cory catfish will be lonely even with other species of fish. So, if you have only one cory catfish and are thinking of adding other fish to keep them happy, this isn’t the best for them.

Instead, add 4 or 5 more cory fish to the aquarium and then add a few more compatible fish to your aquarium.

Cory fish are non-aggressive, and adding other fish species can be intimidating and put your corys under a lot of stress. If they are with other cory catfish, they are more comfortable having different species of fish in the aquarium with them.

Can Different Species Of Cory Catfish Be Kept Together?

Different species of cory catfish can live together, but they prefer keeping to their species. If you mix other species, they will form a shoal, happily swim together, and socialize in the tank.

Adult cory catfish socialize much better with different species of corys compared to juveniles. If you’re introducing juveniles to the aquarium, it’s best to choose a single species of cory catfish and avoid mixing between different species.

One species that should not be mixed with other species of cory catfish is the emerald cory. This species is not as friendly as different species of corydoras.

If emerald cory catfish are in an aquarium, they should be the only species of catfish in the aquarium.

The Best Species Of Cory Catfish To Keep Together

There are 160 species of cory catfish or corydoras. Corys are a great addition to any aquarium, but some of the best species of corydoras you can keep together include the albino cory, peppered cory, panda, julii, and three striped corydoras.

Each of these species looks unique and can add lots of color to your aquarium and give your existing corydoras some companionship.

Cory Catfish SpeciesDescriptionCompatible Aquarium Fish
AlbinoThe albino cory is a hardy fish with a white body and pink or light red eyes. It is also referred to as the armored catfish as it has armor instead of scales.They are compatible with other peaceful fish species and do well with cichlids.
PepperedThe peppered cory is small and is known to wink at its owners. The peppered cory is a commonly kept cory species and is usually pale olive to tan in color with a green shimmer. Peppered corydoras also have a few spots on their fins.Best kept in schools with other cory fish and get along well with other smaller fish species.
PandaThe panda cory or panda catfish has a black and off-white color pattern similar to that of a giant panda. They get along well with other fish species but should not be kept with large predator-type fish.Compatible with any species, it must be in a school with other cory catfish.
JuliiThe Julii cory is a nocturnal fish that can rotate its eyes. This striking fish is also called a leopard catfish and is silver-gray with distinctive spots and lines. The Julii are small peaceful fish and get along well with species like the danios and dwarf cichlids.they get along well with any bottom-dwelling schooling fish
Three StripeThe three-stripe cory is an attractive fish that has a pale silver-gray body with a narrow dark strip that runs across their bodies. They are peaceful fish and shouldn’t live with large, aggressive fish.Best kept in small schools.


The cory catfish should not live alone and have at least 5 or 6 other corydoras in their aquarium. Cory catfish are peaceful, social fish and are happiest when fish of the same species surround them.

Corydoras also get along well with other small non-predator fish and should not be left in a tank alone without a few other cory catfish to keep them company.