The number of cory catfish that you can keep in a 15-gallon tank depends on the size of the fish. In general, 6 to 8 cory corys are ideal for a 15-gallon tank. Using the ‘1 gallon per inch of fish’ rule for topical freshwater fish, you can keep 15 corys in a 15-gallon tank if they are 1 inch long.
It is crucial to balance cory cats’ need for community with their tank space requirements, as this supports their quality of life and prevents the fish from becoming stressed or sick. So, how many cory catfish should one keep if you have a 15-gallon tank?
Optimal Number Of Cory Catfish For A 15 Gallon Tank
There is no specific prescription for how many corys to have in a 15-gallon aquarium. Choosing the optimal number of cory catfish for this (or any other) tank size requires careful consideration of two principal factors:
- the size of the fish,
- the necessity of keeping multiple individuals.
The number of cory catfish one keeps in a 15-gallon tank depends on how big the fish are. Following the general rule for topical freshwater fish, there should be a minimum of 1 gallon of water per inch of fish (body length).
Cory catfish are relatively small (some species are called nano fish). Though there are hundreds of Corydoras species of varying sizes, the average length of these fish is anywhere from 1 inch (pygmy cory) to 5 inches (banded cory).
The consensus among experienced aquarium enthusiasts is that cory catfish should be kept in groups of 6 individuals or more. Keeping 2 to 3 corys together is the bare minimum if there is enough room in the tank, having more than 6 corys is usually ideal because this replicates their natural living situation more closely.
Having a group of corys is essential for their physical and psychological well-being. Cory catfish are small, sociable, and peaceful, so these fish need the safety and social interaction they obtain from living in a school.
When keeping cory catfish in a group, their caretakers should avoid mixing multiple species of corys. The fish will school more enthusiastically and successfully if they are the same species.
Determining How Many Corys To Put In A 15 Gallon Tank
To determine how many cory catfish to put in a 15-gallon tank, one must calculate the total length of the individual corys you intend to keep in the aquarium. The size of the corys will vary depending on their species and age.
It is not necessary to measure each cory with a ruler. A rough visual estimation of the fish’s body length is sufficient to know how many individuals you can keep in a tank. This is simpler if the cory catfish are a similar age because they will be about the same size (while more effort is required if the fish are at different stages of maturity).
For example, if there are 6 cory catfish and each fish is 2 inches long, their total body length is 12 inches. Following the ‘1 gallon per inch of fish’ rule, you would require a minimum tank size of 12 gallons.
In this case, the 6 corys will live happily in a slightly larger 15-gallon tank, as it is generally preferable to have more tank space rather than less. The extra room in the tank makes it easier to maintain suitable water conditions for the corys.
On the other hand, if there are 6 cory catfish and each is 3 inches long, their total body length is 18 inches, so the fish need a minimum of 18 gallons of tank space. In this instance, a 15-gallon aquarium would only be sufficient to hold 5 of the corys.
Why Is It Necessary To Have Sufficient Tank Space For Corys?
Ensuring the correct size tank is essential for cory catfish’s health and quality of life.
A tank that is too small prevents one from keeping a sufficient number of cory catfish, so the fish will be unable to freely adopt the schooling behavior that is essential for Corydoras species.
If the tank lacks adequate space to accommodate all the cory catfish according to the ‘1 gallon per inch of fish’ rule, this creates an overcrowded situation and elevates the cory’s stress levels.
Overcrowding in an insufficiently-sized tank also poses disease risks for cory catfish because of the accumulation of excessive fish poop, which can contaminate the water with pathogenic microbes.
A strong filter, obsessive tank cleaning, and extra water changes can mitigate this problem, but it makes more sense to start with a tank that provides sufficient room to house the corys.
How Long Does It Take For Cory Catfish To Grow Fully?
Selecting an appropriate number of mature cory catfish for a 15-gallon tank is less intellectually demanding than when the fish are immature because their size changes as they grow. For this reason, it is helpful to know how long it takes for cory catfish to grow to their full size.
Corydoras usually grow more slowly than other common aquarium fish. Cory catfish take an average of about 8 to 9 months to reach adult size.
It is critical to note that, as with all aquarium fish, the growth rate of cory catfish depends on the frequency, type, and quality of the food they receive. Corys are heavy feeders, so if they receive adequate amounts of nutritious food, their growth rate will increase and they may reach full size in less than 8 to 9 months.
Cory catfish are also long-lived fish. Once corys cats are fully grown, these delightful bottom-dwellers live longer than the average aquarium fish, with some species (like bronze corys) living as long as twenty years or more.
Looking for More Tank Sizes for Cory Catfish?
The number of cory catfish that are suitable for keeping in a 15-gallon tank depends on the species and size of the fish. As a general guideline, one should ideally keep a group of 6 or more corys, and their aquarium should have at least 1 gallon of water for every inch of fish.
With these considerations in mind, you can keep 6 or 7 individual cory catfish in a 15-gallon tank, provided the fish are no larger than 1 to 2 inches in length. If the corys are 3 to 4 inches long, you could have 3 or 4 individuals in aquariums with 15-gallon capacity.