Cory catfish should be fed at most twice a day and at least twice a week if kept with other fish. Cories should be fed a diverse diet with lots of protein. Their food should be weighted and sink to the bottom of the tank to ensure easy access for cories to find it.
Corydoras (cory catfish) are excellent decorative pets and great tropical aquarium fish. Many assume that since they are bottom feeders, they can be kept solely to clean the tank and munch on algae. However, there are better ways to care for your cory catfish, and you should feed them beyond mere tank scraps.
How Regularly Should I Feed My Cory Catfish?
If you are acquiring cory catfish as a new aquarist, feeding your cory catfish anything from three times a day to once a week might be tempting. When planning your feeding schedule, it is essential to note that while we are concerned with feeding our fish friends enough, we also need to be careful not to overfeed them or allow the tank to become polluted with too much uneaten food.
These tropical bottom feeders scour the bottom of the tank for leftovers from other fish and enjoyable algae. While this makes for a nice snack, more is needed to sustain your cory catfish. You must feed them regularly with nutrient-rich foods that will help them prosper.
Feed Cories Often, But Not Too Often
Cory catfish can eat substantial amounts of tank debris (leftovers of other fish and their food). However, relying on the tank to self-feed is unrealistic and unhealthy for your cories. Cories need a variety of food just like we do, and while they can live on two feedings a week, this is purely for surviving and not for thriving.
When you have other fish in your tank, scraps from their feedings may find their way to the aquarium floor to be eaten by the cory catfish as they go about hoovering between feeding times. Thus, if you only have cories, you may need to feed them more often as there will be little for them to find between meals.
Ideally, you should feed your cory at the bare minimum twice a week, and no more than twice a day, especially if other fish might leave food waste. Providing them with food more often will allow them to grow well and be comfortable enough to breed in their tank.
How Long Can A Cory Catfish Go Without Food?
Cory catfish can live a remarkably long time in captivity. Provided they are safe, well-fed, and free of stress, you could have a cory that lives twenty-plus years. For them to reach maximum life, they need to be healthy.
Like most fish in the wild, cory catfish will not be able to feed every day, but captive fish can live much more enjoyable lives with constant feeding. If you go away for a day or two, your cory catfish will manage all right.
In dire circumstances, you could leave your cories unfed for two weeks – this is an extreme case and should not be attempted unless extremely necessary, as it can severely affect the long-term health of your cories. Instead, make sure plans for someone to feed your fish friends while you cannot are in place.
A surefire way of keeping them feeling good is through proper feeding. Consider freezing portions of food or setting aside specific amounts that someone can feed your cory catfish in a pinch.
Why Isn’t My Cory Catfish Eating?
On either side of the cory catfish’s mouth are barbels. They’re long whisker-like sensory organs, like sniffers, that help the fish to find food.
If the barbels get damaged, your cory may struggle to find food and grow ill. Because barbels are integral to their eating ability, it is crucial to ensure that the sand or gravel used in the tank is not sharp-edged.
Similarly, the cory catfish will look for food at the bottom of the aquarium rather than the water surface, where you might find guppies or goldfish searching for food. Because of this, you must introduce weighted foods that will sink to the bottom of the tank. Other fish might snatch up non-weighted food before it can travel to the cory catfish’s feeding ground.
Another issue that might keep your cories from eating is their tank mates. If the cory catfish is constantly harassed by aggressive tankmates or threatened by their environment, they might be too stressed to eat. And, if they have too many tank mates, you may need to give more food for all the fish to eat.
Feeding Cory Catfish In A Community Tank
Cories are social and non-aggressive, which makes them perfect for aquariums with other fish species. However, other fish in your tank may be less considerate. Top-feeding and aggressive fish may snatch away the cory catfish’s food before they can look for it.
In that case, you need to consider different food types, such as sinking pellets or wafers, that will give the cories a fair chance at getting their fill. As these foods will sink immediately and not float at the surface, the cory catfish can access the food better.
Alternatively, consider feeding the fish at different ends of the tank. If your tank is large enough or has a central feature that separates one side from the other, you can habitually place food for cories and food for your other fish on opposite sides of the tank. This practice will allow some food to sink to the bottom without immediately being snatched up.
What Can I Feed My Cory Catfish?
Cory catfish are bottom feeders, so they eat things like plankton, larvae, and insects in the wild. They will also eat the remains of other fish or leftovers from other fishes’ diets. However, you cannot rely solely on scraps or tank debris to feed your cories in a tank and should provide supplementary food sources.
You have many options for feeding your captive cories as they are omnivores and will eat frozen and fresh foods. They’re not picky with their food and will eat almost anything they deem small and soft enough to eat.
Here are some foods you can give your cory catfish:
- Vegetables are great supplementary foods but should be a secondary food source. On rare occasions, you can feed your cories pieces of boiled carrot, cucumber, or zucchini.
- Fish flakes make great all-rounder meals; however, they rarely sink and could be eaten by the other fish in the aquarium before reaching the cory catfish.
- Sinking shrimp wafers and pellets are an excellent food source for cories as they are meaty and heavy enough to fall to the tank’s bottom without too much issue from other fish in the community.
- Bloodworms or brine shrimp, fresh or frozen, are protein-rich and highly enjoyed by cory catfish. This dietary option is similar to the food they might find in the wild.
Cory catfish are wonderfully easy to take care of. Their bottom-feeder nature allows them to find and consume leftovers and some tank debris like algae when particularly hungry. Feed your cories regularly to ensure they receive all the nutrients they need.
Feed your fish friends once a day or twice a week if necessary, and make sure that the food you are supplying will sink to the bottom of the aquarium, where they can filter it from the substrate.