Corydoras catfish do generally not eat shrimp and can share the same community tank space without problems. Cory catfish are bottom feeders with a small, downturned mouth that makes it very difficult to catch and eat shrimp. However, they will attempt to eat tiny baby shrimp when hungry.
Shrimp is beneficial to the fish keeper as they are natural cleaners of algae and fungi that can quickly become a big problem in the aquarium. Many fish will prey upon these small shrimps if given a chance. Are Corydoras catfish likely to eat your shrimp, and if they do, why?
Will Corydoras Catfish Eat Aquarium Shrimp?
The Corydoras catfish genus consists of hundreds of different species (with many still unclassified), with the smallest species being the most popular amongst fish keepers. Although classified as omnivores, they behave more carnivorous by preferring to feed on tiny bottom-dwelling insects, larvae, and worms.
Healthy, active adult shrimp has very little to fear from cory catfish.
Corydoras have a mouth that is small and adapted downwards for a bottom-feeding, scavenger lifestyle. They will nibble on injured or dead shrimp (or any other fish), more out of curiosity or by chance than deliberately seeking them out.
Shrimp can also be challenging to catch for cory catfish, as they have very quick reflexes. Shrimp are quick to hide out of the reach of fish, using plants and other structures for safety when they feel threatened.
That said, cories will eat baby shrimps (shrimplets) if that is the only food offered. These tiny shrimps are small enough for the average Corydoras catfish to consume.
However, many Corydoras catfish are known to completely ignore shrimp, with only the odd individual fish developing a taste for shrimp.
Fish predation is all about size. Larger fish will always prey upon smaller creatures that share their aquatic environment.
To be safe, select the smallest Corydoras species (such as the pygmy cory) to share a tank with one of the larger shrimp species. Be sure that fish and shrimp’s environmental requirements are compatible before adding them to your tank.
Can I Feed Cory Catfish Live Brine Shrimp?
Brine shrimp is a source of beta-carotene and protein and acts as a natural laxative in fish digestive systems. The beta-carotene in shrimp enhances the color of the fish that consumes them.
Cory catfish will eat small shrimp if there is no other food available. Corydoras catfish have tiny mouths, which limits the size of the shrimp they can consume.
Corys typically only eat very small brine shrimplets (baby shrimp) and not full-size adult shrimp. They may be seen nibbling on dead or dying shrimp occasionally.
Consider setting up a separate saltwater breeding tank for brine shrimp. When and as needed, you can remove newly hatched shrimp (nauplii) from the tank and feed them to the cory catfish without having to go out and buy live shrimp every time.
Be extra careful not to contaminate your freshwater tank with salt when transferring the brine shrimp from the breeder tank. To prevent contamination, rinse the baby shrimp in freshwater before feeding them to your cories.
Can I Feed Cory Catfish Frozen Or Freeze-Dried Shrimp?
Frozen or flash-dried baby shrimp is an excellent source of protein for cories and other fish and is readily available at aquarium shops.
They are best defrosted before the time and then selectively placed in the bottom of the tank as aggressive tank mates in the upper layer of your tank might eat the shrimp before it has time to settle to the substrate.
To prevent overfeeding your fish, cut the frozen shrimp blocks into smaller sizes and only defrost as much as needed. Likewise, hydrate the freeze-dried shrimp before feeding it to the cory catfish to prevent the shrimp from swelling in the fish’s stomach after being ingested.
Are Shrimp Pellets Good Food For Cory Catfish?
Shrimp pellets or wafers are a convenient superfood for cory catfish.
The benefit of using pellets instead of live or frozen shrimp is the ease of use. The pellets rapidly sink to the bottom of the fish tank, bypassing fish that feeds in the upper water layer.
Soaking the pellets beforehand will help to soften them up, making it easier for the cory catfish to consume them later.
You can also hide the shrimp pellets from other fish by manually placing the pellets under leaves or objects. The corydoras will find the pellets as they forage for food.
Do not overfeed, as the leftover food will decompose and ruin the tank’s water quality over time.
What Type Of Shrimp Can Live With Cory Catfish?
Corydoras catfish are compatible with all the popular shrimp species kept in freshwater aquariums.
It is essential to know that corys will eat shrimp under certain conditions. Well-fed cory catfish will show little interest in shrimp.
Common ornamental shrimps that do well with Corydoras catfish include:
- Crystal Red shrimp
- Blue Tiger shrimp
- Black Panda shrimp
- Blue Bolt shrimp
- Ghost shrimp
- Babaulti shrimp
- Amano shrimp
- Snowball shrimp
- Cardinal shrimp
- Cherry shrimp
As the shrimp breed, you may lose an occasional shrimplet to the cory catfish. However, the number of shrimps lost to cory catfish in this way is negligible, and it is common to find that the shrimp population increases over time.
Will Shrimp Eat Cory Catfish Eggs?
Contrary to what many believe, small shrimp do not eat healthy fish eggs.
Shrimp often hovers over fish eggs, appearing to be eating them. Instead, they are busy cleaning the eggs of loose membrane particles and removing algae growth (such as infusoria) that may be present on the eggs.
Cory catfish eggs are pretty large and protected by a leathery membrane, making them unlikely to be consumed by shrimp. Furthermore, cory catfish often stick their eggs onto the sides of the tank, out of the shrimp’s usual territory (the bottom or substrate areas of the tank).
The Benefits Of Keeping Shrimp With Cory Catfish
Shrimps are beneficial because they are excellent scavengers, constantly cleaning up tiny leftover food morsels and algae that can ruin an aquarium’s water quality if not effectively controlled.
Shrimp also adds to the visual appeal of your tank. They require a relatively heavily planted tank as they use the plants (such as java moss) for hiding places. The greenery forms a great contrast with the more colorful shrimp species that are available.
Adding shrimp to your aquarium is a great way to enhance the visual appeal of your tank. Many fish will readily prey upon shrimp, but not so the cory catfish.
Cory catfish are docile, easy-going fish that takes little interest in shrimp. They are happy to share their environment with the shrimp; if well cared for and fed, they will not eat shrimp.