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What do Cory Catfish eat?

Catfish are becoming an increasingly popular choice for aquarium owners all over the world. This is really no surprise as they are relatively easy to take care off, can survive in a wide variety of tank types, and add some much-needed variety to any tank they inhabit.

However, as with any other aquarium fish, it is essential that you know how to look after these creatures so that they can live a long and happy life in the tank. This all starts with diet.

Diet can have a huge impact on your fish’s long-term and short-term health. It could be the difference between a stress-free healthy fish and an ill, aggressive fish.

To get their diet right, you should understand what they eat in the wild and what types of vitamins, minerals and nutrients are essential to them. But don’t fear, all this information and more is to be found right here!

About Corydoras

To understand what is the best food to feed your cory catfish, it is crucial to understand a bit about where these fish come from and their natural habits in the wild.

First if all, the correct scientific name for the cory catfish is the Corydoras, and it is actually the term given to a group of catfish, where all the species have similar features and breeding habits.

They are generally tropical freshwater fish which can thrive in community aquariums with other tropical fish of a similar size. They are distributed in the wild all over Central and South America, and they prefer to live in shallows or on the bottom of small freshwater streams.

Like all fish, cory catfish need a healthy supply of vitamins and minerals to allow them to survive.

In particular, stabilized vitamin C, which is available in many staple or supplementary diet products, allows them to build a healthy immune system. This allows them to more easily battle off, and recover from, illness and injury.

Other minerals can help to reduce their stress levels, increase their metabolism, or even enhance their natural colors.

What do Cory Catfish eat?

The true answer is they eat a bit of everything. They are natural omnivores, which means they will happily eat both plant and animal matter.

Cory catfish are typical bottom feeders.

What this means is that they like to dwell at the bottom of bodies of water. There they will happily scavenge on the food that finds its way to the bottom, without getting in the way of the larger fish and natural predators.

They display this behavior because they are naturally timid and quite small, ranging from about 2.5 to 12 cm in size.

Interestingly, they will display this same behavior in tanks, even when they are not threatened by other fish. This have evolved over a long period to be bottom feeder, and they have certain physical adaptations that are ideal for scavenging food from the bottom of the tank.

For example, they have very recognizable downward facing mouths, which is the key giveaway of a bottom feeder. This means they prefer to scoop food off the tank floor rather than feed from the surface.

In general, they will only rise to the surface very reluctantly.

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So, when wondering what do cory catfish eat, the most important consideration is that the food you choose is in the form of sinking pellets.

Floating pellets will not fall to the level of the catfish, or may be eaten nearer the surface before the cory catfish get a chance to feast.

What do Cory Catfish eat in the Wild?

In the wild they are true opportunistic scavengers who will eat anything they can get their hands on (and fit into their mouths). For example, they will feast on smaller insects like crickets, some smaller fish or shrimp larvae, as well as some types of algae or aquatic plants.

They are not fussy eaters, which is good for you as a tank owner!

They will require a decent amount of protein in their diet, which can be provided by choosing a good staple food. You should be looking for foods with a high percentage of crude protein, ideally around 40%. This will give them the energy they need to thrive and survive.

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It should be noted that they will need more protein at times when they are expending more energy, such as when they are growing, breeding, or in warm water.

At these times you could try supplementing their diet with more protein rich foods, such as freeze-dried shrimp or other equivalents.

Typical Foods

There are plenty of products on the market that are suitable for cory catfish. You just need to look for products that are tailored for bottom feeding fish, such as catfish and loaches.

Also, don’t worry about feeding them as much as other tropical fish, because they are naturally scavengers who will find a portion of their own food. For example, they will eat some of the leftover food that falls to the bottom of the tank, or they will devour any incipient algae forming in your tank.

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The forms of fish food that are suitable for cory catfish include pellets, flakes and bottom feeder tablets.

Like with other fish you should feed them no more than they can eat in 5 minutes, as overfeeding can lead to excess waste products which can have a detrimental impact on the tank’s ecosystem.


Cory catfish can be a delight for any aspiring aquarium hobbyist. In this article we have comprehensively answered the question ‘what do cory catfish eat’. In summary, they are bottom feeding fish which will scavenge among the pebbles or gravel at the bottom of your tank.

They should be fed sinking food that are specially designed for their downward facing mouths. In addition, they are omnivores who need a healthy mix of protein and carbohydrates in their diets, as well as vitamins and minerals to keep them hale and healthy.

Many of the complete diets on the market are specially designed for bottom feeders like cory catfish, and they should meet all their nutritional requirements.

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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