What Do Cory Catfish Eat? (In the Wild & Tank)

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If you’re into fishkeeping, you’d know that cory catfish is a favorite among hobbyist fish keepers.

The peaceful temperament and low maintenance needs of this species make it perfect for novices and pros alike. But unless you know the answer to the question: “what do cory catfish eat?” caring for them can become a herculean task.

And in today’s guide, we will answer just that.

What Do Cory Catfish Eat In The Wild?

What Do Cory Catfish Eat In The wild

Cory catfish have a rather simple diet, comprising worms, small insects, and any larvae (or small eggs) that they can find at the bottom. They also like to feed on vegetable matter that may have fallen into the water. 

It’s worth noting that this species spends most of its active hours close to the substrate, digging through sand and filtering it to find food particles. Once they find something on the ground, they will suck it up with their mouths, sometimes keeping their heads buried while eating.

Do I Need To Feed My Cory Catfish?

Given how cory fish can spend hours sifting through the substrate to find food, some people may end up considering them as pure tank cleaners. In such cases, they may not provide the fish with enough food to eat, expecting them to clean all the leftovers. 

That said, although you may find your fish picking on algae from time to time in a planted aquarium, it doesn’t mean they need these plants more than other food items.  

It’s true that cory fish is a scavenging species, meaning they practically eat anything edible in the tank or aquarium. However, fishkeepers need to provide them adequate nutrition from diverse food sources – both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

What Do Cory Catfish Eat In A Tank?

What Do Cory Catfish Eat In The tank

The good news is that cory fish are not picky eaters, which is an advantage for fish keepers as they can add a lot of things to their diet. From freshwater plants and vegetables to pellets, there’s practically nothing that these fish won’t eat. However, we have listed the main food sources so that first-time fish keepers don’t get confused.

Flakes And Pellets

Cories love the taste of fish flakes, which are easily available in pet stores. However, the fish may take some time to consume them, as the flakes float on the surface and cories generally prefer to pick food from the ground.

The good thing about fish pellets is that they come in two varieties: sinking and floating. So, we’d strongly recommend getting the former, as they are specially formulated to suit the feeding habits and nutritional needs of bottom-feeders like cories.

Frozen Food

Frozen food for cories mainly includes frozen bloodworms and freeze-dried shrimp brine. Both of these are rich sources of protein, which contribute to the development and health of your cory catfish. 

But make sure you purchase only high-quality frozen food from a reputable brand, which is tested to be safe for your fish. This is because low-quality frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp often contain parasites and disease-causing germs, as they usually don’t undergo any strict quality check. However, these shouldn’t be added to their diet daily- reserve them as a bi-weekly or tri-weekly treat.

You may also feed your cory fish live bloodworms or shrimps, but since they are a slow-moving species, they don’t really like chasing after live food. Instead, they will prey on these parasites only if the latter moves to the substrate or hovers over the mouth of the fish.


Vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, Romaine lettuce, and squash have nutrients that add the perfect balance to the diet of your cory catfish. You’d want to chop them into smaller cube-shaped pieces so that the fish can easily suck them up in one go.

Another way is cutting thin slices of these vegetables, fork them, and drop the fork into the water. This will make the vegetable sink, making it easy for your cory catfish to feed on them. But again, feeding a ton of vegetables within a short span is not recommended. 

We’d advise adding vegetables to the water no more than thrice a week. If possible, use different vegetables each time so that they aren’t bored of the taste. Otherwise, the fish might stop eating them altogether. 

What To Feed Cory Catfish Fry?

The best type of food for cory catfish fry is the one that has a high protein content. For instance, baby brine shrimps are a great option because of their small size and high protein value. And instead of adding too much at a time, add it in small quantities to prevent leftovers.
If you see that all the food has been consumed within 5 minutes, you can add more. 

You may also feed them store-bought fry feed, micro worms, or daphnia to constitute a balanced diet.

How Often Should I Feed My Corydoras Catfish?

Owing to their scavenging nature, it doesn’t come as a surprise that they are massive overeaters that feed on both leftovers and plants. In fact, they are likely to eat all the food in the tank in one go if their feeding routine is not controlled.

That’s why you should ideally feed them only once a day and add the food in small quantities. Add more only if you think there isn’t sufficient food for them at the bottom of the tank.

Final Thoughts

Caring for your cory fish isn’t limited to just feeding them the right thing at the right time.

Fish keepers should ensure that the tank is cleaned regularly to protect them from diseases. Plus, the landscaping should closely resemble their natural habitat. In this regard, we’d suggest adding dim lights, plants, and plenty of hiding spots. Likewise, the oxygen and pH level of the water should be suitable for them to survive.

With that, we will now say goodbye. See you again!

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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