Corydoras Catfish And Bettas: Ultimate Tank Mate Guide

Last Updated on 2023-08-26

If you love your betta but you think he may need some company then it can be hard to figure out which fish will go well in the tank. Well, Corydoras catfish and bettas can make great companions when certain conditions are matched! Keep reading to find out what those conditions are and how you can make it work.

Don’t want to read? Watch the video instead!

Can Corydoras Catfish And Bettas Be Kept Together?

Corydoras catfish and bettas make excellent tank mates. Corydoras are bottom dwellers who won’t trigger any sort of aggression in your betta. They occupy completely different areas of the tank, and have different dietary needs. As far as tank mates go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better choice.

Corydoras Catfish And Bettas As Tank Mates

If you’re going to keep corydoras catfish and bettas together, then you need to make sure your betta won’t be aggressive. If you know that your betta has an aggressive temperament there’s no fish that can live with him. However, if your betta is peaceful then here’s everything you need to know to keep cory’s with bettas.

Corydoras Basic Information

If you’re a betta lover then you know all you need to know about bettas. However, you may not know much about corydoras. If you want to give your corydoras the best chance possible of living happily then here is some information that will come in handy.

Origin

Corydoras are mostly found in South America and there are many different species to choose from. They live in slow-moving water and rivers that are heavily planted and have a lot of food on the substrate. However, all corydoras can live with bettas, so you don’t need to worry too much about the different types.

Color

Corydoras catfish come in a range of different colors and patterns. But this isn’t going to affect their temperament in any way. Most of the time the coloration will be brown, gray or black. Don’t be surprised if you notice other colors on your corydoras’ though. And you can even buy albino corydoras’ as well!

What Water Conditions Do Corydoras Need?

If you’re going to add Corydoras catfish to your tank, then you have to make sure the water conditions are good for them. While they are hardy fish, if the temperature or pH is too high or low it could stress them out over time.

Cory’s will need a pH between 7.0-7.8. Remember, 7.0 is the perfect pH level for bettas, so as long as you can keep the water as close to 7.0 then your cory’s and bettas will be fine together. The only trouble you’ll find is that bettas can survive in slightly acidic environments but not alkaline ones. So try to keep your pH at 7.0.

Next up is the water temperature. A bettas ideal temperature is 78°F and a cory’s is between 70-78°F. Once again you’re going to be at one end of the spectrum. Keep your water temperature as close to 78°F but don’t worry too much if it goes a couple of degrees either way.

The most important thing is to keep the tank as stable as possible. If you have a pH or temperature that’s a little high or low, that’s still better than having a tank that’s constantly fluctuating.

Types Of Corydoras You Can Add To A Tank With Bettas

Fortunately, there are plenty of different corydoras you can add to a tank with your betta. So here are a few great choices!

Pygmy Corydoras

If you’ve got a tank that’s 10 gallons in size or bigger then pygmy corydoras are going to be a great choice of tank mate. Make sure you’re keeping them in groups of 4-5 for maximum happiness.

Bronze Corydoras

Bronze corydoras are bigger than pygmy corydoras, but they’re also going to be a great choice for betta tanks that are bigger than 15 gallons in size. While on their own they can go in a 10 gallon tank, the extra space of a 15 gallon will allow you to keep a school together.

Panda Corydoras

Panda Corys are another small fish that will go great in your bettas tank as well. While they may be small in size, they’re full of personality and you can watch them all day swimming at the bottom of the tank!

Peppered Corydoras

With their random splotches of green skin peppered corydoras are an interesting choice of corydora to keep in your tank. However, bare in mind they’re a little bit more fragile than other forms of corydoras, and you’ll need to keep them in a tank which is 15 gallons or bigger.

Flagtail Corydoras

If you’re looking for a bigger corydoras for your betta’s tank, then flagtail corydoras are an excellent choice! they grow up to 3″ in size, however, this extra size will mean they’ll need a bigger tank too.

(Want to know about 13 great corydoras to add to your tank?)

corydora catfish and bettas

How Important Are The Water Conditions For Corydoras Catfish?

If you plan on keeping corydoras catfish then you need to make sure that the water conditions are pristine. Especially the nitrate levels. High levels of nitrate are going to cause your corydoras’ a lot of stress which can make them more prone to disease. You should be testing your tanks nitrate levels regularly to make sure that they are 0ppm.

(I’d recommend the API Master Test Kit for testing all the parameters in your tank.)

Also, you should try to keep the substrate as undisturbed as possible. You will need to vacuum it frequently but you should do so in a way that doesn’t disturb it too much. If you kick up all the sand or gravel, not only will it stress all your fish out, but it will also release rotting food and feces back into your tank. This will increase the amount of bacteria and potentially cause your Cory and betta to be susceptible to a whole range of diseases.

Other than this corydoras’ are extremely hardy fish. And if you follow the instructions above then they should be healthy and happy for a long time!

Knowing the different behavior, tank requirements and diets of multiple fish is a difficult task to accomplish. In fact, there are fish that can live with your betta you haven’t even thought of yet! If you want to know about every fish that can live with your betta then check out this e-book detailing 65 great tank mates for bettas!

Ideal Habitat

Corydoras catfish and bettas like similar habitats so you can set your aquarium up to suit them both. Just like your betta they’re not going to need a lot of space and can survive in a tank as small as 10 gallons.

(If you don’t have a 10 gallon tank but you’re looking to upgrade then here are the best 10 gallons tanks on the market right now. If you do want to have a school of Corydoras’ you will need a bigger tank however.)

Decorations

When it comes to decorating your tank you should fill it with lots of live plants. This will make the tank feel more natural and corydoras’ and bettas absolutely love them as well! On top of live plants you should also consider adding decorations like driftwood and rocks. The key is to create a lot of hiding places for your fish.

Both your betta and your corydoras’ will want to get away from time to time so if you have hiding places for them you enable this. This is really important for all fish and one thing that is often overlooked. And not only is it going to provide hiding places, it’s also going to give your fish some new places to explore!

If you’re interested in breeding your corydoras’ then you should add wide leaf plants. This will give them plenty of room for spawning.

Covering The Top

And you should always make sure that your aquarium has a lid on it. If you didn’t know already your betta may try to jump out of the tank. In the wild they jump from body of water to body of water looking for new food, territory and mates.

(It’s important to note that if your betta is jumping out of the tank then it could be a sign of ammonia poisoning or temperature shock.)

Substrate

Lastly, make sure you’ve picked a suitable substrate for your corydoras. You should use sand or small gravel. If you plan on using gravel then make sure that it’s not too rough or sharp otherwise it’s going to damage your corydoras’ barbels.

(Here’s handy substrate guide you can use to help you make a decision. And check this out if you’re interested in the best gravel for betta tanks.)

Corydora Catfish 2

Corydoras Catfish Temperament

Every fishkeeper whether their a novice or a veteran know that bettas don’t have the greatest temperament. When finding fish that make suitable tank mates you have to take this into consideration. And this is where Corydoras’ really come into their own.

Corydoras’ are bottom dwellers whereas bettas like to stay near the top and middle of your tank. So you don’t have to worry too much about your betta attacking your corydoras’, because the chances are he won’t feel threatened by them. While they’re keeping themselves to themselves at the bottom of the tank, your betta will be near the top.

Corydoras’ Behaviour

Corydoras’ are peaceful fish that won’t ever be aggressive towards your betta. They are very sociable, however, and this is especially true when they’re with their own kind. If you keep Corydoras’ in groups of 6 or more you’ll notice them schooling and foraging the bottom of your tank together.

This is great for them and if you keep them in a school they will be extremely happy. For maximum happiness of your fish, you should keep them in groups. Even when one of them needs a break, even if they’re not directly with the group they’ll always be within a couple of inches of them!

Corydoras And Betta Diets

When you’re watching your corydoras’ you’ll notice most of the time they are foraging at the bottom of the tank. They are often looking for any food they can eat. This will include food that your betta missed, as well as any plant matter as well as any small insects in the tank.

They use their barbels and mouths to dig up parts of the substrate and eat the food underneath. However, this doesn’t mean that you never need to feed them. The chances are they won’t get enough sustenance just from scavenging alone.

Corydoras catfish are omnivores so you can feed them a whole range of different food. You can use live, frozen, flakes, and pellets for both types of fish, just make sure your betta is only eating a meat-only diet.

Also to make sure your corydoras’ are definitely getting enough food you should use sinking pellets built for algae eaters. These are specifically designed for bottom feeders and will quickly drop to the bottom of the tank when they’re added.

When feeding your Corydoras’ and betta you only need to feed them a couple of times a day. And it should never last more than 2 minutes. Any longer than this and you risk overfeeding them! Make sure when you drop food in for your betta, you’re also dropping a sinking wafer in for your corydoras’.

Your betta should be too distracted by the other food in the tank, giving your Corydoras’ a chance to eat as well.

Also, make sure you’re buying high-quality food. While low-quality food is cheaper, it’s not going to be packed with essential nutrients and may become costly when your fish inevitably become sick.

(Corydoras are also great algae eaters. If you’re interested in other algae eaters for your tank, then check out this article!)

Size And Lifespan

You’ll be pleased to know that Corydoras’ don’t grow too big, so no matter what size tank you have, they’ll probably fit. Their size ranges from 1 inch to 2.5 inches depending on the type of corydoras’ that you purchase. And normally they are a lot bigger around their head then they are around their tail.

And like most fish, they are going to live for 5 years when well looked after. This is the same amount of time bettas live for as well. So adding Corydoras catfish is going to be quite the commitment to your tank. But this shouldn’t bother you because they are great tank mates for bettas.

The time when corydoras catfish are most likely to die is when they’re first introduced to the tank. This is when they are more susceptible to shock from the new water conditions of your tank. However, with the right care, after this phase, they will live for a long time.

If you’re interested in knowing about 30 other tank mates that can live with your betta then check out this HUGE list of betta tank mates!

Corydora Catfish 3

Picking Corydoras’

Before you’re ready to get some corydoras’ and introduce them to your betta, make sure you’re picking the best ones. If you pick unhealthy, sick or weak Corydoras’, it could result in your whole tank becoming infested with disease.

You should avoid Corydoras’ that aren’t moving a lot, seem sick or lethargic. Instead, look for Corydoras’ that are swimming around and appear active and healthy.

Also, make sure you aren’t buying any Corydoras’ that are injured. Pay special attention to their barbels, eyes, and fins. If you notice a barbel or eye is missing/damaged or a fin is damaged then choose another Corydoras.

And of course, if there are other sick fish in the tank then you should avoid buying fish from that tank. Even if the one you choose seems fin, it could still be harboring illness. That’s why it’s so important to add fish to a quarantine tank before introducing them to your main tank.

(Find out about 12 more great aquarium catfish.)

How Many Corydoras Should You Keep With Your Betta?

Corydoras do best in shoals of 5-6 so when you add them to your bettas tank to keep them happy you should keep them in a group this size. This way you reduce the chances of them becoming unhappy or stressed.

Can Cory Catfish And Bettas Live Together In A 5 Gallon Tank?

A 5 Gallon tank is too small for a corydoras and betta to live together. Not only will it be more likely that the betta will pick on the corydoras, but the corydoras needs to shoal with others, so it will end up becoming lonely.

Will Cory Catfish Eat Betta Food?

Cory catfish will eat betta food, but betta’s won’t get nutrients from your cory’s food. You should make sure that your betta is getting his own food, and not sharing with corys.

Corydoras Catfish And Bettas_ Ultimate Tank Mate Guide

Recap

As you can see Corydoras catfish and bettas make great tank mates. While bettas will stay at the top of your tank, for the most part, Corydoras’ will stick to the bottom. Here are some of the main points to remember when introducing Corydoras’ to bettas.

  • Corydoras’ need a pH between 7.0-7.8 and bettas need a pH of 7.
  • Corydoras’ need a temperature between 70-78 and bettas need one as close to 78°F as possible (however they can survive in water as cool as 76°F)
  • Most importantly make sure the nitrate levels in your tank stay at 0ppm. Corydoras’ are particularly vulnerable to disease when nitrate levels become high.
  • You can keep Corydoras’ on their own but they will be much happier in groups.
  • When feeding your betta make sure you also drop sinking wafers into your tank for your Corydoras’. While they will eat a lot of leftover food off the bottom of the tank, that still won’t be enough nutrients for them.
  • You should also make sure your betta and Corydoras’ are getting a mix of plants and meat as they’re both omnivores.
  • A sandy substrate is best for Corydoras’ as they are less likely to damage their barbels.
  • Corydoras’ can grow up to 2.5 inches in size and live for up to 5 years.

Ultimate Betta Fish Care Guide
About the author

Hey! I'm Nicolas from Iguane Media !

Blogger and Owner of the betta care fish guide
Thanks for reading this blog

I'm an Animal Lover

4 thoughts on “Corydoras Catfish And Bettas: Ultimate Tank Mate Guide”

  1. I know this website is for betta fish but I need help! Can I have a corydora catfish and tetra?

    • Hello,

      Neon Tetras will be fine with corydora catfish, you just need to make sure you’re giving them enough space. Ideally, a 20-gallon tank would do, but if you don’t have a lot of tetras you could probably get away with a 15 gallon.

      Have a good day

  2. I want to to thank you for this wonderful read!!
    I certainly loved every bit of it. I have you book-marked to look at new things you post…

    • Hello, te

      Thanks so much for the kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed reading this article.

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