May 17

Panda Cory Catfish Care Guide – Size, Breeding, Tank Mates, Life Span


There are many aquarium beauties in the sea, but some of these just get to catch our attention in varying degrees of ways. Let me now introduce one of these – Panda Cory catfish which belongs to the Corydoras group; this is why it is sometimes called “Panda Cory”. The scientific name is, however, Corydoras panda.

Panda Cory catfish originate from Peru as they were first found and collected from the Rio Ucayali River System by marine biologist and veterinarian, Randolph Richards. More so, this fish species is particularly found in abundance within the fast-moving waters of South and Central America. They thrive in well-planted aquatic habitats.

Panda Cory Cat Corydora Catfish

The average size of Panda Cory Catfish

The average of a Panda Cory catfish at maturity is around 5cm. That said, the fish generally have small stature, and may measure even less than 5cm. As a statement of fact, when purchasing your Panda Cory from the pet store, it may not exceed an average size of 2.5cm.


Panda Cory catfish can live for up to 3 – 5 years within the aquarium. Their lifespan could even be higher in the instance whereby you give them utmost care, ensuring that the right tank conditions are regularly maintained.


It is not so difficult for a beginner to pass off speculation on what this Corydoras mate looks like – the “Panda” isn’t just there for no reason. Away from the niceties, the Panda Cory has an off-white coloration with black patches around some parts – the head, dorsal fin, and tail base – of its body, giving it a mix of black and white like the Panda bear. Nevertheless, Panda Cory may also have light or faded pink coloration.

Talking about the body structure; the fish has a somewhat fat body that flattens towards the side, and the head markedly curves inward. Careful examination of the body structure can be helpful in distinguishing a male Panda Cory from a female. The female’s body is usually more rounded [than the male’s].

Other notable features that can be seen on the Panda Cory include two rows of bony plates, which are one of the distinctive characteristics of corydoras. These bony plates for used for defensive purposes Plus, they also have three pairs of barbels that serve sensory functions.


As per the behavioral pattern; the very first thing you may notice upon watching Panda corydoras closely is that they love to swim in a group. This species does not do very well as a solitary creature. Nonetheless, they are largely peaceful, cherishing to dwell at the bottom of their aquatic habitat. However, in the instance where a Panda Cory feels threatened or attacked, it could use its spines to try to bale itself out of danger. Summarily, the Panda Cory catfish is a sociable, easy-going fish.

Panda Cories swim actively around the tank during the day although they may also put up some nocturnal tendencies from time to time.

Aquarium setup and care

You surely want to have your lovable Panda Cory with you for as long as possible, isn’t it? So, you should take care to ensure that they are given utmost care; firstly, by making efforts to replicate the conditions attainable within their natural habitat in the home aquarium. Let’s now see how you can go about this – just to let you know; Panda Cory catfish are really easy to care about.

Water parameters for Panda Cory Catfish

Temperature: Panda Cory catfish cherish cool water habitat hence a temperature range of between 20 – 260C is recommended for their upkeep.

pH level: Panda Cory loves to dwell in a water environment that is slightly acidic although it can also make do with one that has a neutral pH level. As such, you should maintain a pH level of around 6 – 7.5 in its aquarium.

Water hardness: You can consider this amazing pet of the Corydoras as a hardy type on the back of the fact that it can survive both soft and very hard water, with the range being between 2 – 12 dGH. That said, while in the wild, they live and swim about in soft water most of the time.

Aquarium setup

As with any other aquatic pet, the setting up of the aquarium is a critical aspect that must not be overlooked when caring for Panda Cory – this is despite the fact that the species is a thoroughbred. A tank with a carrying capacity of about 40 liters, with an efficient filtration system fitted unto it, should suitably cater to the needs of a school of 5 – 6 Panda cories.

You may need to increase the size if you are looking to have a community of fishes or other aquatic pets in the aquarium. Besides, by housing them in a large tank, you will be providing them with ample space they can explore while swimming in the aquarium.

    The need for the filtration system is informed by the fast-moving nature of the waterbody that Panda Cory inhabits naturally. Additionally, the filtration system will also help to sustain a substantial amount of dissolved oxygen within the aquarium even as it aids in ridding the water of impurities like those generated from ammonia.

    It is important that you take note of the high demand of Panda Cory for oxygen which may not be unconnected to their bottom-dwelling habit. Notwithstanding, the fish’s adaptable intestinal tract can enable it to draw in atmospheric oxygen upon getting to the surface. When this happens, you should be mindful of a probable shortage of oxygen in the aquarium.

    You should also see to it that the aquarium you are putting them in is well-vegetated. While some aquarists may choose to fill the tank with other (decorative) items aside from plants, it is good that you understand the significance of plants in the aquarium – they are simply not always for decorative. Here is the reason: through the photosynthetic activity of the plants in the tank, there is bound to be increased and/or improved oxygen level which is good for the health of your Panda Cory. Therefore, it would be nice to incorporate live plants into the tank setup. This should not stop you from putting in some décor if you wish.

    The aquarium substrate should also be carefully selected. A substrate that is coarse or abrasive can be highly injurious for a species that is noted to spend the majority of its time at the bottom. In this wise, sand registers as the best substrate to layer the floor of the tank housing Panda Cory. Alternatively, fine-textured gravel can be used.

    Water changes

    Panda Cory can exhibit substantial sensitivity to unpleasant conditions within the tank, and may even have ill-health due to unhealthy water conditions. This is why it is recommended that you change about 30% of the water volume in your tank every week. Such measures will curtail the incidence of nitrate or ammonia build-up thereby preventing or limiting water contamination. With this, the health of your wonderful pet will ultimately be preserved.


    Panda Cories are not selective feeders as they have an omnivorous feeding orientation. You can feed them with frozen or live foods like bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, tubifex. They would also appreciate munching on sinking pellets, flakes as well as veggies such as cabbage, cucumber, zucchini, etc. Let stress here that feeds that are high in protein will do your pet’s health a whole lot of good.

    On certain occasions, Panda Cory may also bring out their scavenging part, devouring dead organic matter and algae present at the bottom of the tank. As a matter of emphasis, whatever feed you are presenting your Panda Cory with, must be such that gets to them at the bottom. It is for this reason sinking pellets are usually regarded as the best feed for Panda corydoras. Dried food, especially those that crumble easily, should be avoided as it will most likely defeat the purpose of providing food.

    On the feeding frequency; you should feed them once or twice daily, providing them with a measured (food) quantity that they can consume at a go. This is necessary for you not to end up having a tank that would be getting contaminated at an alarming rate thus increasing toxicity load therein.

    Aquarium Mates and Compatibility

    Well, as you might have realized; Panda Cory is a “merry-go-happy” creature with calm mien. So, they can put up with any aquatic pal. It is, however binding on you not to put your Panda Cories in harm’s way by pairing them with aggressive and predatory folks like Oscars, tiger barbs, jaguar cichlids, Jack Dempsey, etc. Fishes – particularly the ones with preying or bullying inclination – that are larger than Panda Cory are a definite no-no.

    Having hinted on the what-not-to-pair, I will now list a couple of aquatic fish/pets you can present as tank mates to your Panda Cory:


    Panda Cory catfish will make a pleasant addition to a home aquarium – talk about their appearance, bottom-dwelling, and sociable lifestyle. More notably, that they are easy to care for means they are a fitting pet for beginners to have. That said, it is vital that you ensure they are given the best care by providing them with the necessary nutrients and making them dwell in a healthy water environment to ward off the infestation of diseases.


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