There are many species of catfish. The Panda Cory Catfish is one of many freshwater catfish. They’re a great addition to any community of fish. Keep reading to learn more about this beautiful catfish.

Panda Cory Catfish Species Overview
Scientific NamePanda Corydoras
SizeUp to 2 inches
ColorBlack and white/pale pink
Lifespan10 years
Tank RegionBottom
Care LevelBeginner

Where Does The Panda Cory Catfish Come From?

This particular catfish species originates from South America. It can be found in Peru, most notably in the Ucayali river system, which is the main headwater of the Amazon River.

These waters are generally cooler, with temperatures in the early 70° F range.

The water is also acidic and soft, known as blackwater conditions.

In 1968, H.R. Richards first discovered the fish. However, Panda Corys didn’t get their name until three years later.

The name comes from the giant panda of China, which has a white body and black patches over its eyes. The Panda Cory mimics that coloring.

When it was first discovered, this fish species was quite expensive. However, over the years, captive breeding programs have increased the number of his species, lowering the cost.

Panda Corys are still widely popular today.

Panda Cory Catfish in a fish tank

Panda Cory Catfish Appearance

Panda Cory Catfish are easy to identify due to their distinct colors and markings on its body. They have an off-white to pale pink coloring on their body. Then, much like China’s giant panda, they have black spots along them.

This species has black markings at the top of its head, covering its eyes. Another black marking covers its dorsal fin, and a third black marking covers the base of its tail.

Similar to other catfish, Panda Corys have scutes instead of scales. For instance, they have two rows of overlapping bony plates with three sets of paired barbels.

In addition, they have a few sharp barbels as a defense mechanism.

This type of fish can grow up to two inches long, but the Panda Cory often doesn’t grow to be that big.

Panda Cory Catfish Care

This catfish is a delight to add to your aquarium setup. If you’re thinking about getting this specific catfish, let’s discuss its needs for proper care.


Luckily, this fish species is a peaceful one. They’ll do best in a tank with other peaceful freshwater fish. 

As with most catfish, the Panda Cory Catfish will spend most of its time at the bottom of the tank. It’ll scrounge, looking for excess food and waste to clean up.

In addition, Panda Corys are schooling fish. You’ll want to keep six of them together in one tank. However, you can get away with having three together if space is tight.

As mentioned before, Panda Corys are peaceful fish and must live in a calm community. Aggressive species won’t do well in a tank with a Panda Cory Catfish.

Panda Cory Catfish in a fish tank

Tank Setup

This fish species can be relatively easy to care for but have special needs. So, if you’ve never had a catfish in your tank, it might be best to start with a different species. The table below explains what the Panda Cory Catfish needs.

Panda Cory Catfish Aquarium Setup
Minimum Aquarium Size10 gallons
Temperature68°F to 77°F
LightingNormal with plenty of shade
SubstrateFine gravel, sand
DecorLive plants or artificial, caves, rocks, driftwood
Water FlowMedium
pH Range6.0 to 7.0
Water Hardiness2 to 12 dKH

There should be six Panda Cory Catfish within a tank with this species. Keep in mind that the minimum tank size for this fish is about ten gallons per fish. So, if you have six of these species together, you’ll want to have at least a 60-gallon tank.

The more room, the better. If you can allow your fish more space than they need, that’s great. Otherwise, ten gallons per Panda Cory is suitable.

You’ll also need to remember what tankmates you include in the aquarium. They’ll need their space requirements. You’ll also need to ensure the tankmates are compatible with this catfish.

Peaceful freshwater fish may include Clown Loaches, Tetras, and Danios. Small to medium-sized fish are also ideal.

When setting up the tank, remember that this fish was used to cooler water in the wild. However, due to captive breeding, Panda Corys have adapted and tolerated warmer waters over the years.

For substrate, Panda Cory Catfish will prefer to have fine gravel or sand. You can also decorate the tank with live plants, but it’s not needed.

You’ll need to provide plenty of hiding places, though. Caves, other rocks, and driftwood are ideal. 

Don’t be worried if you can never find your Panda Cory Catfish if they’re hiding all day long. This species is nocturnal, so they’ll be more active at night. When you turn the tank light off for the night, you can bet they’ll come out immediately.


Panda Corys are omnivores. They’re also bottom dwellers. So, sinking pellets will be ideal to ensure that your catfish gets something to eat every night.

They’ll scour the bottom and eat any leftover food the other fish don’t eat.

However, providing them with meaty foods keeps them in good health. Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia are all solid options. You can give your catfish live or frozen foods.

Feeding time should be right before the tank’s lights turn off for the night. Also, only provide enough food for them to eat within a minute or two.

Panda Cory Catfish in a fish tank

Health And Aquarium Care

With proper care, you can expect your Panda Cory Catfish to have a long, healthy lifespan of about ten years.

This can be done with appropriate dieting and adequate aquarium care. You’ll want to do a partial water change, about 25% of the water, once every other week.

About once a month, you can do a 50% water change to clean the tank well.

You’ll want to vacuum the gravel and get any excess food and waste out of the tank. Yes, the Panda Corys eat that and will clean it up. However, too much can make them sick.

Also, if the food has been in there for a long time, it may create unwanted bacteria.

Panda Corys are prone to specific health issues, as well. For example, they can get the following:

  • Bacterial Infections
  • Fungal Infections
  • Parasitic Infections (Ich, Flukes)

Symptoms of these health conditions can include:

  • White spots
  • Ulcers
  • Fin damage
  • Swelling/bloating
  • Behavioral changes (lethargy, loss of appetite)

If you notice any of these signs, you’ll want to quarantine the fish, find the root cause, and treat it.

Two Panda Cory Catfish in a fish tank

Breeding Panda Cory Catfish

You’ll be able to tell a male from a female because males are generally shorter in length. They’re also slimmer.

On the other hand, females have a more rounded underbelly. If you view the fish from above, you’ll easily be able to tell which Panda Corys are females and which are males.

Breeding this species is relatively easy. Panda Cory Catfish are egglayers. When the male and female get together to spawn, the female will lay up to 100 eggs. This process will take several hours as she’ll only lay one or two at a time.

The female will lay her eggs on vegetation, so if you want them to breed, placing java moss within the tank is an ideal spot.

Also, remember that the eggs are sensitive to heat, so their water shouldn’t go above 72° F. If they stay cool, they’ll hatch within four days.

Since this species is originally from cooler waters, partial water changes can trigger the fish to breed. The new water added will be cooler than the tank water, reminding them of their original home. 

Question Corner: FAQs About The Panda Cory Catfish

If you have more questions about the Panda Cory Catfish, read through the frequently answered questions listed below. 

Where Can You Get A Panda Cory Catfish?

You should be able to find this fish species anywhere you can buy fish. Your local pet store may carry them or direct you to a place that sells them. There are also fish breeders you can go through.

What’s The Average Cost Of The Panda Cory Catfish?

The average Panda Cory Catfish price is between $6 and $10.

Panda Cory Catfish in a fish tank

Are Panda Cory Catfish Hardy Fish?

Yes and no. Once you know how to care for these fish properly, they can be hardy. However, they have more specific needs than other catfish.

Are Panda Cory Catfish Good Algae Eaters?

These bottom dwellers will eat excess food and help keep the substrate clean. They’ll eat what they can find, but they don’t typically go after the algae in the tank.

Are Panda Cory Catfish Good For Beginners?

Yes, this fish species is ideal for beginner fish keepers. They’re relatively easy to care for and help you clean the tank.

Are Panda Cory Catfish Freshwater Or Saltwater Fish?

Panda Cory Catfish are freshwater fish. They can’t survive in saltwater. If you need to use a little salt to treat an illness, they’ll only tolerate it for about two or three days.

Should You Add A Panda Cory Catfish To Your Tank?

If you have a peaceful freshwater community of fish and want to add a catfish, then a Panda Cory Catfish is an excellent option. They’re pretty to look at, fun to water, and relatively easy to care for.

Panda Cory Catfish in a fish tank with words reading: Why The Panda Cory Catfish Is A Great Species |
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