How Long Do Cory Catfish Live? 5 Tips To Increase Their Lifespan

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As a pet owner, you would want your pet to live as long as possible. So, it’s only natural if you find yourself wondering about the lifespan of your cory catfish. Let’s find out how long do Cory Catfish Live?

Cory catfishes generally live up to 5 years. But with the right conditions and caring this can be significantly improved. Some Cory Catfish can die as soon as they are introduced to a tank. So you have to be careful about how you treat them.

I’ll now go over how different factors can impact their lifespan. Once you understand each of these factors, I’ll be discussing several ways to increase their lifespan so they can live in an optimum environment. Let’s begin!

Factors That Impact The Lifespan of Cory Catfish

Cory Catfish are sensitive to their environments, so even a slight change can have an impact on their wellbeing and lifespan. Everything starting from water temperatures, to even filters and lighting, can affect how well they do in the tanks. Let’s go over the factors that affect them. 

#1. The Size of The Aquarium

Cory catfish are very unhappy in crowded small spaces. However, they also don’t like aquariums that are too tall. Their oxygen intake goes down when they are placed in aquariums that are too tall. 

They are peaceful and they like their environment to be spacious and calm as well. While this doesn’t mean they prefer to be alone, crowded spaces can significantly decrease their lifespan. 

#2. The Choice of Substrate

The substrate or the material that you use to line the bottom of your tank or aquarium can also affect the lifespan of your Cory Catfish. When the surface is too rough or ragged, the fish can injure themselves as they slide through. 

Cory catfish have sensitive and delicate underbodies. So they want softer substrates. If injured, they can become sick and die early on. 

#3. The Temperature of Water

Since Cory Catfish are so sensitive, it’s only natural that they are heavily affected by the water temperature that surrounds them. The temperatures can greatly affect their mood and lifespan over time. 

Since they are naturally tropical creatures, they prefer relatively warmer temperatures. This warm temperature also makes digestion easier for them, and hence can increase their lifespan.

Read More: Do Cory Catfish Need A Heater?

#4. The pH of Water 

The pH of the surrounding water is also an important factor that can affect the lifespan of a Cory Catfish. What kind of pH they can survive depends on what breed they are. If they are bred in captivity, they can usually survive a higher pH.

However, Cory Catfish which are caught in the wild might find it hard to cope with a change in pH and they like softer water. 

#5. The Filter

All fishes love a good filter in their tanks. Cory Catfishes are no different and they love a filter that is established with nitrifying bacteria. High nitrates can cause them to develop diseases. 

Since they live naturally in very deep waters, they are not used to a lot of strong flowing water. They might get stressed easily, and as with humans, stress can decrease their lifespan. 

Bacterial blooms in the tank can also stress the Cory Catfish out and cause them to be unhealthy. If you stir up the tank bottom excessively, for instance, this can release decaying matter into the water and cause a bacterial bloom. 

They can get sick and will develop white patches around their mouths and barbels. If you do see them sick, try to treat them as soon as you can. Because if left untreated, they’ll stop feeding and eventually die out. 

5 Tips To Increase The Lifespan Of Cory Catfish

Now that we’ve talked about which factors can affect the lifespan of your Cory Catfish, let’s go over some tips to help you ensure a comfortable environment for them. If they are happy and comfortable, they can live a long time. 

#1. Get a tank that’s the right size

As we’ve discussed above, the right tank size can help you increase the lifespan of your Cory Catfish. It needs to be very spacious but not so tall that the oxygen becomes depleted. Depending on how many fish you have, your size will differ.

For instance, if you have about six Cory Catfishes then a 30-gallon tank should work just fine. Large tanks help them be active and move around easily and thus they are much happier. 

Read Also: Cory Catfish Not Moving? Top 7 Possible Reasons!

They thrive in larger tanks but try to ensure that the tank is shallow. Your standard rectangular tanks should work well. Check out my complete cory catfish tank size guide here.

#2. Get them some friends

Cory Catfishes can get lonely if they are kept alone in an isolated aquarium. They become depressed and can die much younger. So it’s best if you keep in schools of six or more. When they have friends they can play and move around together. 

I also recommend you to read my article where I explain how many cory catfish should be kept together.

However, be careful not to overcrowd your tank. If you decide to get more fishes then get a larger tank. They can also do well with other freshwater aquarium fish and dwarf shrimps. They’re very social and so give them friends to hang out with. 

If you wondering whether cory catfish can live with shrimp or not, don’t forget to check out my complete guide on cory catfish and shrimp.

#3. Feed them properly

A good diet can go a long way in helping to increase the lifespan of your Cory Catfish. Try to give them frozen or live meaty foods and dry foods. They are omnivores and so they can eat a lot of different items. Variety is also important in keeping them happy. 

Make sure they are getting enough nutrients from their food and change their diet daily. You can make a routine to go over different food items for each day of the week. Tropical granules, shrimp pellets, Algae rounds are all good options. 

Have albino cory catfish and wondering what to feed it? Then check out my complete guide on the albino cory catfish diet here.

#4. Keep the pH and temperature optimum

Water quality is very important for any fish pet. And since Cory Catfish are very sensitive, even slight changes in pH can affect them. Even different species can have slightly different pH that they thrive in. 

The same goes for water temperatures as well. They do well in warmer conditions of about 68 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Let’s check out the optimum water conditions for different breeds of Cory Catfish. 

BreedOptimum pHOptimum Temperature   (°F)
Panda Cory6-770-78
Albino Cory6-772-80
Peppered Cory6-772-80
Bronze Cory6-772-80
Julii Cory6.5-872-80
Sterbai Cory6-7.573-82
Pygmy Cory6.4-7.472-80
(Source: Build Your Aquarium)

#5. Provide plants for your Cory Catfish

Even though Cory Catfishes love space, they also need to hide and rest and they naturally live in rather deeper parts, where there isn’t a lot of light. So they love having plants and leaves to rest under. 

Keep your aquarium well planted with different kinds of flora and fauna. Plants like Echinodorus tenellus and Cryptocoryne Parva are great options. Your fish can use these plants to hide and scavenge. 

If you are interested to keep your Cory Catfish happy then I would also highly recommend you to have a look at my complete cory catfish happiness guide here.


In short, Cory Catfishes usually live up to 5 years, but this can even go up to 8 or 9 years if you take care of them properly. Give them a spacious tank and friends to play with while feeding them well and taking care of their surroundings. They will live much longer if they are happy. 

I hope this article has helped answer your queries on how long do Cory Catfish live and also informed you on 5 tips to increase their lifespan. Like any pet, take care of them properly and they’ll be happy and live a long, healthy life. 

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