How Many Cory Catfish Should Be Kept Together? (Explained!)

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Cory catfish are one of the most popular types of fish when it comes to keeping a fish in an aquarium. So, if you want to add these lovely little fishes to your tank, you might wonder, “How many Cory catfish should be kept together?”

The number might depend on a few factors such as the size of your cory catfish and the size of the tank. Considering all the variables, coming up with a number can be confusing. But don’t worry.

In this article, I discuss how many corries you should house together in great detail. So, you should have a proper idea about the topic by the end of the article.

How Many Cory Catfish Should Be Kept Together?

You should keep at least six Cory catfish together. These are little fish that prefer to be in a group of six and if possible more. It is because they are highly social fish. So they feel safe and more comfortable staying in groups.

Well, in an aquarium of average size, up to eight cory catfishes can be kept. But in a completely new tank, start with one fish for each gallon and don’t introduce too many at the same time.

The general rule is to keep one 1-inch long fish in about one gallon of water in the aquarium. So, depending on the species of the Cory catfish (Average size: 1-4 inches), you can keep about 5-20 fish in a 20-gallon aquarium.

Is 2 Cory Catfish Enough?

Well, two Cory catfish is not enough. Since these are schooling fishes, they prefer to stay in groups. They can survive in an aquarium easily even if you keep only two of them together. But they will feel more secure and happy by staying in a larger group of six or more.

Moreover, if the species of the two cory catfish are not the same, they won’t even move around comfortably. Since they are small-sized prey category fish, they feel safe if they can stay in a group.

Read Also: Cory Catfish Tank Size: A Complete Guide (+ Infographic)

Is 3 Cory Catfish Enough?


Three cory catfish are not enough. Though it is possible for 3 cory catfish to survive together, they won’t be at their happiest and healthiest. Housing at least six cory catfish together is best.

If you want to see the amazing schooling movements of these cute little fishes, you will have to keep more than 3 cory catfish together. They thrive best in a group of at least six. So, if you want to keep your fish happy and comfortable, 3 cory catfish won’t be enough.

Read Also: The Complete Cory Catfish Happiness Guide!

Can You Keep 4 Cory Catfish Together?

You can keep 4 cory catfish together. But the more the better when it comes to these schooling fishes. However, you should also make sure the tank is of the appropriate size to house them.

If your aquarium size is 10-gallon, it is better not to keep more than four cory catfish inside. As I have mentioned, it is better to keep one-gallon water for a one-inch-sized fish. So, before adding cory catfish to the aquarium, it is better to consider its size.

And I would also highly recommend you to check out my complete article about are cory catfish hardy and what are the hardiest cory catfish.

Is 5 Cory Catfish Enough?

Depending on the size of your aquarium, five Cory catfish might be enough. But since they prefer staying in large groups, it is best to keep a minimum of six to help them stay happy.

Cory catfishes tend to stay in groups. Like all other schooling fishes, these animals are more often prey to other bigger fishes. In a group, they can confuse their predators by swimming in various patterns. At the same time, a larger group means more territorial dominance. So, these fishes are naturally inclined to live in large groups.

Are Cory Catfish Schooling Fish?


Cory Catfish are schooling fish. The schooling behavior of Cory catfish is very fascinating to watch. When the fish swim about the aquarium in unison, it seems kind of like a precise dance troupe.

Cory catfishes cannot live without company. In the wild, they live in large groups. In these groups, they live a highly social life. Schooling is also done as a protection mechanism against predators. This natural desire to live together is encoded in their genes and they cannot live to their fullest without their school even in the protected environment of a fish tank.

Sure there won’t be any predators there but the psychological impact will be great. So, considering their absolute desire to live within large groups of their own, it can be said that the cory catfish is a schooling fish.

By the way, if you notice that your cory catfish swim around in a crazy way, then you might also be interested in checking out my article where I explain why cory catfish swim like crazy.

Can Cory Catfish Live Alone?


Under the correct circumstances, cory catfish can live on its own in a tank. Although Cory catfishes can survive alone, they prefer to be in a team of six or more.

The Cory catfishes prefer to scavenge and eat in gangs. They are unable to carry out their duties properly living all by themselves. You must establish a safe setting in which they can play and engage in their everyday tasks as they would in nature. And that involves keeping six or more at once.

When it comes to most pets, the more we let them live out their lives as naturally as possible, the healthier they will be. And the cory catfish is no exception. As an owner, it’s your responsibility to provide them not only nutrition but also the social interactions they desire. So, even if they technically could survive alone in a tank, you should keep more.

I suggest buying a tank that is at least 20 gallons and keeping six or more together.

Also Read: Are Albino Cory Catfish Blind?

Can You Put Different Cory Catfish Together?

If your Cory catfish are grown enough then you can mix them with other types of cory catfish. But if they are newborns, it is better not to take any risk with them. Your Cory catfish may peacefully coexist alongside other catfish species such as ottos and plecos.

Although different cory catfish may socialize with each other, they won’t school together. So, you must think about giving him 5 or more buddies of the very same species if you want to offer your Cory catfish a good lifestyle within the tank. Your Cory fish will feel a lot more comfortable and secure moving around with their own species.

It is because of the synchronicity of swimming methods and the confidence that they may get from collective motions. Even though most non-predator fishes get along fine with the Cory catfish, they wish to stay with their own kind.

However, you must be aware of the behaviors and nature of the fish when putting them inside the tank with your cories. Do some research about the fish you are putting in the tank alongside your cory catfish. If they end up being hostile, your cories might not survive. So, be very careful when introducing new fishes to your tank.

A single Cory catfish may survive inside an aquarium with some other types of fish too. You can include species such as neon tetras and phantoms to offer your Cory Catfish Company if you are unable to find other fishes of his species.

Moreover, you can also partner your fish with some livebearers such as Mollys, swordtails, and guppies. It is also not unusual for them to thrive alongside tank mates that are not fish such as snails and shrimps.

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


In short, you need to house at least 6 cory catfish together so that they can create a proper school. Any lower than that, your cory catfish may survive but won’t be able to live out their natural behaviors to the fullest. And this is an integral part for their well-being.

I hope this article was able to clear out any queries you had on how many Cory catfish should be kept together. Remember that the size of your tank is equally important as the number of corries you house in it. So, be sure to consider that as well.