Freshwater Fish

Panda Corydoras Care Guide And Breeding


Panda Corydoras is also known as cory fish or cory catfish. They are freshwater catfish and dwell at the bottom of lakes, rivers, etc. They have armored bodies that protect them from predators.

Panda Corydoras is a fascinating catfish that loves to keep itself busy searching for hidden treasures and socializing.

If you have been looking for a perfect fish species to add to your community tank, panda corydoras can be a great addition to a freshwater aquarium.

Overview Of The Panda Corydoras’ Popularity As A Freshwater Aquarium Fish

Initially, when this fish was introduced to the aquarium hobby, the specimens were gathered in the wild making them expensive to purchase. After captive breeding programs, they have become popular and cheaper to buy.

You can easily find and purchase a panda Corydoras fish species. However, in the wild, you’re unlikely to find one just as easily.

Corydoras Panda Brief History

The Panda Cory is a South American species of catfish belonging to the Corydoras genus and Callichthyidae family.

It is found in Ecuador and Peru where the catfish inhabits the blackwater rivers and pristine streams flowing over fine gravel and soft sand.

It was first gathered in 1968 by H.R Richards. They were given the name Corydoras Panda by Isbrücker and Nijssen.

The name was an illusion of the fish’s appearance which has eyes surrounded by large black patches resembling those found in a giant panda.

Physical Characteristics


The Panda Cory catfish lack scales and are covered by overlapping bony plates. The plates are known as scutes.

You have to give the fish species a closer look to see the scute. In some species, there is a black pigment that highlights the scute lines.

The catfish also has two pairs of rictal barbels and one pair of maxillary barbels. Moreover, they have a sharp barbel in front of their dorsal fin, under each eye, and another one at the adipose fin.

The sharp barb acts as the Panda corydoras’ defense mechanism.

Identification Of Unique Features

The Panda corydoras body has an off-white to pinkish ground color. When the catfish is observed under certain lighting conditions you see a faint emerald sparkle on their opercula and flanks.

They also have hyaline fins that look beautiful as well.

Although the color of their head is similar to that of their bodies, they have three black markings. The prominent mark starts at the top of the head and surrounds the eyes.

The second mark covers the dorsal fin. Some panda cories can have a mark large enough to cover the whole dorsal fin and leave translucent edges only. The third black marking encircles the caudal peduncle.

Size Comparison

The Corydoras panda is a small, shielded fish species with a size of up to 2 inches. Mostly, females attain this length when mature.

When females are viewed from above, they are larger and broader. Panda cory males are shorter in length and slimmer.

Panda Cory Catfish Lifespan

Compared to other species of Corydoras, the Panda cory has a longer lifespan. It is known to be durable and a hardy catfish species.

The catfish can live for five or more years depending on the care given. If a cory catfish dies within a short period, it can be due to transportation stress or water parameter shifts.

Habitat And Care

Water Conditions

Keeping the fish tank clean is one of the best things you can do to care for your fish. The Panda corydoras requires water of good quality. You will also need to make water changes from time to time.

The catfish does well in water temperatures of between 68 to 77 F. Cooler temperatures are preferred for the fish species to maintain its lifespan. The water PH level should also be 6.0 or 7.0.

In the natural habitat of Panda corydoras, the river currents produce a regular flow that ensures the water is clean.

Since the river current does not exist in your home aquarium, you will need a filter that creates a strong water current.

The filtration system is essential. A canister filter would be ideal as it allows water to flow constantly and enables the panda cory to thrive.

Ensure the substrate is fine and soft. Sand or gravel can work well.

Although live plants are suitable, they may not work well as they decorate the tank providing hiding places and shade. Rocks, driftwood, and caves can make the catfish feel more comfortable.

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Importance Of A Well-maintained Aquarium Environment

Maintaining a healthy aquarium can be a challenging task for beginner aquarists, however, to ensure your fish remain healthy, the aquarium requires your full attention.

  1. A well-regulated aquarium reduces the catfish species’ stress. If the water quality is poor, the cory fish will feel uncomfortable in the tank and start fighting other species.
  2. It maintains immunity of the catfish and ensures they have a quality life.
  3. It protects the Panda corydoras catfish from infections and diseases.
  4. It helps the Panda corydoras catfish get enough oxygen in the water. If the tank has algae buildup, it reduces the oxygen levels in the water and can lead to the potential loss of your Panda corydoras.

Panda Corydoras Diet And Feeding

Panda Corydoras are scavengers and omnivorous catfish species. Although you will need to feed them, they spend their day reaching the food that falls to the bottom of the tank.

They need a varied diet which includes vegetables and proteins to keep them healthy. You can give them prepared flakes, bloodworms, insects, shrimps, daphnia, and crustaceans.

You can use tongs to drop food pellets and tablets or place food on the substrate to ensure they get enough food. The Panda corydoras are more active at night and nocturnal, so feed them before turning off the lights.

If you have a large community of fish in the tank, ensure enough food falls to the bottom for the Panda cory to feed.

Avoid overfeeding the fish. Only feed the cory catfish for a few minutes. Always pay attention to the food quantity distributed to avoid polluting the water in the tank.

Compatible Tank Mates

Panda cories catfish are peaceful fish that enjoy the company of fish species with similar sizes and temperaments. They do not mind living with other larger species as long as they are not being harassed.

Compatibility enhances good health for all the species in the tank. When choosing panda Corydoras tank mates look for non-aggressive fish species.

Examples of compatible tank mates include:

  1. Neon Tetras

When you visit the wild areas, you can find neon tetras and cory catfish swimming together. Also, neon tetras are calm and non-aggressive thus a good tank mate for your panda cory fish.

  1. Rasboras

Rasbora’s fish species are colorful and beautiful. They are also hardy and non-aggressive making them compatible with the cory catfish.

  1. Loaches

Loaches are peaceful fish and non-aggressive. Most of them are sociable and prefer living with other companions. Just like the cory catfish, they are nocturnal and thus a good tank mate option for aquarists.

  1. Danios

The danios fish species are colorful, lively, and with low care needs. The fish are friendly and love living in groups of six or more making them suitable tank mates for cory catfish.

  1. Platies

They are one of the best species for a community tank. They get along well with the panda Corydoras and make great tank mates. They are calm and easy to handle.

  1. Honey Gouramis

The honey gouramis fish are colorful and easy to care for. Due to their shy nature, they tend to keep distant from other tank inhabitants.

They love spending time with cory catfish because of their non-aggressive nature.

  1. Shrimps

Shrimps are easy to care for. They keep the tanks clean and free of algae. The cory catfish and shrimps love sharing their space at the bottom of the tank.

They are a good match to put together with the cory panda fish in the community tank.

  1. Swordtails

Swordtails are larger fish that occupy larger space in the tank. A bigger tank is needed to have the cory catfish and swordtail species live together.

They make great tank mates because they are peaceful and do not occupy the same aquarium level as the cory panda fish.

  1. Cherry barbs

Cherry barbs are colorful and easy to care for. They are shy and prefer living with non-aggressive tank mates.

Ensure the tank has plenty of hiding places to make the cherry barbs feel safe and comfortable. Their temperament allows them to coexist peacefully with the Panda corydoras.

  1. Mollies

Mollies and the Panda corydoras live in different aquarium levels, so ensure the tank is big. The fish are peaceful, making them great tank mates for Panda corydoras.

Breeding And Reproduction

Breeding Process And Conditions

Panda Corydoras catfish are sexually mature at the age of five years old. In the past, breeding panda cory was challenging but home aquarium conditions have made it possible.

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Since the cory catfish are sociable, the difficulties of reproducing them are minimal.

Before they start breeding, set up a breeding tank and furnish it with fine-leaved plants for the egg to drop. Ensure the fish is well-conditioned with live foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms to keep them strong and healthy.

Choose mature males and females and ensure they are healthy. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate both sexes because they look alike and you end up putting the same sex in the tank.

When the female is ripe with eggs, activate the spawning process by changing water with cooler water and increasing oxygen levels.

Changing water allows you to mimic the wild breeding conditions which occur over the rainy season.

Initial spawning brings excitement to females and accepts advances from males pursuing them.

Sticky eggs are placed on the plant after spawning. They lay around 100-200 eggs. Observe the eggs and once you notice any that appear infected, get rid of them.

Some adult cory catfish eat their eggs. So, you may choose to raise the eggs in a separate tank.

The eggs hatch after four days. Since the fry is very sensitive to water parameter changes, ensure all the conditions remain constant.

Feed the fry with infusoria until they are grown enough to eat commercially prepared foods.

Overview Of The Difficulties In Breeding Corydoras Panda

Although breeding Corydoras panda is said to be easier recently, there are some difficulties an aquarist may experience.

  1. Selection Problems

When selecting cory catfish that will be involved in breeding, an aquarist may choose an unhealthy fish. Also, the choice of gender is important. Choose one female and two males

Choosing two females results in one eating the eggs. In addition, having one male may be disinterested but two of them will be competitive.

  1. Same Cory Catfish Sex

Having the same sexes of panda cories will not lead to reproduction. Both male and female cory catfish have similar features but when looked at from above you can see the differences.

The female fish is rounder and the male has an elongated and pointed dorsal.

If you happen to breed imported cory catfish, it can be difficult to differentiate both sexes because they are not conditioned.

  1. Conditioning

Cory catfish must be conditioned for the spawning process. An aquarist must get enough food to condition the fish before breeding starts to ensure they are healthy.

However, finding the right food to condition panda cories can be hectic.

  1. Failure To Spawn After Feeding Them

The cory catfish comes from the winter or summer part of the world. You need to simulate all the differences for the fish to spawn.

If you don’t know the right food to feed the cory catfish, they may fail to spawn.

  1. Some Adults May Eat The Eggs When They Are Hatched

When this happens, you may forced to separate the species into other tanks. Separating the catfish that were meant to breed results in a failure to spawn another generation of catfish.

Instead, you should separate those tank mates that are not yet in the breeding stage.

Tips For Successful Breeding And Care Of The Fry

For a Panda Corydoras to breed successfully, there are factors that you should observe.

– Ensure the water PH is close to neutral

– Water temperature should be around 25C

– The hardness of the water should not exceed 2Dh

– Ensure you feed your cory catfish a varied diet of meat which include brine shrimp or blackworms.

– Prepare the tank for egg laying by finding a sheltered location. Add some fine-leaved plants at the bottom of the tank.

– Lower the water temperature to get the female to the breeding mood.

– Add an anti-bacterial to the water to prevent bacterial infections

Caring For Cory Catfish Fry

After the eggs have hatched, you receive a fry. To ensure the fry survive, they must receive quality care.


The food you can give the fry includes;

– Caterpillar leaves attract microorganisms that the fry can eat.

– Powder food that is easily digested.

– Micro warms

– Egg yolk that contains nutrients necessary for the growth of your baby cory catfish

– Baby brine shrimp

– Live foods such as bloodworms

– Dried foods. They are full of nutrients and a varied diet.

Feed your Cory catfish fry at least twice a day. The more frequently they eat, the quicker they can grow.

Tank Set Up

The tank size should be friendly and long and have a large bottom surface area since catfish tend to live at the bottom of the tank and spend most of their time there.

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In the first few days, set up a small container to monitor the newly hatched cory catfish fry.

When they are days old, you can put the fry in the grow-out tank of between 10-20 gallons depending on their number. This will make it easier to feed them, monitor their growth, clean them.

Filtration is also important. Choose a filter that filters around ten times the volume of the tank per hour.

The tank setup for the cory catfish fry is simple. You can leave the tank bottom without substrate with minimal decoration and lighting.

Water Changes

Although you have put in place a filter to reduce waste materials, changing the water is essential for the panda cory fry. You can change the tank water in between two to three days.

How many times you change the water will depend on the feeding frequency, the number of baby cory fish, the size of the tank, and the filtration system used.

If you feed your cory fish fry more than two times a day, consider changing the water daily.

Avoid Overstocking

Maintain a minimum number of fry in the tank until the current baby cory catfish have significantly grown. Overstocking leads to poor water quality and can affect the health of the fry.

Regular Monitoring And Keeping A Record

Monitor and record water parameters, feeding schedule, and behavior of the fry. In case of any health problems, the records can be helpful.

Diversify Their Diet

As the cory fish fry grows, modify their diet by adding various types of foods such as brine shrimp, micro worms, and high-quality pallets. It will enhance their health and allow them to grow big.


Summary Of Key Points About Corydoras Panda

Panda Corydoras comes from cold and blackwaters influenced by the Andes Mountain range.

Panda Corydoras makes a great addition to your aquarium.

The cory catfish is an omnivore that can feed on pellets and flakes sold commercially, as well as other live food. The food you feed the catfish should be varied to avoid deficiencies.

Panda cory fish are more active during the night. For the most part, they are peaceful and can be intimidated by too big or bright species.

They are compatible with different tank mates such as neon tetras, shrimps, and red cherries.

The cory catfish matures at the age of five years. They are known to breed during the rainy season. To trigger spawning, use slightly colder water in the aquarium.

These fish are social and peaceful. However, due to their two-inch size, they should not be kept with large carnivore fish.

Reflection On Their Suitability As A Pet For Freshwater Aquarium Hobbyists

Keeping a fish with unique looks like those of a panda cory is interesting. They are colorful with a black and white patterned body which makes them easy to spot.

Cory catfish is a great addition to any freshwater aquarium with a peaceful community. It is because they are friendly and social.

They spend their time at the bottom of the tank without bothering other fish species. Therefore, you won’t have to spend too much time checking on their behavior.

The panda Corydoras are easy to handle and not demanding. As long as they get enough food, a swimming place, and friendly tank mates, they feel safe and comfortable.

Final Thoughts And Recommendations For Potential Owners

Corydoras panda fish is a great addition to a freshwater aquarium. With the Cory catfish’s colorful appearance and playful personality, they bring excitement to your tank.

They are suitable for beginner hobbyists and also appeal to experienced aquarists. Due to its peaceful nature, it is becoming one of the most popular fish in fishkeeping.

If you have enough space in your community tank, treat yourself to a school of Corydoras panda species.

Recommendations For Potential Owners

If you are a beginner in fishkeeping or an experienced hobbyist, you should consider introducing panda cory fish to your tank.

To ensure its survival, make sure there is enough space for the fish to swim comfortably and the tank is fully cycled.

Check if the cory catfish is compatible with your current group of fish in terms of requirements, species, size, temperament, and habitat. Also, ensure the required conditions are suitable to introduce your new fish pet.

With the peaceful and social nature of the panda Corydoras, I would recommend them to any potential fish pet owner.

With their friendly personalities, endearing short faces, and whisker-like barbels, you are sure to grow incredibly fond of them.


Passionate fishkeeper. Nature lover. Creative thinker. Music junkie. Adventurer.

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