Cory catfish are well known among aquarists for their many ornamental species. They are not aggressive and are well suited to tropical freshwater community aquariums.
Cories are also not picky eaters.
Being bottom feeders, they’ll eat sinking pellets as well as occasional treats of live and frozen food.
However, because cory catfish are timid, bottom-dwelling fish, and are not very good swimmers, you want to give them food that other fishes won’t pick, but also not overfeed them.
Most species love sinking wafers and are the only thing that other fish (non-bottom feeders) don’t eat apart from occasional nibble from species like mollies, hence make a good staple for cory catfish.
That said, cories also enjoy crushed-up-fish-flake, bottom feeders tablets, shrimp pellets, and weekly treats of freeze-dried or live cyclops and worms.
Read on for more insight on what cory catfish eat and how to feed the fish if you have some in your tank.
What Food Do You Feed Cories?
As stated above, cory catfish will accept assorted fish food, but each type has pros and cons. Some foods like algae wafers are best when you have a community with fast fish that outswim cories, whereas live and freeze-dried foods make good-treats for a more balanced diet.
For that reason, let’s go over the several types of food that corys enjoy before we look at how much to feed them.
#1 — Algae (Sinking) Wafers
Although sinking wafers are best for herbivorous bottom feeders, they are not strictly reserved for plant-eaters. Fish like cory catfish that feed on both plant matter and meaty foods enjoy them too.
Wafers are healthy and make a good everyday staple for cories because they are plant-based consisting mostly of algae and veggies and are designed to sink to the bottom where cories swim.
They are ideal when you have a community with other fishes that don’t swim to the bottom of the tank to feed or only consume meaty-foods.
The only hurdle you might experience with algae wafers is that they get slimy when left in the water for too long. So, be sure to remove leftovers, plus try to reduce the amount you feed them if you have a lot of uneaten foods.
#2 — Fish Flakes
Cory catfish diet also includes fish flakes, which although not their favorite, the species spend hours on end foraging the substrate hence flake are a good way to keep them busy.
Fish flakes also come in handy if you have piggies like mollies, barbs, and platies that eat all food in the tank leaving nothing for bottom dwellers and slow swimmers like cories.
Sprinkle in the flake food to try and distract your piggies before you put sinking food, which makes the main course for cories.
This way, all your fishes will have enough to eat, and any leftover flake will be devoured by your cories as they go about their business on the gravel.
In terms of dietary requirements, most flaked foods are made up of a combination of fish meal, squid meal, shrimp meal, earthworms, spirulina, and vitamins and minerals, that provide your fish with all the nutrients your cory catfish need.
#3 — Live or Freeze Dried Worms
Since your cory catfish need a balanced diet, it is important to offer them live and freeze-dried worms or cyclops. The foods are a good source of protein for any fish that accepts a meaty diet.
Howbeit, all frozen, freeze-dried, and live foods should be fed occasionally as treats. Feeding your fish more live foods is only acceptable when conditioning your fish for breeding or if your fish will not eat anything else, of which most cory catfish will.
Feed your cories freeze-dried worms and cyclops as most land on the substrate and give them hours of searching, along with crushed up flakes and algae wafers they seem happy with there diet.
Some good live, frozen or freeze-dried food for cories include blackworms, bloodworms, grindal worms, white worms, and tubifex worms.
Please know that most live foods carry parasites that may cause health problems for your fish, so only use food form a reputable source. Also, defrost freeze-dried and frozen food a little bit in the tank water before feeding your fish.
#4 — Shrimp Pellets
Shrimp pellets are developed sinking foods ideal for feeding a variety of tropical fish, especially bottom feeders. They are mostly slow-sinking and made from real shrimp to provide balanced nutrition needed by fish.
Cory catfish eat shrimp pellets, though not as readily as they do algae wafers and live foods. They make a good option when you want to give your fish something different for a change.
Plese note that it’s not uncommon for cory catfish to ignore or only nibble on shrimp pellets, especially if you don’t soften them first. Therefore, soak the pieces before you put them in your aquarium, and better still, give your fish pellets when you have species like platies that are glad to devour the pellets in case your cories are picky.
#5 — Bottom Feeder Tablets
Bottom feeder tablets sink and dissolve slowly and continuously provide food for a longer period than other cory catfish food sources.
Quality tablets are well formulated to provide nutrition for daily feeding of bottom-feeding fish and are particularly useful when you are away for an extended period, for instance during a work trip or vacation.
The fish tablets also accommodate cory catfish and other bottom-dwellers feeding habits, which is considerably slower than other tropical aquarium fish.
Even so, one glaring disadvantage of using bottom feeder tablets is they dissolve inside the tank and if left uneaten, the tablets create a huge mess, which requires frequent cleaning to keep your water column clean and fish safe.
Do Cory Catfish Eat Algae?
Cory catfish do eat algae and can help limit a small amount of it in your aquarium. However, they are the furthest thing there is from great algae eaters and only skim through the algae.
Therefore, you are better placed with other catfish and pleco species like suckermouth cats if you have a major algae problem on your hands.
If you really want to cories in your tank and you have an algae problem, consider keeping many cories or add them with other algae eaters like ottos, bristlenose plecos or suckermouth catfish, assuming the get along.
Do Cory Catfish Eat Snails and Shrimp?
No, most cory catfish species won’t eat shrimp and snails, especially if the inverts are adult size; fully grown shrimp and snails are too big to fit in a cories’ mouth. The catfish are also mostly peaceful hence make good companions for shrimp and snails.
However, its good to note that there are many different types of cory catfish, some bigger than others and with very different personalities, meaning while most species won’t eat your inverts, it is not entirely impossible.
Do Cory Catfish Eat Bloodworms?
Yes, cory catfish will eat both freeze-dried, live, and frozen bloodworms. The fish actually love them, but its best to treat your fish occasionally, as opposed to using the worms as an everyday meal.
Cories equally enjoy other worms, including glass worms, white worms, and tubifex.
Having said that, freeze-dried worms are sold in finely chopped pieces that float easily hence is a challenge when feeding bottom-feeding fish like cories.
I, therefore, recommend feeding your fish frozen bloodworms or presoaking freeze-dried worms, but even then please note the dried worms are known to cause bloating in fish.
Youe cories will gladly accept live blood and any other worms as long as you cut them up into small pieces.
Do Cory Catfish Eat Vegetables (Cucumber)?
Depending on the fish you have, your cory catfish may accept vegetables, more so cucumber and pea, though veggies are not their favorite meal.
From my experience, cories will gladly eat other food types in the tank before they consume vegetable, but it really varies from one cory to the other, so take this views with a pinch of salt.
Besides, even if your cories do not accept vegetable, they will get whatever vegetable matter they require from algae wafers.
If you are successful at getting your fish to eat veggies, remember a varied diet is paramount, so switch between bloodworms and vegetables, with sinking wafers, pellets and maybe fish flakes making the bulk of their diet.
How Much Do You Feed Cory Catfish?
With most tropical fish species, including cories, I recommend serving them an amount they will consume in three (3) minutes (or less) when feeding them two (2) a day.
When feeding your fish one (1) serving a day, offer them what they can consume in in five (5) at most.
Another, somewhat easier way to look at it is one pellet a day for every two (2) cories you have in your tank. Even so, if you realize there is too much leftover food, half a pellet or wafer per day for two (2) cories would be good.
Having said that, please note that it’s easier for you to overfeed your cory catfish than to starve them. Sometimes only two (2) pellets will keep up to six (6) cories fed for a day or two (2). But that’s not to say if you offer them the same number of cories the same amount in a day they won’t eat, they will, and this goes to show how thin the line is between feeding you fish a safe amount and overfeeding them.
Therefore, use the said amount as a guide, but also try out different feeding schedules until you find out the exact amount that is enough for your fish. Every fish and fish community is different and need to be fed differently.
How Long Can Cory Catfish Go Without Food?
Cory catfish, like bettas and other tropical fish can go for up to seven (7) days without food before they starve. However, by the seventh day, the fish will start getting its energy from the reserve and hunger will start taking a toll on them.
Terefore, if you are not able to feed your cory for whatever reason, the maximum number of days that’s perfectly Ok for the fish to go without food is four (4) days.
If you are still not in a position to feed your fish after day four (4), you may want to consider a solution like leaving your fish with a caregiver when traveling.
Some well-fed and healthy cory catfish can go up to 7 days without food with no much problem, and up to two (2) weeks before they starve to death. But I highly discourage leaving even healthy fish unattended for that long because even if they don’t starve, they will very likely succumb to bad water quality in the tank.