The Best Food for Cory Catfish – Our Informative Guide

Alison Page

Alison Page


best food for cory catfish

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Corydoras catfish are one of the hobby’s most popular aquarium fish. These cute little guys are peaceful, hardy, and extremely easy to care for, making them a popular choice for beginners.

Corys can live for five years or even more if provided with the correct environment and a high-quality, varied diet. So, what do these fascinating little fish eat?

Read this complete buyer’s guide to learn what to feed your Corydoras catfish.

Corydoras Catfish Origins

Corydoras catfish belong to the Callichthyidae family of armored catfish. There are over 180 species of Corys, with hundreds more unclassified varieties.

Corys are found in the clear, slow-moving streams and shallow rivers of the Amazon basin in South America, where the banks are heavily vegetated. Here, the river bottoms are typically sandy or muddy and covered with leaf litter.

These habits are affected by seasonal rains that cause the water temperature to drop. That triggers spawning in wild Corys but means that you can keep many species of these cute little fish in cooler temperatures.

However, we recommend that you double-check what water parameters your chosen species can tolerate before bringing them home.

What Do Wild Corydoras Eat?

In the wild environment, Corydoras are scavengers, rooting through the substrate for insect larvae, insects, worms, and tiny crustaceans. Corys will also sometimes eat dead fish if they come across any.

Corys are omnivores, and plant matter and algae make up some of their diet.

What Should I Feed My Cory Catfish?

In captivity, you should try to replicate the Corydoras’ natural wild diet.

Corys enjoy all kinds of flake, frozen, fresh, and live foods, as well as sinking pellets and occasional algae wafers. Your Corys will also enjoy frozen and live foods, including blood worms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.


In the wild, Corys can enjoy a varied diet, depending on what they find in the substrate and in their surrounding environment. Although many commercially produced fish foods are well-balanced and contain a decent variety of nutrients, it’s a good idea to offer some variety.

We don’t advise feeding your Cory catfish the same daily diet in the long term, as that can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

So, to provide variety, offer your fish high-quality flake foods or fish pellets, but mix in frozen foods, such as brine shrimp and blood worms.

You can include thawed, cooked frozen peas or zucchini every now and then, and gel foods are also well received.

Fish Flake Foods and Pellets

Your Corys’ staple diet should consist of high-quality fish flakes or pellets. There are many brands to choose from, but there are a few things you should always look for in these foods.


When choosing foods for your Corys, always check the ingredients listed on the product packaging.

You should look for the “guaranteed analysis” of the product that shows a full breakdown of what the food contains.

Fish foods should contain protein, fats, and fiber, as well as added vitamins and minerals.

Bad Ingredients

Many commercially produced fish foods contain filler products that offer no nutritional value and increase waste in your tank. Fillers simply increase the load on your biological filter system and can even be detrimental to your fish’s health.

Poor-quality foods often contain leftovers, such as bones, scales, skin, and guts. Those ingredients offer no value to your Corys and are best avoided.

Other foods to avoid include legumes, such as corn and soy, and terrestrial grains. Corys can’t digest grains, so it’s pointless to feed them to your fish.

Ingredients To Look For

So, what ingredients do you want to see in fish food for your Corys?

Whole Fish

Whole fish should appear at the top of the ingredients list in commercially prepared fish flakes and pellets.

Whole fish used in commercially produced foods includes things like shrimp, herring, and salmon, which contain valuable protein, as well as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that are vital for good skin health.


Spirulina is a form of algae that’s full of protein and vitamins and is often included in fish flakes and pellets. This ingredient is typically used as a color enhancer in many fish foods.

Spirulina is extremely easy for the fish to digest, so means less organic waste that could pollute your fish tank.

Frozen Foods

You can offer your fish variety in their diet by including frozen meaty foods as an occasional treat.

My Corys love frozen foods, including blood worms, brine shrimp, krill, mosquito larvae, and tubifex! When feeding frozen foods, always thaw the food in a small amount of tank water before offering the treat to your fish.

Frozen foods are easy to store, coming in a blister pack divided into handy cubes for easy feeding. You can also buy some foods in large frozen sheets, which is handy if you have a very large setup.

To store the food, simply pop it into your home freezer.

What About Live Foods?

As you’ve learned earlier in this article, Corys eat live foods in their natural habitat. Although you can buy live blood worms, brine shrimp, and daphnia in some pet stores, we don’t recommend feeding them to your fish.

Unfortunately, live food often contains parasites or bacteria that could import disease into your tank. So, unless you want to keep a home brine shrimp hatchery, we recommend you use frozen food for your Corydoras instead.

How Often Should I Feed My Cory Catfish?

Corydoras are quite active in the daytime; however, like many catfish species, these guys tend to be especially busy foraging for food at night. So, it’s best to feed your Corys just before you turn out the lights.

Offer your Corys only what they will eat in a few minutes.

Any uneaten food will vanish into the substrate and remain there until it eventually rots. That causes pollution in your tank and could lead to an ammonia spike, as well as make more cleaning work for you.

So, be careful not to overfeed your fish!

Do I Have To Feed My Cory Catfish?

Corys are bottom dwellers that spend their lives on the substrate, scavenging for food.

If you have a community tank, you’ll notice your Corys eating scraps of food that drift down from above. Corydoras will also graze on lush, green algae that they find growing on decorations and viewing panes.

However, you must feed your Cory catfish to supplement those food fragments. If you don’t feed your fish, they can suffer from malnutrition and even starve.

Best Foods For Corydoras Catfish – Buyer’s Guide

Here are our reviews of five of the best commercially produced fish foods that are suitable for Corydoras catfish.

Omega One Freshwater Flakes

Omega One Freshwater Flakes
  • This delicious recipe of fresh, cold water seafood is blended specifically to enhance the levels of Omega 6 fatty acids.
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Omega One Freshwater Flakes is an extremely high-quality fish food that’s formulated and balanced specifically for topical fish.

Top of the ingredients list is whole fish, including halibut, salmon, herring, cod, and whole shrimp. The food also contains kelp, as well as a small amount of grains and legumes.

This food is designed to boost your fish’s color and tempt fussy feeders, making this a good choice for you if you keep a community tank.

What we like:

  • Contains whole fish
  • Offers natural color-enhancing qualities
  • Provides balanced nutrition that’s ideal for Corydoras

Room for improvement:

  • The food does contain some grains and legumes, albeit in very small amounts

San Francisco Bay Frozen Spirulina Brine Shrimp

Frozen Spirulina Brine Shrimp
  • Brine Shrimp gut-loaded with Spirulina
  • Good for all fresh & saltwater fish
  • Great stimulant for triggering the feeding instinct of fish
  • Promotes proper growth and supports color
  • Bio-enriched
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San Francisco Bay Frozen Spirulina Brine Shrimp is an excellent frozen food that your Corydoras will surely love!

The brine shrimp used to create these frozen cubes have been gut-loaded with spirulina, which acts as an immune system booster for your fish, helping them fight diseases.

The manufacturer recommends feeding the cubes to your fish just before stressful situations, such as a large water change or moving to a new aquarium.

What we like:

  • Contains brine shrimp gut-loaded with spirulina
  • Promotes good growth and boosts color
  • Bio-enriched

Room for improvement:

  • Can make a mess in the water

Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers

Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers
  • Helps fish look their best by providing them with pure-cultured spirulina and chlorella.
  • Sinking wafers will not cloud the water.
  • Great for saltwater fish too.
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Corydoras catfish eat a small number of algae, so if you don’t have much algae growing in your aquarium, it’s a good idea to provide your fish with some in the form of algae wafers.

These sinking wafers are formulated to sink immediately, so you know that your bottom-feeding Corys won’t miss out. The wafers have a vegetable-enriched outer layer around an algae center.

As a bonus, the wafers include a range of essential vitamins for your fish’s vitality and health.

What we like:

  • Ideal algae supplement for bottom-feeding Corydoras
  • Includes added essential vitamins
  • Doesn’t cloud tank water

Room for improvement:

  • Food includes a few fillers

TetraColor Plus Tropical Flakes

TetraColor Plus Tropical Flakes
  • Nutritionally balanced premium staple food
  • Vitamin C enriched flakes do not cloud the water
  • High in protein and easily digestible
  • Helps support the immune system
  • Enhances naturally vibrant colors
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If you keep a community tank that includes vibrantly colored fish, such as tetras and Rainbowfish, this food is a great option that your Corydoras will enjoy, too.

Tetra makes high-quality fish foods, and these excellent flakes contain carotene to boost your fish’s colors, as well as highly-digestible protein derived from specialized fish meal.

What we like:

  • High-protein, easily digestible food
  • Does not cloud your aquarium water
  • Contains natural color-boosting ingredients

Room for improvement:

  • Quite expensive when compared with similar products

Fluval Bug Bites For Bottom Feeders

Fluval Bug Bites For Bottom Feeders
  • Fluval Bug Bites is a complete fish food that features a unique insect-based formulation, enriched with multiple quality proteins and carbohydrates that are ideal for Bottom Feeders.
  • Bug Bites are made through a unique and sustainable cultivation process.
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Fluval is a well-respected manufacturer in the hobby that makes many different varieties of fish foods, as well as many other products of interest to the aquarist.

These bug bites are specially formulated to sink to the substrate, where your Corydoras and other bottom-feeders can enjoy them. The pellets contain whole salmon and black soldier fly larvae as the primary ingredient, as well as Omega-3 and Omega-6 for scale and skin health.

In addition, the food is formulated with amino acids, minerals, and vitamins to boost vitality and immune system health.

What we like:

  • Packed with vitamins for excellent health and immune system support
  • Formulated to sink to the substrate for bottom-feeders
  • Contains 40% whole fish and insect larvae

Room for improvement:

  • Quite pricey compared with similar foods


In this part of our guide, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about feeding Corydoras catfish.

Q: Do Corydoras Eat Algae Wafers?

A: Algae forms a small part of the Corydoras’ diet. So, your Corys and other bottom-feeding fish will appreciate the addition of a few algae wafers to their diet if your tank doesn’t contain many natural algae.

However, some Corys will ignore the wafers in preference to other tidbits they find in the substrate.

Q: Can Cory Catfish Eat Betta Food?

A: Since Corydoras catfish are hardy, peaceful creatures that can tolerate the same water conditions as betta fish, the two species are often paired as tank mates.

The Corys live on the substrate, well away from the betta’s preferred territory in the upper area of the water column.

So, the two species don’t come together unless the betta decides to investigate the catfish, in which case your Cory’s armored skin provides him with protection from the betta.

Bettas are primarily carnivorous, although their diet should include some plant and vegetable matter. Corydoras share a similar dietary habit, so they can eat any leftover betta food that drifts down to the substrate.

Q: Do Cory Catfish Clean up the Tank?

A: Corys are not algae eaters, although they will tidy up leftover food scraps and general detritus.

If you want a creature to graze on algae to keep your tank tidy, you should consider keeping a Siamese Algae Eater or some shrimp and snails as a basic cleaning crew.

Q: How Long Can Cory Catfish Go Without Food?

A: Corydoras catfish can benefit from a fasting day once a week or so when you don’t offer them any food.

The fish can usually find what they need to survive for short periods by rooting through the substrate for scraps.

Whilst a healthy Cory can live for up to two weeks without food, we don’t recommend that you leave your fish without food for that long.

Q: Do Corydoras Eat Flakes?

A: Yes, Cory catfish are not picky eaters, and they do enjoy eating fish flakes.

Of course, you should choose a high-quality fish food containing whole fish or shrimp meal, as well as vitamins and minerals.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our guide to the best food for Corydoras catfish? If you found the information helpful, please share it.

Cory catfish are omnivores that enjoy a diet containing lots of meaty protein, as well as plant and vegetable matter. You can feed your Corys fish flakes and fish pellets, as well as a frozen source of protein, such as blood worms or brine shrimp.

Always choose food containing high-quality ingredients with a good protein content to ensure your fish live a long and healthy life.

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