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Panda Cory Catfish Overview & Care Guide for Beginners

What are your ideas about keeping a fish having a unique look like that of a panda? Sounds interesting, right! Well, this is exactly why tiny Panda Cory Catfish is the best option to have in your tank. They are unique in look and too cute to have in your aquarium.

Panda Cory Catfish are best cared for in a 30-gallon tank. They are found in Peru and thrive well in cold water conditions. Usually, these fish are peaceful and energetic that mostly dwell at the tank’s bottom. With a size of only 2-inches, these species can live for up to 10 years.

Species Overview

Level of CareEasy
AppearanceThese are quite easy to spot with their panda-like black and white-patterned body.
Life Expectancy10 years
Tank Size30-gallon
Tank EnvironmentCold and soft water with proper vegetation
Tank MatesPeaceful

To add a nice and bright look to your tank, Panda Cory Catfish will be the best catfish species to have. These small fish are too playful by nature and come with a great personality.

They have the scientific name Corydoras Panda and are popular bottom dwellers. They hail from the Corydoras Catfish genus, which has a common name, armored catfish.

These are native to South America. Primarily, they are found in the river system of Peru and Ecuador, alongside the Andes mountain range, where the water condition is peculiar. As the snow caps tend to melt in the mountain peaks, the water flow increases, and the water temperature falls, making it the best living environment for these fish.

They are usually easy to find in both clear and blackwater conditions. Also, their natural habitat comprises plenty of leaf litter and a soft sandy bottom. Thus, while keeping this fish in your home aquarium, you need to provide it with similar tank requirements.

However, Panda Corys are too easy to spot with their giant panda-like black-white coloration pattern on their body. They come with an off-white or pale pink base color, along with black patches or markings on their head that extend on either side of their eyes.

A second black spot is present entirely covering the dorsal fin of the fish. And the last marking is found at the rear end of their tail, the caudal peduncle.

The size of this tail spot differs, making them form many morphs having different names. And this is why you can often tend to confuse a Panda Cory Catfish with a few other corydoras species.

Corydoras metae, also known as the bandit cory, are similar in look. However, do not get confused; look closely at their body. Corydoras metae have a more elongated structure, and their eye patch and black markings run from their dorsal fin towards their tail.

Nevertheless, similar to other popular catfish species from the Cory family, they tend to have two rows of overlapping bony plates known as scutes.

These species usually come with three sets of barbel pairs. Also, some sharp barbels work as a strong defense for these fish.

Now, one barbel is situated underneath each of their eyes. While the second set of barbels is placed near the front side of their dorsal fin, and the third pair is located near their adipose fin.


Panda Cory Catfish are quite small in size. Typically, they do not grow more than a size of 2-inches. However, the female specimens are usually larger than the male ones.


Though they are smaller in size, they are pretty much hardy by nature. Usually, these fish live for 10+ years if provided with proper care and feeding in the tank.

Behavior & Temperament

Pandas are much more peaceful by nature. You will never see any aggression in them, making the species great to have in any community fish tank.

Usually, they are not so big; thus, this catfish species do not involve in fights. Also, they have a great amicable relationship with their fellow tank mates.

Two panda cory catfish playing

Tank Requirements

While preparing the tank for your Corydoras Panda, you need to make sure that it has a proper setup and meets all the requirements of your fish. It is recommended to create a similar aquatic environment to their natural habitat, which will make them stay healthy and happy.

These are among the most energetic species that love to live in a large tank with soft blackwater conditions. Also, as they are schooling fish, they prefer living in a group. So, you must ensure that you are offering enough space to them to roam around freely.

These catfish thrive well in an adequately planted tank with enough hiding places. Hence, the aquarium must have adequate shades and decors while facilitating enough open space for their free swimming.

They usually roam the bottom area of the tank to find food. So, you need to make them feel more homely in a tank bottom decorated with leaf litter. You can also use almond leaves and alder cones for their better care.

Besides, it is always better to add some driftwood to the tank to darken the tank water, helping you obtain a lower pH level suitable for your Panda Corydoras.

Tank Setup

For maintaining the good health, you need to ensure that the tank is set up well. The aquarium must house all essential assortments while meeting the proper water parameter.

So, here is how you must install the tank:

  • To offer more room to your fish for their free movement, it is better to opt for a larger tank. It is recommended to pick a 20-gallon aquarium size for a group of 6 Panda Corys. However, the larger tank, the better it is. So, you can even opt for a 30-gallon tank size.
  • The aquarium needs to have a soft and acidic water condition. Thus, maintain a very low pH level of about 6-7.5 in the tank.
  • Besides, it is also essential to maintain the water temperature at around 70 ℉.
  • Keep the water hardness range at 2-15 dGH to sustain its softness.
  • While picking a substrate for the tank, make sure it is softer enough and will be harmless to the barbels and fins of this bottom-dwelling fish. Hence, it is better to pick a sand or leaf litter substrate.
  • Also, the tank needs to have ample hiding places with plenty of aquatic plants and other decorations.

Tank Mates

Panda Cory Catfish are good fish for a community tank that has plenty of other species. Owing to their peaceful and non-aggressive temperament, they can easily thrive with other fish.

However, as they are boisterous, they can sometimes terrify the other shyer, slower, and smaller fish. So, while housing them with other tank mates, make sure you pick the ones, which are harmless, highly peaceful, and timid.

It is better to pick the ones that are similar to their size or even smaller. At the same time, make sure they are not housed with fin nippers. Also, try to avoid any large or aggressive fish.

Besides, as these are schooling fish, you can easily keep them in a species-specific tank in a group of 6 specimens.

Nevertheless, here are a few suitable tank mates that you can keep along with your Panda Corys.

Food & Diet

Panda Cory Catfish are not at all picky when it comes to eating. They are omnivorous catfish species that readily eat any suitable diet.

So, while caring for Corydoras Panda in your tank, you can offer them various types of foods. They usually prefer food items like sinking pellets and wafers. Also, you can feed them frozen foods.

As these do not move to the water surface much, instead prefer staying at the bottom, they sometimes tend to consume the leftovers of other fish. Hence, petting them in a community tank will ultimately help you in keeping your aquarium clean.

Well, their diet needs to be mainly vegetable-based to offer them sufficient nutrition, along with proper vitamins. However, to add more variety to their diet, you can give them fish food like bloodworms, daphnia, or brine shrimp.

Some bug species are readily available as a suitable food item. Another easy option to make them consume proper nutrition is offering them brine shrimp eggs.

Also, bottom feeder pellets will be great for feeding. Besides, you can even provide them with algae, but not all types of algae will be suitable. So, only opt for those that are good for their health.

Panda Cory Catfish Care

For offering better care in the tank, perform frequent water changes in their tank. Similar to other Corydoras species, these love to have top-notch tank water quality.

Thus, a regular water change done once in one or two weeks will be apt for them. Also, make sure you are equipping an excellent filtration system for the tank.

Besides, maintaining a cooler temperature is essential for wild Panda Corys. However, captive-bred can get along with a slightly warmer water parameter as well. Also, make sure you are picking those tank mates that can thrive well in lower water temperatures.

Well, it is better to add as many live plants as you can. You can even consider incorporating a proper amount of floating plants. Besides, caves, rocks, and driftwood must also be included in the tank to make your fish feel more comfortable and homely.

Now, though C. Pandas readily eat any food item; still, it is better not to offer them live food that is store-bought. Usually, these kinds of fish food come with parasites, which can be risky for their health.

Breeding Guidelines

Pair of panda cory

Are you thinking of breeding Panda Corys at home? Breeding them in a home aquarium is possible, but for achieving success, you need to ensure that you are maintaining the proper guidelines for their breeding.

While breeding, the first thing you need to keep in mind is that they reach up to their sexual majority by the age of 5 years. Since they are schooling fish, juvenile and adult size specimens stay all together.

So, before making your first attempt at spawning, first, separate the juveniles, house them together and wait for them to become sexually mature. It is better to add two males and one female to acquire the proper ratio for successful spawning.

Opt for proper conditioning during the breeding season. To condition these fish, offer them a very rich diet with live foods.

It is also essential to make proper water changes in their breeding tank with much cooler water to trigger breeding. Moreover, do not forget to increase the oxygen level of the aquarium water.

As the female Panda Cory Catfish becomes ripe with eggs, the males will invoke them for the spawning process. Once ready for spawning, the pair will complete their breeding process in the classic T-position.

Soon after fertilization, the sticky eggs will be laid on the plants, driftwood, or aquarium glass. Now, this is the best time to remove the parents from the tank as they can eat up the eggs.

After 4 days, the eggs will hatch, giving rise to tiny offsprings. These Cory fries are much sensitive to the changing water parameter. So, make sure you are maintaining a much more stable water condition in the tank.

For the best care of your Cory fry, it is recommended to maintain a cooler water temperature. Also, you can easily feed them with infusoria and commercially developed frozen foods to ensure their good health.

Interesting Facts

Well, there are some fascinating facts about Panda Cory Catfish that you must know before keeping them in your tank.

So, check out the information given below to unfurl those hidden fun facts about this aquarium fish species.

  • The female fish is much wider than the male ones if you view them from above.
  • A female lays about 100 eggs in one breeding cycle.
  • Usually, females come with a rounded belly, which makes their head sit slightly off the bottom area of the tank.
  • Their eggs are yellowish colored and adhesive.
  • The fish fry of this Cory species requires almost 3 months to achieve the giant panda-like body pattern.

Where to Buy?

These small Corydoras can be easily found in aquarist shops that sell various armored catfish species. They are not at all rare to find, but you may not always find them in any random store.

However, Panda Corys are widely available in any hobbyist store. You can also look for them in online fish stores and place your orders at a relatively low price rate.

Wrapping Up

Panda Corys are too easy to keep and care for in a home aquarium. With their highly peaceful and calm nature, they are not only best for a species-specific tank but also highly suitable for a community tank.

They primarily reside at the lower portion of the tank without disturbing any other fish species. As they are quite easy to handle and not much demanding,

they are great for fish owners, having a beginner level of experience. All you need to be concerned about is having a stable water parameter in the tank.

So, what are you waiting for? Get these tiny cute fish home today!