Will Corydoras Eat Their Fry?

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There’s no denying that Corydoras rank among the most popular, adaptable, and cutest catfish species you can get for your community tank.

Fortunately, they’re both cheap and easy to breed, so there’s never the risk of running out of cory catfish for your aquarium.

The easiest way of multiplying your Corydoras naturally is via breeding, but this isn’t as straightforward as it may seem.

One of the reasons is that cory catfish breed best in groups, so you need several of them to initiate the mating behavior. The other is that all catfish tend to eat their eggs if given the opportunity.

An even more concerning one is the risk of Corydoras eating their own fry upon hatching, but is this actually the case, and how can you prevent this? Let’s have a look!

Do Corydoras Eat Their Fry?

Yes, they do. Cory catfish don’t show any parental instincts, whether it’s towards the eggs or the fry.

One female can lay between 20 and 400 eggs depending on age, health, number of previous spawns, and genetic predisposition.

This can result in a number of fry flooding the tank and providing all adult fish with ready-to-eat protein snacks.

Naturally, this is a problem if your goal is to protect and save as many fry as possible, whether for personal use or profit.

Why do Cory Catfish Eat Their Fry?

Corydoras typically eat their fry simply because they don’t recognize them as belonging to the same species. The fry are tiny and share no resemblance to their parents at first.

As far as your Corydoras are concerned, these are just larvae swimming around them, ready to be eaten. So, they won’t hesitate to hunt and eat them one by one if they have the chance.

You have to employ several strategies to make sure this doesn’t happen. So, let’s discuss those!

How to Protect Fry from Adult Corys?

If you want to save your cory fry from getting eaten by adults or other fish, here are few tips to protect them:

Use a Breeding Tank

If you want a happy ending to your cory breeding story, you need to invest in a breeding tank.

10-20 gallons should do, especially if you don’t have that many Corydoras, to begin with. The extra tank will provide you with the necessary space to raise the fry in a risk-free environment so that they can grow at their own pace.

The breeding tank is especially necessary if you have a community setup. Your Corydoras are unlikely to feel at ease in an aquarium with other fish species roaming around them.

Relocating them into a separate environment will fix that.

Make sure that the cory breeding tank has similar parameters to the main one. We’re talking about temperature, lighting conditions, overall layout with live plants and hiding spots, and clean waters.

Separate the Eggs

You can breed your Corydoras in the main tank if you have a catfish-only setup.

Actually, I recommend this approach because your catfish are more eager to breed in a familiar setting, that they’re used to. Once the mating is complete, monitor the female to catch the moment it lays the eggs.

You don’t want to waste more time, especially if you have plenty of Corydoras and other fish species lurking in the tank.

Fish can spot cory eggs quite fast, because the female will usually lay them on hard surfaces in everyone’s view, including the tank walls. Eggs are sticky, so you must pick them up and transport them carefully to prevent damage.

You can use your fingers gently or rely on a spatula-like tool to scrape the eggs off of their resting surface.

Relocate them into the nursing tank and place them near a hard surface, either a flat stone, driftwood, or any decoration fit for that purpose.

Use Lots of Live Plants

You want a variety of live plants to provide your fry with as much comfort as possible. Corydoras live in lush aquatic ecosystems in the wild and require a variety of hiding spots to feel safe and happy.

The same goes for the fry, especially since they are small and defenseless against any type of threat.

The live plants will provide the fry with security, comfort, and more well-oxygenated waters to boost their growth rate.

Once the eggs have hatched, you must set a well-designed care and maintenance system in motion.

The goal is to keep your fry comfortable and boost their metabolism to allow them to grow faster.

At What Age Can Cory Fry Get Back with Adults?

Generally speaking, cory fry can join the adults when they are at least 4 weeks of age.

This differs, though, depending on your fry’s overall care, diet, and genetic build.

If you want to optimize your cory fry’s growth rate and size, consider the following:

  • Find the perfect tank layout – Live plants, rocks, caves, crevices, driftwood, and safe decorations are all necessary in this sense. They will hide the fry and provide them with a secure and comfy habitat to explore.
  • Ensure optimal nutrient intake – Corydoras fry are too small to eat normal catfish food, so you need to adapt in this sense. The best food for newly hatched cory fry is newly hatched brine shrimp. These larvae are small enough for the fry to consume with ease and are packed with protein and fats. The rich nutritional content will boost the fry’s growth rate, allowing them to move to daphnia, microworms, crushed flakes, and even chopped bloodworms after a while.
  • Ensure optimal water parameters – Keep the lights dim for extra comfort, secure a water temperature range of 72-76 F, and perform daily water changes of 5% of the total volume. Water changes should only be performed following the first week after the eggs have hatched.

You can also add a smooth and chill filtration system once your fry have reached 3-weeks of age, depending on their size.

You can move them into the main tank past the 4-week mark or whenever your fry become capable of consuming regular fish food.

If you think that your fry are too small compared to the adults, or you have a community tank with other fish that could pose a danger to them, postpone the moving process. You can wait for your fish to get to 2-months of age before relocating them.

You might also want to add more live plants and rocks into the main tank before adding the fry.

They can always use the extra hiding areas for a plus of comfort and safety.


Fortunately, Corydoras will mate and breed with ease. Unfortunately, they lack any parental instincts and can easily consume the eggs or fry if given the chance.

I hope that today’s article has taught you how to circumvent this problem and ensure your fry’s survival with ease.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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