How Long Do Corydoras Live?

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Corydoras make excellent aquarium pets. They’re hardy, low-maintenance, and extremely peaceful. Keep them alone or in a community tank, and they’ll instantly become the center of all attraction.

Their whimsical appearance and peculiar behavior will steal the show (and your heart) the minute you lay your eyes on them.

But there’s another important factor we don’t often discuss when choosing a pet. What about its lifespan? Most of us want our pets to live as long as possible because we get attached to them. Parting with your favorite buddy is tough, after all.

So, how do Cory catfish do in this regard? Is the pet fish of your dreams going to live a long, healthy life?

Keep reading to find out! This article covers all the important questions about Corydoras’ lifespan.

What is the Average Lifespan of Corydoras?

Corydoras are quite hardy and generally healthy. They enjoy an average lifespan of five years, not far off from other freshwater species.

However, they can live a lot longer with proper care. Many aquarists successfully keep Corys for 8-10+ years.

For those of us who want a pet with a long lifespan, Corydoras are an excellent choice. If you do everything right, this whiskered fish will be by your side for close to a decade, maybe slightly more!

Keep reading to learn more about how to keep Corys healthy and extend their lifespan!

How to Improve Corydoras Longevity?

A Corydora’s longevity depends a lot on its health status. With that in mind, everything you do to extend your fish’s lifespan involves mitigating health risks.

In short, you want to help your fish avoid developing or catching diseases.

The main areas to focus on include the Cory’s environment, nutrition, and stress levels. These are the leading factors to non-infectious diseases in fish.

Do the following things, and you’ll up your Corys’ chances for good long-term health and longevity:

– Provide Good Water Conditions

First of all, the water in the aquarium should be crystal-clear. The ammonia and nitrite levels should be 0 ppm. Nitrates should be below 20 ppm and, ideally, as low as possible.

Improper ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate concentrations in the aquarium point to dirty water and unsanitary tank conditions.

These compounds, especially ammonia, also predispose your Corys to short-term health problems like digestive issues, gill scarring, lack of appetite, infections, and more.

Ammonia and nitrites also promote the growth of fungus, harmful bacteria, and even certain types of toxic algae, all of which are bad for your fish.

A filter, regular water changes, and monthly aquarium cleaning will help keep these harmful chemicals in check.

Secondly, but equally important— you must maintain stable, species-appropriate water parameters. For Corydoras, these are 74-80°F, 6.5-8.0 pH, and 4-12 dGH.

These parameters will help your fish thrive thanks to improved immune health, better appetites, and more energy.

– Feed Various and Quality Food

Nutrition is very important for Corys’ health. Corydoras are omnivorous, so they need a variety of proteins and plants for optimal digestion and nutrient intake.

Ensure your fish eat a balanced diet that includes varied fresh foods.

Good staples include regular fish pellets, flakes, and bottom-feeder tablets. Look for products that don’t contain a lot of fillers like rice, wheat, or corn.

You can diversify the diet by including plant foods like algae wafers, cucumber, blanched peas, and spinach. Good protein sources include brine shrimp and bloodworms.

– Choose Tank Mates Wisely

Corydoras are peaceful and shy. These qualities make them excellent community fish because they won’t disturb their tankmates.

But their mellow personalities also make them easy targets. You need to pick a Cory’s tankmate wisely to avoid exposing your fish to unnecessary stress.

Boisterous, aggressive, or territorial fish will stress out your Corydoras. Prolonged stress can lead to skittishness, lack of appetite, and reduced immune function. Not something we want for your Corys.

Also, avoid large fish because they can easily injure or kill your catfish. Opt for small, peaceful fish that occupy the middle and upper levels of the water column.

These fish are most compatible and unlikely to cause problems for your Corydoras.

– Detect and Treat Diseases Quickly

It’s not a death sentence if your fish get sick. Catching and treating health issues early will greatly improve your Corys’ survival chances and long-term lifespan.

If you manage to treat a disease before it causes long-lasting damage, your fish will still enjoy long and happy lives.

But that means frequent monitoring. Take a few minutes each day to observe your fish closely.

Some of the first disease symptoms manifest through reduced activity and lethargy. Are your fish acting different, and do they exhibit physical changes like bloating, skin lesions, etc.? In that case, be ready to quarantine the symptomatic fish and start a generalized treatment.

To treat diseases quickly and efficiently, I always keep a multi-purpose fish medication on hand. I highly recommend keeping a few bottles of parasitic, fungal, and bacterial medications in your stash.

Bioactive water conditioners are also helpful for emergency ammonia treatments in case of ammonia poisoning in fish.

– Provide Corydoras with a Natural Environment

Finally, your fish need enrichment. That means you must simulate a Cory’s natural environment as closely as possible in captivity.

This is important because enrichment reduces stress levels and encourages healthy, natural behaviors in fish.

If your Cory catfish feel at home, they’re more likely to maintain good appetites, activity levels, and social behavior.

These are all great things for a fish’s long-term health and well-being. So, how do you do it?

First, choose a soft, smooth-grain fine or gravel substrate. Corydoras tend to burrow a lot and have sensitive barbels and whiskers. They need a substrate that allows them to engage in their natural behavior without risking injuries.

Besides the substrate, I highly recommend adding various live plants to the aquarium. Corydoras also forage for food on aquatic plants.

Corys use tall, bushy plants for hiding and nesting too. Having some plants in the tank helps them feel safe and gives them new opportunities to play and explore.

Check out my article on the best plants for Cory catfish for more information. You may also include other decorations like driftwood, rocks, and even resin ornaments like castles, caves, and so on.

The more, the merrier, as long as you don’t overcrowd your tank.

Do Male or Female Corydoras Live Longer?

There are usually minor lifespan differences between male and female fish. In certain species, like Bettas, the females live longer.

But in most Cory catfish species, males live longer than females. The average lifespan of a female Cory might be up to 1 year shorter than her male counterparts.

However, you don’t have to choose one over the other. Corydoras are highly sociable and prefer living in groups of at least 5-6 fish. When buying your first school of catfish, there’s a high chance you’ll have fish of both genders.

Besides, if you provide a healthy environment, even your female Corys can beat the odds and live longer than expected!

Do Corydoras Live Longer with a Filter?

Will a filter help your catfish live longer? You bet! Proper filtration is indispensable in any tank. The filter does most of the work maintaining good water quality and preventing ammonia poisoning in fish.

Without a filter, your fish will readily succumb to the accumulated waste-by products in the water. A filter-less aquarium is also a hotspot for bad bacteria and other parasitic organisms that could hurt your fish.

A filter also has additional benefits, such as increased oxygen circulation and water movement. Cory catfish don’t like stagnant water.

They live in slow-moving waters in their natural environments, so they enjoy a little bit of current. The filter can help you imitate that, thereby providing additional enrichment.

Any way you look at it, an aquarium filter brings only health benefits and no downsides to your Corydoras.

From immediate benefits like stable water quality to less apparent psychological benefits like enrichment, the aquarium filter plays an important role in Corys’ well-being and longevity.


Corydoras have a decent average lifespan of five years, and males live a little longer than females. A healthy Cory catfish may live for up to 8-10 years with proper care. This is quite impressive for a fish.

Indeed, the Cory’s longevity makes it a good potential pet for aquarium enthusiasts.

To increase Corydora’s lifespan, you must provide a clean, stress-free environment and proper nutrition.

Remember to maintain stable water parameters and very low levels of ammonia and nitrates. Feed your fish a combination of high-quality sinking pellets, fresh protein sources, and vegetable foods.

Very importantly, make sure to decorate the aquarium for proper enrichment. Corys need soft, sandy-type substrates and lots of bushy plants.

If you follow the tips above, your catfish should be as healthy and long-lived as possible.

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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