What to Feed Pygmy Corydoras?

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Corydoras are omnivorous scavengers, which already speaks volumes about their nutritional requirements and feeding behavior.

While these catfish aren’t your typical bottom lurkers, they still consume food residues and plenty of organic matter present in their environment.

Even so, they still require a balanced diet with a variety of food options based on the fish’s nutritional requirements. The problem with Corydoras, in general, and pygmy cory, in particular, is that these are scavenging fish.

They find their food by patrolling their environment, causing more inexperienced aquarists to thinking that that’s good enough for them.

This impression is even more relevant when it comes to pygmy Corydoras, which are tiny fish. They look like they hardly need any food to keep themselves full.

So, let’s discuss the pygmy Corydoras’ diet more in-depth.

What do Pygmy Corydoras Eat?

Pygmy Corydoras consume a variety of foods, much of which they will find on their own in the tank. They thrive on collecting food residues from other fish, but they also need additional food to reach their nutritional goal.

Pygmy Corydoras accept fresh and frozen veggies, algae pellets and wafers, and animal protein from brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, bloodworms, etc.

They also accept various forms of pellets and flakes, so long as they fulfill the fish’s nutritional requirements.

Pygmy Corydoras aren’t too pretentious about their food, primarily because they can’t afford it. These catfish are scavengers, so pretentiousness isn’t in their DNA.

This is great for you as a novice fish keeper because you can always use an easy-going cleaning fish that takes little-to-no effort to feed.

This is especially true when discussing pygmy Corydoras, given the fish’s small size and scavenging nature.

How to Feed Pygmy Corydoras?

The answer may sound obvious, but it’s not. Pygmy Corydoras aren’t too different from your regular tank fish in terms of feeding, except the fish is very small.

Your typical pygmy Corydoras won’t grow over 1 inch in size. Rarely, they might reach 1.3 inches, but that’s the higher end of the spectrum.

This brings about some interesting challenges along the way that relate to food size. Pygmy Corydoras have small mouths, which prevents them from eating certain foods like pellets or flakes.

You need to break these into smaller pieces so that the fish can eat properly. Otherwise, your Corydoras will ignore the food and even starve as a result.

The situation isn’t as clear when it comes to feeding frequency. How often you should feed your pygmy Corydoras depends on several factors, such as:

  • The catfish’s age and size
  • How many Corydoras you have
  • Whether they are alone or live in a community setup
  • How much food they can find in their environment, etc.

As a general rule, provide your fish with at least 1 meal per day. Most pygmy Corydoras tend to require 2 meals per day, especially if they don’t have other tankmates to supply the normal food leftovers they’re accustomed to.

But you should always check your Corydoras’ feeding pattern to see whether they need any additional meals.

Also, make sure you keep your Corydoras safe from overfeeding. These fish are small and greedy, so they can overeat easily if there’s an abundance of food.

You should always personalize your catfish’s diet depending on their feeding behavior and food availability. And keep meal size small; sufficient for your catfish to eat everything in 2-3 minutes or less.

Will Pygmy Corydoras Eat Shrimp?

Yes, they will happily do so. We’ve already mentioned the problem with that, though. Shrimps are way larger than what your pygmy Corydoras could eat on their own.

So, you should always prepare your shrimps before feeding them to your corys.

Do Pygmy Corydoras Eat Algae?

Yes, pygmy Corydoras eat algae but don’t count them as algae eaters. They only nibble on algae occasionally to supplement their diet and so long as nothing else is available.

They much prefer other sources of sustenance like veggies, plant matter, insect larvae, copepods, etc.

That being said, you should feed them some occasional algae wafers to supplement their meals. Just don’t rely on pygmy Corydoras to keep your algae in check, as they’re not about that life.

Instead, you should rely on professional algae eaters like Siamese algae eaters, blennies, plecos, or nerite and mystery snails, to name a few.

Naturally, having some algae-control mechanisms in place doesn’t hurt either if you’re dealing with pesky algae like Black Beard.

Can Pygmy Corydoras Eat Veggies?

Pygmy corys can absolutely eat vegetables. You can feed them boiled veggies or even fresh ones, provided they’re soft and easy to tear through.

Or you can create nutritional blends containing veggies, spirulina, and animal protein for a more balanced meal.

You can always store the paste for later use, providing you with a several-meal-worth food deposit for when you need it.

Pumpkin, yams, kale, butternut squash, and algae wafers are great in this sense, no matter the preparation technique.

I also recommend boiled, skinned peas once a week too for a plus of fiber. This will keep the corys digestive system clear and prevent constipation along the way.


Pygmy Corydoras are the least pretentious fish you can get. They make for a great addition to any community setup with various small and friendly fish species.

Your Corydoras will form the cleaning crew responsible for disposing of any food leftovers that their tankmates will produce.

This catfish also occasionally consumes algae, which most Corydoras won’t do except in limit-case scenarios when nothing else is available.

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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