Are Panda Corydoras Hardy?

Disclosure: I may earn a commission when you purchase through my affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. – read more

Panda Corydoras are gorgeous bottom dwellers displaying warm coloring and a cute pattern, making for an even more adorable aquatic panda.

These 2-inch catfish are great for community setups, but they do require more specialized care.

But just how difficult are panda Corydoras to keep, and are they overly sensitive, as some suggest? Let’s look into it!

Are Panda Corys Hard to Keep?

Panda Corydoras rank as intermediate in terms of difficulty of care. They are not excessively sensitive to water conditions but require specific parameters and an overall clean and healthy environment to thrive.

Several aspects are critical in this sense:

  • Oxygenation – Proper oxygenation is necessary, especially since this is a bottom-dwelling species living in areas where the level of dissolved oxygen is typically lower. Granted, panda Corydoras possess intestinal breathing, allowing them to breathe atmospheric air at the water’s surface. So, your Corydoras will go to the water surface for a gulp of air if water oxygen is low, but this isn’t exactly ideal for the fish. Rely on a good filtration system and add in some air stones if oxygen levels in the water are suboptimal.
  • Overall water cleanliness – Corydoras rank as cleaning fish, so they’re used to exhibiting scavenging behavior. The problem is that not even these scavengers can withstand ammonia and nitrites, and not even nitrates past a certain value. Proper tank maintenance and care are necessary to ensure the water’s chemical balance. Vacuum the substrate regularly to eliminate fish waste and excess dead matter and perform weekly water changes (10-15-20%, depending on the case.)
  • Proper dieting – This is probably the most critical point on this list. Underfeeding has become a serious problem with catfish, unfortunately, and it’s all due to the distorted notion we have about these fish. Most inexperienced aquarists believe that scavengers will do just fine with the sustenance they get from, well, scavenging. But this is definitely not true. Catfish, and all bottom-dwelling scavenging species for that matter, require a well-rounded diet to remain healthy and thrive. If forced to live off of scraps, they will undoubtedly experience nutritional deficiencies with time. These may not be visible right away, but they will lead to a shorter lifespan and a lowered quality of life.

To summarize, panda Corydoras aren’t difficult to care for, but rather different. Once you learn their specific requirements, behavior, and needs, they should be fairly easy to keep.

Are Panda Corys Good for Beginners?

Based on everything we know about the species, no, panda Corydoras aren’t exactly great for beginners.

I would recommend them to intermediates due to the fish’s need for more precise living parameters and rather strict water conditions.

Despite all this, even a beginner could easily handle a group of pandas, provided there’s sufficient information and prior research is performed.

What is the Best Temperature for Panda Corys?

The ideal temperature range for panda Corydoras is 68-77 °F. This is significantly lower than your typical tropical fish, which is what makes this species more difficult to accommodate into a community setup.

You need to find coldwater tankmates for your Corydoras because panda corys cannot adapt to temperatures above 77 °F for the most part.

They can withstand some variation, but only within certain limits. The ideal temperature should remain in the lower 70s for maximum comfort.

Why do Panda Corys Keep Dying?

There is a multitude of possibilities in this sense. Panda Corydoras can experience health issues and even die for numerous reasons, such as:

  • Poor water quality – Ammonia is specifically to blame here. Excessive ammonia levels will quickly poison the fish, causing suffocation and extensive tissue damage. Corydoras will display gradual symptoms of ammonia toxicity and poisoning, which can accelerate fast, depending on the chemical’s concentration. Watch out for symptoms like suffocation, rapid gill movement, skin discoloration, red or bloody gills, erratic swimming, etc. Immediate treatment is necessary to save your fish’s life.
  • Improper diets – This is one of the most frequent causes of death in Corydoras, outside poor water conditions. Since Corydoras are bottom dwellers, they can only eat whatever sinks from the water’s surface. Pairing Corydoras with aggressive schooling eaters can lead to your catfish starving due to insufficient food reaching their area. So, you need to feed your catfish separately and use sinking pellets and live foods that can reach their eating grounds. Another problem is that many inexperienced catfish keepers believe that these fish don’t need any additional food. That they can just survive on scavenging. This is patently false; Corydoras require a balanced and nutritious diet just like any other fish.
  • Fish stress – Stressed Corydoras showcase shorter lifespans and can even experience SDS (Sudden Death Syndrome). This is often the result of the fish’s immune system dropping as a result of the constant stress, rendering the fish vulnerable to parasites and diseases. Stressed fish often exhibit bacterial and parasitic infections and can showcase a lack of appetite and hiding behavior. Several factors are to blame for fish stress, including poor water conditions, improper diets, aggressive tankmates, inadequate tank layout with insufficient hiding areas, etc.
  • New Tank Syndrome – Panda Corydoras can also experience sudden death due to New Tank Syndrome. This occurs when transitioning the fish from one environment to another. It is most common among novice aquarists who move the fish from the bag they came with to the main tank. Before doing that, you should always carry the fish through an accommodation process that typically lasts between 30 minutes to an hour. You simply keep the fish bag half immersed into the water to even out the water temperature, and pour tank water into the bag gradually. Once the bag fills up, you discard half of the water and reset the process. The Corydoras should be ready for the main tank after the second cycle.

Your panda Corydoras may also die due to undetected genetic faults, diseases, and even infections occurring due to minor damages from interacting with aggressive tankmates.

The situation might seem grim to you right now, but I’m not telling you anything new. All these factors influence all fish species equally, so panda Corydoras are nothing special in this sense.

So long as you provide your Cory catfish with proper care and monitor their activity regularly, they should live long and happy lives moving forward.

Which Corys are the Hardiest?

Several Corydoras are better than others when it comes to caring requirements and overall hardiness.

Some of the best species I could recommend to a beginner include the bronze Corydoras, the pygmy Corydoras, the albino cory, and the peppered cory.

These don’t require any special care and can adapt to suboptimal water conditions better than many other species of catfish.

This makes them more likely to withstand their caretaker’s mistakes along the way.


Panda Corydoras are some of the cutest catfish species you can get, although less hardy and adaptable than others.

They require more precise care to thrive, so try to avoid them as a complete beginner.

Other than that, Corydoras is great for intermediate aquarists looking for an exquisite addition to their community tank.

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.
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *