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Panda Cory Catfish

(Corydoras panda)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 2"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F, KH 1-12, pH 5.8-7.8
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: South America, Amazon River basin   • Family: Callichthyidae
• Species: Cory Catfish   • Aquarium Type: Community

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Species Information

Panda Cory Catfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Panda Cory Cat received its common name from the combination of its off-white base coloration and contrasting black marks over its eyes and just before its tail-fin, thus giving an appearance similar to that of a Giant Panda. Their peaceful disposition, attractive coloration and active personality has made the Panda Cory a popular staple within the aquarium hobby. The beneficial nature of Cory Cats to consume leftover food items and decaying plant material from the aquarium substrate makes them practically a must have for planted and community fish aquariums.

Cory Cats are a communal species who live in substantially sized groups of up to 30 individuals in the wild. Within the aquarium environment it is best to keep them in groups of at least 4 to 6 individuals. This can be a mix of different Corydoras species or all of a single species. While they can be kept as a single specimen or a pair, they tend to not do nearly as well as when kept in groups and will generally have a far shorter lifespan.

As is the case with all species in the genus, Cory Cats will regularly swim quickly to the surface for a gulp of air. The fish swallows the air, which blood vessels in the hind gut extract oxygen from; it is then expelled through the vent the next time the fish breaks the surface for another gulp of air. This adaptation is believed to have evolved so that the fish can survive in poorly-oxygenated water such as stagnant pools during the dry season. It is however essential to the fish's well-being that it regularly swallows air.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Panda Cory Catfish in the home aquarium.

The ideal aquarium environment for the Panda Cory Cat is one that closely resembles their native jungle stream habitat. Basically your typical Amazon biotope consisting of a soft sandy substrate, areas of dense vegetation, open swimming areas and submerged wood or root along with some portions of the tank having filtered lighting, would be ideal.

To achieve this setup, hobbyists will want to use a substrate of river sand or a small sized smooth gravel, utilize plenty of driftwood or tree root along with some low light ground cover plants like Java Ferns, Anubias or taller plants with larger leaves like Sword plants, which will filter the bright aquarium lights and complete the look.

While their native habitat would have dried leaves littering the substrate, which would provide cover, filter sunlight and stain the water with brown tannins. This habitat is difficult to keep within the aquarium as it requires the hobbyist to remove the decaying leaves every few weeks to prevent the water from being fouled. As unlike their native streams which have a constant flow of freshwater passing through constantly, the home aquarium is much more of a closed ecosystem, which is more susceptible to adverse changes in water quality and chemistry if decaying matter is present within the aquarium.

Panda Cory Cat will also do well in standard planted aquariums and very peaceful community aquariums. Quality water conditions are essential with this species as they are sensitive to deteriorating water conditions and high nitrates. As with all Cory Cats, do not use under gravel filtration and ensure the substrate receives some water flow and no large decaying items. Cory Cats are easily affected by poor water conditions, as they live right on the substrate where there is often less water flow and more decaying material and fish waste.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Panda Cory Catfish and provide a healthy diet.

The Panda Cory Cat is a foraging omnivore whose diet should contain a mixture of plant material and meaty foods, which combined will provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals they need for a proper diet and strong immune system. They are very easy to feed as they will readily take to a wide variety of commercial fish foods, algae and decaying plant material. Some good food choices are freeze-dried bloodworms, black worms, sinking pellets, shrimp pellets, flake food, brine shrimp and frozen and live foods designed for freshwater tropical fish.

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