Betta Fish And Cory Catfish – Can They Co-exist?

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Although bettas have a reputation for aggression, this doesn’t mean you should keep them in isolation.

The corydoras catfish is a good example of a species that works well with bettas. You should know a few things, however, before you combine these two species.

This article will explain how to keep betta fish and cory catfish together without harm.

Some Information About Corydoras

Cory catfish swim in large groups and are quite active.

Whether they are found in the wild or in an aquarium, Corydoras are among the most active schooling types.

They often swim in groups of 20 or more, and sometimes as many as 100, all in perfect unison in the wild. In addition, they might join other groups of fish swimming in their area.

In light of this, a minimum of three and an ideal amount of six corys should be maintained in an aquarium.

A solitary cory will either try to blend in with the other fish in the tank or become completely inactive.

Large Numbers of Diverse Species

Most species of the fish genus Corydoras may be found in South America, making it the biggest genus of Neotropical fishes.

There are about 170 known species, with another 100 kept by aquarists but not yet cataloged.

They thrive in aquariums with temperatures between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, where they reach lengths of 1 to 3 inches on average.

Catfish species like the sterbai cory prefer warmer climates, while those like the peppered cory and julii cory prefer cooler waters.

Corydora Minimum Tank Size

While the dwarf cory species can be bred in a 10-gallon aquarium, the bulk of the other species require a 20-gallon aquarium.

Furthermore, considering that practically all of them are peaceful bottom dwellers, it is safe to assume that, provided they are not attacked, they can survive peacefully with other species of community fish.

corydoras with betta fish

Can Betta Fish And Cory Catfish Live Together?

Short answer, yes, cory catfish and bettas can live together.

Bettas are less likely to be aggressive toward cory’s because they are often dull in color and lack long fins.

Moreover, bettas prefer to remain on the tank’s surface, whereas corys prefer the tank’s bottom.

However, these scenarios work best with larger tanks, such as 20-gallon containers. You probably know that betta fish don’t do well in overly populated aquariums.

Consequently, if you put more than a couple of fish in a tank that is less than 10 gallons in capacity, the inhabitants may become agitated and start fighting with one another.

Betta Fish And Cory Catfish Diets

Corys are bottom feeders and as such they forage at the bottom of the tank for food.

They search for uneaten food and also food specifically supplied for them.

In order to eat the food beneath and on the substrate, they can use their mouths and barbels to dig up the substrate.

There’s a good risk that scavenging alone won’t provide them with enough food to thrive so you still have to give them food occasionally.

Due to their omnivorous nature, corydoras catfish can be fed a wide variety of foods.

You can feed both kinds of fish live, frozen, flakes, or pellets; just be sure there is enough meat for your betta.

Betta fish are carnivorous and need a high protein diet.

Utilize specifically produced sinking wafers to guarantee that your corydoras are receiving an adequate diet.

When dropped into the tank, these will immediately sink to the bottom because they are made exclusively for bottom feeders.

Lifespan And Size

 Corydoras’ range from 1 inch to 2.5 inches and can live for 5 years if well looked after.

Bettas have the same lifespan of around 4-5 years and they grow to be no longer than 3 inches.

Tips On How To Make Sure Your Betta Fish and Cory Catfish Get Along

Betta Personality

The next crucial aspect as to whether you can add a school of cory catfish to your bettas tank is what your betta’s temperament is like.

A very aggressive betta will not allow any other creature to share a tank with him and it best to not even try.

Luckily I have a very peaceful betta in my 25 gallon tank and he is perfectly happy sharing the tank with 3 albino cory catfish and the rest of the community fish.

If you are not sure how your Betta will respond then make sure you keep a close eye on him when you introduce the corys.

If he starts to chase them or tries to hurt them then you will need to immediately separate them.

Tank Size

Corydoras prefer to school in groups of five or six, so the absolute smallest tank that they can thrive in is a 20 gallon tank.

Bettas are quite happy with a smaller tank of around 10 gallons.

If you want to keep both species of fish then a 20 gallon is the minimum size required.

Go for a larger tank if you have the room and the financial means to do so.

Type Of Corydoras

Pygmy Corydoras are small catfish of less than 1 inch in length. There small size makes them ideal as betta tank mates, especially if the tank is less than 20 gallons.

If you have a larger tank then you can consider some of the larger cory catfish like the albino cory or spotted cory.

Different types of cory catfish require different size tanks so choose the type according to their requirements.

Hiding Places

Both bettas and corys benefit from having plenty of places in their habitat in which they can hide.

Therefore, in order to protect them from any kind of stress, you should make sure that the aquarium is decorated with plenty of plants, caves, and driftwood.

Betta in tank

Introducing Cory Catfish To An Established Betta Tank

Your betta would have already established a territory in his tank.

The safest way to introduce any other creature into his environment is to temporarily remove him from his tank.

You can do this by either removing him to another cycled tank or you can confine him to a breeder net inside his existing tank.

Once he is separated then rearrange the décor in the tank. Move caves around. Change the position of driftwood and even add some more plants if you can.

You need to make sure the tank is different and his territory no longer exists.

Turn off the aquarium lights.

Add the school of cory catfish using either the drip or swap method.

Wait a couple of hours for the corys to settle and then release the betta back into the tank.

Keep a close eye on everyone and make sure there is no aggressive behavior.

Add Some Indian Almond Leaves To The Tank

Betta fish will feel more at ease and less stressful in their home if the environment in the tank is made to resemble their natural habitat.

This can be accomplished by adding Indian almond leaves.

In addition, infections and diseases may be avoided thanks to the antibacterial and antifungal properties that these leaves possess.


How many cory catfish should be kept together?

As they are schooling fish, the ideal amount is 5 or 6.

Do cory catfish eat betta poop?

No, they don’t. They are bottom feeders that sift through the substrate looking for food but they will not eat betta poop.

Can Cory catfish eat betta food?

They will eat any betta food that has sunk to the bottom of the tank. However, they need a more balanced diet and need food that caters for cory catfish.

Can albino cory catfish live with bettas?

Yes, they can as long as the tank is big enough.

Will betta fish eat cory catfish eggs?

A betta may eat cory catfish eggs if they develop a taste for them. Some will leave them alone while others will devour them.

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Irma Bense is the founder of She has over 42 years of experience in keeping fish.She has kept both freshwater and saltwater fish through the years.She has extensive knowledge in breeding numerous species of fish from Show Guppies, Cory Catfish, German Blue Rams to Apistogrammas.You can learn more about Irma on the 'About' page.

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