The Panda cory catfish, also known as panda freshwater catfish or Corydoras panda , is some what of a newcomer to the aquarium hobby. But this little fish has quickly risen in popularity due to its compact size, peaceful nature and most of all for its striking black and white markings that make it instantly recognizable.
The Panda Cory Catfish Fish was initially introduced into the ornamental trade via Singapore but it’s native habitat is in South America where they can found in slow moving rivers throughout Guyana, Ecuador and Peru. Their common name arises from their distinctive coloration featuring large dark patches on a pure white body. The patches are more distinct around the head region with an almost symmetrical pattern developing on either side of the body.
On occasion you will see a Panda Cory with bright yellow patches instead of black and this is known as the Gold variety. This aberration has become quite popular among fish keeping enthusiasts but it’s availability in the hobby is sporadic at best.
Panda Cory Catfish Fish Characteristics:
– The Panda Cory Catfish is a peaceful fish and should be kept with other non-aggressive community tank mates.
– Its small size makes it ideal for smaller tanks but also means that you will need to have between 5 – 10 gallons of water per panda cory catfish.
– Pandas are very sensitive when first introduced to new tanks so they should only ever be added as the last fish in your aquarium setup.
Panda Cory Catfish Fish Origin:
The Panda Cory Catfish originates from South America where members of this species can be found throughout Guyana, Ecuador and Peru within slow moving rivers and tributaries. Their habitat consists of densely planted areas or submerged driftwood and leaf litter, where the Pandas naturally forage for worms, crustaceans and insect larvae.
Panda Cory Catfish Fish Size:
When fully grown the Pandas will reach an adult size of around 1 ½ inches or 4 cm in length making them one of the smaller species available to fish keeping enthusiasts. Males tend to be smaller with a more slender body structure than females and are also slightly more colourful as they mature.
Panda Cory Catfish Fish Colors and Markings:
The panda cory catfish is instantly recognizable due to its distinctive coloration which consists of two black patches on a pure white body. These markings become more pronounced towards the head region with symmetrical patterns developing either side of their mid section. They have an almost panda like appearance to them with their dark patches and pure white body which is why they are so popular within the aquarium hobby. On occasion you will see a Panda Cory with bright yellow patches instead of black, this aberration has become quite popular among fish keeping enthusiasts but it’s availability in the hobby is sporadic at best.
Panda Cory Catfish Fish Tankmates:
Being a peaceful species the Panda Cory Catfish should only be kept with other non-aggressive community tank mates. Their small size also means that you will need to have between 5 – 10 gallons of water per panda cory catfish added into your aquarium setup. They can however be housed alongside members of their own species as long as there are enough hiding places provided for each individual.
Panda Cory Catfish Fish Care:
Although some fish keeping enthusiasts will suggest that the Pandas are difficult to care for, these claims are certainly not true as they generally adapt really well within a community setup and are very hardy in general. Their only main requirement is a small weekly water change which should be done by siphoning out around 25% of your aquariums contents. The use of an algae magnet is also recommended if you have live plants present in your tank as panda cories can easily devour valuable plant leaves.
The biggest challenge with keeping the Panda Cory is when first introduced to new tanks due to their extremely sensitive nature, so it’s best to add them last when setting up your freshwater fish tank.
Panda Cory Catfish Fish Lifespan:
The average expected lifespan of a Panda Cory Catfish is between 3 – 5 years when kept within the correct environment and fed an appropriate diet, however there have been instances recorded of Pandas living for up to 8 years if looked after correctly.
Panda Cory Catfish Fish Diet and Feeding:
As their name suggests the Pandas will primarily feed on small crustaceans as well as smaller worms, insect larvae and other invertebrates found within your aquarium’s substrate so ensure that these are always provided with any food you offer. As they mature Pandas generally become more discerning with what they eat so make sure that fish only ever have clean water and you will find they will eat flake, pellet and freeze dried foods as well as blood worms or brine shrimp.
Panda Cory Catfish Fish Gender Differences:
The Pandas are sexually dimorphic which means that the males and females mature at different sizes so it’s not possible to determine their gender by size or coloration alone. When kept in a large group there will generally be one male allowed with each group of females which is usually the largest individual within your aquarium, though some hobbyists choose to house single sex groups instead. Females tend to have a more pronounced black patch on their dorsal fin along with the distinctive white spots covering most of their body while males display a much slimmer body shape along with longer pelvic fins.
Panda Cory Catfish Fish Breeding:
The Panda Cory Catfish is one of the most popular fish in the aquarium hobby along with being the easiest to breed and you can expect your female pandas to start producing their first eggs within a few weeks once they have reached maturity. These eggs will be hidden within hollow tunnels that are created by your live plants, but if you don’t have any then large rocks or clay pots must be provided for them instead so that you increase the likelihood of success. Once fertilized by either natural or artificial means the Pandas will carry their young inside their mouth for up to 8 weeks until fully developed where they will then release them into your aquarium setup when ready.
Panda Cory Catfish Fish Aquarium Setup:
The Panda Cory Catfish have a very distinctive appearance due to their contrasting white and black stripes so they are definitely one of the most attractive fish available in the aquarium hobby. They prefer soft water with an acidic pH though will generally adapt really well within most setups. As they are quite small Pandas can be housed alongside most community tank members but may become territorial if kept with similarly colored fish so provide them with plenty of other hiding places when keeping multiple specimens together such as driftwood, rocks and plants in order to give everyone enough space. Make sure that any live plants you have offer somewhere for them to breed and feed as these small catfish will eat any algae or plant leaves in your aquarium .
Though there are no true requirements for the Panda Cory Catfish as they are incredibly undemanding, they do best in planted aquariums along with a dark substrate that has been thoroughly rinsed of all chemicals to lower the risk of any harm being done to your furry friends. The addition of some bogwood roots or branches will provide a natural habitat for many types of invertebrates and give them somewhere to spawn while floating plants will dim the light entering your tank and make it much easier for these nocturnal fish to spot their food.
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