Information, Armored catfish, Catfish, Freshwater fish, Species

Panda Cory: Complete Species & Care Overview

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by Jason Matthews



Panda Cory (Corydoras panda) is a freshwater fish belonging to the catfish species. It is native to the South American region of Peru and thrives in blackwater conditions. This fish is one of the most social species and can get along well with other species. It’s also known for its unique panda-like appearance. 


Scientific Name: Corydoras panda
Common Names: Panda Cory, Panda catfish
Life Expectancy: 7 to 10 years
Adult Size: 1.75 – 2 inches


Origin Ucayali River System, Peru
Care LevelMedium 
Temperament Extremely friendly and social
Diet Omnivorous 
Tank LevelBottom-dwellers
Water pH6.4 to 7
Water Temperature68 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit
Water Hardness2 dGh – 12 dGh
LightingLow to medium
Tank MatesSmall or medium-sized tetras, rasboras, danios, other small catfish species

Fun Fact Corner

  • Panda Corydoras is called ‘panda’ due to the unique black marking that covers its eyes entirely. 
  • Panda Corydoras are bottom-feeders and can easily scavenge leftover food. Hence, they’re really efficient cleaners!


Panda Corydoras is native to Peru in South America. It is mainly found in the Ucayali river system, the main source of the Amazon river. Initially, this fish species was wild-caught for commercial purposes. But, today, it is mainly captive-bred. 

This fish species is well-suited to blackwater conditions. In such conditions, the water is acidic, soft, and devoid of several minerals. Moreover, the water in the Ucayali river is also cooler than the water in other tropical rivers. 


If you’re looking for one of the friendliest fish species, Panda Corydoras is the one. This fish species is extremely social and loves to swim around with fish of their own kind, or other bottom-dwellers. Most aquarists have not seen their Panda Corydoras showing aggression toward other fish. 

It is best to keep Panda Corydoras in a group of five or more. This way, they can stay within their community, stay social, and remain happier. At a minimum, keep at least four Panda Corydoras together in a tank. 


Panda Corydoras is one of the fish species that has been reported to live up to 10 to 20 years. However, the average lifespan is usually between 7 to 10.

Although Panda Corydoras can live for a lot of years, the young ones are quite vulnerable to poor water quality. Hence, they might die early if you don’t purchase them from reputable breeders, or provide them with top-notch water conditions. 

Size and Appearance

lovely panda corydoras family in aquarium
Image: revvo, depositphotos

Panda Corydoras can grow up to 1.5 to 1.75 inches in captivity. However, in the wild, some might grow beyond 2 inches too. 

Body Shape 

Panda Corydoras’ body shape resembles the shape of most other Corydoras species and is flat. The area near the anterior of the dorsal fin is slightly broader than the whole body.

Body Color and Spots 

The base color of most Panda Corydoras ranges between white and pale pink. It also offers a beautiful silver look.

Panda Corydoras’ body consists of three black spots in three different regions. 

  • The first black spot starts near the head and goes around the eye region, just like giant pandas. Hence, this fish species is known as Panda Corydoras. 
  • The second black spot is on the dorsal fin.
  • The last black spot is found near the tail’s base. Its size can vary greatly in different fish of the same species. 

Panda Corydoras also possess three paired barbels and sharp barbs that help in protecting the fish. You’ll find barbs in four areas – one under each eye, near the dorsal fin, and the adipose fin

Unique Feature – Bony Plates

As Panda Corydoras belong to the cory family, its body has scutes (two rows of overlapping bony plates) instead of scales. 

Differences Between Male and Female Panda Corydoras

There’s an obvious difference between the appearance of male and female Panda Corydoras due to the size difference

CategoryMale Panda CorydorasFemale Panda Corydoras
SizeSmaller Larger
Body VolumeSleek bodyRounded underbelly


Panda Corydoras requires extremely specific water conditions to breed. Hence, initially, their breeding was considered quite difficult. However, aquarists found a way to mimic the natural environment to undergo breeding in this species. 

Given below are the steps to follow to breed Panda Corydoras:

  1. First, take a separate breeding tank and fill it with java moss, or similar plants for egg deposition. 
  2. You need to keep the water temperature around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. This is extremely crucial for the breeding process to take place.
  3. Introduce the adult Panda Corydoras such that the male-to-female ratio is 2:1.
  4. Once the female is ready to breed, she’ll accept the male fish’s advances. The pair will arrange themselves in a T position. 
  5. As the eggs are fertilized, the female fish will hide them on the plants. 
  6. Remove the adult fish from the breeder tank to prevent them from eating the eggs.
  7. The eggs (around 100 in number and brown in color) will hatch after four days. Try to provide them with high-quality food like infusoria and commercially-prepared fry foods. 

Nutrition and Diet 

Panda Corydoras is omnivorous in nature and eats everything from insects to vegetables. Typically, its diet is plant-based. You can provide it with dry food options such as pellets and flakes too. There are special tablets with unique formulas for corys. So, you can try giving those to your Panda Corydoras as well. 

The table below shows the best food options in various categories for Panda Corydoras.

Type of FoodBest Options
Frozen/LiveBlood worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, brine shrimp eggs
VegetablesCucumber, zucchini, lettuce, squash

You need to feed your Panda Corydoras once or twice a day. Note that Panda Corydoras is bottom-dwelling. So, you should provide food accordingly. You can also offer them pellets specifically made for bottom-dwellers. 

It’s also best to provide the food after sunset, as Panda Corydoras is nocturnal

Tank Requirements

Panda Corydoras are bottom-dwellers, and pretty much eat anything that gets to the bottom. 

They require specific tank conditions, but they’re not very hard to care for. 

Tank Size

Just like other small fish species, Panda Corydoras need a 10-gallon tank. However, as they’re better kept in large communities, try to keep a 20-gallon tank

You can keep four to six Panda Corydoras in a 10-gallon tank. In a 20-gallon tank, it is easily possible to keep eight to ten Panda Corydoras.

Water Requirements

Panda Corydoras require cool, slightly acidic, and soft water. The requirements are given below.

  • Water Temperature – Although Panda Corydoras belongs to tropical areas, it requires cool temperatures. So, the ideal temperature is between 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water pH – The water has to be on the acidic side, and requires a pH between 6.4 and 7.
  • Water Hardness – Soft water (around 2 to 4 dGh) is best for Panda Corydoras, but they can handle up to 12 dGH.
  • Water Flow – Panda Corydoras can easily thrive in slow to medium-flowing water currents. Some might even enjoy playing in slightly high currents.

Decoration and Plants

You can keep various decoration items like rocks, driftwood, and caves to make your Panda Corydoras feel comfortable. For plants, you can keep either real or artificial ones. The best plants for Panda Corydoras include Vallisneria, Java Fern, and Java Moss.

The best substrate for Panda Corydoras is either smooth sand or gravel. This will help them find food easily using their barbels. 


Panda Corydoras prefer low to moderate lighting. You can adjust the lighting by keeping more plants.

Best Tank Mates

Panda Corydoras is one of the friendliest fish species out there. It will bond well with members of its own community, along with other species.

Common Diseases In Panda Corydoras 

Panda Corydoras are vulnerable to various diseases. If you don’t provide them with the right water conditions, they might even lose their barbels. 

If you’re planning to keep Panda Corydoras, given below are some common diseases:

  • Ich or White Spot Disease
  • Gill flukes
  • Skin flukes
  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infections


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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