Panda Corydoras Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

To properly care for Panda Corydoras, ensure optimal tank setup with fine sand, plants, and roots in at least a 10-gallon tank. Provide a stable temperature, feed them a varied diet, and keep them with compatible, peaceful tank mates.

panda corydoras

Panda Corydoras Species Profile and Identification

Panda Corydoras, scientifically known as Corydoras panda, belong to a fascinating and diverse family of freshwater fish, known for their unique appearance and social behavior. These small catfish originated in South America, specifically in Peru’s Rio Pachitea and its tributaries.

Their typical body length ranges between 1.6-2 inches (4-5 centimeters), making them suitable for community tanks. 

Key features include the following:

  • Yellowish-gray body color
  • Three distinctive dark, almost black spots: one around the eyes and forehead, one on the dorsal fin (extending to the back), and an almost circular spot from the tail to the caudal
  • Short, whisker-like barbels near the mouth

These characteristics make them highly recognizable, and their striking resemblance to the giant panda bear has earned them the name “Panda Corydoras”.

Like other members of the Corydoras family, Panda Corydoras possess bony plates that protect their bodies. Thanks to these plates, they are also referred to as “armored” or “panzer” catfish.

When setting up an aquarium for Panda Corydoras, it is essential to understand their specific requirements and natural habitat to provide them with proper care.

The remainder of this guide will walk you through all components of setting up and maintaining a thriving Panda Corydoras community, from tank setup to breeding.

Panda Corydoras Supplies

To properly care for Panda Corydoras, you’ll need some essential supplies for their tank setup, food, and maintenance. Here, we have compiled a list of these necessary items to help you prepare for your new Panda Corydoras:

  • Tank: Choose a minimum of 40 liters (10 gallons) for the tank size. These fish prefer a larger tank with at least 60 liters (15 gallons) to accommodate their social behavior and need for swimming space.
  • Filter: A good quality filter is crucial to maintain water quality and to ensure the Corydoras’ sensitive barbels are not damaged. Opt for a filter that can handle the tank volume and offers adjustable flow rate, as Panda Corydoras prefer a gentle water current.
  • Heater: This species thrives in warmer water temperatures, so you’ll need a heater to maintain the temperature within the range of 22-28°C (71-82°F).
  • Thermometer: To ensure the temperature stays within the optimal range, invest in an aquarium thermometer to monitor the water temperature regularly.
  • Substrate: As these fish spend most of their time at the bottom, use fine sand with no sharp particles to prevent any injuries to their delicate skin and barbels.
  • Decorations: Enhance their natural environment with plants, driftwood, and hiding spots like caves or PVC pipes. This provides them with ample space for hiding and foraging.
  • Food: Panda Corydoras are omnivorous, so a combination of high-quality flake or pellet food, supplemented with live or frozen foods, such as grindal worms and tubifex, will provide them with a well-rounded diet.

With these essential supplies in hand, you’ll be well-prepared to set up a comfortable and healthy environment for your Panda Corydoras.

Panda Corydoras Tank Setup

Setting up the perfect tank for your Panda Corydoras is essential for maintaining their health and happiness. Choose a tank size that accommodates their needs, such as a 10-gallon tank for a small group of Panda Corydoras.

  • Tank Size: A minimum of 10 gallons (approximately 40 liters) is required to house a small group of Panda Corydoras comfortably. For every 15 gallons (60 liters) of tank space, you can have up to 7-8 fish living in harmony.
  • Substrate: Opt for fine sand without sharp particles to protect your Panda Corydoras from injuries. Add a layer of 1-2 inches of this substrate to the bottom of the tank.
  • Decoration: Provide hiding spots with plants, driftwood, and caves. These decorations will provide a more natural habitat for your fish and make them feel secure.
  • Filtration: Panda Corydoras prefer clean water, so invest in a high-quality filter that efficiently removes debris and harmful chemicals from the water.
  • Heater: To maintain a stable water temperature of 72-82°F (22-28°C), use a reliable adjustable heater with a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

In addition to these essential elements, consider adding floating plants and rocks, as these accessories will help create a more diverse environment for your fish. Lastly, provide adequate lighting for your tank, but avoid too much direct sunlight, which can lead to algae growth.

Panda Corydoras Water Requirements

To ensure the health and well-being of your Panda Corydoras, it’s crucial to understand and maintain their specific water requirements. Panda Corydoras is native to fast-flowing soft waters, therefore trying to mimic their natural habitat is essential.

  • Temperature: Panda Corydoras thrive in water temperatures between 72-82°F (22-28°C). Regularly monitoring and maintaining a stable temperature is necessary.
  • pH level: The ideal pH range for Panda Corydoras is between 5.8-7.8. Maintaining a stable pH within this range ensures a comfortable and suitable environment for your fish.
  • Hardness: Panda Corydoras prefer water hardness between 2-20 NK°. To avoid detrimental effects on their health, regularly testing and adjusting water hardness within the desired range is vital.

To maintain optimal water quality, here are some tips:

  • Invest in a high-quality aquarium test kit to check water parameters regularly. Ensure that the test kit includes tools for measuring temperature, pH, and hardness levels.
  • Perform weekly water changes. Replace at least 25-30% of the aquarium water every week to help maintain a stable and healthy environment for your Panda Corydoras. Make sure not to change more than 50% at once to avoid sudden changes in the water parameters.
  • Use a reliable water conditioner to remove harmful chemicals like chlorine and chloramines from tap water. This will ensure that the new water added to the tank is safe for your Panda Corydoras.
  • Regularly clean and maintain the aquarium filter. The filter plays a crucial role in maintaining good water quality by removing waste and harmful substances, providing a healthier environment for your Panda Corydoras.

Panda Corydoras Diet and Feeding

Feeding your Panda Corydoras a healthy and balanced diet is essential for their long-term well-being. They are omnivorous and enjoy a variety of foods.

In the wild, Panda Corydoras consume small insects, worms, and plant-based material. It’s crucial to replicate a similar diet for them in your tank. Here are some recommended food options for your Panda Corydoras:

  • High-quality pellets or sinking wafers: This serves as the main staple of their diet.
  • Live or frozen foods: They love treats like bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, grindal worms, or tubifex worms.
  • Vegetable options: Offer blanched spinach, cucumber, zucchini, or peas occasionally.

Feed your Panda Corydoras once or twice a day and ensure that the portion size is appropriate as overfeeding can lead to obesity and health issues. A good rule of thumb is to offer enough food that they can finish within 2-3 minutes. Monitor their eating habits closely and adjust as needed if you notice any unusual behavior or a change in weight.

Occasionally, you may switch food types to maintain dietary variety and ensure your Corydoras receive all necessary nutrients. Also, you can add a piece of driftwood to encourage algal growth, which Panda Corydoras enjoy grazing on.

Panda Corydoras Care Schedule

A well-planned care schedule is crucial to ensuring the optimum health and well-being of your Panda Corydoras. By staying organized and consistent, you can make sure your fish have a clean, comfortable environment that promotes healthy growth and lowers the risk of disease.

Weekly tasks:

  • Perform a 25% water change. This helps maintain water quality and keeps your fish healthy.
  • Test water parameters (pH, temperature, hardness) to ensure they remain within the acceptable ranges for Panda Corydoras.

Bi-weekly tasks:

  • Clean the substrate by vacuuming any accumulated debris, specifically around the area where your Panda Corydoras feed.
  • Examine the plants, remove any dead leaves, and trim them as needed.

Monthly tasks:

  • Properly clean the tank decorations and filter media/carts without using any chemicals. This helps maintain proper biological filtration and prevents issues related to excessive algae growth.
  • Check your filter for signs of wear or reduced effectiveness, and replace any components if needed.

Additionally, always keep an eye on your Panda Corydoras for any signs of illness or discomfort. Make sure they are eating well and behaving normally. If you notice any unusual behavior, take immediate action to identify and address potential health concerns.

A consistent and well-planned care schedule is key to ensuring the health and happiness of your Panda Corydoras. Regular maintenance tasks, combined with close observation, will help keep your fish thriving and provide you with the rewarding experience of a successful aquarium hobby.

Panda Corydoras Health Problems

Panda Corydoras are generally hardy fish, but they can still experience health issues if not cared for properly. Common health problems include injuries, disease, and stress, all of which can be prevented or treated with proper care and precautions.

  • Fin Rot: Fin rot is caused by poor water quality and can lead to frayed or destroyed fins. To treat fin rot, perform regular water changes, and consider adding aquarium salt or an appropriate medication.
  • Ich: Ich is a common parasitic infection characterized by tiny white spots on your Panda Corydoras’ body and fins. Help your Panda Corydoras fight off ich by elevating tank temperature to around 85°F for a few days, and possibly treating the water with an ich medication.
  • Worn Barbel Syndrome: The barbels, or whiskers, of Panda Corydoras can wear off due to being housed in sharp or abrasive substrate. Keep an eye on their whiskers and use smooth, fine sand in your setup to prevent this issue, as injuries to the barbels can lead to infections.
  • Stress: Stress can weaken your Panda Corydoras’ immune system and make them more susceptible to disease. Some stressors include improper tank conditions, aggressive tank mates, and rough handling. Provide a stable, peaceful environment to mitigate stress in your fish.

Remember, the best way to ensure your Panda Corydoras stay healthy is through preventive care. This includes regular tank maintenance, a balanced diet, and monitoring your fish for any changes in behavior or appearance. By addressing health issues early on, you’ll give your Panda Corydoras the best chance of a quick recovery and ongoing well-being.

Panda Corydoras Tank Mates

When choosing tank mates for your Panda Corydoras, it’s essential to consider the sociable and peaceful nature of these catfish. They thrive in a community tank with other non-aggressive, similarly-sized fish that occupy different areas of the tank.

Some suitable tank mates for Panda Corydoras include:

  • Small characins, such as Tetras and Hatchetfish
  • Livebearers, like Guppies, Platies, and Mollies
  • Rasboras, particularly Harlequin or Emerald Rasboras
  • Dwarf Cichlids, such as Apistogramma or Rams
  • Smaller Barbs, like Cherry Barbs, are also compatible

It is best to avoid aggressive or large fish that could prey on or stress your Panda Corydoras, as this could lead to health issues or a shortened lifespan. Additionally, make sure the chosen tank mates have similar water parameter requirements to ensure a stable and healthy environment for all fish in the tank.

Lastly, bear in mind that Panda Corydoras are schooling fish, which means they should be kept in groups of 6 or more. This will not only ensure a happier and healthier fish but also provides a more natural and visually stunning display for your aquarium.

Panda Corydoras Breeding

Breeding Panda Corydoras can be quite challenging, particularly for beginners. However, with proper care and attention, you can increase the chances of successful breeding.

First and foremost, maintain stable water parameters and follow the recommended parameters for adult Panda Corydoras. For breeding purposes, keep the water temperature between 22-26°C, pH around 6.0-7.0, and hardness between 2-10 NK°.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you breed your Panda Corydoras:

  1. Sexing and conditioning: Recognize the differences between males and females – females appear larger and more rounded. Provide a nutritious and varied diet to prepare them for spawning.
  2. Adjusting tank parameters: Gradually lower the water temperature and increase water flow to simulate their natural habitat during the rainy season.
  3. Spawning: Provide breeding spots like plants or spawning mops. Keep an eye on the fish; when you see them pairing and performing “T-Shape” courtship behavior, they are ready to spawn.
  4. Egg-laying process: The female deposits 5-25 sticky eggs in chosen spots, and the male fertilizes them. The whole process usually takes several hours.
  5. Post-spawning: Separate adults from the eggs to prevent them from eating them. Keep the water parameters stable and include a gentle air flow to prevent fungal growth.

Eggs should hatch within 3-5 days. Feed the fry with infusoria or similar foods in the beginning, gradually transitioning to larger foods like baby brine shrimp as they grow. Remember, patience and diligence are key when attempting to breed Panda Corydoras.


Taking care of Panda Corydoras can be a rewarding experience for both beginners and seasoned aquarists. By following this complete guide, you will be well-prepared to provide your Panda Catfish with the proper care they need to thrive in your aquarium.

We hope you found this guide helpful – please feel free to leave a comment and share your experience with Panda Corydoras!

Corydoras   Fish Care Guides   Updated: August 10, 2023
avatar Hello, my name is Fabian, and I am the Chief Editor at Aquarium Nexus. I have over 20 years of experience in keeping and breeding fish. The aquarium hobby brings me immense joy, and I take great pleasure in sharing my experiences with others.

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