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FAQs on Callichthyid Catfish Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Callichthyid CatfishesSummer loving: cats in the garden, kittens in the kitchen by Neale Monks,

Related Catfish FAQs:  Callichthyids 1, Callichthyids 2, Callichthyid Identification, Callichthyid Behavior, Callichthyid Compatibility, Callichthyid Selection, Callichthyid Systems, Callichthyid Disease, Callichthyid Reproduction, Catfish: Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction

Corydoras/Brochis Feeding    /RMF     4/17/14
Greeting WetWebMedia Crew, I tried to feed my Corydoras and Brochis splendens
<Oh! Just reading re this genus in the current Amazonas mag.>
school a small piece of banana. They immediately started feeding. I was a little surprised to see that. I have noticed them feeding on decomposing plants (Hydrocotyle umbellata) in the past but was unsure about banana. Its seems like a healthy snack but was very messy.(I did a water change after feeding) Thought somebody may want to know. Thanks for the great site.
Aloha Brandon
<Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Corydoras/Brochis Feeding
    /Neale      4/17/14
Greeting WetWebMedia Crew, I tried to feed my Corydoras and Brochis splendens school a small piece of banana. They immediately started feeding. I was a little surprised to see that. I have noticed them feeding on decomposing plants (Hydrocotyle umbellata) in the past but was unsure about banana. Its seems like a healthy snack but was very messy. (I did a water change after feeding) Thought somebody may want to know. Thanks for the great site. Aloha Brandon
<Catfish will try all sorts of foods. I've been to a public aquarium where they pretty much throw a fruit bowl into the big catfish tank and let them graze over the week -- grapes, oranges, all sorts of fruit! Do remember that South American catfish, like South American cichlids and piranhas, will adapt their diet as the River Amazon water level goes up and down across the year. In the dry season catfish and other Amazonian fish will have to eat what they can find, sometimes small fish trapped in pools, sometimes carrion, sometimes aquatic invertebrates. In the rainy season they swim into the flooded forest and eat all sorts of fruits and seeds as well as the abundant insects and insect larvae. In other words, these fish are programmed to try all sorts of foods, and the more variety, the better for them! Cheers, Neale.>

Battle for food   1/31/11
I have a 20g tank with 4 Swordtails and 4 Green Cory Catfish. I'm feeding them micro wafers that float for a bit and then sink, so the Swordtails knock the wafers down to the catfish. In addition, I'm feeding the catfish Sera Vipachips that sink to the bottom. Problem is, the Swordtails also really like the Vipachips, and it ends up being a battle between the Swordtails and the catfish -- of course, the Swordtails end up eating most of it. Can you maybe suggest a way I can ensure that only the catfish get the Vipachips?
<Easy, this one. Feed the catfish at night! When the lights are out, provide sufficient food for your Corydoras. Do this 3-4 times per week, and you should find they're just fine. Corydoras are nocturnal by nature, despite being day-active in aquaria, and happily feed at night. And no, they won't hide away during the day just because they're being fed at night. Do also remember to keep the tank quite cool, 22-24 C is ideal for both Swordtails and Corydoras aeneus, otherwise their metabolism will be much higher than it needs to be, and that'll place extra demands on their diet as well as shortening their lifespan.
Cheers, Neale.>

Stolen Food, Corydoras fdg.  -- 08/04/09
Hello Crew,
<Hello James,>
Hope all is going well for you. I have a question on feeding please. The only 2 types of fish I have in my 75 gallon FW aquarium are Corys and angels and I feed them both about an hour before the lights go out. I usually start feeding the angels first on one side of the tank. I feed them small amounts for about 2 minutes at a time trying to keep any of it from going to the bottom. When they get engrossed in eating I try to secretly put the Corys food in the opposite side. But usually the Corys do no come out right away to eat, and many times the angels come over and start eating their food after they have finished their own. Because of this I always put extra food for the Corys. The next morning all of the food is gone off the sand bottom. I cannot always tell how much of the Corys food the angels are getting so I am concerned about the Corys getting enough. Do you have any thoughts on this please.
<Provided you leave some food out most nights for the Corydoras, they will be fine. Healthy Corydoras have nice rounded bellies, whereas starving specimens have convex bellies. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Stolen Food -- 08/04/09

I had thought about doing that, but have read that despite the fact that many types of catfish are nocturnal the Cory is not. Will they still eat at night?
<Corydoras are in fact nocturnal in the wild, and will happily feed at night in the aquarium. It just so happens they become very tame in captivity, learning to feed whenever food is offered. Farmed fish simply view daytime feeding as normal, but they forage at night as well, and will consume any catfish pellets left out at night for them. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Stolen Food -- 08/04/09

Thanks Neale, will the food for the Corys at night be less noticeable for the angels? Do they move around much and look for food at night?
I appreciate your help.
<Angels, like virtually all cichlids, are incapacitated by darkness. They cannot hunt or feed by night. So yes, your Corydoras, will be able to feed at their leisure. It's heartening you're taking such pains over your
Corydoras; most folks throw them into community tanks and leave them to fend for themselves! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Stolen Food   8/5/09

Thanks Neale, I love them. I think they are great little guys and wouldn't have a tank without them. Thanks again for all your help.
<Always a pleasure to talk, James. Enjoy your fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Feeding (Corydoras, Botia) 5/30/2009
Hello Crew, Hope you are having a great day!! I have some questions on feeding please. I currently have 6 panda Corys and plan on buying some yoyo loaches and a Bristlenose catfish.
<Wouldn't keep Botia almorhae with Corydoras panda; the differences in size, aggression at feeding time, and social behaviour are just too acute.
Botia almorhae would work well with Ancistrus though, and similarly Ancistrus and Corydoras get along fine. If you must have loaches with Corydoras panda, look at either Pangio spp. or perhaps Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki, though this latter species is delicate and does need to be kept in a large group, so tank size will be an issue.>
First, I want to know if they will all get along or if the loaches will bother the Corys.
<Yes they will bother the Corydoras.>
Also, when it comes to feeding how is that done since they all eat mostly food off the bottom. Should I put their food in separate places in the tank, or will it be OK to feed them all together?
<Botia species will simply learn to eat food from one corner first, and then bully the Corydoras away from the food in the other corner next. Does depend on the size of the tank of course, and in a 200 gallon system I'm sure they'd muddle through! But realistically, not a combination I'd go for.>
I am worried about the loaches maybe picking on the Corys during feeding time.
<Your concern is justified.>
Thank you for your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Proper Feeding of Cory Catfish 5-04-09
Hello all, hope things are going well for you. I have a question on feeding, please. I currently have 6 panda Corys about medium size. I have two different types of food for them. One are small shrimp pellets
and some are wafers. Both of the packages suggest to feed enough for the Corys to eat within several minutes. My Corys don't eat all at once.
They may eat a while then swim around and come back later, etc. I am at a loss to feed them the proper amount without depriving them or overfeeding them. If you could make a suggestion I would really appreciate it. Also, should they be fed every day? Thank you for your help.
<Hello James, Merritt A. here today! First, I am assuming the Corys are the only fish you have in the tank. Since your Corys are not eating them all at once, then you know they are not starving and both types, wafers and shrimp pellets, are great foods for Corys. Since you have been watching your Corys, about how long does it take them to consume the food, 30 min.s, 1 hour, 2 hours? I would suggest feeding them a few pellets in the morning (one for at least every Cory) and two or three wafers. If this quantity takes them longer than 30 min.s, then reduce the amounts. Feeding your fish depends on your observations, just keep watching them (are they getting fat or slimming down) and change the amounts accordingly. You are welcome,
Merritt A.>
Re: Proper Feeding of Cory Catfish   5/7/09

Thanks for your advice. Please tell me the proper way to feed the Corys along with other fish when I add them. I plan on getting 6 angels and I have heard that they are very aggressive eaters. How can I feed them and at the same time keep them from getting the Corys food as well? Thank you again.
<Since Corydoras are nocturnal by preference (though they certainly are active by day in aquaria) the easiest way to make sure everyone gets enough to eat is to offer some food at night-time when the day-active fish won't compete. The Corydoras will find this food and eat their fill! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Proper Feeding of Cory Catfish Part II 5-7-09

Thank you Merritt, later I plan on adding about 6 angels. I know they will eat a different food, but how can I prevent them from eating the Cory's food? Feed them both at the same in different parts of the tank? Thank you again.
<Hello again! When I have other fish with my Corys, I feed them all at once. I feed the aggressive fish at one side of the tank and put the Cory food at the other side. This prevents the aggressive fish from eating all of the Corys food. Have a great evening! Merritt A.>

Cory Catfish, sel., fdg.  2/7/09 I am thinking about adding a couple Cory Catfish to my tank of livebearers. I was wondering-do Cory Catfish eat fish waste? I know they eat leftover food... Thanks a bunch! <Hello Hannah. Corydoras (and indeed catfish generally) do NEITHER of the things you mention. No, they do not eat fish waste. Why would they? Waste is removed by your filter, and through water changes. Every additional fish you add INCREASES the amount of ammonia and faeces in the tank, so your filtration will need to be adequate to the task. Secondly, they DO NOT eat (just) leftovers. Catfish should be given sinking pellets -- catfish food -- at least 3-4 nights per week. Corydoras are nocturnal fish by choice, and during the night will eat the pellets without having to deal with competition from day-active fish in the aquarium. Besides catfish food, they enjoy algae wafers and frozen bloodworms. One last thing: Corydoras are SCHOOLING fish, and are not happy in groups of less than 5 specimens. Adding "a couple" is simply condemning these adorable little fish to a nervous, unhappy existence in your care. Since tank-bred Corydoras such as Peppered Corydoras and Bronze Corydoras cost very little, there's really no excuse for not getting at least 5 specimens. If your tank is so small (or so heavily stocked) you can't add 5 specimens, you probably should add 2 either. Five specimens will settle just fine into a busy 20-gallon community tank without complaint. Cheers, Neale.>

Corydoras cats feeding habits 4/1/08 my 20 Gallon aquarium has been getting a lot of algae build up. <Two options: Add fast-growing plants under bright lighting, or else scrape away the algae manually. Every other method suggested doesn't work.> My pet store said that these little albino Cory cats will keep a tank extremely clean <Garbage. Catfish (or snails, or loaches, or whatever) do not clean an aquarium. Think about this for a second. Why would adding an animal (which produces wastes) make the aquarium cleaner? There are only two things that keep an aquarium clean: filtration and water changes.> so we got three very small ones but they don't appear to eat algae like petstore said. <Indeed not. Corydoras eat some green algae, but if you have insufficient light (i.e., less than 2 watts per gallon) then most of the algae will be of other types such as diatoms.> they appear to search the gravel and eat what they can find. <Keep this up and they'll starve do death. Corydoras need catfish pellets. These are sinking foods you can add to the tank at night. Catfish aren't "scavengers" and won't survive on leftovers. They MUST have their own food.> my question is do they eat algae and I don't see them doing that I also have a fresh water flounder will that eat algae? <Freshwater Flounders are not freshwater fish. The common species is Trisects maculatus. They MUST be kept in brackish water. Beginners find them very difficult to maintain. Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwflatties.htm > if they don't what kind of small Pleco or other algae eating fish do you think will do good in a 20 Gallon aquarium with about 19 or 20 small tropical fish. <None will clean algae in the way you want. Pet stores will sell you lots of fish (or snails, or shrimps) that they say will do this job, but they don't work. Only plants reduce algae, and for that you need to choose fast-growing species like Hygrophila and Cabomba and then expose them to strong illumination.> thank you. Laura <Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Small Panda Cory - 02/09/2007 Hi, in my fish tank, I have originally one panda Cory, which is 1 in long, probably.  Yesterday, I introduced two more panda Corys, but they are tiny, less than half the size of the original one.   <Good to have in groups though... this and most all Corydoras are very social animals> One of tiny panda Corys doesn't eat, and it is quite inactive.  It does swim around sometimes, but it only swims to follow the other panda Corys or hide. It's breathing a little more rapidly than the other Corys.  My tank water quality seems fine.  Any ideas how I may help this little guy?  -David <Do try a bit of either live or frozen/defrosted black worms here... these are almost irresistible to Callichthyid catfishes. Bob Fenner>

Hungry panda Cory!   2/26/06 Hi there, <Helloooooo!> I've had my 20 litre tank (sorry, don't know US sizes - I'm in the UK!) <A liter/re is a bit more than a quart, there are four U.S. quarts in a gallon... your system is about five Yank gallons> for a month, and have 6 zebra Danios, 5 black neon tetras and two panda catfish. The zebras are doing great, but take all the food - I've tried a mix of flake food to distract them with and granulated food to sink to the bottom for the tetras and catfish, but the zebras totally take over the tank and eat it all! I've just lost a catfish, which I think was sick from when I bought it as it didn't last a week, but now the second one looks in trouble. It's incredibly listless, not responding to food even though I've sectioned it off in the tank with some food. I bought another panda today which is really active and seems fine - could it be that the listless one and the one that died were ill from the start? <A possibility, yes> There are no obvious symptoms, other than not being interested in eating and trying to swim up to the top and then falling back down, which I thought was cute until I read somewhere that this was not a good sign! Your website is great - any advice you could give me would be so appreciated, as I'm afraid as of tomorrow morning I'll be back to one panda again! Thanks, Laura <Do check your water... it may be that its quality is unsuitable... This Corydoras likes warm, soft, acidic water... no ammonia, no nitrite... Try some high/er protein sinking wafer type foods... Bob Fenner>

Getting food to the Corys and the Oto   2/22/06 Hello WWM crew, I have searched your site and I think the single tiny wiggly white worm I just saw in my tank is Planaria.  It is a very very fine threadlike white worm of about 5mm length. I probably only saw it because I was sitting very close to the tank. Am I right in understanding these are from too much waste product and uneaten food? <Yes.> Do you have any delivery tips for the food?  I was afraid if I hid it the Oto and Corys would not find it either. I have a bit of driftwood with a plant on it that I can put food under but it seems nearly all the fish can wiggle in there to get it! I thought my tank was very very clean.  I change 25-30% of the water once a week with another bucketful or two changed halfway through the week as I don't like to see the Corys searching around for food in droppings. Yuk. I vacuum the open area of gravel once a week and stir up the other areas with the siphon hose as the vacuum wont fit amongst the plants.  I have quite a lot of live plants. My problem I guess is I have been overfeeding although everything gets eaten quickly. <I agree.  Your vacuuming technique sound very thorough.> I am always worried about getting enough to the Corys and the Otocinclus.  The other fish are total pigs and tend to eat everything. I feed a couple of pinches of flakes <Try backing off a bit.  Try to lure those speedy Tetras away by sprinkling a bit on one side of the tank, and then sprinkling the rest far away from them.> , two sinking Cory-food pellets <Feed just one pellet.  Break it up into a couple pieces, always drop it in the same place in the tank every day, so the Corys get into a pattern/know where to find it.  Feed the Corys about 1/2 an hour after you turn off the light tank light.>   and a half of an algae wafer once a day with a day of no food now and then. <Leave the wafer as a treat for every now and then.> Also feed a frozen bloodworm cube once a week and some cucumber every few days (the Oto loves that). <OK as long as you are subbing this for the other foods you described.> I have a 26 gallon freshwater tropical tank (AquaOne 620) with a filter and lights built into the hood Temperature about 78 degrees. Ammonia and Nitrites are zero. Tank has been set up for 10 weeks and is fully cycled. The tank is stocked with: I angelfish 3 black skirt tetras 5 Corydoras 2 dwarf Gouramis 1 Otocinclus <A bit heavily stocked for that size.  Probably contributing to the waste/food levels for Planaria and algae.  Your Angel will get quite large, produce even more waste.> I tried leaving the lights on a bit longer to grow some algae for the Oto...but instead of the brown algae I once had green algae has grown   on some of the Anubias and Oto doesn't seem to make much difference. So that might have been a mistake? Do you think if I revert to my   original 8 hours of light the Oto will eventually eat it all? <Go back to 8 hours.> Or maybe should I get an additional Oto? <Otos do prefer the company of their own kind, but you are already heavily stocked.> So much to learn.  Any advice you can give would be very much appreciated. Many thanks, Gillian  : ) <Jason N.> PS I think your site is terrific, you folk obviously love what you do although I expect if you get many more "My Betta sits at the bottom   of his bowl" questions you might implode. <Thank you!>
Re: Getting food to the Corys and the Oto
  2/22/06 Thank you Jason for your speedy response, I was very disappointed when I did my own sums and realized "no more fish for me"....well, in this tank anyway.  Everyone laughs when I talk about my next tank. <You've been bitten by the bug.  God have mercy on your pocketbook.> This one is a practice to see if I can keep up the enthusiasm before going mental on a giant tank. <I find that my largest tanks are the easiest to care for.  It is far harder to make most mistakes in 50+ gallons of water.> You know what?  I think I can! <Glad to hear it!  Now there is only the problem of what you're going to do with your current tank when you get a new one...> Thanks again from Australia, Gillian  : ) <Jason N.>

Tiger barbs gorging on Adolfi/duplicarius Corys food My barbs are gorging themselves on the sinking pellets I drop in the tank for my Cory cats. They will push the Corys out of the way and break the pellets into chunks. The tiger barbs will swim around with a big chunk until it can choke it down! I am worried that the tigers will hurt themselves as they are bulging and don't seem to be able to stop eating.  How can I make sure the Corys get some food? Are they nocturnal feeders? How often do I feed them? <I would try distracting the barbs by feeding then on the other side of the tank, then sneak some pellets to the Corys.  You could also try a different type of food for them, but I doubt it would slow the barbs down, I use the Hikari Shrimp wafers and everyone in the tank goes after these as well.  If the Corys get hungry enough they will eat, they are pretty well armored.  They love blood worms in their diet as well, good luck sneaking those past the barbs.> I may have gotten two C. duplicarius with my recent purchase of three Adolfo's Corys. They pretty much look like the two side by side in the enclosed photo.  C. duplicarius has a broader dorsal stripe and a fuller, rounder head.  My two have paired off leaving the "real Adolfi" on his own. I wonder if I got taken or if the store is just ignorant. I hope that the two are close enough in price and attributes. In my research the consensus seems to be that there is not much difference.  One article even suggests that they are more attractive. <depending on your tank size, I would add more of both, they like large groups.  Best Regards, Gage> Thank you Stephen

Re: Three Line Cory Catfish question, feeding Hello Bob, <Teresa> I thought I'd follow up on this as I thank you for your reply. It seems I was not feeding the Corys enough and starts to swim high as more food is floating than hitting the bottom. <Ahh> I started throwing in some herbivore small sinking pellets and at times they nibble on these if the gluttonous angelfish don't get to them first. I know these pellets are for algae-eating fish but I never saw the Otocinclus eat anything else but algae. I guess what I really need to ask is what should I be feeding the Corys? Is the premium tropical flake food that I feed the angelfish enough you think? Thanks and have a great day. <I would augment this with a high protein sinking pellet... there are several companies that make these for bottom dwellers... One of my faves is the new Shrimp Pellets by Omega Sea. Bob Fenner>

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