With cory catfish being a very popular option for a wide range of different aquarium setups these days, its easy to see why we see so many different questions about keeping a cory catfish.
One thing that we constantly see people asking about is what tank size they should be keeping their cory catfish in but in truth, with there being so many different types of cory catfish out there, there is no one size fits all answer.
With many beginners to the fish keeping hobby starting with a 5 gallon tank, we have noticed a number of people in recent months asking about keeping a cory catfish in a 5 gallon tank.
Due to this, we wanted to publish our own article going over if you can keep a cory catfish in a 5 gallon tank or not and to try and help our readers avoid making the same mistakes that we see people make time and time again.
Can A Cory Catfish Live In A 5 Gallon Tank?
The simple answer to this question is yes, cory catfish can live in a 5 gallon tank but we would not recommend it for a number of reasons that we will go over below.
While cory catfish are certainly small enough to be kept in a 5 gallon tank, they are such an active species of fish that we feel they would be much better suited to a larger tank where they would have more space to swim around and explore.
Not only this but when keeping more than one cory catfish in a 5 gallon tank, you are going to start to see problems with aggression as they compete for food and territory.
If you are insistent on keeping a cory catfish in a 5 gallon tank, we would recommend only keeping one fish and even then, you are going to need to be extra careful with your water quality as cory catfish are very sensitive to poor water conditions.
Now, there is one exception to this…the pygmy cory catfish that usually maxes out at a maximum length of 1.3 inches in length when fully grown.
What Type Of Cory Catfish Can Live In A 5 Gallon Aquarium?
The only type of cory catfish that can comfortably live in a 5 gallon aquarium is the pygmy cory catfish and in most 5 gallon tank setups, you should easily be able to keep one or even two pygmy cory catfish in a 5 gallon tank without issue.
As we briefly mentioned above, the pygmy cory catfish is by far the smallest species of cory catfish that you are likely to come across and they usually max out at a length of 1.3 inches when fully grown.
Due to their small size, these fish are much less active than other types of cory catfish and as a result, they are much better suited to life in a smaller aquarium.
Not only this but pygmy cory catfish are also very peaceful fish that are not going to cause any problems with aggression in your tank which is another big plus point.
In our opinion, the pygmy cory catfish is really the only type of cory catfish that we would recommend keeping in a 5 gallon tank but even then, they are much better suited to a larger tank if possible.
How Many Gallons Does A Cory Catfish Need?
Even a pygmy cory catfish will do far better in a 10 gallon tank rather than a 5 gallon tank and if you shop around, you can often find a 10 gallon tank for a lower price than a 5 gallon tank due to the popularity of the 10 gallon tank making it easier to manufacture them in bulk to keep the costs as low as possible.
If you are wanting to keep cory catfish in your tank, we really would recommend that you try to upgrade to a 10 gallon tank over a 5 gallon tank if possible.
Second only to cost, the other limitation on upgrading to a 10 gallon tank is the space required to actually place the tank in your home.
In the vast majority of homes, you should easily be able to find somewhere to store a 10 gallon tank if you had space for a 5 gallon tank.
This means that you should always be able to upgrade your tank to a 10 gallon as they are often cheaper than a 5 gallon tank while also being a very similar size to a 5 gallon making them just as easy to place in your home.
A 10 gallon tank also opens up other types of cory catfish that you are able to keep too rather than forcing you to go with the pygmy cory catfish too.