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The Best Substrate For Corydoras!

As more and more people get involved in fish keeping we have seen a correlating spike in the number of questions being asked from the community about the more popular fish types.

With the Corydoras being such a popular addition to so many aquariums due to it being very cheap while also being great at eating discarded food, it really is easy to see why there has been such a dramatic increase in the number of questions that we see people asking each money relating to corydoras or cories for short.

One of the more commonly asked questions that we see from the community is about the best substrate for corydoras to ensure that they are happy and able to comfortably filter through the substrate looking for food.

Although it may seem like a basic question, there is actually a lot more to it than meets the eye as so many beginners add a cory to an aquarium with an unsuitable substrate that ends up making it hard for the cory to scavenge for food.

With one of the main reasons, people add a cory to their aquarium being to help keep it clean and reduce the amount of tank maintenance required on their part, making the corydoras’ job as easy as possible is definitely with the effort.

This is where the type, size, coarseness, and maneuverability of the substrate for your corydoras comes into play with some substrate products simply not being suitable for use with a cory at all.

The Best Substrate For Corydoras!

When looking for a good substrate for a corydoras you really do want a substrate that is fine enough for the cory to quickly and easily filter through when looking for food.

This is why fine sand substrates are one of the best options available and although people do use soil, gravel, and artificial substrate products with a cory, sand is usually a much better option for most tanks.

Simply adding any sand based substrate to your aquarium is also a problem as some sand substrates will be too large and sharp for your cory to filter through it with ease. This is why we usually recommend our readers go with stoney river black sand for any aquarium that will have a cory living in it.

In our opinion, it is the best substrate for corydoras by far and will allow them to easily find food that has sunk to the bottom of the tank and is laying on or has sunk into the substrate.

Making sure that the substrate allows your corydoras to quickly and easily find food is important as it allows your cory to keep ontop of its clean up duties in the tank while also reducing stress and anxiety levels in your cory too.

If the substrate in the tank is too large then it can make the filtering process difficult for your cory putting it off scavenging for food due to its stress levels spiking.

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Which Sand Is Best For Corydoras?

There are plenty of black and yellow sand substrate products on the market that work well for a corydoras these days with the stone river range of black sand usually being the best option in most cases.

The caribsea supernatural sand range can be a very close second though, especially if you want a yellow sand substrate rather than a black sand substrate.

Not only is Caribsea supernaturals sand cheap but it also has a great reputation for use as a substrate with corydoras too due to it being so fine and easy for the cory to move around when looking for food.

The Caribsea sand range also has a number of other suitable substrate products that can work well with a cory too but the supernatural products are usually better than the rest of their range.

We know that there are a number of other sand colors available for your substrate these days but they tend to be poor options for an aquarium that will have a cory in it. Red sand in particular tends to compact on itself when wet meaning that the cory has to put in additional effort to scavenge.

Some of the other colors of sand substrate are just too large for the cory to happily scavenge through too and can potentially cause problems so try to stick with fine black or yellow substrate products.

What Substrate Should Be Avoided For Corydoras?

There are a number of substrate products that should be avoided for tanks with a cory in them that we commonly see recommended on social media for use in tanks with a cory.

The two main ones that we would recommend that you avoid are gravel substrates or large grain sand substrates.

Although fluorite black sand is an excellent substrate product for a huge number of fish and is commonly recommended, its grains are too large for a cory in our opinion.

We have noticed a large number of people recommending it on social media for use with a cory though so try to avoid it if possible as it does have a number of downsides.

As we mentioned, it does have larger grains of sand with the sand also often bing rigid and sharp once settled in the tank making it unsuitable for use in an aquarium with a cory.

The fluorite black sand range is an excellent option for so many fish species though but should usually be avoided if you are going to be having bottom feeders in the tank if possible.

Is Gravel Ok For Corys?

Although a large number of people do use gravel as a substrate for their corys, it should usually be avoided if possible.

The gravel tends to be too large and heavy for a corydoras to filter through efficiently making it harder for the cory to do its job of finding and eating as much discarded food from your other fish as possible.

The less discarded fish food that your corydoras consumes means the more you will have to remove during your tank maintenance sessions increasing your own workload.

Considering switching from a gravel substrate to something like stoney river black sand can make it much easier for your corydoras to do its job, it is usually worth switching over.

We are fully aware that there are a number of people on YouTube and on social media who have a corydoras in an aquarium that uses a gravel substrate too and we just want to confirm that we are not saying that a cory is unable to live on a gravel substrate.

Our point is that gravel makes it harder for the cory to do its job as well as it could and larger gravel will often discourage the cory from even trying to scavenge into the substrate to help keep your tank clean.


That brings our article going over the best substrate for corydoras to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand what substrate products you should be looking to use in an aquarium that has a corydoras in it as well as why you should be opting to use those substrates over the other options available. Corys really are an excellent fish for helping to keep your tank clean but they usually do need a little help with your substrate choice to allow them to do their job to the best of their ability so try to stick to a fine sand substrate if possible.