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Can Angelfish And Cory Catfish Live Together? (7 Key Tips)

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Angelfish and Cory Catfish are common picks for freshwater tanks. But, can they really share the same space without any trouble?

What do you need to think about to keep them together? What’s important regarding their tank space, water needs, and what they eat?

I remember when I was new to keeping these fish, I had no clue about any of this stuff. That’s why I decided to write this article – so you can learn from my experience.

Let’s jump right in.

Can I Keep Angelfish and Cory Catfish Together in the Same Tank?

Yes, Angelfish and Cory Catfish can generally live together in the same tank.

They have compatible temperaments and water parameter requirements which allows for peaceful cohabitation.

  • Water Parameters: Angelfish and Cory Catfish thrive in similar water conditions, preferring a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5 and temperatures from 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Temperament Compatibility: Both species are generally peaceful; Angelfish are not overly aggressive, and Cory Catfish are bottom-dwellers, reducing territorial disputes.
  • Environmental Needs: Angelfish prefer vertically spacious tanks due to their body shape, while Corys need a soft substrate to protect their barbels, demands that can be met in a well-planned aquarium.
  • Dietary Habits: They can share a diet of high-quality flakes, pellets, and frozen foods, with Cory Catfish also scavenging for leftovers, helping to keep the tank clean.

Also Read: Angelfish Tank Mates

Angelfish vs. Cory Catfish: Behavior

The first factor worth considering is the Angelfish’s and Cory Catfish’s natural behavior. Here is what you should know:

1. Angelfish: Natural Behavior

Angelfish are known for their semi-aggressive nature and territorial behavior, especially during breeding times.

They are graceful swimmers that often claim areas in the tank with vertical structures or plants to hide and lay eggs.

  • Territorial Behavior: Angelfish tend to establish and defend territories once they mature, often around tall plants or decorations that provide cover and vertical space.
  • Social Hierarchy: In groups, Angelfish will form a pecking order, with dominant individuals often controlling the prime spots within the aquarium.
  • Breeding Aggression: During breeding, Angelfish become more aggressive, protecting their eggs and fry against intruders, which can sometimes include tank mates.

2. Cory Catfish: Natural Behavior

Cory Catfish exhibit a more gregarious and peaceful behavior, often seen foraging together at the bottom of the tank.

They are known for their social nature, usually thriving in groups and are rarely aggressive towards other species.

  • Schooling Nature: Cory Catfish are schooling fish that prefer the company of their own kind, often moving in unison at the bottom of the tank.
  • Substrate Foraging: They are constant foragers, using their barbels to sift through substrate for food, which helps keep the tank clean of excess food debris.
  • Stress Signals: When stressed, Cory Catfish may exhibit “flashing” or rapid swimming against surfaces, signaling discomfort that rarely impacts other species like Angelfish.

Ideal Parameters for Angelfish and Cory Catfish

Maintaining proper water parameters is essential for the health of both Angelfish and Cory Catfish. Here’s how their needs compare and what to aim for in a shared tank.

ParameterAngelfishCory CatfishBoth Types
Temperature76°F – 86°F (24°C – 30°C)72°F – 78°F (22°C – 26°C)76°F – 80°F (24°C – 27°C)
pH Level6.5 – 7.56.0 – 7.56.5 – 7.5
Water Hardness3 – 8 dKH (54 – 145 ppm)2 – 12 dKH (35 – 215 ppm)3 – 8 dKH (54 – 145 ppm)

1. Angelfish: Ideal Parameters

Angelfish prefer a warm and slightly acidic to neutral environment to thrive, reflecting their native Amazonian habitats.

They are sensitive to rapid changes in water parameters, hence maintaining stable conditions is crucial for their well-being.

  • Temperature Range: Angelfish require a warm water temperature between 76°F to 86°F (24°C to 30°C), which is vital for their immune system and metabolism.
  • pH Level: The ideal pH level for Angelfish is mildly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.5 to 7.5, mimicking their natural riverine conditions.
  • Water Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water, measured between 3 to 8 dKH (54 to 145 ppm), suits Angelfish best, allowing for proper gill function and osmoregulation.

2. Cory Catfish: Ideal Parameters

Cory Catfish are adaptable but do best in water conditions that are similar to their natural South American streams.

They are hardy but appreciate stable water parameters to avoid stress, which can lead to health issues.

  • Temperature Range: Cory Catfish are comfortable in slightly cooler temperatures than Angelfish, with an ideal range of 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C).
  • pH Level: They can tolerate a broader pH range, but prefer slightly acidic to neutral water, ideally from 6.0 to 7.5, for optimal health and activity.
  • Water Hardness: Preferred water hardness for Cory Catfish is between 2 to 12 dKH (35 to 215 ppm), which accommodates the minerals needed for their well-being without being too harsh.

Also Read: Can Angelfish And Catfish Live Together?

Angelfish vs. Cory Catfish: Tank Setup

Setting up a tank for Angelfish and Cory Catfish requires attention to detail. The table outlines the requirements for each and the adaptations needed for a shared tank.

Tank Setup ComponentAngelfishCory CatfishBoth Types
Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate0 ppm Ammonia/Nitrite, <20 ppm Nitrate0 ppm Ammonia/Nitrite, Low Nitrate0 ppm Ammonia/Nitrite, <20 ppm Nitrate
Tank SizeMinimum 20 gallonsMinimum 20 gallonsMinimum 30 gallons
FoliageTall plants for hidingLow-lying soft plantsVariety of tall and soft plants
DecorationsVertical structuresSmooth caves/decorMixed decoration types
FilterGentle to moderate flowGentle flow sponge filterGentle to moderate flow filter
SubstrateFine to medium grainSoft, fine sand or gravelFine sand or smooth gravel
PumpIf needed for circulationAir pump for oxygenationGentle air or water pump
LightingModerateSubduedModerate, plant-capable

1. Angelfish: Tank Setup

Angelfish require a meticulously balanced aquarium to thrive, with specific attention to water quality and vertical space for their tall bodies.

A mature, cycled tank is critical to manage ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels effectively.

  • Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate: Angelfish need a tank with a robust biological filter capable of keeping ammonia and nitrites at 0 ppm, and nitrates below 20 ppm to avoid stress and disease.
  • Tank Size: A minimum of 20 gallons is required for a pair of Angelfish, but larger tanks (55 gallons or more) are recommended to accommodate their territorial behavior.
  • Foliage: Live plants like Amazon swords and tall anubias provide the necessary cover and breeding sites Angelfish naturally seek.
  • Decorations: Angelfish appreciate complex structures such as driftwood and rockwork that replicate tree roots and riverbanks, offering hiding spaces.
  • Filter: A canister or hang-on-back filter with adjustable flow is ideal, as Angelfish prefer gentle water movement and pristine water conditions.
  • Heater: A reliable aquarium heater is needed to maintain the 76°F to 86°F temperature range crucial for Angelfish health.
  • Substrate: A fine to medium-grained substrate is preferable, which is gentle on their fins and supports plant life for their environment.
  • Pump: If the filter does not provide adequate water movement, an air pump can aid in oxygenation without creating excessive current.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting simulates the natural light of their habitat, encouraging plant growth and displaying the Angelfish’s vibrant colors.

2. Cory Catfish: Tank Setup

Cory Catfish’s tank setup demands attention to the bottom of the aquarium, where they spend most of their time, and requires gentle filtration to not disturb their delicate barbels.

  • Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate: Cory Catfish are sensitive to poor water quality; their tanks must have a cycled filter system that keeps ammonia and nitrites at 0 ppm and nitrates low.
  • Tank Size: They need at least a 20-gallon tank to accommodate a small group, ensuring enough bottom space for foraging.
  • Foliage: Soft-leaved plants and low-lying foliage like java ferns create a natural environment for Corys to explore without damaging their barbels.
  • Decorations: Smooth decorations and caves give Corys places to rest and hide without sharp edges that could harm them.
  • Filter: A gentle filter that does not create a strong current is necessary, as Corys prefer calmer waters—sponge filters are often a good choice.
  • Heater: A stable heater to maintain the temperature between 72°F to 78°F is essential for mimicking their native tropical waters.
  • Substrate: Fine sand or smooth gravel is crucial to prevent damage to the sensitive barbels of Cory Catfish while they sift for food.
  • Pump: An air pump is beneficial for oxygenation, especially in densely stocked tanks, but the current should be diffused to avoid stressing the Corys.
  • Lighting: Subdued lighting is adequate for Cory Catfish, reflecting the dimmer conditions of their natural habitat and reducing stress.

The Dietary Requirements of Angelfish and Cory Catfish

The dietary needs of Angelfish and Cory Catfish vary due to their natural feeding habits.

The following table shows what to feed them individually and what works for both in the same tank.

Dietary RequirementsAngelfishCory CatfishBoth Types
Food TypesFlake food, brine shrimp, bloodwormsSinking pellets, live foodsVaried diet of flakes, pellets, and live foods
QuantityConsumed in 30 seconds, 2-3 times/dayAs much as they can eat in 5 minutes, 1-2 times/dayModerate amounts to ensure no overfeeding
Feeding ScheduleOnce in the morning and eveningOnce in the eveningTwice daily, considering both species’ habits

1. Angelfish: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Angelfish are omnivores with a preference for high-protein foods, reflecting their diverse diet in the wild.

It is essential to provide a balanced diet that includes both plant and animal matter to maintain their health and vibrant colors.

  • Food Types: Angelfish diet should consist of quality flake food, frozen or live brine shrimp, bloodworms, and occasional vegetable matter like blanched spinach.
  • Quantity: Adult Angelfish should be fed an amount they can consume in 30 seconds to avoid overfeeding, typically two to three times a day.
  • Feeding Schedule: A consistent feeding schedule of once in the morning and once in the evening is recommended, ensuring a balanced intake and reducing stress.

2. Cory Catfish: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Cory Catfish are bottom feeders and primarily scavengers, but they require a well-rounded diet to stay healthy.

They benefit from sinking foods that reach the bottom and contain a mix of vegetable and meaty foods.

  • Food Types: A balanced diet for Cory Catfish includes sinking pellets or wafers, supplemented with live and frozen foods such as daphnia or tubifex worms.
  • Quantity: They should be given as much food as they can eat in five minutes once or twice a day, ensuring leftovers are minimal to prevent water quality issues.
  • Feeding Schedule: Feed Cory Catfish once in the evening when they are most active, allowing them to forage naturally and maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.

How to Introduce Your Angelfish to a Tank with Cory Catfish

Introducing Angelfish to a tank with Cory Catfish should be done gradually and with care to ensure both species adjust well to each other.

It’s crucial to monitor the Angelfish’s behavior closely during the initial phase to prevent any potential aggression.

  • Quarantine Period: Before introduction, quarantine the Angelfish for at least 2 weeks to ensure they are free from diseases that could be transmitted to the Cory Catfish.
  • Tank Acclimation: Acclimate the Angelfish to the tank’s water parameters by floating them in their bag and gradually mixing in small amounts of tank water over an hour.
  • Feeding Beforehand: Feed both the Angelfish and Cory Catfish prior to introduction to reduce competition and aggression over food during their first encounter.
  • Observation: Keep a close eye on the Angelfish for the first few hours to observe their interactions with the Cory Catfish and intervene if any aggressive behavior is noted.
  • Environmental Enrichment: Ensure the tank has plenty of hiding spots and space to retreat, which can help diffuse tension and provide sanctuary for Cory Catfish if chased by Angelfish.

Tips for Keeping Angelfish with Cory Catfish

To successfully keep Angelfish with Cory Catfish, one must create a harmonious environment that caters to the needs of both species.

This includes maintaining optimal water conditions and providing a tank layout that allows both species to exhibit natural behaviors without stress.

  • Balanced Diet: Offer a varied diet that satisfies both the Angelfish’s need for protein and the Cory Catfish’s requirement for bottom-dwelling food sources.
  • Spacious Tank: Choose a tank size that provides ample space for swimming at different levels; a minimum of 30 gallons is advisable to prevent overcrowding.
  • Gentle Filtration: Use a filtration system that keeps the water clean while creating a gentle flow, as Cory Catfish prefer calmer waters and Angelfish do not enjoy strong currents.
  • Plenty of Hiding Spots: Equip the tank with plenty of plants and decorations to serve as hiding spots for Cory Catfish and vertical structures for Angelfish territories.
  • Proper Substrate: Opt for a smooth, fine substrate to protect the Cory Catfish’s barbels and allow for their natural foraging behavior.
  • Regular Monitoring: Keep a vigilant eye on interactions, especially during feeding times and when new fish are introduced to the aquarium.
  • Stable Water Parameters: Regularly test and maintain water parameters within the ideal range for both species (pH 6.5–7.5, temperature 76–80°F) to ensure a stress-free environment.

Best Tank Mates for Angelfish and Cory Catfish

Choosing the best tank mates for Angelfish and Cory Catfish involves selecting species that are peaceful and can thrive in similar water conditions.

It is important to pick fish that will not outcompete either Angelfish or Cory Catfish for food and habitat.

  • Dwarf Gourami: These peaceful fish are a good choice; their top dwelling nature and gentle temperament make them unlikely to conflict with either Angelfish or Cory Catfish.
  • Mollies and Platies: Livebearers like mollies and platies are great companions due to their peaceful nature and similar dietary requirements to Angelfish and Cory Catfish.
  • Cardinal Tetras: These tetras are excellent because they prefer the middle water layer, are peaceful, and their schooling behavior makes them less of a target for Angelfish.
  • Bristlenose Plecos: A good choice for algae control, they are non-aggressive and coexist well with Angelfish and Cory Catfish without competing for the same space.
  • Cherry Barbs: They are peaceful, small enough to not intimidate Cory Catfish, and active enough to keep up with Angelfish without encroaching on their territory.
  • Rasboras: Harlequin Rasboras, in particular, are peaceful schooling fish that thrive in the same water parameters as Angelfish and Cory Catfish and tend to stay out of their way.

Also Read: Can Plecos And Angelfish Live Together?

Cherry Barb


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Angelfish and Cory Catfish can coexist peacefully in a tank, sharing similar pH and temperature requirements, and exhibiting compatible behaviors.
  • While Angelfish are semi-aggressive and territorial, they occupy different tank areas than the peaceful, bottom-dwelling Cory Catfish, reducing conflict potential.
  • A well-planned aquarium with a fine substrate, ample hiding spaces, and a varied diet can accommodate the environmental and nutritional needs of both species.
  • Proper water conditions are crucial, with both types of fish thriving in temperatures between 76°F and 80°F, and a pH level maintained between 6.5 and 7.5.
  • Introducing Angelfish to a Cory Catfish tank requires a quarantine period, acclimation to water parameters, and monitoring to manage aggression, ensuring a smooth transition.