Can Ghost Shrimp Live With Cory Catfish? (The Complete Guide)

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When I first got familiar with ghost shrimp, I couldn’t help but wonder whether they can get along with fish. As I had a lot of experience with Cory catfish, I considered mixing the two species. Over the years, I learned that both species can live together in the same tank, but some steps should be done first.

Ghost shrimp can live with Cory catfish as both creatures are close in size and feature similar water requirements, including temperature, pH, and water hardness. Also, both ghost shrimp and Corys are peaceful scavengers, so they are not likely to compete over food.

As we move forward, I will take you step-by-step through the procedure of mixing ghost shrimp with Cory catfish. I will also list what kinds of Corys you should pick, and what types you should avoid.

Can Ghost Shrimp Live With Cory Catfish?

Generally, it shouldn’t be hard to grow ghost shrimp with Cory catfish. This is what you should know:

1. Corys And Ghost Shrimp Are About The Same Size

When aquarium creatures are different in size, the big ones usually bully the smaller ones. This is not the case with Cory catfish and ghost shrimp as they are about the same size. Cory catfish are typically 1 to 2.5 inches,[1] while ghost shrimp are about 1.5 inches in length.[2]

Obviously, there are exceptions. Baby ghost shrimp are tiny, and the same is true for cory catfish fry. As I will explain later on, that might be a problem. But in a normal scenario, when both your ghost shrimp and Corys are adults, the size differences are not an issue.

2. Ghost Shrimp And Cory Catfish Are Both Peaceful

Cory catfish and ghost shrimp have similar personalities. They are generally peaceful with other tank mates, so you can keep them together in the same tank without any problems. However, their behavior depends on the general state of the aquarium.

When fish or shrimp get stressed, they tend to act much more aggressively. This makes the fish and shrimp into scary creatures that can easily start fights with other tank mates. In this case, you may have to separate them. 

But in normal aquarium settings, the catfish and shrimp are unlikely to start fights with each other. In the second part of this article, I will show you how to manage your aquarium, including the water parameters. That will ensure your fish and shrimp remain calm.

3. Both Species Require Similar Water Conditions

Cory catfish and ghost shrimp have similar water requirements. Therefore, you can keep both species together in the same aquarium. Of course, their demands are not identical, although there is a significant overlap.

These are the ideal water parameters for ghost shrimp:[3]

  • Temperature: 65°-75°F (18.3°-23.8°C)
  • GH: 3-10 dGH (50-166.7 ppm)
  • KH: 3-15 dKH (53.6-268 ppm)
  • pH: 7.0-8.0
  • Nitrates: < 20 ppm
  • Ammonia and Nitrites: 0 ppm.

These are the ideal water parameters for Cory catfish:[4]

  • Temperature: 74°-80°F (23.3°-26.6°C)
  • GH: 5-10 dGH (89.5-180 ppm)
  • KH: 3-10 dKH (53.6-178.6ppm)
  • pH: 7.0-8.0
  • Nitrates: < 20 ppm
  • Ammonia and Nitrites: 0 ppm.

As you can see, most of the water parameters overlap. The only issue is the temperature, as ghost shrimp require slightly colder water. However, it is worth mentioning that ghost shrimp can live in 80°F (23.3°-26.6°C). But that may cause molting issues in the future.

That is why keeping the water temperature at 75°F (24°C) is best when keeping both ghost shrimp and Cory catfish. This allows both creatures to reproduce efficiently and remain healthy.

4. Ghost Shrimp And Corys Can Share Food

Both ghost shrimp and Cory catfish feed on algae and micro-organisms. Therefore, you can have both creatures in the same tank without worrying about their diet. Moreover, Corys and ghost shrimp are not picky eaters, so they can share the same food without problems.

Of course, you have to be careful about not overfeeding these animals. Overfeeding can cause them to fight for food or become constipated. If that happens, it is likely that one of the creatures will eventually drive the other out of its territory.

Some aquarists believe that if both creatures are scavengers, they may fight for food. But from my experience, that is rarely the case. If you’re keeping a school of Corys, they are more likely to scavenge alongside your ghost shrimp, rather than competing with them.

5. The Cory Catfish’s Mouth Is Too Small For Ghost Shrimp

As was mentioned earlier, even peaceful creatures can become aggressive when facing stress. That may cause them to attack each other. However, neither ghost shrimp nor Cory catfish have the tools to harm one another.

Cory catfish have suckers for mouths, which, while effective at catching food, are quite small. The mouth of a Cory catfish is too small to capture a ghost shrimp, let alone injure it. The same is true for ghost shrimp, which can hardly harm your Corys’ stiff skin.

How To Make Cory Catfish And Ghost Shrimp Coexist?

Fish and shrimp can be kept together, but their relationship depends on aquarists. For instance, if you keep the water parameters at their ideal levels, your fish and shrimp are likely to remain peaceful. Consider the following:

1. Monitor The Water Parameters

In a tank that holds both ghost shrimp and Cory catfish, these are the ideal water parameters:

  • Temperature: 74-75°F (23-24°C)
  • GH: 5-10 dGH (89.5-180 ppm)
  • KH: 3-10 dKH (53.6-178.6ppm)
  • pH: 7.0-8.0
  • Nitrates: < 20 ppm
  • Ammonia and Nitrites: 0 ppm.

It is very important to monitor the water parameters regularly. The best way to do this is to buy a water testing kit. With this, you can test the water parameters yourself at home and find out if they are at the ideal levels.

I personally use the API Water Test Kit (link to Amazon), which efficiently measures the pH, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. It comes with all the tools you will need for testing, including a test vial, color chart, and instructions.

To measure the water hardness, I highly recommend getting the AQUA CARE PRO (link to Amazon). Besides the testing stripes, this bundle comes with an e-book that takes you through the method step-by-step. You also get a 24/7 support system, so you can ask for advice if you have any questions.

If you notice that the ammonia and nitrites are above 0 ppm, or the nitrates are above 20 ppm, it is best to replace the water more frequently. As a rule of thumb, I change 15 to 20 percent of the water each week.

You may also consider the API TAP Water Conditioner (link to Amazon), which neutralizes toxins like ammonia, chlorine, and chloramine. It will also prevent them from spiking in the future. So it is worth considering even everything is okay with your water.

2. Keep Your Cory Catfish In A School

Cory catfish are usually shy and prefer to hide in caves and holes. On the other hand, ghost shrimp are usually more active and tend to wander around in schools. But they can even swarm your Cory catfish, making them vulnerable to attack.

That is why I suggest keeping your Corys in a school of at least six individuals. This will make them less likely to be attacked by other fish or shrimp. Moreover, it will also give them a better chance at reproducing.

3. Avoid Overcrowding Your Tank

To avoid overcrowding, you should keep a tank of at least 20 gallons. That will also allow a school of six Corys to swim freely. If you’re using a smaller tank, be sure to check the water parameters every day and make adjustments as necessary.

You may also consider purchasing an additional filter module or two, especially if you notice that your tank gets cloudy or dirty quite quickly. Or consider switching to frequent water changes.

Regarding ghost shrimp, it is best to keep up to four per gallon.[5] That is the right number if you wish to see them breed. Also, a group of ghost shrimp will make them feel more secure, which will make them less likely to attack other fish.

Keeping too many ghost shrimp will pollute your tank, and may make them too comfortable, so that they may even attack other living creatures. If your ghost shrimp multiply rapidly, consider selling some of them, or dividing them into several tanks.

4. Introduce A Few Hiding Spots

To avoid any aggressive behavior, provide both your ghost shrimp and Cory catfish with plenty of hiding spots. Hiding spots will make them feel more secure, and less likely to attack one another.

Shrimp tubes are a great option, as they provide a cozy space for both creatures. You can also go for artificial plants and cave decorations made of rock. These will provide additional hiding places and make your creatures feel more secure.

Hiding places are especially crucial if you’re growing other types of fish or shrimp in your tank. On that matter, here are two articles where I discussed what fish can live with ghost shrimp, and what shrimp can live with them in the same tank

5. Don’t Overfeed Your Tank

Overfeeding your tank will only make your fish and shrimp more aggressive, as they may choose to compete over food. In addition, it will pollute the water, which may on its own cause stress and aggressive tendencies.

Even though ghost shrimp and Corys can survive on the same diet, most aquarists feed them different kinds of food. For example, shrimp typically eat dedicated shrimp granules, while Corys eat a variety of foods.

Either way, I suggest that you feed your ghost shrimp the amount of food they can finish within two to three hours.[6] Fish, on the other hand, should be fed the amount they can finish within five to ten minutes.[7]

Luckily, both ghost shrimp and Corys are scavengers, meaning that they will eat the leftover from the bottom of your tank. They will also consume algae, so you shouldn’t worry about them getting starved. In this particular case, it is better to feed them less than more.

6. Separate Pregnant Ghost Shrimp

As mentioned above, Corys don’t have the tools to eat adult ghost shrimp, as their mouths are too small. However, they do have the ability to baby ghost shrimp or ghost shrimp eggs. This is why I suggest separating pregnant ghost shrimp into a different tank.

Luckily, spotting a pregnant ghost shrimp is quite easy. Since these creatures are transparent, you can see when they are carrying eggs. Typically, you’ll see a batch of green eggs in the pregnant ghost shrimp’s tail. 

You’ll also notice that the female spends more time hiding. That may indicate she’s about to lay her eggs, and you should remove her immediately. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about the female Cory’s eggs.

As I previously discussed in this article, ghost shrimp will not eat viable fish eggs. They only eat dead fish eggs that have gone rotten, which actually works in your favor. Yet, as they are opportunist eaters, they may eat Cory fry as they hatch. Therefore, you may want to separate pregnant Cory catfish as well.

7. Pick The Right Types Of Cory Catfish

If you consider growing ghost shrimp with Cory catfish, it is best to pick those that don’t grow large. If they are getting too big, the Corys may nibble on your ghost shrimp, and potentially kill them.

These Corys don’t grow above 2 inches and can be kept with ghost shrimp:[8]

  • Sterbai cory (Corydoras sterbai)
  • Pygmy cory (Corydoras pygmaeus)
  • Panda corydoras (Corydoras panda)
  • Similis cory(Corydoras similis)

These Corys can grow up to 3 inches, and should be avoided:

  • Barbatus cory (Scleromystax barbatus)
  • Albino corydoras (Corydoras aeneus)
  • Hognose brochis (Brochis multiradiatus)

There are different types of ghost shrimp as well, although their size differences are not as drastic. So you have more room in the shrimp department. If you’re considering adding other types of fish to your ghost shrimp tank, make sure they do not exceed 2.5 inches.

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Ghost shrimp and Cory catfish are both fascinating creatures, which can survive in the same tank. Just be sure to select the right number of each, as well as the right types of Corys. Avoid overcrowding, prevent overfeeding, and provide your tank with plenty of hiding spots.

That will give each creature a better chance at developing into a nice-looking adult fish, while also avoiding aggressive behavior that may lead to injuries or death. And of course, you’ll also be able to enjoy their company while they grow up.

The only exceptions are Cory catfish fry and ghost shrimp eggs. Generally, I suggest removing pregnant ghost shrimp and Corys from the community tank. Baby ghost shrimp can easily be eaten by adult Corys and the other way around.