Do Cory Catfish Like Currents? – Corydoras Best Current Rate

Increasing water flow can benefit your aquarium fish by providing physical and engaging activity. Swimming against or through moving water gives fish the necessary physical activity to properly grow and develop their muscles.

However, not all fish like having currents in their living water. Some small fish, for example, can easily get stressed by a high water current, while other bigger fish like tetras and barbs are likely to enjoy faster water. 

As being tropical fish like tetras, do cory catfish like currents? So, this article will help you find the right answer. 

Do Cory Catfish Like Currents?

The answer is yes; cory catfish enjoy playing in the water currents. They are tropical fish that come from rivers and streams, in which the water flow is sometimes quite fast, meaning that their habitat naturally has currents. These fish don’t just tolerate a strong current, but they rely on one to stay happy and healthy.

Moreover, experienced breeders claim that the strong currents/fast-flowing water helps their spawning. This is because in the wild, during cory catfish breeding season, the rivers usually flow faster than usual after heavy rainfalls.

Water Current Rate For Aquarium Cory Catfish

So, are all cory catfish like currents in fast-flow water? I would say that it depends on the species of corydoras you want to keep and mix.

Corydoras are native to the rivers of South America, meaning most of them enjoy having a bit current or strong current in their aquarium. But rivers also have still pools with slow or still waters, so maybe not all like currents. For example:

  • Both Aspidoras pauciradiatus (Corydoras pauciradiatus) and Corydoras robineae prefer more currents to other cory catfish species. The Corydoras panda are said to love playing in the current and spawn in current-presented areas.
  • Meanwhile, the Corydoras sterbai prefer the well-filtered and low water current environment. In addition to that, the Corydoras hasbrosus, which are native to lagoons, streams, and slow-flowing waters, do not really like to have a lot of current in their water environment.
Aspidoras pauciradiatus like more currents in their water environment than other cory catfish
Aspidoras pauciradiatus like more currents in their water environment than other cory catfish

However, you should be careful with the current level you introduce to the tank since it will affect your cory catfish life.

  • Too strong water current in your entire tank can cause stress to your cory catfish.
  • Even though cory catfish enjoy high flows and often dance in areas with them, they also require quiet areas for resting and feeding. Make sure your tank has a few areas where the flow is low or still so they can rest (rock, slate, and plants are great options). 
  • When having cory catfish, you should make sure to adjust the flow rate to the level they prefer. You can keep it low for the first week so they don’t get stressed and adjust gradually with close observation.

How To Tell If The Current Is Too Strong For Cory Catfish?

Too strong current will make your cory catfish stress. So you should keep an eye on your fish and adjust the water flow. Here are some signs that could show that the water current in the aquarium is too strong for your cory catfish:

  • If your cory catfish are not able to lay on the substrate and are pushed around by the currents, this means the current is too strong for them. 
  • Cory catfish can breathe a small amount of air through a labyrinth organ, so they occasionally swim to the water surface to breathe. When you see they are slammed against the glass while surfacing or cannot surface, it signifies a strong current. In this case, you should turn down the current or redirect the output.

Other Important Water Parameters For Cory Catfish To Thrive

Besides the current rate, some of the water parameters are also crucial to cory catfish health, including:

  • Temperature: Generally, corydoras prefer water from 71.6 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • pH level: The pH preferences of corydoras may differ depending on their species or the PH they have been kept in previously, but a pH of 6.5-7.5 should be fine for most of them. Remember that maintaining a steady pH level is more crucial than trying to keep the pH of your tank at the ideal point.
  • Oxygenation: CCorydoras prefer water with good oxygenation. You can increase the amount of oxygen in your aquarium by relocating the filter to where it agitates the water more at the top or installing an air pump with an airstone.
  • Nitrates: The cory catfish are extremely sensitive to nitrates. Do regular water changes and add live plants into your cory catfish’s aquarium to reduce the nitrate levels and keep the tank clean. If you get confused in choosing suitable plants for your cory catfish, you can read this article for reference: Top 8 Best Plants For Cory Catfish.

Video: Corydoras Playing (Murmuration) In The Water Current In 75 Gal Tank


How to increase the water current in my aquarium?

You can increase the water movement by utilizing a powerhead and a wavemaker to simulate the alternating water currents and waves found in nature in your aquarium.

How to reduce the water current in my aquarium?

It would be a good idea to add a sponge over the intake, which would slow down the flow or create a baffle for your fish tank filter.


Most cory catfish like currents due to their native river habitat. You can know your cory catfish’s preferred water current levels based on the spices you keep in your aquarium. The strong or low currents can be determined depending on each species.

Choosing minimum current for the new cory catfish is recommended to avoid stress, and then, observing their behavior to make suitable adjustments. Also, you should provide slow-movement areas for them to rest and feed.

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