Why Is My Cory Catfish Laying on Its Side: Most Common Reasons and What to Do

If you’re anything like us, you love your pets, but you don’t always have the time or space to take care of them properly. That’s where cory catfish come in! These fish are an excellent option for those who want to keep a pet but don’t have the time or patience to care for a freshwater fish. Cory catfish are easy to take care of, but they’re also exciting and entertaining to watch. However, things can happen that might cause us to worry.

Cory catfish may lay on its side because of illness or injury, so it’s essential to take your cory catfish to a qualified fish doctor for a diagnosis. Additionally, your cory catfish might have trouble getting enough food if the fish are not in good health, so make sure to put them on a diet for at least five days before you give up and decide that your cory catfish is sick. It’s also possible that they got an infection or parasites from fighting with other fish. Poor nutrition can eventually lead to poor health.

Most Common Reasons Why Cory Catfish Is Laying on Its Side

They’re Resting – Don’t Worry!

The Cory Catfish is a bottom-feeder fish, and as such, it will often rest its head on the substrate when it feels tired. This might be because there isn’t enough food available to warrant chasing down prey in the current environment. In addition, the water is going through dryer spells, and you may not have cool enough, clean water for them to feel comfortable resting on.

Swim Bladder Problems

If your cory catfish is consistently lying on its side and does not seem to be doing well, it might be good to take them for a check-up with a qualified fish doctor. Swim bladder issues could be another issue at play if your cory catfish is constantly lying on its side. Swim Bladder problems are among the most common causes of fish death in aquariums and can often take weeks or even months to resolve. If your fish does not respond well to traditional treatments, it may be necessary for a specialist to remove the swim bladder. Additionally, the fish may not be able to swim, eat or breathe generally if the cyst is ruptured.

Stress Due to Overcrowding

It’s also possible that your cory catfish is experiencing stress due to overcrowding or other environmental factors. If you notice that the fish are not eating or seem sluggish, it might be good to transfer them into a larger tank. Additionally, if you see the fish showing any swelling or discomfort, it is essential to get them medical care immediately.

Swim Bladder Damage

If your cory catfish has swim bladder damage, it will become severely handicapped and may even die. Swim bladder problems can occur due to infections, parasitic infestations, or other trauma to the organ. For example, suppose you notice any unusual behavior in your fish that could indicate swim bladder issues (excessive swimming). In that case, it’s essential to take them for a check-up with a qualified fish doctor immediately. Additionally, if you notice any redness or swelling of the dorsal fins and fish skin, your cory catfish may be suffering.

Cause of Swim Bladder Issues

Swim bladder issues can be caused by several different factors, including infection, damage from parasites or cancer, and congenital disabilities. For example, suppose you notice any unusual changes in your fish’s behavior or appearance. In that case, it’s essential to take them for a check-up with a qualified veterinarian as soon as possible. Additionally, notice anything notable such as excessive swimming, the red fins, or discharge of the fish’s skin. It might be a good idea to have your cory catfish evaluated.


If swim bladder issues are identified, the first step will be to treat the underlying problem. For example, if it’s an infection, antibiotics will be prescribed to help fight off the fungus. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary to remove or reconstruct the swim bladder. Regardless of the cause of swim bladder problems, patience and treatment are always vital; often, 92% of fish that suffer from this condition make a full recovery.

Other Causes of Unusual Side-Laying

There are several other reasons why your cory catfish might be swimming unusually, and it’s essential to seek out professional help if you suspect any of these issues. For example, if your fish displays signs of parasitic infestation (such as excessive itching), they may need medication and treatment from a qualified veterinarian. In addition, if you notice that your fish is struggling to swim or has stopped swimming altogether, it might be a good idea to take them to the vet for an evaluation. Additionally, if your fish is showing signs of cancer (such as swollen lymph nodes), they may require treatment beyond what can be provided through medication and surgery.

Is It Possible That My Cory Is Playing Dead?

No, cory catfish do not typically play dead. However, if you are concerned about your fish’s health and notice that he is exhibiting abnormal behavior, such as excessive swimming or difficulty breathing, it would be best to have him evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.