There could be a few reasons your cory catfish swim at the top of the tank. The first possibility is that he’s looking for food. If his water contains adequate nutrients and enough feeding areas near the surface, he may swim up to find them. Another possible explanation is that your cory catfish might be experiencing stress or anxiety. For example, swimming high in an aquarium indicates something isn’t quite right. If you can’t identify the source of the stress or anxiety, it might be a good idea to take your cory catfish to a qualified fish keeper for assessment.
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General Behavior of Cory Catfish
Cory cats are active and curious fish that enjoy swimming in their tank. They’re also suitable for beginner aquarists because they are tolerant of various water conditions and can be easily maintained with the proper care. For example, if you find that your cory catfish is swimming at the top of his tank, removing some plants or decorations from the tank might be a good idea to make more room and reduce his stress levels.
What to Do When Cory Catfish Swim All Over the Aquarium?
If you find that your cory catfish are swimming all over the tank, it might be a good idea to remove some of the plants and decorations from the tank to make more room for him. This will give him more accessible access to food and reduce his stress levels. You can also try adding some new ornamentals or plant species to see if that helps calm your fish. If none of these solutions work, take him to a fish keeper for evaluation.
How Can You Tell if a Cory Catfish Is Stressed?
Stress is the number one reason why cory catfish stays at the top of an aquarium for too long, and the list of causes and symptoms does not stop there.
If you’re unsure how to tell if your cory catfish is stressed, you can try adding some new ornamentals or plant species to the tank and observe his behavior. If he appears more content and less stressed, keeping him in the tank might be a good idea. However, if he continues to swim at the top of the tank or shows any other signs of stress, such as increased aggression or erratic swimming behavior, taking him to a fish keeper for the evaluation would be a brilliant idea.
A stressed catfish will remain inactive and often hide in corners or under aquarium rocks. In some cases, he might even lose appetite and swim erratically. Additionally, his fins will waste away, making it difficult for the fish to maneuver.
Shortness of Breath
If a catfish is stressed, he will often gasp for air, and he might raise his dorsal (back) fin. He may also exhibit other signs of stress, such as increased aggression or poor swimming behavior. Plus, if your fish is stressed, he might be more likely to possess parasitic diseases that could infect other fishes in the tank.
Loss of Appetite
If your catfish is stressed, he will likely stop eating. He may also show signs of aggression or poor swimming behavior to protect himself. In addition, stressed fish often produce less saliva and may develop dental issues.
Unstable Swimming Patterns
If your catfish is stressed, he may change his swimming patterns. For example, he might move around the tankless or hang out near the bottom of the tank. In addition, he might anxiously dart back and forth or swim at the top of the tank.
Aquarium Parameters and Conditions for Cory Catfish
If you’re unsure what the habitat parameters for cory cats are, it might be a good idea to take your fish to a qualified fish keeper for assessment. However, cory cats should generally inhabit tanks with an ocean or brackish water setting and pH levels ranging from 7.0-8.0. Adult corys typically require about 36 inches of tank space and 10 gallons of water per inch of body length.
How to Treat Catfish That Stay at the Top for Too Long?
If your fish swim at the top of their tank and none of the above solutions have worked, it might be a good idea to take them to a qualified fish keeper for assessment. However, in general, if you find that your cory catfish is swimming all over the tank, it might be a good idea to remove some plants or decorations from the tank to make more room for him and reduce his stress levels. Or you may try to:
Adjust the Water Parameters
If the tank’s water parameters are incompatible with your cory catfish, you may want to adjust them. For example, if the pH level is too high or low, you can change it using fish-safe additives or brine. You should also ensure that the water’s temperature is appropriate for your catfish’s species and add salt if necessary.
Remove Some Plants and Decorations
If your catfish is swimming at the top of his tank, removing any plants or decorations from the tank might be a good idea to make more room for him and reduce his stress levels. This will give him plenty of space to swim around without feeling crowded.
Remove Aquarium Toxins
If the water in your tank contains toxins, you may want to get rid of them. You can do this by clarifying the water or consuming activated carbon tablets. Moreover, you can also try adding a bacterial filter to your tank.
Enrich the Water With Oxygen
If the tank’s water doesn’t have enough oxygen, you may want to add an air pump and an aerating stone to increase its oxygen levels. Furthermore, you can also add live plants to the tank to release oxygen into the water.
Treat Swim Bladder Disease
If your catfish is swimming at the top of his tank, treating swim bladder disease might be a good idea. Swim bladder disease is when the fish can’t urinate or defecate often and adequately swims at the top of their tank. Treatment for this condition typically includes drugs, surgery, and dietary changes.