7 Best Plants for Cory Catfish | Aquascape Addiction

7 Best Plants for Cory Catfish

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

We have narrowed it down to these particular 7 as the best plants for Cory Catfish, here is why and what type of plants work well for these fish.

7 Best Plants for Cory Catfish

Cory catfish are some really cool little scavengers. Yeah, bottom feeders have a bad rep in some people’s eyes, but the fact of the matter is that a group of cory catfish make for a great cleanup crew. They’ll eat uneaten food, plant matter, and other detritus too.

Now, just like virtually all other fish you might keep in an aquarium, cory catfish need to have certain things in their tank, with one of these things being the right plants. Today we are going to cover what we feel are some of the best plants for Cory Catfish and why.

Java Fern Our Top Pick 9.4 / 10
Amazon Sword Good plant for privacy 8.8 / 10
Anubias Nana Very hardy plant 8.7 / 10
Water Sprite Floating Plant 8.3 / 10

Do Cory Catfish Need Live Plants?

Yes, to mimic the natural environment of the cory catfish, you do want to provide these fish with lots of live plants.

Cory catfish are very peaceful, they are skittish and shy, and they really like to get cover and hide under and within plants. Therefore, yes, you absolutely need to provide your cory catfish with live plants, and lots of them too.

Of course, live plants also come with other benefits for aquariums too. One of the biggest benefits which live plants bring to an aquarium is oxygenation.

Not only do live plants help oxygenate fish tanks, but they also help provide a little bit of filtration too, not to mention that plants just make an aquarium look better and more natural.

Do Cory Catfish Eat Plants?

Cory catfish are bottom dweller and bottom feeders, and moreover, they are also scavengers, plus they are omnivores too. Cory catfish do enjoy eating pellets and flakes, plus they also like bottom feeder tablets and algae wafers too.

Cory catfish do sometimes eat plants, although they tend to stick more to scavenging dead or dying plant matter sitting on the bottom of the tank, rather than nibbling on live plants in a tank.

Yes, they may from time to time eat some live plants, but for the most part they stick to scavenging debris and detritus from the tank floor. Generally speaking, there is no need to worry about cory catfish devouring your live aquarium plants.

7 Best Plants for Cory Catfish

Here we have 7 different plants, all of which are more than ideal for cory catfish tanks, so let’s take a closer look at each of them

1. Java Fern

One of the best options for cory catfish in our opinion is java fern. Java fern features very long and fairly broad bright green leaves which definitely help add some color to a tank. These leaves are more than large enough to provide a bit of cover and privacy for catfish.

In terms of the size, the java fern will grow to around 12 inches in height at most, and it has a medium growth rate. In terms of its size, it makes for a good background plant and a decent midground plant too.

This plant is easy to maintain through trimming and easy to multiply through propagation too. The java fern does well with a good amount of light, although it does not have any special lighting requirements, nor does it need CO2.

The java fern is a very hardy plant that can easily survive with minimal care, and it can definitely survive in the same tank conditions and parameters as cory catfish.

The java fern is best planted in fine gravel or even in soil, but can also survive in sand as well.

Check pricing and more info at Amazon

2. Amazon Sword

The amazon sword plant is another great option for cory catfish tanks. These plants can grow to around 10 inches in height, or even a little more.

The feature very large, broad, and somewhat rounded leaves that come to a point at the end. The leaves have a very bright and vibrant green color. Due to the size of the amazon sword, it makes for a great background plant and can be a decent midground plant too.

Moreover, the leaves are a great shape and more than large enough to provide cory catfish with some privacy and cover from above.

This plant does well with a good deal of light, and with lots of light it will grow fast. That said, it can also survive in dimmer conditions, but it just won’t grow as fast. Either way, one thing you will need to do is trim it regularly, although overall maintenance needs are quite minimal.

Speaking of water conditions, the amazon sword will do fine in the same water parameters and tank conditions as cory catfish. In terms of planting, the amazon sword plant is best planted in fine gravel substrate.

Check pricing and more info at Amazon

3. Anubias Nana

Here we have a super hardy aquarium plant, one that can survive most aquarium conditions. It will thrive in the same conditions and temperature as cory catfish and is an overall easy plant to care for with very low maintenance needs.

The anubias nana has a fairly slow growth rate, which means that it requires minimal trimming. Yes, this plant does a lot better with lots of light, but will also survive just fine in lower light conditions too.

The anubias nana does best when planted in some basic gravel substrate, also making them ideal for cory catfish tanks.

This is a good plant for smaller tanks as it will grow to only 5 inches in height at the most, and it also grows outwards a bit too.

This makes it an ideal foreground or midground plant, especially for cory catfish tanks. The anubias nana features small and dark green rounded leaves which will provide a good deal of color to any tank.

The leaves on this plant are pretty densely packed together, which allows cory catfish to swim under the plant and through the leaves for a bit of privacy and security.

Check pricing and more info at Amazon

4. Water Sprite

Water sprite is yet another good plant to put in a cory catfish tank. Water sprite is a cool option because it can be planted in gravel and soil, or if you wish to do so, it can also be used as a floating plant.

As a floating plant, it can provide lots of cover from above, although it widens out quickly and can make for a messy look, so planting it in gravel is the recommendation here. This plant will grow to around 8 to 10 inches in height, making it a good background or midground plant.

This plant features long stems with lots of small green leaves on them. This plant’s leaves are not very dense, which is not the best for cover, but it does allow cory catfish to swim around, under, and through these plants with ease, plus the green does also look quite nice too.

One thing to note is that this plant grows very fast with lots of light, but it can be kept in lower light levels too. It just won’t grow as fast in dimmer light, which may actually be beneficial in terms of maintenance. It’s a fairly low maintenance plant overall.

Check pricing and more info at Amazon

5. Moss Balls

Moss balls are always a cool option to go with for most aquariums. Of course, these bright green moss balls look very neat and they help add a lot of color to any tank as well.

Moreover, moss balls are some of the best natural aquarium filters out there and they have the ability to remove a lot of contaminants from a tank.

Moreover, of course a moss ball is not going to provide any cover for cory catfish. However, on the other hand, a lot of plant matter and uneaten food gets stuck in their mass, thus allowing cory catfish to pick through them and scavenge for food all day long.

Keep in mind that each moss ball is going to be around 2 inches in diameter, making them ideal for any position in the tank. These moss balls will survive just fine in the same tank setup and water conditions as your cory catfish require.

Also, these moss balls do very well when they get a good amount of light, although they can also survive in lower light conditions and really don’t need much special treatment at all.

Check pricing and more info at Amazon

6. Hornwort

In terms of its size and shape, hornwort definitely makes for one of the best aquarium plants for cory catfish tanks. This plant features the appearance kind of like the branches of a pine tree, with lots of little leaves that look like densely packed needles.

This is good for a couple of reasons, first because the big, bushy, and needle like branches provide for a lot of awesome cover from above.

Next, although the leaves look like little needles, they are still quite soft, thus allowing cory catfish to swim under and through them with ease.

Finally, the densely packed foliage will catch a lot of other dead plant matter and uneaten food which cory catfish can then forage for. This is a bright green plant with lots of color and personality to add to any tank.

Hornwort can easily grow to a foot in height and it is a very fast growing plant. Now, in terms of its growth rate, you will need to trim it often to keep it from getting too large, but that said, this is one of the easiest to trim aquarium plants out there.

On that same note, hornwort grows very fast in high light conditions, but it can survive in lower light levels too. It just won’t grow as fast. Hornwort is best planted in gravel substrate.

Check pricing and more info at Amazon

7. Java Moss

Cory catfish will also appreciate having some java moss in the tank. Java moss can be placed on gravel or even better is to tie it down to rocks, driftwood, and other decorations.

Java moss is a carpeting plant that grows outwards quite quickly and forms a very dense carpet. It will not grow more than about 2 inches in height, but will form a dense carpet of thick greenery.

No, it will not provide any cover for your cory catfish, but it does absorb a lot of uneaten food and dead plant matter which cory catfish can forage for. Java moss has no special CO2 or lighting needs, although it will grow much faster with lots of light.

In terms of care and maintenance, this is a very easy to care for plant with minimal maintenance needs, plus it can survive just fine in the same water conditions as cory catfish.

Check pricing and more info at Amazon


As you can see, cory catfish are not very picky when it comes to the live plants in the tank. They do fine with most plants as long as they can rest or hide under them, hide within their bushes, or simply forage for food out of dense plant carpets too.

There really is not too much work or efforts that needs to be put into choosing the right plants for cory catfish. Most basic aquarium plants are candidates for cory catfish tanks.