Do Cory Catfish Barbels Grow Back?

Corydoras use their barbels to navigate the food in the substrate. Without their barbels, they will not be able to navigate the food and become weak by not eating. In such conditions, they will come under constant stress and become prone to various diseases and parasites.

Many fish keepers come with the query that are corydoras able to regrow their barbels. So, Do cory catfish barbels grow back? Let us find out.

Cory catfish barbels will grow back when you provide your corydoras with clean and good water conditions and feed them regularly. Poor water conditions, stress, and illness are the reason behind such issues. Do regular water changes and choose the right substrate to prevent such problems.

This article will discuss whether cory catfish barbels grow back, and we will know the reason behind such issues. Also, we will discuss prevention to take for avoiding such problems. So, let us get into it.

Will my cory catfish barbels will recover back?

Corydoras will regrow their barbels back when provided with good water conditions.

Make sure to perform a regular water change to keep the water crystal clean.

If your cory catfish barbles have been injured, they will be vulnerable to various infections and parasites from dirty water. So, make sure to keep the water conditions good.

Keep the nitrite and ammonia level at 0ppm and nitrate below 20ppm.

Provide them with a stress-free environment, and their barbels will regrow.

Their barbels will recover within 3-4 weeks when kept in a right conditions.

It is possible that they will not recover their barbels fully if they have lost their barrels.

However, your corydoras will do fine without barbels if kept in the right conditions. Just ensure easy access of food to them and avoid adding any aggressive fish to their tank.

What are the reasons behind my cory catfish barbels gone?

These all are the reason behind your cory catfish losing their barbels:

  1. The substrate of your cory catfish tank is hard and sharp.
  2. Your cory catfish is exposed to poor water conditions.
  3. Your cory catfish is suffering from illness.
  4. Your cory catfish is under stress.

Hard and sharp substrate

Cory catfish are bottom dwellers and spend most of their time scavenging on the bottom, searching for food.

They use their barbels to navigate the food in the substrate and then use their mouth to dig into the substrate and suck the food.

Adding hard and sharp substrates like sharp rock and pebbles will harm your cory catfish.

Your cory catfish will try to dig into the substrate and end up harming its barbels and body.

They can also lose their barbels trying to dig into the hard and sharp substrate.

Poor water conditions

Cory catfish are hardy fish and can live in a wide range of water parameters and conditions.

However, keeping your cory catfish in poor water will end up damaging their skin and body, including their barbels.

This is because there will be a high risk of ammonia poisoning in your tank, which will affect your cory catfish by burning their skin, fins, and body. 

Even a small percentage of ammonia and nitrite can make your cory catfish suffer from life-threatening conditions, and even they can pass away.

Also read: Can Cory Catfish Live In Brackish Water?


Cory catfish use their barbels to navigate and taste the food. 

While doing their activity of searching and tasting the food, their barbles can get nipped or can get injured.

Nipped barbels become vulnerable to various parasites and infections that result in the loss of barbles.

Fin rot can also make your cory catfish lose their barbels.

Also, the common cause of barbels dying off is fungi.


Stress can also be the reason behind your corydoras losing their barbels.

Cory catfish, under constant stress, will start to avoid eating and become weak.

A weak immune system will make them prone to various diseases and parasites, resulting in the loss of barbles.

There can be numerous reasons behind your cory catfish coming under stress:

  1. Poor water conditions
  2. Inadequate and unstable water parameters
  3. Presence of aggressive fish in their tank
  4. Lack of hiding spots
  5. Irregular supply of food
  6. Diseases and parasites
  7. Physical injury
  8. Overcrowded tank
  9. Living alone or in a small group
  10. An ammonia spike in the tank

Also read: How To Tell If A Cory Catfish Is Stressed?

How to prevent my cory catfish barbels from dying off?

Ensure these things to prevent your cory catfish barbels from dying off:

  1. Ensure good water condition of your cory catfish tank.
  2. Add sand as a substrate in your corydoras tank.
  3. Run proper maintenance of your cory catfish tank regularly.

Good water conditions

Providing your cory catfish with good water conditions will prevent such issues.

To ensure good water conditions, perform a weekly water change of 35%.

Treat the water using a water conditioner to dechlorinate it. 

ParticularsCory Catfish
Water conditionClean water condition
NitrateBelow 20ppm
This table shows the ideal water conditions for cory catfish.

We recommend using the API water conditioner as it will help you eliminate chlorine, chloramine, nitrite, ammonia, and heavy metals from the water.

You can buy this product on amazon: API TAP WATER CONDITIONER.

Performing a regular water change will help you keep the water clean.

Also, check ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels regularly and maintain ammonia and nitrite at 0ppm, whereas nitrate should be below 20ppm.

We recommend using the API master test kit as it will help you check your corydoras tank’s ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH level. 

You can buy it from amazon: API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT. 

Consider adding a good filtration system with biofilter media to protect the water from ammonia and nitrite. 

You should also add plenty of live aquatic plants to your corydoras tank as it will keep the tank well oxygenated and also will keep the tank clean.

Also read: Ideal pH Level For Cory Catfish?

Choose the right substrate.

As discussed above, cory catfish are bottom dwellers and spend most of their time scavenging on the bottom, searching for food.

They require a soft substrate to dig into and search for food.

Consider adding good quality sand to your cory catfish tank. Adding rocks and sharp pebbles can harm their barbels.

Also, make at least a 2-inch high substrate to ensure their comfortable digging.

Also read: Best Substrate For Corydoras.

Perform proper maintenance

Only performing a water change and adding a filter will not keep the tank super clean.

To clean the aquarium glass and excess waste from the bottom, you must clean it yourself.

Also, clean the filter monthly to remove waste from it.


Cory catfish will regrow their barbels.

To make them regrow their barbels, Provide them with clean water conditions with 0 ammonia and nitrite, and the nitrate should not be more than 20ppm.

Also, feed them high-quality nutritional food with good protein content.

Keep the tank clean, so the injured barbels don’t get affected by parasites and infection.

Ensure good water conditions, add sand as a substrate, and run proper maintenance of your corydoras tank to prevent such issues.

Reference: NCBI

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