Kuhli Loach Overview, Aquarium Setup & Water Conditions, Food, Tank Mates, Breeding & Care Guide:

Kuhli Loach looks beautiful & will make your tank beautiful. They resemble eel & they can move around in the aquarium with snake like movement. A lot of people get scared of the fish because of their snake like appearance. They have a stripe pattern on their bodies. They look for food at the bottom of aquarium & they feed on any food that fit in their mouth.

They are known as shoaling species, & their swimming in schools is because of social reasons. They can hang around in a team of many loaches. It is advisable to keep a minimum of 5 Kuhli loahces in aquarium due to their shoaling nature.

Kuhli Loaches belong to Indonesia & Malaysia, & they are from streams & rivers with soft, little acidic water. Most of the fish that we see in aquariums are caught from the wild, so it is good to copy their natural water parameters.

They seem like eel, but they are called fish, due to their fins.

If you want to add one of the best fish for cleaning aquarium & eating leftover food that other fish have missed, then my suggestion is to add some Kuhli Loaches to your aquarium.




Care Level





Yellow & brown bands


10 years

Max. Size

5 inches


Omnivore (likes to eat live food)



Min. Aquarium Size

20 gallons

Aquarium Setup


Tank Mates

Good behavior fish


Kuhli Loach can reach a max. length of 5 inches, but they can grow up to 4 inches in fish tank.


Kuhli Loach Aquarium Setup & Water Conditions:

Kuhli Loach are freshwater fish & must be kept in temperatures between 75 to 85 Degree Fahrenheit. It is recommended to include a heater in their aquarium to meet the required temperature. They are scavengers because they like exploration & usually they like to discover dark regions of your aquarium. They might be hiding in the dark places of your aquarium so if your Kuhli loach is missing then check out the tank because they love hiding. Protect your filter intake using a sponge because it could suck Kuhli loaches due to their small size. Kuhli loaches usually try to enter filter intake so it is a good strategy to cover them before they get killed.

You can add soft sand to your aquarium which is the top substrate for Kuhli loaches. They like digging the substrate, & will bury themselves underneath them.

They like to have a sandy substrate which they can dig.

Add live plants & decorations to your aquarium if you want to keep Kuhli loaches in aquarium. They are usually shy & don’t want to come out for you, & start exploring the tank when its dark.

They love to hide in dark caves, roots of plants or under decorations. They feel more comfortable when they are hiding.

If you can dim light like copying the natural effects of sunrise & sunset, then this can help them to leave their hiding places.

You can use blue or red night lights in your aquarium to allow these fish to come out when you turn off the bright aquarium lights.

They like to live in waterways of Indonesia & Malaysia. In the wild they use to live in water having a little acidic pH & very slim hardness.

Mostly Kuhli loaches are caught from the wild & it is very important to keep them in an aquarium that copies the natural environment.

It is important to keep Kuhli loaches in between 75 to 85 Degree Fahrenheit. pH of water needs to be between 5.5 to 7.

It is difficult to keep Kuhli Loaches in aquarium because they need clean & oxygenated water.

Our advice is to add under gravel filter which could help clean water, oxygenate them & lower waste. Make sure you use a better quality filter.

Make sure your filter is not able to suck Kuhli Loaches.

Use rocks & driftwood in aquarium which could provide good hiding places in your aquarium, which could provide resting place to your fish.

Cover your aquarium hood as Kuhli Loaches can jump outside water.

Keep Kuhli Loaches in aquarium carrying about 20 gallon of water. Add 3 to 5 gallons of fresh water to your aquarium if you plan to add another fish of the same kind.

Kuhli Loach Fish Care Guide And Breeding
Kuhli Loach Fish Care Guide And Breeding
Image Credit: aquariumsource.com

Kuhli Loach Food:

Kuhli loaches like to find food at the bottom of aquarium which means you need to add food that sink to the bottom of tank. They don’t like coming to the top for eating food. They are scavengers & if you have other fish in aquarium that like to eat too much & leave some of the food then Kuhli loaches will eat the uneaten food that sink to the bottom. Do not try this method of feeding Kuhli Loaches because your loaches might not find food if other fish eat all of them. You can add a sinking diet to the aquarium after turning off the aquarium lights. Make sure you add food that has varied nutrient.

Kuhli Loaches like to eat live food. Offer them vegetables & flakes or pellets as balanced food.

Diets including flakes & pellets can easily sink down to the bottom of aquarium & Kuhli Loaches can simply eat them.

Offer food that Kuhli Loaches can eat within 2 to 3 minutes.


Kuhli Loach Tank Mates:

Add minimum of 5 Kuhli Loaches in aquarium because they are shoaling fish. They are little, very peaceful in nature & sensitive. It is very important to keep them with good behavior fishes. You can add the following fish in your Kuhli Loaches aquarium: Neon tetra, Cardinal tetra, Blackskirt tetra, Chili rasboras, Harlequin rasboras, Celestial pearl danio, Cherry barb, Fancy guppy, Zebra danio, Hatchetfish, Platy fish, Otocinclus catfish, Clown pleco, Bristlenose pleco, Mystery snail & Nerite snail.

It is a good strategy to add Kuhli Loaches to your aquarium because they eat leftover food that other fish miss. This way food is eaten when it sinks to the bottom. If food is left for a very long time in aquarium water, then it starts polluting water.

Do not add larger fish because they could harm or eat Kuhli Loaches. Do not add cichlids in the aquarium you keep Kuhli Loaches. Cichlids grow very large in size & can possibly eat your Kuhli Loaches.


Breeding Kuhli Loach:

It is hard to breed Kuhli Loaches, but you can successfully keep them in fish tank with other fishes. Keep around 8 Kuhli Loaches in a 20-gallon aquarium. Provide a sandy substrate & sponge filtration in your aquarium for Kuhli Loaches. Add plants, caves, driftwood & structures that offer hiding regions to your fish.

Increase temperature of water to around 83 Degree Fahrenheit.

Provide protein rich live food to your adult Kuhli Loaches such as brine shrimp, tubifex worms & mysis shrimp.
Water changes is very important in Kuhli Loaches aquarium & it is advisable to change five percent water on daily basis. When you find the female carrying eggs, then it is time to add 1 gallon of cool water when its evening. This can mimic the environment of the evening showers of the rainy season.

If everything works fine, then fish pair will start swimming together next morning. They will enjoy swimming together to the water surface, wrap around each other, & drop back down to the aquarium gravels.

After Kuhli Loaches drop to the substrate, they will lay eggs & male Kuhli Loach will start fertilizing them. The eggs will sink to the bottom & stuck to the roots of plants & moss in the aquarium.

Take out the plants & eggs that are attached to them, & keep them in a new aquarium so that Kuhli Loaches do not eat them & babies are raised safely.


Kuhli Loach Care Guide:

Kuhli Loaches are sensitive & prone to diseases. The reason is that they don’t have head scales & extremely weak body scales.

It is very important to do research before adding Kuhli Loaches to your aquarium if it is already stocked with fishes. Make sure every tank mate is peaceful & none of them is very large because they would be able to eat your loaches.

Kuhli Loaches are prone to medications that are used for treating illnesses, & some of the treatments include changing water & adding medication which can stress your Kuhli Loaches & can weaken them which could affect their immunity. Weak immunity makes Kuhli Loaches susceptible to diseases.

The best known illness is ich or white spot illness. Most of the fish can get this disease but Kuhli Loaches are highly prone to it.

One more problem your Kuhli Loaches have is parasites which is the reason behind skinny illness. If you find that your Kuhli Loach is eating well but still it is losing weight, then it seems that your fish have parasitic disease. You can use medication to treat parasitic disease.

Prevention is very important before adding Kuhli Loaches to aquarium because they are very sensitive. Keeping high water quality with a natural environment that copies the wild is very important along with balanced food.

They are unable to protect themselves from larger fish because they can easily swallow them. They use to hide themselves from larger fish. They don’t like lights & you can’t see them because they don’t really come out of their hiding place.

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