Kuhli Loach: Care and Breeding Guide

The kuhli loach, also called the Acanthophthalmus Kuhlii, was described in 1846 by Valenciennes. They were discovered in Southern Asia: Sumatra, Singapore, Malaysia, Java, Borneo and Thailand. I live in sandy areas of some rivers, covered with leaf beds. Their normal habitat is permanently overshadowed by the forests. They were found in small groups, although they are not card fishes.

Kuhli Loach or Pangio Kujlii, is a small, very active fishpond, with a behavior specific to members of the Pangio genus. It’s almost always moving, scrolling around, in pietruis, plants, or ornaments. Continuously scours, after unspoiled food scraps, fallen on the bottom of the aquarium, being a real asset in keeping cleanliness in the aquarium. It is one of the best bottom feeder fish.

This small fish was originally called Kuhli Loach or Prickly Eye, but there are also some common names: Coolie Loach, Leopard Loach, Cinnamon Loach. Coolie Loach, are exported with thousands of countries of origin for aquarists around the world.

kuhli loach

Description of Kuhli Loach

Kuhli is a peaceful and peaceful fish, with predominantly nocturnal activity. There are shy fishes and if a single copy is kept, it will remain hidden all the time. This does not mean they are card fishes, but they just feel more comfortable and will be more confident to get out of the hiding place in the presence of other people. Small fish, max. 10-15 cm long, although in the aquarium they do not reach this length, with a life expectancy of over 10 years. The body is yellow, with pink iris, crossed by 12-17 vertical bars, of which 3 bars per head. He does not have scales on his head, his eyes are covered by a transparent membrane, and they are provided with a short spin in front, the muzzle has 3 pairs of mustaches like the rods. The dorsal fin is placed very backward, as is anal flipping. There is also an albino form of this species, known as Albino Kuhli Loach. It is a artificially obtained variety and it is not known whether it exists in the natural environment. If it existed, it would certainly be an easy target for predators.

Difficulty in keeping kuhli loaches

Keeping in good condition, these fish are very strong. However, they are not recommended to beginners because of the need for particularly clean water. If you are a beginner, you should check out these fishes instead. Due to the small scales on the body and the lack of scales on the head, they are prone to illness and very sensitive to the medication used as a treatment. Do not try introducing these fish into an immature (uncultured) aquarium.

Most important for kuhli is clean and well hydrogenated water. Partial water exchange, 30% per week, suction of the substrate, are absolutely necessary. It is not advisable to strictly clean the decors and stones, the biofilm contained therein, being useful in the nitrogen cycle.

Feeding of the kuhli loach

In nature Kuhlii feeds on larvae of insects, microorganisms, small crustaceans; in the aquarium accept dry food, live or frozen Daphnia, Artemia, worms, microviers, Grindal.

Since kuhli loaches are omnivores, they will consume any live or frozen food or meat. They also like sinking flakes, tablets, flakes, or vegetable-based food. Can also be served with tubifex, worms, salt shrimps, flies or daphnia larvae.

Aquarium arrangement

kuhli loach guide

Kuhli loach generally swims on the bottom of the aquarium, but at night they will go swimming in the whole aquarium. They feel comfortable in an average aquarium of 60-70 L, with soft, slightly acidic and dark light water. It requires a good water circulation to ensure good oxygenation, aquarium water should be recirculated 10-15 times per hour. Adding an external filter or a power head will provide the required stream. The décor used is at the discretion of everyone, but the substrate must be a fine gravel or sand with no sharp edges. Stones and large rocks and a few pieces of mopan and woven roots will provide hideaway places, highly appreciated. Kuhli loaches are very curious fish, exploring all the time, so it’s good to have as many hollows and caverns.

Beware, these fish can and will surely jump out of the aquarium if they have the chance!

It is recommended to be kept with the following species of fish:

  • Danio (Zebra Danio and Pearl Danio)
  • Tetra (especially with Neon Tetra and Black Tetra)
  • Guppy, Platty, Gourami (Blue Gourami, Dwarf Gourami, Honey Gourami)
  • Discus, Apistogramma (Apistogramma Cacatouides and Apistogramma Borelli)
  • Corydoras Catfish (especially Corydoras Sterbai and Corydoras aeneus) Angelfish, Clown loach

The substrate is recommended to be as fine as possible to avoid wreckage and to hide the fish. If the substrate is large, a small piece of sand can be arranged to serve as a shelter. When he feels threatened he sinks into the substrate or retreats to his favorite hiding places.


Although they have been successfully reproduced in the aquarium, they do not know much about their natural reproductive environment.

The term kuhli loach is used as a generic name for a fish group of the genus Pangio. All of this fish is characterized by a snake-like shape, they are of the same size and appearance and all are hardworking, but each has distinct features (size, color) that differentiates them from Kuhli.

In conclusion

A pet can radically change a person’s daily routine! Many believe that aquarium is the simplest option but is far from the truth – be it fresh or salt water, an aquarium requires weekly supplements and tests, often very expensive. The Kuhli loach will make a great addition to your aquarium, it is a strange looking fish with interesting characteristics that will never let you go bored. They are easy to keep and maintain and best of all they are inexpensive! Caring for these fish is not that hard either, they don’t require any special food to be feed to them.

In a sandy, fine soil, these eel-like fish will dig their tunnels and hide themselves throughout the day. Helps clean the aquarium by collecting fallen food residue on the substrate and aerating it! The mouth of the filters should be well covered so that these thin creatures do not penetrate the cleaning system.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.