/kuhli Loach: All You Need to Know About kuhli Loach
Kuhli loach

kuhli Loach: All You Need to Know About kuhli Loach

kuhli Loach

The scientific name of kuhli fish is pangio kuhli and it is from the Cobitidae family. It is also known by other names like Coolie Loach, Cinnamon Loach, or Leopard loach. Kuhli loach (also known as coolie loach) originates from South East Asia. It is also known as a kuhli snake because it has a snake-like body and it also swims like a snake. It is also known as night fish because it stays active at night while it usually hides during the day.

The appearance of Kuhli loach

Kuhli loach-appearence

Kuhli fish resembles eel and has different colors. The belly of the fish is light in color whereas, 10 to 15 dark bands are present on the top of the body. Its body is thin and also has small fins that are difficult to see.

Beneath each eye, a pair of sharp spines are present, known as suborbital.  These sub orbitals can be turned outward and become more visible when kuhli loach feel threatened or are very stressed. These spines act as a defense system for loach against harmful attackers. They have usually hidden away under a fold of skin. When kuhli fish are caught, these suborbital spines can sometimes become caught in fishnets. They also contain barbels. These barbels are taste-sensitive receptors that are used to help the loaches to locate their food. Their six taste-sensitive barbels help loaches to find food hidden in the substrate.

They employ a very acute sense of smell. There are also two pairs of nostrils in loaches. It is wonderful how quickly they can sense and locate food that has been placed in the aquariums. They do not have teeth. Instead of having teeth in their jaw, loaches have a single row of pharyngeal teeth in their throat just behind the gill plate (operculum). Many loach species can emit loud sounds using these teeth.

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Habitat of Kuhli Loach

kuhli Loach-tank

These categories of fish are native to southeast Asia. In its natural habitat, it is typically found in slow-moving streams where the substrate is composed of sand, mud, silt, and even peat. These streams also have a huge amount of leaves that have fallen from trees in the forest.

These leaves settle in the streams at those places where the current slowdown. In this way, the best hiding places are formed where this escape artist can hide. As we have informed you that it loves hiding so make sure to provide a kuhli loach soft substrate like sand in your aquariums.

This fish will spend much of its time probing the substrate for food. In addition to soft sandy substrate, aquarium décor should also contain smooth river records. Do not use the decor with sharp edges because that could injure the soft and delicate barbells. It is often found in the beds of streams. The head has no scales. It’s really more like armor plating, suitable for pushing into the substrate in search of food.

Black Kuhli Loach

kuhli Loach-black

They look like tiny eels and they are bottom queens. Mostly these fishes are nocturnal, but they will be at ease if you made hiding spaces like caves or soft substrates in the aquarium. You will find them out during the day at feeding time. They spend most of the time at the bottom of tanks scavenging in the substrate for food just like other loaches. Black Kuhli Loaches resemble other loaches in many ways but there is one huge difference that black loaches are completely black or dark brown. While other loaches have many colors.

How to bring Kuhli Loach outside from hiding places?

They are famous as escaping or hiding artists. Most of the time they keep themselves hidden in any substrate in the aquariums.  In addition to escaping artists, they are also nocturnal. So, you would not see them all that often. Unless it’s feeding time! However, we will tell you some secrets that can help you to bring your lovely loaches out into the open more often. As they are very social fish, they will be more confident and visible if they are kept in groups of six or more. Never keep them with large predatory fish that they might receive as a threat.  Providing them with many hiding places will also help them feel more comfortable and more at ease. It is a wonder to know: the more places you offer them to hide, the more you will see them!

Kuhli Loach Size

kuhli Loach-size

The kuhli loach has no big size at all. These are actually small size fish and can reach a length of about 4 inches in aquariums but in the natural climate, they can even reach a length of 5 inches. That’s why they do not need a large aquarium and can live happily in a small aquarium. Though they have a small size they are best for aquarists because these fish are not much susceptible to diseases.

Are Kuhli loaches aggressive?

Fish temperament

It’s really very easy and great to keep kuhli loaches because of their peaceful temperament. They are not aggressive at all! Their peaceful nature makes them great aquarium companions. They stay quiet for the whole night and become active at night. That’s why they are also known as demersal fish. Most of the time you will find them at the bottom of the tank scavenging for food and they also love burrowing in the sand.

Kuhli Loach Lifespan

kuhli Loach-lifespan

The estimated lifespan of a loach is around 10 years. This is great and quite impressive! But, of course, their lifespan also depends a lot on care, good tank companions, and a good diet. Their life period can decrease desperately because of the bad quality of water, stress from bad companions in the aquarium, and poor quality of food.

What do kuhli Loach Eat?


It is great to know that kuhli loaches are very simple to keep when it comes to their diet.  Kuhli loaches are omnivores i.e. can eat a variety of foods in both animals and plant origin.  Basically, they prefer soft foods as they do not have teeth in their mouth or jaws. Kuhli loaches also eat white worms and black worms, but they have to struggle with large organisms due to the lack of teeth in their mouth. Kuhli loaches can eat any type of food which sinks and hits the aquarium bottom. They are also known as scavengers. i.e. they will eat any food that falls on the substrate that’s why they have been called  the best aquarium cleaners.

Kuhli Loach Tank Mates

Fish Habitat

We recommend these fish for a peaceful community.  Kuhli Loach is a very peaceful fish and can be mixed with almost all fish that are not big enough to eat them. They are tiny fish and their defense system is to only hide so we recommend you never keep them with large territorial fish like cichlids, goldfish, and arowanas because these fish can eat up loaches.

Water Conditions and Tank Set up

water and tank

With regard to water chemistry, they are very adaptable but prefer soft water. The recommended hardness of water is between 0 to 5.0 dGH. The optimum pH should be between 5.5 to 6.8. Whereas, the recommended temperature is between 72 to 84-degree F or 22 to 29-degree C. Nitrates should be less than 30 ppm. The minimum tank size for this fish is 20 gallons. Kuhli loaches thrive in a well-oxygenated tank so keep on changing about 10 to 20 percent water in the aquarium after some days.

Male and Female Kuhli Loach

kuhli Loach-male-female

It is difficult to differentiate between kuhli male and female when you look at them because there is the only difference between male and female kuhli loaches and that is male have more vascular cross-section on the ventral side of the body. While females look more fat during breeding and ovaries can be looked through their delicate skin before the spawning period.


Kuhli loach

Kuhli loaches are easy on the wallet and great to care. They are tropical freshwater fish. Kuhli loaches are very hardy and also super shy. They have slender like bodies and pinkish cheeks and have brown straps on the body. Kuhli loaches are scavengers that’s why they are also known as aquarium cleaners. By nature, these fish are very peaceful. During the whole day, they stay inside and don’t come out.

In fact, they love to hide inside the caves in the day. We recommend you muddy substrate as they also love dwelling. When it is the night they come out and spend the whole night playing and swimming along the walls of aquariums. It is recommended to keep them in groups because if you keep one Kuhli Loach you probably never see it.

In the aquariums, water should be shot with a low pH. As far as their food is concerned, they are omnivores dwellers and can eat almost all types of food. They are never aggressive at all so never keep them with those fishes which have an aggressive temperament. This super shy fish is a great and amazing addition to any aquarium.