Kuhli loach Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: November 17, 2022

The Kuhli loach is a small, eel-like freshwater fish that is native to Southeast Asia. They are often found in fast-moving streams and rivers with a sandy bottom.

This fish is a popular choice for aquariums because of their unique appearance and peaceful nature. They are also relatively easy to care for, which makes them a good choice for beginner fishkeepers.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about Kuhli loach care. You will learn about their diet, tank requirements, and more!

Species overview

Kuhli loaches (Pangio kuhlii) are small freshwater fish that are native to Southeast Asia.

They live in slow-moving rivers and streams with a lot of vegetation. This provides them with plenty of places to hide and forage for food.

Kuhli loaches are nocturnal predators and their diet consists mostly of small invertebrates. In the wild, they are known to eat worms, insects, and crustaceans.

These fish are very popular in the aquarium trade because of their unique appearance. They have a long, eel-like body with a distinctive pattern of black and white stripes.

Kuhli loaches are very peaceful fish and do well in community tanks. They are also very easy to care for, which makes them a good choice for beginner aquarists.


Kuhli loach

As soon as you see a Kuhli loach you’ll be taken in by their eel-like appearance. These fish have a very long and thin body that can grow up to a foot in length!

Their bodies are a dark brown or black color with a series of white or light-colored stripes running down their sides. These stripes can be broken up or continuous depending on the individual fish.

The fins on a Kuhli loach are very small and hard to see. They have a dorsal fin that’s located far back on their body and an anal fin that’s located just before their caudal fin. Both of these fins are short and not very noticeable.

The caudal fin on a Kuhli loach is forked and symmetrical.

These fish also have two very small barbels located near their mouth. These are used for sensing their surroundings and finding food.


The Kuhli loach has a lifespan of 5 to 8 years.

The Kuhli loach is a tropical fish that is native to Southeast Asia. It is a bottom-dwelling fish that is often found in slow-moving or stagnant waters.

The Kuhli loach is a very popular aquarium fish because of its unique appearance and peaceful nature. It is also a very hardy fish and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions.


Kuhli loaches can reach up to 6 inches in length, but they are typically much smaller. These fish are known for their long, slender bodies and can be a challenge to care for because of their delicate nature.


Tank Size

The Kuhli loach is a small freshwater fish that only grows to be about 4 inches in length. Because of their size, they can be kept in relatively small tanks. The minimum tank size we recommend for Kuhli loaches is 10 gallons.

Keep in mind that if you’re keeping a school of Kuhli loaches you’ll need to increase the size of your tank accordingly. For every 2 to 3 fish you add to your school, you’ll need an additional 1 to 2 gallons.

Water Parameters

Kuhli loaches come from Southeast Asia, so they’re used to living in warm, slow-moving water with plenty of hiding places.

As long as you provide similar conditions in your aquarium, they should do just fine. That said, there are a few key water parameters you should be aware of.

First, Kuhli loaches prefer slightly acidic water. A pH between 6.5 and 7.0 is ideal. You can use a water conditioner to adjust the pH or let the water sit for a couple of days to let it naturally adjust.

Second, the water should be on the softer side. A hardness of 5 to 10 dGH is ideal. Again, you can use a water conditioner to adjust the hardness or let the water sit for a couple of days to let it naturally adjust.

Finally, the water temperature should be between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Water Temperature: 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH Levels: 6.5-7.0
  • Water Hardness: 5-10 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 2-12 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Kuhli loaches come from Southeast Asia so it’s no surprise that they prefer a tropical habitat.

The inside of their tank should have a substrate that’s relatively soft. This will protect their delicate skin from any sharp objects that might be lurking underneath.

We recommend a sandy substrate for this species, but you could get away with something like gravel too.

As for plants, Kuhli loaches will often eat soft-leaved vegetation. If you want to include plants in their habitat then choose something that’s a little more robust (like Java Moss or Hornwort).

These fish like to spend a lot of time hiding so you should include some caves or driftwood in their tank. This will provide them with a place to feel safe and help reduce their stress levels.

Kuhli loaches are a nocturnal species so they’ll do most of their activity at night. This means you don’t need to provide them with a lot of light during the day.

Common Diseases

Kuhli loaches are pretty hardy fish, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get sick. The most common disease that affects this species is ich (white spot disease).

This is a parasites that commonly affects freshwater fish. It’s easily recognizable because it manifests as white spots on the body of your fish.

If you notice this, it’s important to take action quickly. If left untreated, ich can be fatal.

There are other potential diseases that can affect kuhli loaches, but they’re not as common. Some other things to look out for include fungal infections, bacterial infections, and parasites.

As with any other fish, the best way to keep your kuhli loach healthy is to maintain clean and stable water conditions in their tank. This will help them resist disease and stay healthy overall.

Behavior & Temperament

The Kuhli loach is a nocturnal creature that spends most of the daylight hours hiding. When the lights are off, however, these fish come out to play!

They’re very active at night, swimming all around the tank in search of food. During the day, they’ll often be found hiding in the substrate or among the plants.

Kuhli loaches are peaceful fish that get along well with others. They’re not aggressive and won’t bother their tank mates. In fact, they’re often the target of aggression from other fish.

For that reason, it’s best to keep them with peaceful fish that won’t harass them. They’re also sensitive to changes in the water quality, so regular water changes are a must.

Tank Mates

Kuhli loaches are some of the best community fish out there. They’re small, peaceful, and get along with just about everyone.

The only time you might have issues is if you house them with larger fish that might see them as food. But as long as you’re pairing them with fish of a similar size, you should be in the clear.

Here are some compatible Kuhli loach tank mates to help you get started:

  • Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Platies
  • Mollies
  • Corydoras
  • Swordtails
  • Ghost shrimp
  • Cherry shrimp


Kuhli loaches are a little bit different when it comes to breeding. The female will lay her eggs on a hard surface like a rock or piece of driftwood. Once the eggs have been laid, the male will fertilize them.

From there, the female will leave and the male will stay to guard the eggs.

The eggs will hatch in about two weeks. Once they hatch, you can remove the male from the tank.

The fry are very small and need to be fed baby brine shrimp or other small foods.


If you’re looking for a fish that is both beautiful and low-maintenance, the Kuhli loach is a great option. These fish are relatively easy to care for and make a great addition to any freshwater tank. They are also very active and interesting to watch, making them a great choice for both beginner and experienced fishkeepers alike.