Kuhli loaches - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-14-2010, 06:07 AM Thread Starter
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Question Kuhli loaches

Im really interested in getting some of these, I was wondering if anybody that has experience with there could tell me what they are like.

On one site it says "largely carnivorous, preferring freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, as well as frozen and live foods of all types. With time and training, the Black Kuhlii Loach may accept flake foods." would store bought ones eat flake right off the bat or would i have to like train them? Bloodworms arent really a problem cause i have them anyway i just wouldnt want to use them everyday depending on what other fish will be in there.

Are they out and about sometimes or are they always hiding and ill never see them?

I have sand for them to borrow, is about 1.5 inches deep good enough?

Anything else would be great too, thanks.
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-17-2010, 03:16 AM
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I have 18 kuhlis and 5 "black kuhlis" spread between 3 tanks. Some I ordered from NY, some came from a local shop. Re: food: I find that they eat flake right off the bat, as well as small portions of algae wafers. It's hard to get tubifex worms down to the bottom where the loaches can get them. I've fed mine frozen brine shrimp, but if you have any non-bottom dwellers in the tank it's unlikely they'll sink far enough before being eaten up.

Re: sand: Everything I read suggested that these guys burrowed a lot... but this is not the case in any of my tanks! Two tanks have a 50/50 silica sand/flourite sand mix, one is smooth gravel. While the loaches love to cram themselves into tight spots (especially under chunks of mopani wood), I have yet to see any actual burrowing. But they love cover, especially dense lutea bushes and other low plants like dwarf anubias. Anyway, 1.5 inches should be plenty.

How much they come out depends on other fish in the aquarium and the amount of cover available. If your tank is heavily planted, you'll see them a lot more. Larger or more active/semi-aggressive fish make the loaches more reclusive (diamond tetras, frex, aren't a great cohabitant if you want to see loaches out and about a lot). I've read that "spotter" fish (little things that swim freely in the upper two-thirds of the tank, like neon tetras) are supposed to make kuhlis more active, but this is not my experience (though they don't hinder loach activity).

The "black kuhlis" (java loaches) are tougher and greedier/braver than the kuhlis. The kuhlis tend to move timidly, not pushing each other around. Java loaches don't care who's in their way, they shove past everyone if they smell food.

Hope that helps
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-18-2010, 05:46 AM
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Great post! I don't have much to add other than to say that my experience with kuhli loaches (I've only kept the black species, not the standard striped kuhli loaches) was very similar. One thing I will add is that, if you have any sick fish in the tank, be prepared to find them and net them out as soon as you can should they die. I lost my entire batch of kuhlis in the course of two days because my bloodfin tetras came down with something (I still have no idea what) and the loaches munched on the bodies that I couldn't find in the tank. They'll eagerly eat any dead fish bodies along with any diseases those bodies might be carrying.

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post #4 of 7 Old 06-20-2010, 04:34 PM
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I have 6 of the regular kuhli's and they love the bottom feeding wafers that I feed to by bn pleco's.

Here is a poor quality video and you can see here the Kuhli's actually trying to eat off the same wafer that the pleco is eating. It is quite hilarious to watch as the kuhlis will turn sideways and upside down even to eat off the wafer.

These are Hikari sinking wafers I drop in 4 times a week. I use sinking pellets for the rest of the fish in my tank and I have seen kuhli's out scavenging right away for some of those that fall to the bottom as well.

I have a nutrient rich plant substrate where the sand goes to the bottom and the gravely part stays on the surface about 4" deep. I have never seen the kuhlis even try to burrow in it but I have 2 pieces of driftwood and lots of plants so they have lots of places to hide and feel safe. From I have read they only burrow if they don't have enough hiding places to feel comfortable.

Best of luck with your kuhlis. I love watching mine:)


"Whether you think you can, or think you cannot, you are correct; Henry Ford"
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-22-2010, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Oh good, the wafers will be easier than just hoping putting a lot of flakes in at once so some hit the floor like i do for my shrimp. I wish i could get the striped ones but the only ones around here are the black ones but they are pretty cool too.

In a 20 gallon how many should i have? a group of like 6?
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-23-2010, 03:14 AM
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That would be fine. They have a relatively light bioload so you can put quite a few of them in there. Mine really liked shrimp pellets, especially.

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post #7 of 7 Old 06-24-2010, 02:21 PM
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Aw man, I was thinking of getting dwarf loaches for my new 120g, but now I'm totally into the kuhli loach. Pep, I LOVE your video. Very cool!

Last edited by LisaC144; 06-24-2010 at 02:33 PM.
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