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November Featured Fish: Kuhli Loach

Kuhli loach in tropical aquarium

Photo by Catherine Bulinksi

This month’s featured fish is the kuhli loach. You’ve probably seen kuhli loaches at your local exotic pet store or tropical fish store. They’re fairly common fish in tropical aquariums.

Kuhli loaches look different from other fish, though. In fact, they look kind of like a tiny eel.

Let’s take a look at what makes the kuhli loach an interesting choice in a tropical aquarium…

Kuhli loaches are bottom dwellers

Not a lot of the fish that we’ve covered on The Tyed-Dyed Iguana blog are bottom dwellers, but kuhli loaches are. They hang out in the gravel area of the aquarium, picking up food scraps they find there.

Although they’re scavengers and help keep the tank clean, you’ll also need to feed them their own food that sinks to the bottom of the tank.

A reclusive fish

These loaches are nocturnal and tend to hide amongst plant roots. Because they enjoy living in the roots, they make a great addition to an aquascaped aquarium, but it does make them difficult to see and enjoy.

Kuhli loach hiding on tank bottom

Photo by insolvable_self

If you don’t enjoy aquascaping or keeping a planted aquarium, you can still keep kuhli loaches. You can simply add tank decorations to provide them with hiding places.

Good for community aquariums

You’ll often see kuhli loaches in tropical fish tanks with other fish. Their reclusive nature helps to keep them away from other fish, so they don’t bother the other tank dwellers.

If you have fish that prefer to live in the mid to top sections of the tank, that helps even more because the different species will live in different sections and each have their own space. The kuhli loach is small, usually only 3 to 4 inches long and slender, so you can usually keep a group of them in a community aquarium.

The kuhli loach is long-lived

Kuhli loaches can live up to ten years, which is quite a long time for a small tropical fish. Of course, good care helps the fish to reach this age. Reducing stress with good water quality, non-aggressive tank mates, and a good diet are the most important elements.

Kuhli loaches

Photo by Daniel McDermott

Unfortunately, kuhli loaches tend to be susceptible to stress from changes in water temperature and quality, so it’s a good idea to ease them into any new conditions. As far as diet, these fish are omnivores that will eat almost anything you feed to other fish.

Good food options include:

Aqueon Tropical Flaked Fish Food

Aqueon Tropical Granular Fish Food

Aqueon Bottom Feeder Tablets

Can O’ Bloodworms

Omega One Freeze-Dried Bloodworms

Omega One Freeze-Dried Brine Shrimp

It’s best to feed kuhli loaches three times a day in quantities they can eat in just a few minutes, with the majority of their food being made up of flakes or pellets.

Come into The Tye-Dyed Iguana in Fairview Heights and check out the kuhli loaches in our tropical aquariums.