The Black Kuhli Loach (aka Chocolate Kuhli Loach) is the same as the Striped Kuhli Loach except they are black and without the stripes. They are a peaceful scavenger fish great for community tanks and rarely grows over 8 cm in length making them a great fish for smaller tanks (80 litre or larger). They do not have head scales the so are prone to some diseases and are recommended for intermediate aquarists.
The Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii) belongs to the Cobitidae family and are found in South-East Asia, in Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. . They are also known as the Coolie Loach, the Leopard Loach or the Cinnamon Loach. They are scavengers making them great aquarium cleaners. The advantage of this Loach over others is its size. It rarely grows over 7-12 cm in length, and they don’t create much waste. A peculiar characteristic is that they have very faint body scales and no head scales; this feature makes them very susceptible to diseases.
The Kuhli Loach is a peaceful fish. Although they are not a schooling fish, they are more comfortable with some companions. They can be very shy and you will hardly see them if left alone in your aquarium. They are very quiet during the day, then come night-time they are active. These fish are at their best when kept together in a group of 6. If kept alone, they will be very shy and will hide most of the time.
They are very curious fish and will appreciate caves and crevices to hide in. This fish likes burrowing into the sand and often they will swim to their death if you leave filter inlets unprotected. Kuhli Loaches require a soft substrate such as sand and fine gravel mix.
We suggest an undergravel filter to improve oxygenation and reduce waste. They prefer good water movement with a turnover of at least 10 times per hour; you will need a good quality filter for this. Any filter you use will need a cover over the outlet and inline pipe so your Loach doesn’t swim inside and get trapped.
In the wild they are used to lots of vegetation so include plenty of plants such as Cryptocoryne and Java Fern. In the wild, Loaches like spending time in leaf litters so you can spread peat moss inside the aquarium to recreate this. Some large rocks and a couple of pieces of driftwood can also be used as tank decoration; they will also appreciate twisted roots as a place to hide. They prefer moderate lighting.
Make sure to have a firm cover on your tank as these fish can jump out of the tank.
Kuhli Loaches are peaceful fish and are best kept with other small non-aggressive fish such as Corydoras, Danios, Rasboras and Tetras. They will spend most of their time swimming at the bottom of the tank, scavenging and eating the leftover food that has sunk into the sand. Therefore ideal tank mates are those fish which occupy the upper regions of the tank.
White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Oto Catfish and shrimps like the Red Cherry Shrimp are good tank mates.
Peaceful fish that spend most of their time swimming near the middle or the surface of the water tank such as Gouramis are also ideal tank companions.
Avoid large territorial fish such as Cichlids and Arowanas. Other big no-no’s are nipping fish and bullies such as Tiger Barbs, Chinese Algae Eaters and Angelfish. Blue Gouramis, Bettas and Red-Tailed Sharks are also not great companions. They are very territorial and this can end up causing your Kuhli stress. Finally, don’t keep them with large snails, as your Loaches will try to eat them.
Kuhli Loach are omnivorous fish, eating larvae, small crustaceans and plant material found on the river bed. They usually sieve through mouthfuls of substrate in search of food. They don’t actively hunt for food but scavenge for their food waiting for it to sink down from the top and then search for it to eat. Loaches will eat most of the things you feed to them: pellet, frozen or live food. Despite not being fussy, they do prefer a meat-based diet. Flakes and pellets are ideal as they will easily sink down to the substrate and they will be easily eaten and they should form the base of your Loaches diet.
Despite their small size, they are better suited for experienced aquarists because they are prone to diseases and parasitic infections. They have a head with no scales, and they are very sensitive to medications. Most fish have hard scales that can protect them from the effects of bacteria and fungi. Unfortunately, Kuhli Loaches aren’t that lucky. Some experience in treating scale-less fish is advised if you want to keep these night owls.
They are sensitive to even minute changes in the water. When you’re introducing a new Kuhli Loach into your aquarium, you have to be very careful about water quality and temperature. If you already use medication on chemicals with our existing fish, you run the risk of harming the Kuhli as well.
One of the biggest issues that plague Kuhli Loaches is Ich. Second is parasites which can cause what is known as skinny disease. If your fish is eating healthy and still seems to lose weight, it is likely being affected by a parasite. This can be treated carefully with medication.
If kept in the proper environment with good oxygenation and frequent water changes your loaches should stay healthy and happy.
See Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment at Rebel Pets for help with diagnosing and treating diseases.
|Adult Size:||8 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Intermediate|
|Minimum Tank Size:||80 litres, add 12-20 ltrs per addl loach|
|Temperament:||Peaceful, good community fish|
|Tank Level:||Bottom dweller|
|Diet:||Omnivore (prefers live food)|
|Temperature:||23 to 30°C|
|pH:||5.5 – 6.5 (slightly acidic)|
|Hardness:||0-5 dGH (soft)|