|Scientific name||Pangio kuhlii|
|Color Form||yellow and brown|
|Max. Size||5 inches (13 cms)|
|Life span||10 years|
|Minimum Tank Size||20 gallon (75 liters)|
|Acidity||5.5 to 6.5 pH|
Kuhli loach, coolie loach, khuli loach, cinnamon loach, the prickly eye that originates from Southeast Asia, the streams of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Java, Borneo, Sumatra, and Thailand.
Earlier it was known as Acanthophthalmus. They are one of the 33 recognized species of Pangio. They all are widespread across Southeast Asia but of the 5 of the species. The five of these species are from India and Myanmar.
Most of the species resemble each other. Quite often one might end up buying the wrong loaches. Kuhli loach or coolie loach are frequently confused with Pangio cuneovirgata, Pangio myersi, Pangio sumatuanus and Pangio semicincta.
They are prone to some specific diseases and parasites, and they are sensitive to medications. Therefore, Khuli loach needs some experienced hands to care for them.
In nature, Kuhli loach lives from 10 to 14 years. In your tank, their life span depends upon how well they are cared for by you. It comes down to their diet, water parameters, and not discount their tankmates.
Poor water quality increases their chance of contracting diseases, and an easy target for parasites. Wrong tank mates might keep their adrenalin up, and keep them under the burrows that eventually shortens their lifespan.
Physical Characteristics of Kuhli Loach:
Coolie loach can be easily mistaken for an eel due to their physical features. They are slender and have rather small fins that are rarely visible.
Most Khuli loaches base color ranges from Salmon pink to brassy yellow. The underside of the fish is lighter. They have 10 to 15 dark brown to black verticle stripes. These dark brown stripes may partially or fully encircle their body just like in tigers. They don’t have any lateral lines.
Their dorsal fins start beyond the middle of the body and beyond that anal fins are located. They have 4 pairs of whiskerlike sensory organs around their mouth.
The eyes are covered by transparent skin. They have a pair of sharp bristles underneath their eyes. These bristles snap out when they are defensive. This feature gave them the name Acanthopthalmus, meaning “prickle-eye.”
They have very faint body scales, which makes them vulnerable and susceptible to diseases and parasites attack.
All the scaleless fish are sensitive to salt and medications.
The distinction between the male and the female of the species is not perceptible when they are not breeding. Nevertheless, close inspection will reveal that the male of the species has sturdy dorsal with larger pectoral fins. Most time have some pigmentation in them.
When breeding the females tend to be larger than their male counterparts, and the ovaries will be visible through their skin before spawning.
How Big Are Kuhli Loaches?
In their natural habitat, they grow as long as 5 inches (13 cms). No species in captivity can grow to their maximum potential size. In your tank, they will grow anywhere between 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cms).
Black Kuhli Loach:
Black Kuhli Loach is a popular variant of Kuhli loach. Its Scientific name Canthophthalmus javanicus. This black variant is completely black and smaller than the other Kuhli Loach.
They are alluring to the aquarists as their look is different from other Kuhli loaches with stripes. They are known as Chocolate Kuhli Loaches among the aquarists. Their behavior is just the same as the other normal Coolie Loach.
They reach a maximum length of 3.5 inches (8 cms).
Kuhli Loach Food and Diet:
Kuhli Loach is bottom-dweller scavenger fish. They are natural omnivores that can eat just about anything. They are nocturnal that creep around at night and clean up all the leftovers in the night.
Although they feed on the leftovers, you can feed them some specific food, such as sinking food like pellets, flakes, and algae, that sink to the bottom of the tank.
You can also feed them with frozen bloodworms, live blackworms, daphnia, tubifex, artemia, grindal worms, water fleas, brine shrimps, and some home-prepared food.
Make sure to feed them a balanced diet, frozen as well as live food. The best time to feed your Coolie loaches is at night after you switched off the lights.
Kuhli Loach habitat:
Kuhli Loaches originate from Southeast Asia, the streams of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Java, Borneo, Sumatra, and Thailand.
In nature, they inhabit slow-moving shallow waterways. Their environment is similar to one of forest peat swamp, where the soil saturated with water preventing dead leaves and wood from fully decomposing.
The water where they live is almost black. Generally, the vegetation with canopies around these streams blocks the Sunlight. The waters tend to be on the acidic side with a temperature ranging from 75° to 86°F (24°-30°C).
The substrates of these waterways are soft to yield to their burrowing nature.
Keep their natural habitat in mind while creating their new home.
Behavior and temperament:
Kuhli Loach is a peaceful fish. They are nocturnal by nature. They can be very shy when left alone. Despite being non-schooling fish, they are comfortable in the companionship of their kind.
You may not see them at all during the day despite the companionship. They will remain quiet in their hideouts. As soon as the lights are off, you will see them poking their head out slowly and become active scavenging.
As in their natural habitat, they will be digging the substrate for their food. Even at night, you will not see them swimming in the middle or coming to the surface of the tank. They are bottom dwellers.
They are curious would like to explore every nuke and corner of the tank.
In general, they are peaceful and mind their business. However, when threatened, the sharp spikes situated under their eyes shall pop to defend themselves.
They require a minimum tank size of 20 gallons (75 liters). Coolie Loach is a shy fish, hence, given each one of them enough space to come out of their burrows and explore the bottom of your tank. This way, they can do the job for which they are there, which is sweeping and mopping your tank floor. Aquarist recommends you to allow each Kuhli 3 to 5 gallons (12 to 20 liters).
Tank Setup and Water conditions:
Consider their natural habitat, their behavior, and their temperament while preparing their tank.
Tank and Substrate:
Plants and Decors:
Kuhli Loach is a peaceful and non-aggressive fish. They are best to keep with other non-aggressive, small mates, such as neon tetra, ember tetra, rasboras, celestial pearl danio, zebra tetra, platyfish, Gouramis, etc.
Tetras being middle dwellers that dip down to the bottom level of the tank, make them an excellent tank mate for our bottom-dweller Kuhli Loach.
You can have a dazzling aquarium by choosing some colorful fishes as mates to your Kuhli Loach that will keep the aquarium nice and clean.
Kuhli Loach is a shoaling fish, thus, keep them in a group of 6 or more. Alone, they will be shy and stressed.
Tanks mates to avoid:
Care for Kuhli Loach:
Breeding Kuhli Loach:
Breeding Kuhli Loach is not an easy task. It can be challenging even for an experienced aquarist.
The first step in breeding Kuhli Loach is to get a separate 20 gallons (75 liters) tank ready with low water levels, dim light, and dense vegetation. It is paramount to have floating plants, such as java moss, water lettuce, etc.
The water pH should be 6.5, and the temperature should be maintained around 83°F (28°C). Keep the water clean through sponge filtration.
Are Kuhli Loach right for you?
If you want to build an aquarium of a peaceful community with various fishes or if you already have one, then you can consider adding Kuhli Loaches.