Kuhli Loach

The Kuhli Loach, which is also known as the Coolie Loach, is a member of the loach family. I’ve always considered this as one of the more unusual aquarium fish available, it has a long eel like body and whenever I see them they are half buried in the sand or gravel.

Behaviour and Tank Mates

They are nocturnal and are most active after the aquarium lights have been turned off. They will spend most of daytime borrowing and hiding in the substrate. When they are active they are very active, darting around the aquarium like crazy. They enjoy fitting themselves in tiny spaces and through tiny holes. If there are any gaps in the aquarium lid, they will try and get out of those gaps.

Like all loaches they are social creatures and like to live in small groups or no less than. Although they are fast active swimmers they are also peaceful fish and overall make good community inhabitants. However I would not suggest putting them with slow moving shy fish, as the Kuhil's behaviour may make them nervous.

Aquarium Requirements

They are one of the smaller loach varieties as they only grow to a maximum of 5 inches. Given their smaller size you can get away with a bit smaller aquarium, but remember they like to live in groups and love swimming around at high speed. I would say a minimum of 60 litres.

The tank needs to be fully covered with a tight lid or they may escape. Due to their burrowing habits they prefer sand to gravel.

They prefer a pH of between 6 and 7, although they are fairly adaptable. They are very sensitive to changing levels of nitrites, nitrates and ammonia, so you will need to keep the tank really clean and test the water regularly.


Being bottom dwelling scavengers they tend to eat whatever they find on the aquarium floor. They accept most food, but foods which are designed to be eaten off the tank floor such as sinking pellets and algae wafers are ideal. They also like live food, such as blood worms and brine shrimp.


These fish are difficult to breed, it is possible to breed them in the aquarium, but is not really something you manipulate. If you keep enough of them together they may eventually breed.

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