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Kuhli Loach
(Pangio kuhli)

kuhli, freshwater fish

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The kuhli loach or Pangio kuhli or Acanthophthalmus kuhli are members of  the family Cobitidae. They are native to Indonesia. They can be found in Singapore, Malaysia, Borneo, and Java.

Kuhli loaches have elongated eel-like, scale-less bodies. They commonly have alternating light and dark color bands circling the length of their bodies. The combination of shape and color bands make them resemble a snake more than a fish. They slither along the bottom of an aquarium much like a snake or an eel would. They are definitely one of the more interesting additions you can make to your aquarium.

The Kuhli loach is a bottom dwelling scavenger fish. Scavenger fish can always be distinguished from other fish by their downward facing mouth with the protruding barbles on either side. Barbles are tentacle-like organ that contain taste buds. They serve the duel purpose of helping the scavenger find food and to help him feel his way along the bottom of a riverbed in murky water or at night.

Kuhli loaches are nocturnal. They scavenge at night and spend most of their day hiding under plants and rocks. They are also burrowers. They often burrow into the substrate to hide or rest. Sand works best if you are planning on raising kuhli loaches. You definitely want rounded gravel if sand for some reason is not an option. Sharp edges can damage their barbels. If you use a gravel siphon to help keep your tank clean remember that kuhli are burrowers. Take a head count. You don’t want to injure one.

Kuhli loach, like all bottom dwellers, make a wise addition to a community tank. Scavengers are mild mannered. And they help keep uneaten food particles from creating harmful bacteriological build up in the water. Kuhlis take readily to heavily planed tanks and have an affinity toward aquarium decorations with openings. They seem to take comfort in knowing there is a cave to retreat to. It also makes a great place for them to hangout in during the day.

Kuhlis are highly social creatures. They like to congregate with members of their own species. Purchasing a single Kuhli for your tank would not only be an injustice to the animal, it would also deprive you as an aquarium owner the pleasure of watching them function as a group.

Kuhlis are rather tolerant of their surrounding. They prefer slightly acidic water (pH 6.7-7.0) with a temperature range between 75-86°F. Kuhlis grow to 3-4 inches as adults and can live up to 10 years. Females have fuller bodies that the males.

Kuhlis are omnivores. They should be fed at night with the aquarium lights off. Sinking wafers or heavier food matter will insure they get plenty to eat.

Kuhli are egg layers. They they rarely breed  in captivity. No one seems to know what conditions are most likely to induce spawning. to spawn. Having a group of kuhli with an abundance of hiding places tends to help them feel comfortable enough with their surroundings to reproduce. Kuhli loaches have been reported to breed underneath under gravel filters.

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