Are Kuhli Loaches Good Cleaners?

Are Kuhli Loaches Good Cleaners?

Kuhli Loaches are among the best aquarium cleaners. In this article, we have added how they clean the fish tank and their features.

Are Kuhli Loaches Good Cleaners? Kuhli loaches are good cleaners for a fish tank. They are scavenging bottom feeders that eat food off in the bottom, eat algae, and clean fish tanks. They look like mini snakes in terms of their shape and movement.

Are Kuhli Loaches Good Cleaners?

Kuhli loaches have a scientific name pangio kuhliand belong to the family Cobitidae. Coolie loach, cinnamon loach, and the leopard loach are their other names. 

However, only the people that have experience should keep these fish, as they are prone to disease. You can keep them with tetras, rasboras, and even betta fish.

If you are looking for a fish that acts as a better cleaner for your tank, Kuhli Loaches are the best choice.

How Kuhli loaches clean a fish tank?

As they are the bottom dwellers, they eat up the stuff in the bottom of your tank and clean it. They can eat algae on the glass and scrub hard water deposits. They rub themselves along the glass to clean it. They eat up any crumbs leftover by other fish in the bottom.

They remove all the extra and waste things on the bottom and take part in cleaning your tank. They can eat larvae of insects, tiny crustaceans, and even fish eggs. Hence they are bottom scavengers.

Body structure and appearance

They have an eel-shaped body with a length of 3-5 inches. Due to their small size, they produce very little waste. They have no head scales but some faint scales on their body, which makes them prone to disease. Their body scales are spread far apart on their body, which exposes their skin.

Their fins are small and have four pairs of barbels around the mouth. Their dorsal fins are present in the middle of the body. They usually have ten to twelve vertical bars that are dark in color, and in the middle, it is pinkish to brown. Also, they have transparent skin that covers their beady black eyes.

The males and females Kuhli loaches are different from each other, and you will notice that males are more muscular on the dorsal side and have large pectoral fins. While females grow larger during breeding, and their ovaries become visible through the skin before spawning.

Some Kuhli loaches have very dark body usually black or dark brown and are known as Chocolate Kuhli loaches. Their maximum length is 3.2 inches.

Diet and feeding

Kuhli loaches are omnivores and love to feed on live foods. They feed on live worms such as bloodworms, glass worms, and daphnia. They can also eat various other foods like frozen, dried food, tablets, wafers, and even flake foods.

You should give them food at night, as they are active at this time. Also, turn off the lights.

Life span

Kuhli loaches usually live up to 10 years when you establish a suitable environment around them. 

Typical behavior

Kuhli Loach is a shy and peaceful fish that loves to stay at the bottom of the tank. It is too quiet and inactive in the day time. It does not sleep at night and search for food at the bottom all night and has another name, demersal fish. 

It is more comfortable living with other fish. It loves to hide in caves and small spaces, so when you decide to put it in the aquarium must add someplace for it to hide.

Suitable aquarium’s setup for Kuhli loaches

Tank size 

A minimum tank size should be 20 gallons, or your fish will jump outside. Remember to cover it carefully, or these fish can attempt to escape.

Tank setup and substrate

The fish tank must be clean and have a proper oxygen supply to add Kuhli loach fish. They need soft substrates like smooth gravel mix and sand.

Water chemistry

Kuhli loaches are wild, so it is better to give them water nature as their native habitat. They live in soft and slightly acidic water having pH ranges between 5.5-6.5 and 0-5dGH. There should be slight lighting inside the aquarium.


Water temperature should range between 73-86 degrees Fahrenheit ( 24-30 degrees celsius). You have to maintain this temperature, or your fish are not going to survive. Add a heater in winters to maintain temperature.

Filter installation

Your aquarium’s filter must have a cover unless these fish can go inside and trap themselves inside due to their small size.

Also, they love to explore dark and tiny places so, it is better to use it under a gravel filter. It will also improve oxygen flow and reduce waste.

Choose a good filter because the preferable water movement is ten times in an hour.

Plantation and decor

Loaches love to hide and spend time under leaf litters. So add small plants, especially moss and java ferns. They also dig in the sand and can even bury themselves in it. You should securely anchor plants in the aquarium.

Also, you can add pretty stones and a piece of driftwood that serves as decoration items as well as a place to hide. Few people also add two filters in a fish tank for better cleaning.

Susceptibility to disease

As Kuhli loaches have no scales on the head and very faint scales on the body, this makes them more susceptible to disease. They have no protective layer on their body in the form of body scales. You should add neon or cardinal tetras with this fish.

Avoid any medications to treat disease in the tank because they are sensitive. Sometimes, you need to change the water temperature for treating some disease along with medication. It can further harm these fish.

White spot disease is a common disease for many fish living in an aquarium. It is also known as Ich disease. Sometimes you notice that your fish is eating well but still losing weight. The parasites are the reason behind it. They cause skinny diseases to the fish.

You have to supply proper oxygen, a good diet, and regulate water change to ensure their health.