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10 Great Tank Mates for Kuhli Loach (Compatibility Guide 2023)

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By Lindsey Stanton

Kuhli Loach in aquarium

The Kuhli Loach is a fascinating fish. It’s a peaceful species that won’t bother any others in the aquarium. This nocturnal scavenger is more content to do its thing and find tasty morsels in the substrate. In the wild, it lives in the inland wetlands of Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia.

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The 10 Great Tank Mates for Kuhli Loach

1. Fancy Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

fancy guppies
Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock
Size: Up to 1.5” L
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community

The Fancy Guppy is a live-bearing fish. It’s as docile as it is beautiful, particularly the males. These have long fins that put the fancy in their name. This species makes an excellent starter fish for children. It’s inexpensive and readily available at most pet stores. A tank with live plants is best for these fish, to give the fry a place to hide and provide cover for adults.


2. Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi)

Long-fin-Diamond-head-Neon-Tetra_chonlasub-woravichan_shutterstock
Image Credit: chonlasub woravichan, Shutterstock
Size: Up to 2” L
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community

The Neon Tetra is an active fish and quite the contrast to the slow-moving Kuhli Loach. It is a schooling fish that does best with a small group of others of its kind. This species is a welcome addition to a tank with the right conditions due to its beauty. It is definitely appropriately named, with its bright-red tail and iridescent-blue body.


3. Dwarf Gourami (Trichogaster lalius)

Blue-Dwarf-Gourami
Image Credit: Steve Bower, Shutterstock
Size: Up to 4” L
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community

The Dwarf Gourami will share the lower part of your tank peacefully with the Kuhli Loach. It gets to be a comparable size, which makes a larger aquarium desirable if you want to keep the two species together. It is also a shy fish, so you can be sure that it won’t harass the others in your tank. It will appreciate the cover that you add for your Kuhli Loach.


4. Harlequin Rasbora (Rasbora heteromorpha)

Harlequin rasbora in aquarium
Image Credit: InsectWorld, Shutterstock
Size: Up to 2” L
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community

The Harlequin Rasbora is an omnivore. That makes care easier because you can satisfy every fish’s dietary needs with a similar menu. This species matches the Kuhli Loach in its temperament. It is a schooling variety that does best with others of its kind. It’s also relatively long-lived with the correct conditions.


5. Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi)

Cardinal tetra
Image Credit: InsectWorld, Shutterstock
Size: Up to 2” L
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community

The Cardinal Tetra is similar to the Neon Tetra but with more brilliant colors. It positively glows in an aquarium with a UV light. It prefers larger schools than some other species. That’s something to keep in mind when planning what fish to add and how many are best for each one’s well-being.


6. Platies (Xiphophorus maculatus)

Platies
Image Credit: JuanCarlosPalauDiaz, Pixabay
Size: Up to 2” L
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community

The Platy is a live-bearing fish. Orange is its primary color, but you’ll also see variations on the theme due to selective breeding. This fish occupies the middle level of the tank, presenting little conflict with the Kuhli Loach. It is an active species that is interesting to watch. It is well-suited to beginners too.


7. Red Minor Tetra (Hyphessobrycon callistus)

Size: Up to 2” L
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community

The Red Minor Tetra brings an active nature to your tank. This beautiful fish is also quite hardy. An aquarium that is well-stocked with plants is the best set-up when housing Tetras with Kuhli Loaches. They will occupy the middle level and won’t conflict with the Loach’s nocturnal habits or scavenging.


8. Black Molly (Poecilia sphenops)

black molly
Image Credit: Kocsis Sandor, Shutterstock
Size: Up to 3” L
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community

The Black Molly is the third live-bearing fish on this list. However, you must remove the fry, as they’ll likely end up as food for the parents and anything else living in the tank. This species is best kept in a 2-to-1 ratio with females to males. They are active and will eat a wide variety of foodstuffs. You’ll find them in various colors and forms if you want a bit of color to add to your aquarium.


9. Cory Catfish (Brochis splendens)

Sterba's cory catfish
Image Credit: Guillermo Guerao Serra, Shutterstock
Size: Up to 4” L
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community

The Cory Catfish is a bottom-dwelling scavenger. They are peaceful and will get along fine with the Kuhli Loach, despite their similar niches. This fish is hardy and prefers living in small schools. They are omnivores, so they’re not picky about what they eat. They’re efficient at what they do, so you’ll certainly have a clean tank with these tankmates.


10. Zebra Danios (Brachydanio rerio)

zebra danios
Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock
Size: Up to 2” L
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Community

The name of the Zebra Danio is a bit of a misnomer because its stripes are horizontal instead of vertical. Undoubtedly, the name refers to the fact that its coloration is black and white. It does best in small groups of at least three fish. They are active and will dart around the tank to add interest. They prefer the middle waters of the aquarium.

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What Makes a Good Tank Mate for Kuhli Loach?

The Kuhli Loach is a docile species. It’s more likely to get eaten than to do the attacking. Therefore, a good tank mate won’t be tempted to cross that line in the sand if it’s larger. Loaches also fare better with other slow-moving fish that aren’t aggressive or nippy. It’s a shy fish, so it’s best to put it with others that will leave it alone.

kuhli loache
Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock

Where Do Kuhli Loach Prefer to Live in the Aquarium?

The Kuhli Loach lives happily in the bottom of your aquarium. Like many of its genus, its scales are non-existent. That makes rounded gravel without sharp edges desirable. Plenty of hiding places are also necessary because that’s where this fish prefers to live, especially during the daylight hours when it’s not active.

Water Parameters

The Kuhli Loach lives in a tropical climate in its homeland. Therefore, warmer waters in a tank are best, with temperatures between 72°F and 82°F. As a scaleless fish, this species is sensitive to water conditions. Bear that in mind when adding products to your tank. Look for ones that specify scaleless fish. Stable conditions can also avoid stressing your Loach.

Size

With proper nutrition and enough room to grow, the Kuhli Loach can reach its maximum size of 4 inches long. That’s almost twice as much as it would get in the wild. Environmental pressures and predators can affect its growth, which don’t come into play in captive settings. Your choice of tank mates can also impact the maximum size that this fish will reach.

Aggressive Behaviors

The Kuhli Loach isn’t an aggressive fish by any means. You may think that it is scared because it’s not visible all the time. That’s due in part to its nocturnal nature. If you provide plenty of cover for it, your Loach may feel more comfortable making more frequent appearances. That includes plants and driftwood, all with rounded edges to prevent injuries.

4 Benefits of Having Tank Mates for Kuhli Loach in Your Aquarium

Kuhli loach
Image Credit: Olga Chezhina, Shutterstock

1. The Kuhli Loach Likes Small Groups of Its Kind.

The Kuhli Loach ticks off many boxes for the ideal fish. Its friendly disposition will be on full display if it has a few others of its kind in the aquarium.

2. The Kuhli Loach Is an Interesting Addition to Your Tank.

Many people mistake the Kuhli Loach for an eel. After all, it doesn’t look like others in its family. That’s what makes it such an interesting addition to your aquarium.

3. The Kuhli Loach Is a Docile Species.

As any pet owner will tell you, it’s infinitely easier to have fish that get along than ones that are always chasing each other. It keeps the stress levels under control, as well as the risk of disease.

4. The Kuhli Loach Will Keep Your Aquarium Clean.

There’s much to be said of having scavengers in your tank. Voracious eaters can keep excess food under control to keep the water cleaner and healthier. If that sounds good to you, then look no further than the Kuhli Loach.

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Conclusion

The Kuhli Loach has so much going for it. It is peaceful and an excellent tank mate for other fish of a similar temperament. It’s not an expensive species, so you’ll have no problem finding one or a few to add to your aquarium. You likely find that it is a delightful addition that will earn its keep by keeping your tank clean.

The only criterion is that the others in the aquarium should respect its space and let the Kuhli Loach do its job. Its motto is that “you live your life, and I’ll live mine.” It’s an unusual but interesting bottom-dwelling species.


Featured Image Credit: Roberto Dani, Shutterstock

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