Freshwater Khulii Loach – Striped – 6 cm

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(1 customer review)


The advantage of this Loach over others is its size, it rarely grows over 10 cm in length, and they don’t create much waste. Best suited for intermediate aquarists because they are prone to diseases. Min tank size: 75 litres.

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approximately 1-6 business days September 29, 2021 - October 4, 2021


Kuhli loach

The kuhli loach (Pangio kuhlii) is a small eel-like freshwater fish belonging to the loach family (Cobitidae). They originate from Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula. This snake-like creature is very slender and nocturnal. In an aquarium, the kuhli loach can be very reclusive and, when startled, will dart underneath tank ornaments or bury itself, if a fine gravel or sandy substrate is present.

The kuhli loach is an eel-shaped fish with slightly compressed sides, four pairs of barbels around the mouth, and very small fins. The dorsal fin starts behind the middle of the body.  the anal fin well behind this. The eyes are covered with transparent skin. The body has 10 to 15 dark brown to black vertical bars, and the gaps between them are salmon pink to yellow with a light underside. When the fish is not actively breeding, distinctions between males and females are not readily apparent. However, close observation will reveal that males have a more muscular upper/dorsal cross-section and their pectoral fins tend to be larger. more paddle-shaped, and often have some pigment in them. When breeding, the females often become larger than the male and their greenish ovaries can be seen through the skin before spawning. Spawning is not easy, but when it occurs a few hundred greenish eggs are laid among the roots of floating plants. Kuhli loaches reach maturity at 2 ​34 inches (7 cm) and have a maximum length of 4 inches (10 cm). This fish can live for up to about 14 years.


The kuhli loach is commonly kept as a pet in tropical aquaria. There are a number of species of the genus Pangio that appear similar and are sold under the same name, require similar care, and are all excellently suited for household tanks. They tend to be hardy and long-lived in the aquarium and get along well with their own kind as well as others.

In an aquarium environment, especially if the gravel is suitably finely grained, Pangio species can burrow into the bottom and there remain unseen for long periods of time, emerging to eat during the night. If the gravel is later disturbed, a hobbyist might well find themselves faced with fish assumed lost a long time ago. Kuhlis may also occasionally swim into unprotected filter inlets, possibly leading to their deaths.

Breeding in captivity requires plenty of hiding spaces and consistent water quality.

The Kuhli Loach is a peaceful bottom dwelling fish, it is the water equivalent of an owl and will stay awake all night scavenging around the tank looking for food. The advantage of this Loach over others is its size, it rarely grows over 10 cm in length, and they don’t create much waste.  Best suited for intermediate aquarists because they are prone to diseases.

The Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii) belongs to the Cobitidae family. They are also known as the Coolie Loach, the Leopard Loach or the Cinnamon Loach.  The Kuhli Loach is found in South-East Asia, in Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. However, the full extent of its distribution still remains unclear.


Its shy and peaceful temperament makes the Kuhli Loach fish the perfect tank companion. However, we do recommend only more experienced aquarists keep them.  Despite their small size, they are better suited for experienced aquarists because they are prone to diseases. They have a head with no scales, and they are very sensitive to medications. Some experience in treating scale-less fish is advised if you want to keep these night owls. This Loach has an eel body shape and they are scavengers making them great aquarium cleaners.

Although they are not a schooling fish, they are more comfortable with some companions.  They usually become active at night-time spending most of their time at the bottom of the tank scavenging in the substrate for food. Being a curious fish they will appreciate caves and crevices to hide in.  They also like burrowing into the sand and often they will swim to their death if you leave filter inlets unprotected.

Tank Conditions

In the wild they are used to lots of vegetation so include plenty of plants such as cryptocoryne wendtii and Java Fern. In the wild, Loaches like spending time in leaf litters so you can spread peat moss inside the aquarium to recreate this.  Some large rocks and a couple of pieces of driftwood can also be used as tank decoration; they will also appreciate twisted roots as a place to hide.

It’s very important to keep the water clean and well-oxygenated.  Kuhli Loaches require a soft substrate such as sand and fine gravel mix. We suggest an undergravel filter to improve oxygenation and reduce waste. They prefer good water movement with a turnover of at least 10 times per hour; you will need a good quality filter for this.  Any filter you use will need a cover over the outlet and inline pipe so your Loach doesn’t swim inside and get trapped.

Allow 11 – 18 litres of water for each additional Loach you add to your tank.


They are best kept with other small non-aggressive fish such as Corydoras, Danios, Rasboras and Tetras.  Since they spend most of their time swimming at the bottom of the tank, ideal tank mates are those fish which occupy the upper regions of the tank.  White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Oto Catfish and shrimps like the Red Cherry Shrimp are also good tank mates.  Peaceful pelagic (swimming near the middle or the surface) fish such as Gouramis are also ideal tank companions.  Finally don’t keep them with snails as they will try to eat them.


Kuhli Loach are omnivorous fish, eating larvae, small crustaceans and plant material found on the river bed.  They will sieve through mouthfuls of substrate in search of food. Sinking pellets are best as loaches scavenge off the bottom of their tank.  They will eat most of the things you feed to them, frozen or live food.  Despite not being fussy, they do prefer a meat-based diet. Flakes and pellets are ideal as they will easily sink down to the substrate and they will be easily eaten by your loaches – these foods should form the base of your Loaches diet.  A diet including DaphniaArtemiaBloodworms, Microworms and Grindal Worm is recommended.


The most common disease that afflicts Loaches is Ich or “white spot disease” and is likely due to them having no head scales and very faint body scales. Most aquarium fishes are susceptible to this disease, but Loaches are often the first to be attacked.  They are very sensitive to the different medications which are used to treat diseases, and some diseases require water temperature changes along with medication which can cause further stress to this fish and make them more prone to diseases.

See Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment at Rebel Pets for help with diagnosing and treating diseases.

Adult Size:10 cm
Aquarist Experience Level:Intermediate
Minimum Tank Size:75 litres, +11-18 litres/add. fish
Temperament:Peaceful, good community fish
Tank Level:Bottom dweller
Diet:Omnivore and scavenger
Aquarium Hardiness:Prone to disease due to lack of head scales
Lifespan:Up to 10 Years
Water Flow:Moderate
Temperature:23 to 30°C
pH:5.5-6.5 slightly acidic
Hardness:0-5 dGH (soft)





1 review for Freshwater Khulii Loach – Striped – 6 cm

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Lizelle (verified owner)

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