Black Kuhlii Loach - Live Aquaria

The Black Kuhli Loaches behavior is typical of the Pangio genus. They spend much of their time actively scurrying around, over, and through the plants and decorations at the bottom of the aquarium scavenging for leftover foods that settle on the bottom of the tank. They are great little helpers and aid in aquarium maintenance of a community tank. At times they will lie on their sides and give the impression that they are ill. This is normal behavior for these fish and is done when they have insufficient hiding places in their tank. These loaches like planted tanks with driftwood, rocks, plant roots and caves to explore and hide in.

When they are available for purchase, Black Kuhli Loaches are usually 1-1/2″ to 3″ in length.

Several Asian loaches are popular fishes. Among these are the clown loach (Botia macracanthus), an orange about 13–30 centimetres (5–12 inches) long and marked with three vertical black bands, and the kuhli loach (Pangio kuhlii), a pinkish, eel-like species about 8 centimetres long, marked with many vertical black bands. Other loaches include the stone (Nemachilus barbatula) and spined loaches, both mottled, yellow and brown fishes about 13 centimetres long found in Europe and northern Asia. The European (Misgurnus fossilis) is a yellowish fish about 25 centimetres long, banded and speckled with brown; like the similar Japanese weatherfish (M. anguillicaudatus), it is named for its heightened activity during periods of rapid change in , such as occur before a storm.

Java Loach, Pangio oblonga, Black Kuhli Loach, Chocolate Kuhli

When they are available for purchase, Black Kuhli Loaches are usually 1-1/2″ to 3″ in length. Like the clown loach this fish likes to dig in the substrate, and hobbyists should provide them with the same type of sand/gravel mix that you would the clown loach to protect their barbels when they dig.
Unlike the clown loach, black kuhli loaches don’t grow to monstrous proportions and typically range from 3-5 inches, which means you won’t need quite as large a tank for this species. Experts recommend a tank no smaller than 20 gallons for this species. In addition, decorations such as rocks should be of the smooth variety so the fish won’t damage its body as it tries to squeeze into tight places.

Black Kuhlii Loach - Aquarium Fish

Probably the most readily available of what I would term a ‘small and peaceful species’ would undoubtedly be the Zebra Loach () from India. With a maximum size of 10 cm (4 in) it is much more suited to smaller tanks, and will co-exist peacefully with all other species. It’s glorious pattern of thin alternating black and white bars is eye-catching, and lends itself perfectly to this fish’s other common name of Candystripe Loach. I can’t recommend this species enough!

My Black Kuhli Loaches in my 45 Gallon Tank - YouTube


The Kuhli loach, also commonly known as Coolie loach, comes from the Tropical waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Java and surrounding areas. The Kuhli Loach is eel shaped. Its body colorings are a kind of salmon-pink/yellow with dark brown to black stripes that half circles the body. The stomach is a sort of a whitish colour. The eyes on the Kuhli Loach are set in one of the stripes and therefore not easily seen. The mouth is set at a downward angle and with 3 pairs of bushy barbels adorning it; it looks like it has an obstinate little moustache. Its fins are translucent.In our tank we also have 6 Glolite tetras, and 5 Black Kuhli Loaches. We have a Tetra Whisper 20i and an underground filter of unknown make and/or age which uses airlines and risers for the filtration flow. We have gravel due to the UGF and knew it was not ideal for the Kuhlis. We have created places to hide above the gravel and have watched for signs of scratches, fin tears, etc. We also have some live plants: 3 small Wisteria plants and a few pieces of Anacharis floating on the top. The rest of the tank has lava rock and fake plants.