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.
This rather pretty little loach is fairly easy to care for in the home aquarium, needing water that is medium-soft to medium and pH around 6.0 to 7.0. It has been known, however, for them to adapt to most water conditions. Its region in the tank is the bottom where it browses for food. The temperature should be 75 – 85 F (24 – 29 C).
The kuhli loach has an advantage over most of the other loaches kept in aquariums, inasmuch as it never grows too large, growing around 8-11 cm (3-5 in) in length. Also their bioload is very small for a loach. Be sure to keep the tank covered properly at all times as it can squeeze out of quite small places. The minimum tank size required for the kuhli is 20 gallons (37 liters).
They also prefer sand for substrate but if sand is not appropriate, smooth stones should be used so that the loach won’t scratch its body on gravel or stones. Sharp edged decorations also would not be a good idea, with their habit of squeezing into tight places they could get badly scratched.
These loaches are peaceful fish and prefer to be kept in schools of 3 or more. Because of this fishes beauty, many hobbiest get them straight after the nitrogen cycle has completed. It is, however, not advised to get them for the new aquarium as they are affected by sudden water changes. It is best recommended to wait a month before introducing them to the aquarium.
Many fish can be kept as tank mates with the Kuhli Loach as long as precaution is taken not to include fish that are able to take them for a bite of food. In other words, don’t keep fish that are big enough to eat them. They scavenge for food mainly at dusk or in the dark as they are nocturnal, and spend most of their time hiding in the substrate, plants and decorations during the day. But with time most of them readily learn to eat during the day time. Being scavengers they eat most fish food, however sinking food pellets are preferred as well as live foods, for instance; bloodworms and brine shrimp. It is recommended to feed them either, just before the lights are turned off for the night or after the lights have been off for a while. Don’t switch on the lights during the process it may scare the fish back into hiding.