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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the




Acanthophtalmus kuhli kuhli


    One of the strangest looking aquarium fish, the Kuhli Loach makes a fine addition to any community setup.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 3 inches (8cm)
    Tank: 20 inches
    Strata: Bottom, substrate
    PH: 5 to 7
    Hardness: Soft to medium
    Temperature: 79° to 86°f  (24 to 30°C)


    Order: Cypriniformes
    Suborder: Cyprinoidei
    Family: Cobitidae
    Genera: Acanthophtalmus

Common name:

    Kuhli Loach, Coolie Loach, Leopard Eel, Striped Loach

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Java and Sumatra

General Body Form:
    Looks much like a worm, with slight lateral compression. Small almost unnoticeable head with small eyes and mouth. The nasal area contains three barbels.



    The most noticeable characteristic of the Kuhli are the Fifteen to twenty Brown or Black bands that run from the back down to the belly area. These bands usually split into two on the body sides. The first band runs through the nose, the second through the eyes, the third across the Gill plates and they end at the start of the caudal fin. The background body color is a pale Yellow or Pink

    The Kuhli is Nocturnal by nature and is generally only seen when the tank is dark, therefore it is best kept in a well furnished tank with lots of hiding places. Due to its burrowing habit a soft sandy substrate should be provided. Kuhlis are very fond of Tubifex worms and the freeze dried variety are better to use than the live, due to the trouble they can cause. They will also take all types of flake and frozen food. Often the only time you will see them is when they come out to feed.

    These fish are often seen in large masses hiding in plant clumps in the streams of Southeast Asia.

    Systematic or planned breeding from what I can found has not yet been achieved, but there are many reports of spontaneous breeding in the home aquarium. It has been said that the pair will closely intertwine at the water surface and scatter the eggs over the area. Females carrying eggs are said to become obese as spawning approaches.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Brittany
I have 3 Banded Kuhli Loaches and 3 Black Kuhli Loaches in my 55g. They are the most adorable things ever and I love them so much!! They're said to be nocturnal, but I see them in the day time, and they like to swim up the side of the tank when I walk by. But, when night falls around they are the most active things EVER!! They're sweet and wouldn't hurt anything, except for my cultures of live food lol. None of my fish bother them and they will eat practically anything. I'm definitely getting more soon for my other tanks. :)
From: Amy
I've had my 2 loaches in my 180 litre set up for a while now,and to be honest,I haven't seen them that much!they are said to be nocturnal ,but they do make an appearance every now and then .Day or night, they are brilliant for gravel cleaning as I've found that the flakes that my other fish have not eaten,are eaten my loaches, where as before,it rotted away until I had to clean it out!be really careful when siphoning during water changes as they do like to hide in the gravel and you don't want to suck one up!little characters and a beautiful looking loach.
From: Chris
I have 2 cool Khuli's! and they are definitely the best addition to my tank.. I started off with just one stripped a while ago until he vanished for over a week... it was only when I was cleaning my filter out that I found him again!! (inside the filter!) unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to prevent him disappearing down the plug hole!!! ( keepers be aware!!) I now have 2 black and they are brilliant.. I have a lot of rocks and wood in my tank and have created many caves and hide holes and they just love it and are a joy to watch!! I am in the process of creating an artificial rock face with loads of hide holes. I shall be introducing another 8 pairs (including 2 albino) also I will be adding sand to my gravel to increase the hiding fun!! they really are the best addition to any tank and in my opinion the most fun to little girl loves them and whenever I feed she shouts where are the snakes!!(3yrs old!)
From: Niffers
Kuhlis are awesome little fish to add to a community tank. The more you have, the more playful they seem to become. They are shy and love to hide, but keeping them in a group of 4 or more seems to build their confidence. The best way to observe them is to turn off the tank light in the evening while leaving a light in an other room on ... giving just enough light to see the tank. Drop in a few sinking goodies and boy do you have big party going on. They are fun little fish and can end up in the strangest places. I've found mine in my filter, in my net breeder, hanging out in some fake plants ... they really do get around. They're awesome in a sand tank because they burrow through the sand and keep it from getting dead spots. They also munch up any food that hits the bottom of the tank. Not only are they fun, but they're great little workers too. Truly, they are fun fish to have. I feed algae wafers and shrimp pellets for all my bottom feeders ... my kuhlis will come out and share with my corys and gold Inca snails. It really is something to see.
From: Beth
I have 8 of these little guys and they are the best creatures to watch they are amazing. I've had them for a few months and at first they were a little shy but now they no when feeding time is they come out and play all the time. They say that they should have a low pH but mine are very happy at 7.6 and live with corys,otos,guppies,mollies and platies and they are been the best to watch. Id recommend them to anyone !!!
From: orrmate
I've got a breeding pair,they@re nocturnal,but when u do see them they're fascinating. They tend to hide in filters or a shadowy place like a castle,and if mine find a carcass lying around they finish it off. They're not trouble makers but very shy.

From: Camille
I LOVE khulis and have some stripes, but also black (dark brown really) and shinny gold ones ; it you want to see them, put a green light on and it will give a sort of marshy look to your tank that diurnal fish don't mind and is much easiest on the nocturnal ones. My Khulis are out all the time, they play all over the tank, swim up the current like salmons, chase each other and play in the plants. They even jump out of the water ! They are very very fun to watch and I recommend them to every community fish owners. Watch out ; they MUST be kept in group since they are always rubbing against each other. One alone would die.







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