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Kuhli loaches in open top tanks?

bushaaayyy

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25 Dec 2020
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I have read some reports of kuhli loaches being jumpers/climbers.

Does anyone have experience with keeping them in open top tanks? Any issues? Were you able to keep the water level fairly close to the rim of the tank?
 

Hufsa

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They can get up some real speed during their nightly activities, often dancing all the way up the glass in a favorite corner. Would be concerned of jumpers. Personally would want a lid or at least some cm of clearance from water to edge
 

bushaaayyy

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Thanks for your input. When i last had a freshwater aquarium (about 12 years ago!) I don’t think kuhlis were on the market. But I think they look really interesting and unusual so would love to have them in the aquascaped tank I’m planning. But I’m pretty set on having an open top tank so maybe this won’t be feasible 🙁
 

foxfish

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I have always kept 4-5 of them in my main tanks, you rarely see them while the lights are on although one might occasionally appear, shoot up to the surface and dive back down or even swim up and down the front glass for 10 minutes but then I might go months without seeing any at all!
They are incredibly elusive most of the time but can often be glimpsed amounts the plants which is always nice.
Many years ago you could buy really stocky big fellas that I guess were wild caught!
Anyway, I really can’t remember finding one on the floor and I have kept open tanks for a long time...
Perhaps wait until you have a well established and settled tank.
 

foxfish

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It might help to keep a large group but they do grow quite big so you would need a big tank and plenty of hiding places, you would need to factor them into the overall stocking level .... basically they are nocturnal .
If one was really keen a blue moon light at the end of the main lighting might offer some viewing opportunity?
 

Bon MotMot

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I have a 20g/75l long set up for kuhli loaches with an open top. I bought 8 at once and one jumped the first day but the others have been fine and it has been nearly a year. They share the tank with a betta and a school of 5 to 8 Harlequin rasboras, and I can sometimes see them during the day, especially during feeding time. I still have at least 5 loaches and would like to add a couple more but they have been harder to come by in recent months. I love the kuhlis!
20200223_195921.jpg

Loach 2_20191222.JPG

The big piece of wood on the right makes a good cave that they pile into but I can still see 'em
 

shangman

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I have kuhlis in an open top. I had 1 jumper in the first 2 weeks when the water level was less than 1CM from the top, now I keep it 1.5-2cm from the top and haven't had any jumpers since. They do like to swim all over the glass at night, particularly loving the corners. Mins are about 7cm.

If you do a big water change that makes them super active, you could not fill up fully (leave 5cm) so they can swim around madly for a bit without you worrying, then a few hours later add the final water top-up. If I got them new again I might also keep the water a bit lower for the first few weeks so they can get used to the tank.
 

mort

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We used to import these by the hundred and you'd only ever see a fraction of however many were in the tank but they love company so a decent sized group would be the best way to go. You can make little corner covers, little triangular shaped plastic or glass pieces, that sit on top of the corners and surprisingly stop quite a lot of leaps for freedom. I was a little sceptical when I saw them on here but they seem to work really well and you can add them just before lights out and remove them in the morning if you don't want them on all the time.

I can't really recall any khulis that jumped out the tank but I do remember they are masters of escapology in terms of getting from one tank to the next. We had the usual shop racks and when they were in qt I would add them to the top tank and they would find their way through the smallest gap, then through all 12ft of tanks and end up in the sump.

Such a cool fish but a couple of hundred of them in a tank would give some customers the creeps.
 

bushaaayyy

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you could not fill up fully (leave 5cm) so they can swim around madly for a bit without you worrying, then a few hours later add the final water top-up. If I got them new again I might also keep the water a bit lower for the first few weeks so they can get used to the tank.
You can make little corner covers, little triangular shaped plastic or glass pieces, that sit on top of the corners and surprisingly stop quite a lot of leaps for freedom
Good tips from you both, will bear these in mind for my future set up
 

Wolf6

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I've had the same group for 6 years now, only had one jumper, the others are still there. Original group was 6, now there are 5 :) They get pretty old and sometimes you dont see them for a week or more, but they are such fun fish :)
 

Simmo

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I had one jump, found it years later behind the tank. Was going to get a group recently but was surprised to read they are nearly all wild caught and overcollected so wild populations are less numerous than they were so decided to get something else to get my David Attenborough badge ;)
 
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I'm not sure if there are a few different subspecies, I bought 4 and was lucky to see them once a month. I saw them recently in a nice scaped tank at my LFS, I commented on the fact they were nice to see and he said had over 20 in a small tank.
 

mort

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I'm not sure if there are a few different subspecies, I bought 4 and was lucky to see them once a month. I saw them recently in a nice scaped tank at my LFS, I commented on the fact they were nice to see and he said had over 20 in a small tank.

There are over 30 species of pangio which are commonly called kuhli loaches. I'm not sure how many make it to the aquarium trade but the ones I've seen all share the same behaviour and it's only when kept on mass that they become bolder.
I mentioned earlier that we had about 200 in our qt at one time and I'd have been lucky to see a couple of dozen at one time.
 
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