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Tropical Fish

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      05.11.2010 18:27
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      A brilliant addition to a community fish tank.

      These are among my favourite species of tropical fish, and since they are quite as well known as many I thought I would give them a review.
      Kuhli loaches can also be known as Coolie Loaches or Leopard loaches. I believe they are also called prickly something, prickly eye or prickly eel.
      They are not to be confused with zebra loaches which have a similar colouration, but a more fish like body.

      These fish originate in tropical water of Indonesia. While they prefer acidic waters - easily achieved by adding a bit of bog wood, they acclimate pretty well to most water types as long as the water is clean. because they are native to fast flowing waters, they quite enjoy water features that create a current, but care must be taken with any type of intake hose, which they are likely to wiggle into.

      My son really loves these fish as he thinks they are little snakes. I also like their thin snake like appearance, but also their way of coiling around each other and almost dancing about the tank or just draping themselves across plants for a nap. They just look so laid back. Most Kuhli loaches are orange with dark brown or black stripes as shown. It is possible to get an all black. I have read that albino and pink variants also exist but have never seen these except in pictures. Like most orange coloured fish, you can intensify the colour a bit by using foods high in natural pigments like brine shrimp or cichlid red.

      The Kuhli loach is suited to a community tank with small fish. It is rather obvious what it's worm like shape would mean to larger fish - dinner. It is non aggressive and only grows to about 3 ". this is very much a social fish and does not like to be kept alone, but should always be kept with at least one other Kuhli, preferably more. They prefer a finer gravel to bury in and like lots of hiding places. They do disappear for months at a time but always come out again at some point. A larger group will encourage them to be more active and visible.

      I can not find a lifespan for these but guess mine are about 4. I expect they have a fairly long lifespan in correct conditions. They will eat pretty much anything, frozen foods, flakes, pellets, whatever you throw in.

      I would really recommend these fish to anyone with a tank for small tropicals. Do get a few though. Once you watch them playing I think you will agree they should not be alone.

      The only downsides to these fish are that they compleely dissapear when you first get them, often for months and will only gradually begin to come out where you can see them. They also are the hardest fish to catch. They are incredibley fast and agile and it takes ages to net one. They do really like nice soft leafy plants to lay in as well, so consider adding a plant for them to hang about it.

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