If you really like kuhli loaches you might be interested in getting even more of them for your tank. You can always go out and buy more from the aquarium store.
However, you might want to try breeding the fish instead. If you have both male and female kuhli loaches in your tank this might be an interesting prospect.
Not all fish are going to be easy to breed, though. Some fish have a hard time breeding in captivity.
Are kuhli loaches easy to breed? Or should you not attempt to breed these fish unless you have experience?
Read on to learn about the process. Once you’ve read everything you should understand what it takes to breed these fish so you can decide whether you’d like to try it yourself.
Can You Breed Kuhli Loaches?
It is possible to breed kuhli loaches in captivity, but it isn’t necessarily easy. Most enthusiasts say that breeding kuhli loaches is difficult, but others say that it just requires patience.
If you have no experience breeding fish, it might be a bit frustrating to try to breed kuhli loaches. It’s not that the process is overly complicated, but you might get discouraged when you don’t get results fast.
That being said, you can learn how to do things right and follow the steps to eventually find success. Breeding kuhli loaches in captivity isn’t too uncommon, but it’s not something that many people focus on either.
You can breed these fish without too much effort. That might seem contradictory, but once you understand the challenges of breeding these fish you’ll understand why it’s best not to worry about it too much.
Under the right circumstances, breeding will just occur in the tank. So long as you have male and female kuhli loaches, it’s possible to breed the fish.
Kuhli Loaches Take a Long Time to Reach Sexual Maturity
The first thing to know about breeding kuhli loaches is that these fish take a long time to reach sexual maturity. A kuhli loach won’t reach sexual maturity until they are between twelve and eighteen months old.
This is a fair bit older than when many other types of fish become sexually mature. So you have to care for the fish for quite some time before they will even be capable of breeding.
Some enthusiasts say that kuhli loaches won’t breed at all until they are two years old. It’s unclear whether this is true or not, though.
What is known is that it’s rare for kuhli loaches to breed when they’re young. They often won’t breed until they’ve aged a bit.
So you might have a tough time getting these fish to breed when they’re younger than two years old. It likely isn’t even worthwhile to try to do so.
This is the challenging part of breeding these fish. Once the fish are old enough, the breeding process isn’t that difficult, but it does require patience.
How to Breed Kuhli Loaches
To breed kuhli loaches, you’ll want to put a group of them in a small tank. A 20-gallon fish tank should work nicely as a breeding tank.
Put somewhere between six and twelve kuhli loaches in a 20-gallon fish tank to get started. The breeding tank should be fine with a sponge tank filter.
You should put plants in the tank such as java moss. This plant should be suspended an inch away from the bottom of the tank.
Attach the java moss plant to an egg crate to make things easy. Adding some java ferns to the tank should also be beneficial.
Floating water sprite plants can be added, too. These can be kept at the surface, but you don’t want the plants to cover more than one-third of the surface.
Focus on maintaining water quality in the breeding tank. Do water changes as you normally would and make sure to rinse out the filter every so often.
Try to keep the pH balance between 6.8 and 7.2 in the tank for now. Keep a close eye on water hardness since water that is too hard is very detrimental to these fish.
Eventually, the female fish should begin filling with eggs. You might see that some of the females are bulging with eggs.
Doing a bigger water change than usual at this point can coax the fish to breed. It might take a few attempts but the fish should breed at some point.
These fish breed by wrapping around each other and splashing toward the top of the tank. The eggs will be fertilized by the male and then they will be positioned.
Kuhli loach eggs are bright green and they should be fairly easy to spot. The eggs float at first and then sink in the tank.
They’re somewhat sticky and they should attach to the java ferns and java moss plants that you’ve placed in the breeding tank. When the eggs have been laid, it’s best to remove the adults from the breeding tank and put them back in the main tank.
This is because the adults will eat the eggs. You want the eggs to survive so it’s time to remove the adult fish from the equation.
It takes a few days for kuhli loach eggs to hatch. The fry will begin feeding a few days after they hatch.
They will feed on the mulm at the bottom of the tank as well as eating plant matter that can be found on the java ferns and java moss. You can also add supplemental foods to the tank that will sink to the bottom for the fry.
When the fish are four or five days old you can begin feeding them microworms. It’s also common to feed these kuhli loach fry freshly-hatched brine shrimp.
Kuhli loach fry grow pretty fast and it’ll only take them around six weeks to reach one inch in length. You might need to move some of the fry to other tanks since you’ll have too many fish for just one tank.
When kuhli loaches are getting ready to mate you’ll likely see them swimming up and down the sides of the tank. You should notice that the female fish will be bulging with eggs, too.
The actual mating process involves the fish intertwining and shaking a bit. The female releases eggs and the male fertilizes the eggs to make them viable.
Other than this, there aren’t a lot of complex breeding behaviors to talk about. Kuhli loaches simply breed when they are ready to do so and there doesn’t appear to be an elaborate mating ritual that precedes it.
Do Kuhli Loaches Lay Eggs?
Yes, kuhli loaches lay eggs. These fish are known to lay many eggs at once, too.
You can wind up with far more kuhli loaches than you bargained for when breeding these fish. Thus, it might not be wise to try to breed them if you’re not prepared.
How Many Babies Do They Have?
Kuhli loaches will have many babies. They lay between fifty and four hundred eggs in one spawning session.
If you have multiple female kuhli loaches in the breeding tank, you could be dealing with so many eggs that it’ll be borderline ridiculous. It might take these fish years before they will start breeding, but they truly do lay many eggs once they do.
A single kuhli loach might produce hundreds of fry. You’ll have so many baby fish to deal with that you might need to keep multiple tanks to store all of the fish.
Not all of the fish will survive, but many of them usually do when you breed these loaches. So you should expect a large number of fish to make it.
You might need to come up with some way to get rid of many of these fish. It likely won’t be practical to keep hundreds of kuhli loaches in your home aquarium.
Where Do They Lay Eggs?
In the wild, kuhli loaches are known to lay eggs in shallow waters that have extremely dense vegetation. The eggs are sticky and they will fall down onto the plants.
This is where the eggs will stay until they are either eaten by other fish or they hatch. The same thing holds true in the fish tank.
In a fish tank, the kuhli loaches will lay eggs by going through their mating process near the top of the tank. The eggs will be released and they will wind up floating for a bit before sinking down to the plants below.
This is why you’re supposed to have plants such as java ferns and java moss at the bottom of the tank. You want the eggs to get stuck to the plants.
What Do Kuhli Loach Eggs Look Like?
Kuhli loach eggs are very distinct because they have a bright green appearance. It’s likely that you’ll be able to spot the eggs fairly easily.
When looking for these eggs, you should simply try to spot clumps of green in the tank. Since these fish lay hundreds of eggs at once, it’ll be easy to spot large clumps of bright green eggs.
The eggs have a gel-like or jelly-like appearance. They’re a bit sticky and will stick to the surface of plants in the tank.
So you’ll see a lot of them sticking on the sides of plants as well as other locations in the tank. You’ll have so many eggs that you might not spot every single one of them, but that doesn’t really matter.
What Should You Do With Unwanted Kuhli Loaches?
What if you wind up having far more kuhli loaches than you bargained for? Perhaps you only wanted a dozen or so more kuhli loaches and now you have hundreds.
It isn’t practical to try to keep all of these fish in your home. You should try to get rid of some of them.
See if any of your friends would like some kuhli loaches for their tanks. These fish do great in groups of at least three, but they’re very comfortable in groups of twelve.
You might be able to get rid of some of them by giving them to friends and family members who are also into keeping home aquariums. However, you’ll likely need to turn to other ideas to get rid of the rest.
Try contacting local aquarium stores to see if they will take the kuhli loaches off of your hands. They might be willing to care for the fish and sell them to people.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.