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Common Kuhli Loach Diseases to Watch For

Common Kuhli Loach Diseases to Watch For

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

You likely love the kuhli loaches that you have in your tank. They’re very lovable fish that are sort of oddballs in the aquarium.

These fish look unique and they can even be fun to observe when they’re actually being active in the tank. They’re good fish that make a lot of sense for many community aquariums.

Generally, kuhli loaches are easy to care for and they’re somewhat hardy. However, the fish can get sick in the tank when certain things go wrong.

Below, you’ll learn about various kuhli loach diseases. This will help you to understand what to look out for so you can protect your fish.

Why Are My Kuhli Loaches Dying?

If your kuhli loaches are dying in the tank, it’s likely that something is seriously wrong. There could be many things happening.

There are diseases that can kill kuhli loaches if they aren’t treated in time. This means that you need to pay close attention to the tank.

Of course, other common mistakes can kill these fish as well. Kuhli loaches are fairly hardy, but they still have normal care requirements.

If the fish are forced to live in water that is too dirty for a long time they won’t survive. You need to monitor the pH balance of the water as well as the water temperature.

Feeding the fish is also important. They need to be fed the right type of diet or they will become sickly.

So your fish could be dying due to mistakes that you’ve been making for a long time. They could also be dying as a result of illnesses.

Often, kuhli loaches will be more likely to become ill because of issues with water quality or stress. So you might need to address the illness while also fixing problems in the tank that caused the fish to get sick.

Can Kuhli Loaches Get Ich?

Yes, ich is a very common disease that impacts kuhli loaches. Much like other freshwater fish, they’re vulnerable to ich when the water conditions in the tank are less than ideal.

Ich is also referred to as white spot disease. It’s a type of parasitic infection that involves white spots appearing all over the body.

Fish that get white spot disease will often appear to be sluggish. You might notice that the fish will lose its appetite and it might even have trouble breathing.

Luckily, this is a treatable condition. Catching ich early allows you to treat the kuhli loach by using various types of medications.

Many medications can help to eradicate ich in the fish tank. However, it can be dangerous to use medication if the fish is bloated.

Improve water quality and solve problems in the tank. Do regular water changes and try to help your fish get back to normal.

Swim Bladder Disease

Swim bladder disease is something that can happen to these fish as well. If you notice that the fish is swimming erratically and doesn’t appear to be in control it might have this condition.

In kuhli loaches, this condition is generally caused by a bacterial infection. Bacteria gets into the swim bladder and causes swelling which prevents the swim bladder from working properly.

The swim bladder controls buoyancy and allows fish to swim normally. Treating this condition involves giving the fish antibiotics to get rid of the infection.

Raising the water temperature and focusing on quality care helps, too. You can get loaches to recover from this problem by caring for them properly.


Bloating is a common issue that causes these fish problems. A bloated fish will look absolutely terrible.

You might see that the fish is experiencing swelling near the base of its fins. It’s also likely that you’ll notice that its eyes are sinking into the sockets.

As soon as you notice bloating issues you should take action. This problem can be treated by giving the fish a saltwater dip.

Other than this, you’re just supposed to baby the fish and take care of water quality issues. Over time, the fish can recover and return to normal.

Why Does My Kuhli Loach Have Red Gills?

Generally, red gills are a sign of irritation. If your kuhli loaches have noticeably red gills it could be that there are problems with the pH balance.

When the pH balance is off, the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels will rise in the tank. This is very bad for your fish.

You’re supposed to keep the pH balance between 5.5 and 6.5. Doing this won’t be hard so long as you test regularly using pH balance testing kits.

Make adjustments when necessary using special chemicals to lower or raise the pH balance. If your balance is off, the fish might experience issues.

The red gills could be a sign that your fish is experiencing ammonia burns. So you’ll want to address this problem as fast as you can.

Can You Use Aquarium Salt With Kuhli Loach?

It’s generally not recommended to put aquarium salt in the tank when caring for kuhli loaches. Kuhli loaches don’t have normal scales and they don’t respond well to aquarium salt.

Sometimes salt baths are used as treatments for specific diseases. However, you must be careful when doing this or the fish might go into shock.

So it’s better to try to treat the fish without using salt since it can be detrimental. If other fish in a community tank get sick and need to be treated with aquarium salt, it’d be better to isolate them first.

Put the fish in a quarantine tank so you won’t unnecessarily put your kuhli loaches at risk. Be mindful of the potential problems that aquarium salt can cause kuhli loaches.

What Does it Mean When a Kuhli Loach Gets Very Skinny?

Have you noticed that your kuhli loach has become incredibly skinny as of late? Many types of kuhli loaches are rather skinny to begin with, but they can become even more skinny when they get sick.

Sadly, loaches can sometimes experience issues where they will get so skinny that you will be able to see their spines and ribs. When this is the case it’s a sure bet that your fish is very sick.

Typically, fish that are wasting away are experiencing one of a few common diseases. The fish might have ich or it could be experiencing swim bladder disease.

Even bloating can sometimes lead to significant weight loss. You’ll need to treat whatever illness the fish has and then focus on nursing the fish back to health.

This will involve feeding the fish high-quality foods and focusing on water quality. The fish should get better and will return to a healthy weight over time if all goes well.

Of course, it’s possible that the fish might die when it gets this sick. So you want to take action fast to attempt to turn things around.

Preventing Disease

Preventing disease in the tank will mostly involve focusing on the basics. You want to make sure that you do your best to keep your fish happy and healthy.

Ensure that the water quality remains high in the tank. Monitor the water parameters closely and be sure to do regular water changes.

Feed the fish often enough without overfeeding them. These fish do best when fed twice per day and you should feed them as much as they can eat in two minutes each time.

Kuhli loaches can become stressed when put in fish tanks that have too few of their own kind. Remember to keep three or more kuhli loaches in the tank.

They also don’t like being crammed into fish tanks that are too small. So you need to ensure that the fish have more than enough room.

These fish like to have hiding spots in the tank as well. They might get stressed if there are no hiding spots or too few hiding spots.

Do your best to give the fish what they need to stay healthy. This should make it far less likely that the fish will get sick.

Final Thoughts

There are many kuhli loach diseases that you need to be aware of. Now that you’ve learned about the common problems that kuhli loaches might face you can be more prepared.

This will allow you to make good choices so you can protect your fish. Luckily, protecting fish from disease is mostly about making good care choices.

You can focus on water quality and keeping the fish from becoming stressed in the tank. If your kuhli loaches ever do show signs of sickness, it’s best to act fast to help them heal.

These conditions can be treated, but the fish might die if you ignore the problem. It’s always best to be a proactive fish owner that pays attention to what’s going on in the tank.

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