Keeping kuhli loaches in your fish tank should be great. These fish are commonly kept in community aquariums because they’re peaceful and fairly easy to care for overall.
They have a reputation for being good fish for beginners. You shouldn’t have a tough time with them as long as you can handle the basics of keeping the tank clean and checking the water parameters.
However, there might be things that will occur in the tank that will give you pause. For instance, you might notice your kuhli loach is swimming around in circles.
What does it mean when kuhli loaches act this way? Is this a normal action, or does this indicate some type of problem?
Read on to learn about kuhli loaches swimming in circles. You’ll have a better understanding of what your fish is experiencing once you’ve learned the information below.
1 – Playing
It’s not necessarily anything to worry about. Many fish owners who keep kuhli loaches note that their fish do this quite often.
Most seem to think that it’s something the kuhli loaches do when they’re playing. You might see the fish swimming around in circles together sometimes.
So don’t jump to conclusions and assume that the fish are in bad shape when you see them swimming in circles. It might just be that they’re playing, and it’s not something to concern yourself with.
2 – Weather Changes
One thing to keep in mind is that kuhli loaches seem to react to weather changes. When the weather in the area changes substantially, the kuhli loaches will react to this in some way.
So if it’s raining or if the weather significantly cools down, you might notice them swimming in circles more often. It’s not necessarily a sign of something bad, but it’s just something that these fish do.
3 – Courtship
Swimming in circles and chasing could be part of courtship. Kuhli loaches are pretty easy to breed, and they will sometimes go through mating rituals.
It’s normal for males and females to swim around together like this. So it might have to do with mating.
Kuhli loaches can lay hundreds of eggs, and you need to be careful because of this. You might wind up with more kuhli loaches than you bargained for if the fish breed in the tank.
They eat their own eggs, though, so the parent fish might reduce the numbers of fish that will hatch naturally. It’s just something to keep in mind.
4 – Acclimating to the Tank
Some kuhli loach owners say that these fish swim in circles and exhibit signs of glass surfing when acclimating to a tank. If your kuhli loaches are new, they might simply need more time to get used to the environment.
It takes time for fish to become comfortable in a new tank. Kuhli loaches are known for being shy and somewhat reclusive fish.
When they aren’t comfortable in a tank yet, they might swim in circles or do other strange things when they aren’t hiding. Look out for the fish, and try to make the tank as ideal as possible for them.
Ensure that they have everything that they need to thrive. After a few weeks pass, the fish should get used to the tank, and they won’t swim in circles as often.
5 – Not Enough Hiding Spots in the Tank
Kuhli loaches are fish that really love to hide. Putting them in fish tanks that don’t have enough hiding spots will cause them stress.
So if your fish seem to be stressed, it could be related to a lack of hiding spots. You might need to buy more small caves that they can enjoy and use for hiding.
Remember that these fish like to hide, and it’s normal for them to hide during the day. These are nocturnal fish that are most active in the evening and at night.
They like to sleep during the day and hide in caves or other tight spots while they sleep. Do your best to provide the fish with what they need to feel comfortable and safe.
6 – Too Few Kuhli Loaches in the Tank
If you still think your kuhli loaches are acting strangely, you might want to consider whether there are enough of them in the tank. These fish aren’t schooling fish, but they still need to be kept in groups.
They don’t feel comfortable in fish tanks when kept by themselves or in pairs. You’re expected to keep a minimum of three of them in the tank.
So it’s important to make sure that you have enough of these fish. If you don’t, you might notice erratic behavior from time to time.
If you have enough room for a larger tank, it’d be wise to keep six or more kuhli loaches together. They feel more confident and will be more fun to watch this way.
Swimming in circles isn’t necessarily something to worry about. It might simply be that the fish are playing.
It’s also something that can indicate that the fish are stressed in some way, though. Make sure that the fish have what they need in the tank to thrive.
Ensure that they’re being kept in a large enough group. You need at least three kuhli loaches in the tank.
These fish also need hiding spots to feel safe in the tank. As long as you look out for them, it should be easy to keep them feeling happy.
They likely won’t swim in circles all the time, but if you see them doing this occasionally, it might be normal. Remember that they sometimes do this when playing or even during courtship.
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.