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Why Is My Kuhli Loach Swimming Upside-Down (2 Reasons)

Why Is My Kuhli Loach Swimming Upside-Down (2 Reasons)
This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addtion, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you have kuhli loaches in your fish tank you should already know how neat they are. These fish are great additions to most community aquariums.

People love these fish because they’re interesting to look at and they’re peaceful. Also, they aren’t too tough to care for.

You likely won’t have a hard time caring for kuhli loaches since they’re beginner-friendly fish. However, you might be worried if you notice that some of your kuhli loaches are swimming upside-down.

Is this normal, or does this indicate that something is wrong with the fish? Continue reading to get to the bottom of this situation.

1 – Kuhli Loaches Swim Upside-Down to Hide From Predators

Kuhli loaches are pretty good at swimming upside-down. This is something that they’re known to do in the wild to hide from predators.

Swimming upside-down helps them to escape the notice of many predators. If you see the fish doing this in the tank, it might mean that they feel threatened.

You could have fish in the tank that are bullying the kuhli loaches. Have you noticed that the fish are hiding more than usual?

It’s important to only put kuhli loaches in community aquariums with compatible fish. They’re compatible with many fish because they’re so peaceful, but they can be bullied by aggressive fish.

2 – Siphon Tube Issues

There is one sort of strange reason why kuhli loaches swim upside-down sometimes. They’re known to swim upside down when they’re experiencing blockages in their siphon tubes.

This is essentially an injury that will take time to heal. The siphon tube blockage can be fixed, but it might be wise to ask an exotic veterinarian for assistance.

Note that this blockage has the potential to kill the fish. So it’s wise to reach out for help sooner rather than later.

How Can You Prevent Upside-Down Swimming?

Preventing upside-down swimming is mostly about providing the fish with an ideal environment. You want to take care of the basics very well so the fish will stay safe.

Below, you’ll learn a bit about the things that you should be focusing on. This will help you to get the best results so your kuhli loaches can stay healthy.

Take Care of Water Quality Issues

You need to keep the fish tank clean, or the kuhli loaches will get stressed. Doing so won’t be tough, but you do need to handle the basics.

Make sure that you’re doing regular water changes and cleaning the tank every so often. Ideally, you should do weekly water changes and cleaning sessions.

Test the pH balance of the tank regularly and use chemicals to keep things in line. You can adjust the water conditions as necessary when you keep a close eye on things.

Feed the Fish Well

Feeding your fish a high-quality diet is imperative. If you don’t feed the fish well, they won’t stay healthy.

Sometimes fish will do strange things when they’re unhealthy or when they become stressed. You want to feed the loaches sinking nutritional pellets or wafers for bottom-feeding fish.

Then you supplement this by giving them protein-rich foods. They like to eat bloodworms, blackworms, and brine shrimp from time to time.

Veggies can also be given to kuhli loaches as snacks. They like to eat blanched greens, but this should only be a supplemental treat.

Pick the Right Tank Size

Picking the right tank size is important as well. These fish don’t stay happy when they’re crammed into tanks that are too small.

Ideally, you want to keep them in a tank that is no smaller than 20 gallons. You might want to go with something much larger, depending on how many kuhli loaches you plan to keep.

Also, it should be noted that community aquariums need to be even larger. This is because you need room for the various types of fish that you plan to put in the tank.

Keep the Fish in Large Enough Groups

Note that these fish need to be kept in small groups to feel comfortable. They don’t do well when there are only one or two kuhli loaches in the tank.

They might exhibit strange behavior when you keep them alone or in pairs. You’re meant to keep at least three kuhli loaches in the tank.

It’d be even better to keep six of them or more in the tank. They do fantastic when kept in large groups of twelve or more.

This simply gives the fish greater confidence than usual and makes them more active in the tank. You won’t be as likely to see them swimming upside down or acting erratically.

Why Is My Kuhli Loach Glass Surfing?

What if you see the kuhli loaches swimming up and down the glass? This is commonly referred to as glass surfing.

Most enthusiasts say that this is simply normal kuhli loach behavior. These fish are known for glass surfing, and it doesn’t necessarily indicate that they’re stressed.

However, if glass surfing is combined with erratic swimming, it likely indicates a problem. It could be that the kuhli loaches are trying to escape the tank.

This might occur if the water quality in the tank is really bad. When the water is unsafe for the fish, they might want to escape to reach water that is safer for them.

The fish don’t know that there isn’t any water outside of the confined tank that they’re in. So pay attention to glass surfing to ensure that there are no problems in the tank that are stressing the fish.

Final Thoughts

You should have a better understanding of what’s happening now. There could be a few different reasons why the kuhli loaches are swimming upside down.

Check to see if there are any bully fish in the tank. If the fish are trying to avoid predators, they might start swimming upside down in the aquarium.

It’s also possible that your fish could have some type of siphon tube blockage. Consult a veterinarian to learn how to treat this problem.

Sometimes these fish simply act odd when there are issues with the tank. There could be water quality issues, or they might be stressed due to being placed in a small tank.

You might not be keeping enough of these fish in the tank. There are many things to consider since even the food that you’re giving the fish might play a role.

Examine everything mentioned above, and then try to determine what is going on in your tank. You should be able to make the necessary changes to protect your fish.

Don’t worry too much since you can get things back to normal. Kuhli loaches are easy fish to keep in good shape as long as you put in some effort and take care of the basics.