Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii/Pangio semicincta)
Pangio kuhlii lives in very slow-moving freshwater bodies. The size of an adult fish is from 10 to 20 cm long. It is a social and peaceful fish that happily accepts living with other tank mates. Submerged leaf litter and thick aquatic vegetation are its favorite dwelling places. In an aquarium, they live under decaying vegetables or little pieces of rocks most of the time. This eel-like fish has many different varieties and in a single river, there can be up to seven different varieties. Although it loves the company and staying with its kind it is not a schooling fish.
With a sleek snake-like body with its bright pink to the orange and black-barred color pattern, Pangio Kuhlii is a distinctive fish. Their body is compressed and slender. The males of all sorts of Pangio species have thick first ray pectoral fins and a larger number of vertebrae. The females are thicker in body size and when they have eggs, the light green elongated cluster of them is shown under the delicate skin. The entire body of both males and females is covered with 6 to 10 dark bar-shape stripes. The fins are tiny and short in size because the fish is not an avid swimmer. It stays at the bottom and dwells in the sand in case of danger.
This species of kuhlii loach is originally found in the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia. Streams and rivers in Borneo, Kalimantan Barat, and Kalimantan Timur and Sumatra are also host this fish too. Clean mountain streams and sandy bed rivers are its habitats. Some representatives of Pangio are found in India and southern Vietnam as well. They are named Kuhlii after the name of an avid Dutch fish collector called Heinrich Kuhl [1797-1821]. Most of the types of this species are found in West Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand (south of the Isthmus of Kra).
Pangio kuhlii mostly stays at the bottom of the tank and does not swim around which why a wide square bottom tank is the most needed. The size of the bottom matters as one fish can grow up to 20 centimeters in the best conditions. The water in the tank should stay only slightly acidic. The fish is a social species and it is good that 5 to 6 fish are kept in a tank.
There should be hiding places in the aquarium such as caverns, snags, etc. These will serve as day-shelters for the fish. As the fish always search for hiding places, keep a strict check on cracks or holes where they may get stuck and die randomly. It usually swims all around the bottom and explores all the items in the tank.
It is substantial to choose the tank mates carefully as the bigger fish with large mouths might swallow them especially their eel-like structure is tempting. It is better to keep the tank inhibited with species of Pangio Kuhlii alone or choose Gasteropelecid hatchet fish because it remains close to the surface of the water mostly and is mild in behavior. Other peaceful tetras, danio, guppy fish also are good tank mates.
pH: 5,5 – 6,5
Hardness: 5-6 dGH
This fish is euryphagous. Feeding them in a tank is not difficult. All sorts of fish food that is made from frozen or dried food matter in the form of tablets, flakes, granules, and pellets can be used. The only crucial issue for feeding Pangio Kuhlii is to let the food sink at the bottom and stays there until the fish comes out from its hiding places and eats it. If there are too many surface swimming fish in the aquarium, then it is substantial to ensure that enough food reaches the bottom of the tank.
It is a micro predator. Among the live food varieties, this fish eats brine shrimp, tubifex, bloodworm, and Daphnia. Also, it is better to switch between these feeds from time to time to keep them interested in eating. It also can feed on snails rarely. It eats the snail from its shell and while eating it, hits it on the ground with the movement of its head to crack or break the shell. But this is very rare.
Pangio Kuhlii is a shy fish and scavenges for food mostly after the night falls. Feeding time should be at night especially when there are other fish present in the tank. So that Pangio Kuhlii finds sufficient food on the bottom. Otherwise, the fish may starve to death.
Commonly, the fish is injected to spawn successfully in breeding facilities. They spawn in 6 to 8 hours following the injection. But in the aquarium spawning can occur naturally. If the female lays eggs without fertilization, they will be eaten either by parents or other tank mates. For breeding, a tank of 40 liters of water space is better. The water depth should be between 15 to 20 cm.
To breed Pangio kuhlii, choose the female with a plump abdomen where the green eggs are visible under the skin. For each female 2 males should be selected for proper breeding. The males chase the female and they swim across the tank bottom cuddling and moving fast. The female lays her eggs around the plants and the eggs settle there. Pangio Kuhlii can lay eggs from 500 to 700 in number. The parents should be removed from the breeding tank after breeding is completed. After a day, the eggs hatch, and greenish fry appear in the tank.
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