Breeding Kuhli Loaches?

HannibalXavier
Member
Just out of curiosity has anyone on here had success in breeding kuhli or java loaches? I’ve been wanting to attempt it for awhile but I can’t really find any extensive information on the topic. So any experience on accidental or intentional breedings would be really helpful.
 
Demeter
Member
I've only heard of people accidentally breeding java loaches. It seems pea gravel substrate allowed the eggs/fry to hide away from the adults until they were able to come out of hiding.

I'd probably go about it with a planted tank, pea gravel, lots of live foods and plenty of leaf litter.
 
AngryRainbow
Member
I had my Java loaches breed on accident, and I did indeed have gravel in my tank at the time. The fry lived within the gravel at the beginning and I believe that is what allowed the eggs to survive as well. Unfortunately I can't provide much help other than recommending to use gravel within the tank. I wasn't trying to breed them so I do not have records of what my parameters were.

Here's a couple of the posts that I made around the time this happened:
Gravid Kuhli Loach? | 382014 | Kuhli Loach

Baby Kuhli Loach Update | 396254 | Kuhli Loach
 
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HannibalXavier
Member
I’ve been scouring the internet for information and I can’t find any intentional breeding projects. So I’m gonna go ahead and try to breed and document them, I’ve went ahead and set up a small designated breeding tank, I’ve got quite a few Indian almond leaves in there, a few smaller marimo moss balls, and I actually went ahead and put two spawning mops in there. From what I’ve been reading most sources say that kuhli loaches lay eggs in the roots of floating plants. So I’m assuming a spawning mop should do the trick just as well if successful. The temp in the tank is about 76-78, I’ve got the water lowered so it’s not all the way at the top but I’m curious if I should lower it to half. I’ve got 7 noodles in there and I believe I have 4 Females?? (Idk they could just be fat, it’s hard to tell. hilarious) The tank is bare bottom because I’m hoping the mops will do the trick, but I do have some larger sized gravel I can add if needed. Im gonna start “conditioning” them I guess right now, gonna feed with bloodworms, brineshrimp, and live BBS also gonna do 10-20% water changes daily. Out of curiosity, AngryRainbow what was the PH of your tank when your Java’s bred? Or you don’t remember? Most sources say that kuhlis will breed in a PH of 6-6.5 so I’m considering if it’s actually worth trying to lower my PH mine sits at about 7-7.2 so it’d be something I’d have to do gradually.

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Here’s what it looks like (excuse my crusty glass)
I’m also not gonna keep a light on the tank since they recommend dim lights. So they’ll just have ambient lights around but nothing glaringly bright.
 
AngryRainbow
Member
I really don't remember, sorry. All I remember was that I used the "high range" test with APIs liquid test kit, so mine was at least 7.4. I also did not have any floating plants, so at least in my accidental spawning floating plants did not play a role.
 
FinalFins
Member
Pea gravel seems to be the main thing that adds success when breeding loaches. Java, hillstream, etc
 
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HannibalXavier
Member
Thought I’d update what’s going on with my little experiment. I went ahead and added 2 more smaller spawn mops, one more floating and then one that lays at the bottom. They really seem to enjoy the mops, lots of investigating and swimming up into. The kuhlis seem much much more active than usual, normally they’ll just do their thing on the bottom of the tank looking for snacks. Now they’re constantly swimming up and down the glass and chasing each other, not sure if this could be breeding behavior or just kuhlis doing what kuhlis do. I’ve kept all the lights off and they get ambient sunlight from my window PH is now coming in at like 6.6-6.8 I’m pretty sure that’s because of all the tannins. Another tip I saw is that when there’s rain coming in your area, do a water change with water that’s just slightly colder as it mimics rainfall. Went ahead and did that last night as we got a little rain, I let the water slowly trickle in with airline tubing trying to mimic rain. After the water change they were going CRAZY not like “bad” crazy but like over excited crazy swimming up and down and back and forth in the tank and again constantly chasing one another.

It’d be pretty cool if this experiment is a success because then it’d hopefully give other people an experience from an intentional spawn. And if not then I’ve got a spawn tank for my next betta pair ready to go.
 
AngryRainbow
Member
Thanks for the update! Are you working with kuhli loaches or Java loaches? My Javas are always swimming up and down the sides of the tanks, I think it's a normal loach behavior.
 
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HannibalXavier
Member
AngryRainbow said:
Thanks for the update! Are you working with kuhli loaches or Java loaches? My Javas are always swimming up and down the sides of the tanks, I think it's a normal loach behavior.
Kuhlis (pangio kuhlii) for this experiment.
 
AngryRainbow
Member
HannibalXavier said:
Kuhlis (pangio kuhli) for this experiment.
When I was looking into breeding them after I found out about my babies, I saw sources say that the floating plants were a big factor in kuhli loach breeding. I'm curious to if kuhli loaches and Java loaches have different breeding behaviors, since as mentioned previously I didn't have any floating plants. I'll definitely be following along to see your progress!
 
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HannibalXavier
Member
AngryRainbow said:
When I was looking into breeding them after I found out about my babies, I saw sources say that the floating plants were a big factor in kuhli loach breeding. I'm curious to if kuhli loaches and Java loaches have different breeding behaviors, since as mentioned previously I didn't have any floating plants. I'll definitely be following along to see your progress!
That’s what I’m thinking with the spawn mops, I don’t have any floating plants on hand right now that I feel the kuhlis would try to lay eggs in. About the only thing I’ve got is some duckweed.
Funny enough most of the accidental breedings I’ve been reading up on seem to have been java loaches. That’s why I think most people recommend pea gravel. I haven’t found one that’s specifically “Kuhli Loaches” most people call the java loaches black kuhlis but in reality they’re a whole different species (Pangio oblonga). I’m going to do more research on the Kuhlis natural habitat and see if I can get the breeding tank as close to it as possible.
 
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HannibalXavier
Member
Update #2
Still lots of chasing especially in the evenings and early to mid morning. They seem to enjoy it when they get the little bit of sunlight through my basement window. I can now definitely tell I have at least 3 females, all full of eggs. Before I could only see one that was full so I do believe the other eggs are recent and that me conditioning them is working to an extent. At night they're extremely active. They’ll swim more like “fish” if that makes sense, not just loaches squiggling around but they’re actually swimming and staying up in the water column. They occasionally will twist around one another but I’m not 100% sure if this is spawning behavior, it only lasts for about 2-3 seconds and I don’t see any eggs dropping or in the mops. I check the mops daily, I don’t take them out I just kinda browse them with a flashlight because I don’t want to needlessly disturb the kuhlis.
Here’s a couple pictures of them being adorable.

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Here’s one on my very Chunky Females

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And this guy I believe is a male and he’s got some pretty cool unusual markings.

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Anyone know any good black water additives? They really seem to enjoy the tannins so I’d like to add more for them to get the water to more of a dark brown color. Right now it sits at a kind of tea color. I’m also adding some garlic juices to their food since it just overall good for fish. But Anyway, so far so good. No eggs or fry yet but they are more active and happier in their environment.
 
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HannibalXavier
Member
Update #3

Unfortunately still no eggs or fry. They’re a lot more comfortable in the tank now though, recently I’ve seen them picking themselves up onto the tops of the spawn mops and the IAL that is floating on top and they literally sit out of the water on top of them. I’ve never seen them do anything like it and it’s really funny to watch, I’ll occasionally place some bloodworms on top of the IAL and I’ll sometimes be able to see them crawl up and munch on them.
I let the tank just kind of sit for awhile and since then I’ve had an explosion of little “copepods”? I believe that’s what they’re called. Basically tiny little water bug things, one kind of resembles a frog, the other I want to say it’s a seed shrimp but I don’t think it is. Whatever they are if the loaches ever pair off and actually decide to breed the babies will have plenty of food.
But overall nothing to really report, starting to loose a bit of faith in the Kuhli’s so not sure if I’ll keep this project running long term, but anything is possible. This hobby is filled with surprises.
 
Khuligirl
Member
This is my 29 gallon set up. Nothing special. I bought 7 Khulis 3 months ago. I'm diligent on my weekly water changes. I have an API master kit and have a well established tank. BUT my water runs hard and my PH is high. I run my lights 10 a day due to work. I guess I'm super lucky because my java loaches spawned 3 weeks ago I believe. I'm really hoping it happens again.
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HannibalXavier
Member
Khuligirl said:
This is my 29 gallon set up. Nothing special. I bought 7 Khulis 3 months ago. I'm diligent on my weekly water changes. I have an API master kit and have a well established tank. BUT my water runs hard and my PH is high. I run my lights 10 a day due to work. I guess I'm super lucky because my java loaches spawned 3 weeks ago I believe. I'm really hoping it happens again.
15959517250841337782658.jpg
Congratulations on the java spawn!
 
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HannibalXavier
Member
Update #4

Sadly I’ve had to abandon this project, the 10 gallon tank that they were in actually cracked and busted all over the floor. Luckily it happened when I was there so I was able to get them off the floor relatively quickly, unfortunately one of them didn't make it. So this project has been suspended right now but I may possibly pick it back up sometime in the future.
 
chromedome52
Member
There are no significant differences between a Java Loach and a Kuhli Loach other than appearance. I saw Doug Sweet (superintendent at the London, Ohio, state fish hatchery) give a program a few years ago on intentionally breeding Kuhli Loaches. He managed to do so without any stimulation, but man, was it complicated. Such spawns do occur by accident on occasion, as has been noted. However, most commercial breeding of these fish involves hormone treatment to trigger spawning. Surprisingly, this appeared to not be as complicated as we are often led to believe. However, I am old and my memory is slippery these days, so I cannot recall much of the detail.

Edit: many older sources used to say that they spawned in floating plants; however, they do not. They prefer a soft substrate, such as silt, which actually tends to accumulate at the bottom of a layer of large pebble gravel.
 
wishuponafish
Member
chromedome52 said:
They prefer a soft substrate, such as silt, which actually tends to accumulate at the bottom of a layer of large pebble gravel.
I'll support this, the accidental kuhli spawns I've heard of were in stuff like ADA aquasoil.

As for hormone manipulation, there's a breeding trick where you add water from a tank containing spawning angelfish to promote spawning in other types of fish. Perhaps this might work for loaches too?
 
Khuligirl
Member
I am so sorry to hear this. Thank God you were home. It's a huge fear of mine. I hope you'll be able to try again some day.
HannibalXavier said:
Update #4

Sadly I’ve had to abandon this project, the 10 gallon tank that they were in actually cracked and busted all over the floor. Luckily it happened when I was there so I was able to get them off the floor relatively quickly, unfortunately one of them didn't make it. So this project has been suspended right now but I may possibly pick it back up sometime in the future.
 
erinw347
Member
Wondering if you ever picked this up again?
 
Khuligirl
Member
I'd be intrested as well. My loaches look like their carrying eggs again. This will be their 4th spawning in the 2 years I've had them. Yay!
 

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