Can kuhli loaches be happy on gravel?

Keenamoss

Member
Does anyone keep long-term, happy & healthy kuhli loaches on small fine gravel as pictured? I'm wondering if it would scrape their bellies/barbels or if they could just scuttle along the surface with lots of hiding spaces? For anyone who keeps them on sand, do they spend a lot of time sifting and burying through it like corys? There is mixed information out there. Cheers.
 

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GlennO

Member
I've kept them on fine gravel before without any noticeable ill-effects. It's pretty difficult to measure the happiness of a fish though! They would enjoy your leaf litter.

I now have a sand substrate. They don't actually tunnel into it but they do sift over it similar to Corys.
 
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Keenamoss

Member
Thanks. True - I guess if they seem active and not stressed, eating and engaging with their environment etc I feel like they're 'happy' lol. Sifting through sand maybe is an enjoyable thing for them to do that they miss out on with gravel?
 

GlennO

Member
I can't really see but if your gravel is not sharp it should be fine. Even sand is probably not natural for them. I believe they live amongst leaf litter and debris over muddy bottoms. We can't ever recreate their natural environment exactly.
 

Unknown9182

Member
Round gravel is good to have, if the gravel is small and sharp don’t get Kuhlis, but if it’s small and round that can work well because when a Kuhli loach scavenges for food they would sometimes suck up some gravel but never swallow them, they always spit them out through their gills. Cute little things.
 

jpaquatics

Member
I’ve kept them in gravel a tiny bit courser than that, and they do fine. They’re very active around feeding time (and very smart too!). Definitely a great fish to have!
 
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