Minimum amount of Kuhli Loaches you would keep?

Dadpants33

I wanted to add some Kuhli loaches to my 20 gallon tank. I know more is generally better, but I am a little worried about overstocking. Seen some folks suggest no less than 6, but guy at my lfs said a small group of 3 would be fine. What do the experienced loach keepers have to say? Any other tips to make these guys happy?

Currently I'm stocked with:
1 honey gourami
6 danios
1 clown pleco
2 mystery snails

Thanks!
 

jinjerJOSH22

Hello and welcome to fishlore.

I wanted to add some Kuhli loaches to my 20 gallon tank. I know more is generally better, but I am a little worried about overstocking. Seen some folks suggest no less than 6, but guy at my lfs said a small group of 3 would be fine. What do the experienced loach keepers have to say? Any other tips to make these guys happy?
As many as you like but a minimum of 6 is a good one. Bio load wise you aren't going to notice Kuhlis and this is also the case in terms of space. It's important to keep a nice sized group if you want to see them often out and about.

It's best to keep Honeys in a group as they are a social species. I would recommend getting 2 or 3 more(shouldn't be an issue with your stocking). Could you also post a picture? Not only do we all love seeing fish on this forum but often times other kinds of Gourami are mis-sold as Honey Gourami.
What kind of Danio? There are a few species, some not suitable for smaller tanks.
 

Dadpants33

Hello and welcome to fishlore.


As many as you like but a minimum of 6 is a good one. Bio load wise you aren't going to notice Kuhlis and this is also the case in terms of space. It's important to keep a nice sized group if you want to see them often out and about.


It's best to keep Honeys in a group as they are a social species. I would recommend getting 2 or 3 more(shouldn't be an issue with your stocking). Could you also post a picture? Not only do we all love seeing fish on this forum but often times other kinds of Gourami are mis-sold as Honey Gourami.

What kind of Danio? There are a few species, some not suitable for smaller tanks.
Thanks for your reply! Where does this 6 number come from out of curiosity? Why not 5?

The danios are a mix of leopard and zebras. I was under the impression a 20 gallon would be plenty of room.

Regarding the gourami, I don't have a pic handy, but I'm fairly certain it's a honey. The dude at the Prime Time Aquatics YouTube Channel (
) mentioned he would only keep 1 honey unless he was gonna include up to 6 because there can be bullying issues in smaller groups. I read elsewhere they can be kept as a one of. Is there something I'm missing?
 

jinjerJOSH22

Thanks for your reply! Where does this 6 number come from out of curiosity? Why not 5?
Apparently a study on social behaviour(not read it myself), I believe were less than 6 has an impact on aggression etc.. But honestly you're best off with more in most cases.
The danios are a mix of leopard and zebras. I was under the impression a 20 gallon would be plenty of room.
That's fine, as long as they aren't Giant Danio then you are good ;)
Regarding the gourami, I don't have a pic handy, but I'm fairly certain it's a honey. The dude at the Prime Time Aquatics YouTube Channel (
hqdefault.jpg) mentioned he would only keep 1 honey unless he was gonna include up to 6 because there can be bullying issues in smaller groups. I read elsewhere they can be kept as a one of. Is there something I'm missing?
Well I can tell you the fish he starts talking about swimming in the background are not in fact Honey Gourami, they are Thick Lipped Gourami. Somewhat more aggressive than Honey's so I can understand that advice.
The thumbnail, Thick Lipped on the left, Honey on the right.
 

Dadpants33

That's as close as I could get! Is that a honey?
 

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jinjerJOSH22

That's as close as I could get! Is that a honey?
Unfortunately, no this is also a Thick Lipped Gourami.
They grow a little larger than Honeys and can sometimes be more aggressive. While still a social fish, I agree more would be better when it comes to these. Maybe something to consider.
 

Dadpants33

How do you know, if you don't mind me asking? Is their care radically different? How many you suggest I keep in my 20 gallon? Does male vs female matter if I'm keeping a few?
Also, do you have a guess as to the sex of that one?
 

jinjerJOSH22

How do you know, if you don't mind me asking?
The best way to tell is the colour, especially around the tail. Thick Lips will have a somewhat grey/white tail while Honeys will have orange/red.
Is their care radically different?
Not particularly.
How many you suggest I keep in my 20 gallon?
It's hard to say but 4 or so should be fine in my opinion though more maybe better.
Does male vs female matter if I'm keeping a few?
It does, more so than Honeys at least. Males can be quite aggressive towards each other as well as females. I think yours is a female judging by the rounded looking dorsal and analfins.
Keep only one male within the group.
I'll link this thread for you Honey Gourami vs. Sunset Thicklip Gourami | Honey Gourami Forum | 494747
The last photo is a Thick Lipped pair.
 

Dadpants33

How many would you recommend keeping?
maybe 1 male and 2 females?
 

jinjerJOSH22

How many would you recommend keeping?
maybe 1 male and 2 females?
This or 1 male and 3 females.
 

Dadpants33

Is it a common misconception that these guys and the honeys can be kept as singles? I've seen multiple sources suggesting it's fine.
 

jinjerJOSH22

Is it a common misconception that these guys and the honeys can be kept as singles? I've seen multiple sources suggesting it's fine.
It’s generally a misconception with Gourami ime. It makes no sense to me why people insist on keeping social fish as singles. You’re more likely to get behavioral issues doing so.
 

Dadpants33

Well, I'll be. Came looking for loach advice and got gourami advice. I appreciate the help! Is there a good source out there I can rely on in the future for my gourami related questions?
 

jinjerJOSH22

Yeah sorry about that I guess I don't have a off switch when it comes to Gourami :oops:
Well, I would recommend Fishlore though you'll likely encounter me. There are also other experienced members here that love Gourami as much as I do.
 

Dadpants33

Was just wondering if there's some master source yall refer to. You really think I could add 3 more Gouramis? If they get 4 inches wouldn't I be overstocked? Any chance that would stress out the Danios?
 

jinjerJOSH22

Was just wondering if there's some master source yall refer to.
Not really, there's various websites(seriously fish) that are used but personally I mostly go by my own experience and that of my partner(we met on Fishlore and connected over our love for Gourami). I often use that of those I've helped or have seen helped over the years.
You really think I could add 3 more Gouramis? If they get 4 inches wouldn't I be overstocked?
Likelihood of them getting that big is slim, though not impossible but 3" is a good size for them. Either way I don't think you would be overstocked.
Any chance that would stress out the Danios?
There is, but this is only likely to happen when the male wants to breed. Having a well planted tank with lots of sticks etc.. can help with this. He'll attack anyone if he builds a nest.
 

Dadpants33

I bought 2 more Gourami! Think I have 1 male and 2 females though it is tough to tell. Could you help me sex them? Will try to get some photos later today.
 

jinjerJOSH22

I bought 2 more Gourami! Think I have 1 male and 2 females though it is tough to tell. Could you help me sex them? Will try to get some photos later today.
Sure, I'll give it a shot.
 

Dadpants33

What's your opinion?
 

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jinjerJOSH22

What's your opinion?
I'm not 100% but I'm going to say females. Males in this species usually have very large pointed dorsal fins. Could also be young fish and still developing but I would say females.
 

Dadpants33

Sounds like I have 3 females together then. Will that be an issue?
 

jinjerJOSH22

Sounds like I have 3 females together then. Will that be an issue?
Shouldn't be. Doesn't mean they won't occasionally fight but it should be just fine.
 

Dadpants33

Why is 1 male to 2 females optimal then? The biggest one is chasing the others.That normal? They getting to know each other? It's generally for a second or two and then they separate.

Sorry, I know I'm blowing you up, but I'm new to this and have so many questions.
 

jinjerJOSH22

Why is 1 male to 2 females optimal then?
Males tend to be more colourful than females making them more desirable to keep. However males are also typically more aggressive especially towards other males. It's important that the density of males isn't too great. It's a balancing act since they are social.
The biggest one is chasing the others.That normal? They getting to know each other? It's generally for a second or two and then they separate.
This is normal, they have social hierarchy the dominant fish will boss the others about(this is the problem when there is a pair), the others might challenge but there is usually a clear boss. This would normally be a male if there was one in the group and while it isn't a bad thing to have only females I usually recommend keeping a male in the group to make things a little more simple in this respect. Of course then you have to deal with potential breeding behaviour at which point males become very aggressive.

Sorry, I know I'm blowing you up, but I'm new to this and have so many questions.
Oh, don't worry about that. This is something I very much enjoy doing. Ask away, I don't have a answer for everything and I will tell you when I don't know or if I am unsure.
 

Dadpants33

Another question for you, what temperature would you keep these thick lipped boys at? The lfs said keep them at 78 degrees (sorry I don't know Celsius, I'm in the US), but I see articles online that say you could keep them at 72. Even saw one dude say a heater was not necessary for them. What would you recommend?
Didn't see the calculator there! 25 degrees Celsius is what I've been keeping them at.
 

jinjerJOSH22

25 degrees Celsius is what I've been keeping them at.
This is absolutely fine in my experience. We accidentally kept them in a unheated aquarium for 6 months(much cooler).
 

CryoraptorA303

Fish are more adaptable than you'd think, once they're acclimated. Even here as far north as the UK I have the heaters off from April-October. Most tropical fish can thrive in temperatures between 20-26 degrees celsius and have no specific temperature requirement.
 

Dadpants33

Would you keep them at 22-23 degrees? I do keep them with Danios and I'm thinking the danios might appreciate it being a bit cooler.
Fish are more adaptable than you'd think, once they're acclimated. Even here as far north as the UK I have the heaters off from April-October. Most tropical fish can thrive in temperatures between 20-26 degrees celsius and have no specific temperature requirement.
I've heard this, but others swear it's not true! My lfs chastised me for suggesting I might keep my gourami at lower than 78. But, then again, they mislabeled my thick lipped gouramis as honeys in the first place.
 

CryoraptorA303

Would you keep them at 22-23 degrees? I do keep them with Danios and I'm thinking the danios might appreciate it being a bit cooler.

I've heard this, but others swear it's not true! My lfs chastised me for suggesting I might keep my gourami at lower than 78. But, then again, they mislabeled my thick lipped gouramis as honeys in the first place.
Thick lipped gouramis don't have a specific temperature requirement to my knowledge, so as long as they are acclimated they should be able to thrive in any temperature in the low-to-mid 20s. 80F is normally the upper cutoff for what they are optimal at, and they seem to stop thriving at that point. I've only noticed my fish not thriving when temps dropped below 20 degrees in the late autumn, at about the time the heater was due to come on. Other than that, every single fish I've ever owned has perfectly coped with natural temperature variation in the summer and showed no signs of problems at all. My fish have tolerated temps in the low 30s for a few days during heatwaves in the height of summer. That's not ideal, but they can handle it for a while. They don't seem to be able to tolerate low temperatures as easily, and they let me know when it's time to put the heater on in autumn as they start to become sluggish.

If your fish shop somehow mistook thick lipped gouramis for honeys, I would not take anything they have to say seriously. If the fish continue to show no signs of problems, the general rule of being perfectly happy in any temp within the 20-26 range most likely applies to them as well. There's a few exceptions such as discus, but I don't think any gouramis fit into that.
 

Dadpants33

Thick lipped gouramis don't have a specific temperature requirement to my knowledge, so as long as they are acclimated they should be able to thrive in any temperature in the low-to-mid 20s. 80F is normally the upper cutoff for what they are optimal at, and they seem to stop thriving at that point. I've only noticed my fish not thriving when temps dropped below 20 degrees in the late autumn, at about the time the heater was due to come on. Other than that, every single fish I've ever owned has perfectly coped with natural temperature variation in the summer and showed no signs of problems at all. My fish have tolerated temps in the low 30s for a few days during heatwaves in the height of summer. That's not ideal, but they can handle it for a while. They don't seem to be able to tolerate low temperatures as easily, and they let me know when it's time to put the heater on in autumn as they start to become sluggish.

If your fish shop somehow mistook thick lipped gouramis for honeys, I would not take anything they have to say seriously. If the fish continue to show no signs of problems, the general rule of being perfectly happy in any temp within the 20-26 range most likely applies to them as well. There's a few exceptions such as discus, but I don't think any gouramis fit into that.
Thanks so much!
 

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