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Keeping and Breeding the Black Kuhli Loach
Black Kuhli Loach, Pangio oblongais a close relative of the Kuhi loach, Pangio kuhlii, but is not as popular in aquariums because of its transparent color. The Black Kuhli Loach comes from India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The maximum length of this fish is about 8 centimeters (3 inches), but because it is a thin eel in shape, this is still a small fish.
This is a tropical fish and a temperature between 23 and 28 degrees C (between 73 and 82 degrees F) is acceptable. This fish comes from soft acid water and the conditions that are usually recommended for them in the aquarium is a pH of between 6.2 and 7.2, with soft water. Although it seems logical to approach the water places of its natural habitat, Richard Bias of New Jersey, USA has kept and served this fish with a pH of 8.0 and relatively hard water with a gH of 18-22 and a kH of about 20.
It may be that keeping the water clean and with the correct pH and hardness is more important than the actual values of the parameters.
In the wild their habitats are often at the bottom of the sand. This is generally recommended for aquariums, but Mr. Bias uses small rocks of up to 2.5 cm (1 inch in diameter). I have also had success with keeping this species using a substrate of pebbles.
In the wild they are used to plants and the aquarium should have many live plants.
Black Kuhli Loaches are omnivores, but their diet requires a significant amount of animal-based food. My Kuhlis look even more like frozen blood worms (so do most fish). I also feed them frozen brine shrimp once a week. They will also eat regular fish foods like flakes.
They are bottom feeders and only eat what falls down.
Black Kuhlis is partly nocturnal. Combined with this they will penetrate the substrate and are good at hiding in the seeds, so you may not see them much. They are difficult to catch.
Although they cannot be described as school fish, they seem to do best in groups; the bigger the better.
They are peaceful fish and can be kept with other small peaceful fish. They are good residents for a well-drained community tank of less than 50 liters (13 US gallons).
When in reproductive mode women will definitely be fatter than men.
Breeding in the Wild
They believe that in the wild, this fish grows in forests full of water. Forest land can contain a lot of organic waste from trees and baby loaches will grow among these; eating the rich meat and vegetable diet grown in this area.
Breeding in an aquarium
I suggest that two possible requirements for success are a good feed with rich foods such as bloodworms, and a substrate that will allow the young to live and eat.
Although the single known example of successful breeding in aquariums is not enough to make firm conclusions, it suggests that breeding in a community tank is unlikely.
In the wild this fish is not dangerous and seems to be able to reproduce itself well. I suggest that the exception of breeding success in aquariums may be due to the possibility that the conditions in the wild that lead to breeding are very different from those in which adults usually live.
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