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Can Kuhli loaches be ok in gravel


AliMcMurph
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Hi all,

I have a 10 gallon aquarium with several fish (female betta, killifish, 6 harlequin rasboras, 2 kuhli loaches). I got the first kuhli about a month ago after seeing the aquarium co-op video about how they are bottom feeders and do well with bettas and are relatively easy to care for. It’s pretty thin and tiny. I knew they are nocturnal and liked to hide, and there is a house/castle structure that offers a decent sized dark space for them to hide in that also has ridges along the inside rim they can hide in. I noticed the little one burrows into my gravel, which I didn’t even know they did (my fault for not doing my research but I thought they just needed hiding places). The gravel is not small, but not huge. It’s relatively smooth edged. Anyway, I went and got a second loach yesterday after reading they might do better if there’s more than 1 (and I know aquarium coop mentioned they can be in 10 gallon tanks). It’s thicker than my first one and he can’t seem to burrow into the bigger gravel yet (it’s only been 24 hours and I think the first one didn’t burrow for a couple days). I researched and I am now  seeing they do better with fine gravel or sand. Now I feel guilty that I am causing them (especially the new one if he can’t ever get to burrow) unneeded stress or possible injury. 
this is the gravel: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/imagitarium-snowy-river-aquarium-gravel

and this tank has been established for a year now. Like I said the edges are not really jagged, maybe even smoother than the picture in the link provided as it’s been in the tank and vacuumed and moved around for a year. Anyway, sorry for the long post, but should I try to replace the gravel even though I have other fish in there, hope the kuhlis do ok (especially the new one since he can’t seem to burrow yet, and maybe he’s too thick to do so), or try to donate the kuhlis to an experienced store that will take them? 😞

thanks in advance, I also attached a pic of the actual gravel in my tank

83A43347-9F17-487D-9ADE-A2F13E19182C.jpeg

Edited by AliMcMurph
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Ok thank you. Mine don’t really come out no matter what (the little one is almost always burrowed) so I have been trying to lightly bury sinking food (I bury it because the betta will get to it otherwise). And when I feed my rasboras some of the flakes fall to the gravel anyway. Hopefully the newest, bigger guy can figure out burrowing and if not, the house suffices to hide in until all lights are out.

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I have 12 in my 20 gallon aquarium, also with eco complete for half of it - the other half is sand. They pretty much only hang out on the eco-complete ironically. Mine are almost always out now though - I think the greater numbers and time are a factor (had them for about a year). I would definitely get more than 2 if you can manage. I started with 5, and they were still pretty shy, but settled after a while.. Now that there's 12, it's a party.

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I did read on a forum where someone did an experiment between rocky gravel, fine gravel, and sand, and the kuhlis seemed to prefer the rocky gravel. I just feel bad for the bigger guy who can’t seem to burrow. Thanks for your input. I have no issue having more, just thought it would be mean to have more than 2 in a 10 gallon based off other stuff I’ve read. But I really like them and would be more than happy to get a couple more. I also ordered a second hiding place in addition to the “house”. It’s a rock with some entrance holes in it but should provide more darkness than the open half log decoration I have in there now.

Edited by AliMcMurph
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Get 3-5 more of them! Lmao…

they love being in groups, and will “cuddle” up to each other. I used to have 6 in a 5 gallon with my betta and they all thrived! More than what people recommended, but the tank was so well established i really only topped it off. Ammonia never spiked, nitrites never spiked, and the nitrates held steady at 20 ppm. It was heavily planted i will say.

i also had similar gravel to yours. They did really well…

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On 6/29/2021 at 12:10 AM, AliMcMurph said:

Thanks so much; That’s encouraging. I’ll go out and get more this week! I also have a 9gallon I’m about to set up ( it’s more a square shape though so less ground space) that I plan to add a male betta to. Maybe I’ll put a few in there and hope the male I pick isn’t too aggressive

You need a bigger tank if you want more and want them to be happy. 10 fish in a 10 gallon tank........

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On 6/28/2021 at 10:39 PM, benchilton said:

I have 12 in my 20 gallon aquarium, also with eco complete for half of it - the other half is sand. They pretty much only hang out on the eco-complete ironically. Mine are almost always out now though - I think the greater numbers and time are a factor (had them for about a year). I would definitely get more than 2 if you can manage. I started with 5, and they were still pretty shy, but settled after a while.. Now that there's 12, it's a party.

Did you have other fish in there as well? Another commenter indicated I have too many fish already for a 10 gallon

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On 6/28/2021 at 11:33 PM, EndlersBoi said:

Get 3-5 more of them! Lmao…

they love being in groups, and will “cuddle” up to each other. I used to have 6 in a 5 gallon with my betta and they all thrived! More than what people recommended, but the tank was so well established i really only topped it off. Ammonia never spiked, nitrites never spiked, and the nitrates held steady at 20 ppm. It was heavily planted i will say.

i also had similar gravel to yours. They did really well…

Did you have other fish in there as well? I don’t want to overcrowd my tank

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On 6/28/2021 at 5:51 PM, Patrick_G said:

 I use Eco-Complete and it’s  essentially crushed lava rock. My Kuhli has his  hiding places and comes out at night or when I feed his favorite flake food. He isn’t scratched and his barbels are in great shape. 

Thinking of going with Eco-Complete for our 10 gallon, what effect does it have on PH, etc?

 We already have harder water so Im curious if it changes your parameters. 

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On 6/29/2021 at 11:58 AM, GameCzar said:

Thinking of going with Eco-Complete for our 10 gallon, what effect does it have on PH, etc?

 We already have harder water so Im curious if it changes your parameters. 

It’s just crushed basalt volcanic rock. I haven’t noticed any effect on water parameters except that it comes in some sort of nutrient liquid that is supposed to kick start growth. I like the way detritus disappears into it, but struggle with getting it to hold plants. I also like the price! 

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On 6/29/2021 at 8:51 AM, AliMcMurph said:

Did you have other fish in there as well? Another commenter indicated I have too many fish already for a 10 gallon

I do, I have an electric blue ram, 10 red eye tetras, amanos, and snails. I don't thinking adding more Kuhli's would crowd your tank as they are strictly bottom dwellers and your rasboras and betta inhabit a different space. It may increase your bioload so you might need to do more water changes depending on your plants, but I believe the extra Kuhli's will give a higher quality of life for the loaches you have already as opposed to trying not to overstock - they really do need more companions in my opinion. For perspective, I have not done a water change on my 20 gallon in...a long time, and it is technically "overstocked" (red eye tetras are quite the little pigs), but I use a lot of floating plants and others to keep nitrates in control.

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