What Do Kuhli Loaches Eat? (In the Wild & Captivity)


AquariumFishCity.com is supported by our readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

The Kuhli Loach is an interesting and unique freshwater fish that many people enjoy keeping in their home aquariums. 

In addition to their attractive appearance, Kuhli loaches are also interesting creatures to watch. They are known for “burrowing” into the sand or gravel at the bottom of the tank, and they often hide among plants and rocks. 

But as a responsible owner, you want to know every essential detail about the fish before bringing it home. If you’ve been wondering what do Kuhli Loach eat, this post is for you. 

Ready to get your answers? 

What do Kuhli Loaches Eat in The Wild?

In the wild, Kuhli loaches are micro predators and scavengers. The famous bottom dwellers usually grab mouthfuls of sand and sift out insect larvae, small crustaceans, organic detritus, and plant material as their natural diet, providing them with the nutrients they need to survive their natural environment.

What do Kuhli Loaches Eat in Captivity? 

In the aquarium, Kuhli Loaches are typically unfussy eaters, and they will eat anything that reaches the bottom of their tank. Sinking pellets are the preferred diet for Kuhli Loaches. But you can feed them flake foods, algae wafers freeze-dried, or tablets. A varied diet of high-quality meaty foods such as daphnia, tubifex, and bloodworms is needed to maintain their health and coloration.

They’ll also eat the leftover foods for other fish. But it’s important that you feed your fish a balanced and dedicated diet. 

Recommend Sinking Pellets For Kuhli Loaches

New Life Spectrum Thera+A (5mm)

New Life Spectrum Thera is a high-quality fish food that contains krill, squid, and more. The ingredients are all natural and free of fillers, making New Life Spectrum Thera an excellent choice for your Kuhli Loaches.

In addition, the New Life Spectrum Thera formula is enriched with vitamins and crude fiber. These ingredients not only provide your fish with the nutrition they need to grow and thrive, but they also help to boost immunity, reduce stress, and promote healthy skin and fins.

If you’re looking for a formula-sized pellet that is sure to keep your Kuhli Loaches healthy and happy, New Life Spectrum Thera is the way to go.

New Life Spectrum Thera A Small 140g (Naturox...
  • Spectrum nutrition formula with extra garlic & omega-3 for stressed or newly acquired fish and breeding...
  • Easy to digest nutrients from whole krill, squid & seaweed.
  • High-Density nutrition for less waste & more feedings per jar
  • For all types of omnivore, carnivore & herbivore fish
  • Enhanced the full spectrum of your fish's color

What do Baby Kuhli Loaches Eat? 

As for the fry, they can be fed with newly hatched brine shrimp or micro worms. But as they grow older, you’ll need to start giving them larger food items such as daphnia or bloodworms. You’ll get a group of happy and healthy Kuhli loaches. 

How Much Should I Feed My Kuhli Loach?

What do Kuhli loaches eat in Captivity

There’s no specific amount of food I could tell you to feed your Kuhli Loaches per day. Ideally, if you’re feeding it 2 – 3 times a day, you should ensure the food is enough to last for 10 minutes. 

If you’re feeding the fish multiple times or a particular type of food at a go, the food should last 3 minutes. For the pellets, you could do 1-2 pellets for each Kuhli Loach. If you’ve got 4, that would mean a maximum of 8 pellets. 

How Often Should I Feed My Kuhli Loach? 

I would recommend you feed your Kuhli Loaches twice a day. This species is most active both in nature and in captivity at night, so always feed them at night. The good news is that these fish can be guided to eat during the day in the aquarium.

Switch off the lights even when you’re feeding your fish at night. There should be enough food in the water such that it can eat for at least three minutes.

Apart from that, Kuhlis are known as gluttonous eaters and will beg for food every time they see you. But resist the temptation to overfeed them because too much food can quickly foul your tank and lead to health problems for your fish.

It’s also possible that you’re operating under a unique set of factors that may necessitate feeding your Kuhli loaches more than the two times I have recommended. For instance, if you prefer to feed your Kuhli loaches the different types of food at different times, you might need to do it multiple times a day. 

How to Feed Kuhli Loach ?

Kuhli loaches are bottom-dwelling scavengers that like to spend most of their time hiding in the substrate. As a result, they can be pretty tricky to feed.

If you want them to enjoy feeding time, you’ll need to ensure that the food sinks to the bottom of the aquarium. Also, remember these fish need smaller foods, so make sure you’re using the right size pellets or flakes.

There are a few ways to do this. You can use a sinking pellet or place the food on a piece of vegetation or driftwood anchored to the bottom of the tank.

Another option is to use a feeding tube, which is a device that allows you to target feed your loaches without disturbing the rest of the aquarium inhabitants.

Shrimp Feeding Tube and Dish,Clear Crystal Glass...
  • Integrated and practical feeding tube feeding tray. It is easy to remove feed residues to keep the water...
  • Material: Made of high-quality crystal glass, safer and more environmentally friendly (transparent...
  • The suction cup has strong power and is not easy to fall. The length of the feeding tube: 9.8"; it can be...
  • Equipped with 2PCS suction cup, easy to install. Simply clean the suction cup and paste it on a clean...
  • RISK FREE: Since it is a glass product, it may be damaged during transportation. If it is damaged, we...

Whichever method you choose, you should observe your loaches during feeding time to ensure that they are getting enough to eat. If you notice that they are not eating, try a different method or food type.

Types of Kuhli Loach Food 

Kuhli loaches are an easy lot to feed. 

First, they’re scavengers, so they’ll feed on whatever remains and morsels that fall to the bottom of the aquarium, where they like to hang out. 

They’ll also be happy with frozen bloodworms, live blackworms, community pellets, algae wafers, shrimp pellets, etc. If they were in their natural setting, the Kuhli loaches would also feed on other dead fish that settle at the bottom of the water body.  

Any other microorganism found underneath rocks will also make good for them. And because they’re scavengers, they’ll do a perfect job at helping you clean the bottom of your tank. However, if you keep them together with other fish, make an effort to feed them so that they don’t go hungry. 

You might be interested in reading: How Big Do Kuhli Loaches Get? (Ideal Kuhli Loach Tank Size)

Do Kuhli loaches Eat or Uproot Plants?

Although they’re not picky eaters, Kuhli loaches won’t consume or uproot aquarium plants. These fish can be safe to keep in your planted tank.

However, they have a natural habit of burrowing. This might disturb your aquarium plants, particularly the newly placed ones.

But after the plants are established, the activities of your loaches won’t have a devastating effect on your plants. 


Do Kuhli Loaches Eat Algae Wafers?

Yes. Kuhli Loaches will eat algae wafers. In captivity, they will readily accept algae wafers as a substitute. In fact, some aquarists believe that feeding algae wafers are essential to keep Kuhli Loaches healthy.

Will Kuhli Loaches Eat Vegetables? 

Well, it’s not something that’s in their nature. But it’s not entirely impossible. It would be a nice experiment worth trying. The best vegetables to test would be cooked lettuce, cucumber, spinach, and zucchini. 

Do Kuhli Loaches Eat Fish Poop?

No. Kuhli Loaches don’t eat fish poop. No fish does. However, they will gladly eat the leftover food that other fish leave behind.

Do Kuhli Loaches Eat Fish?

No. Kuhli Loaches don’t eat fish. However, they will likely consume dead fish in the aquarium. 

Final Thoughts 

As you have realized, Kuhli loaches are simple to care for and feed. The most important thing to remember is that they prefer to hide at the bottom of the tank and so it’s important to ensure that they can reach their food.

Other than that, just feed them a variety of food types, and you’ll be good to go. They’re not fussy eaters, and so long as the food sinks to the bottom, they’ll be happy to munch away.

If you have any tips or experiences to share about feeding Kuhli loaches, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear some stories from you.

Was this article helpful?
Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

Leave a Comment