Best Plants for Kuhli Loaches: Top Picks & Care Tips

Kuhli loaches (Pangio kuhlii) are mostly known for their peaceful nature. They are active and come out of hiding only when they feel the need to explore their surroundings. Kuhli Loaches can live up to 14 years, but these long lives require them to be kept in an aquarium with ample space and a well-balanced diet. Here is our list of the best plants for kuhli loaches that you can use in your aquarium.

Top Plant Picks for Kuhli Loach Aquarium

Aquatic fern (Microsorum pteropus – Windelov) isolated on a fish tank with blurred background

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)

This plant is perfect for the kuhli loaches because it helps to keep the aquarium clean and offers them shelter from predators. java fern grows quickly, so you will need to water it regularly, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind this plant provides your loaches.

Ice Plant (Aizoaceae)

This is another good choice for a plant for your kuhli loaches aquarium. It grows slowly and doesn’t require as much maintenance, making it a perfect option for those with less time to spend on their fish tank. The ice plant also has prolific leaves that offer to shade and provide the loaches with oxygen in the summertime.

Moss in rain forest, Java, Indonesia

Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri)

This plant is perfect for those who want to provide their kuhli loaches with a lot of shelters. The soft, spongy moss can grow rapidly and give your loaches plenty of space to hide. In addition, java moss helps keep the water clean by trapping sediment and organic material.

Dwarf Sword Fern (Polystichum imbricans)

This fern is perfect for those who are looking for a low-maintenance plant that will offer the kuhli loaches plenty of shade. The dwarf sword fern grows slowly, so you won’t have to water it as often as some other plants on this list. However, you might need to have enough tank space for dwarf sword ferns as they can grow to up to 2 to 4 feet tall.

Duckweed in water.

Duckweed (Lemnoideae)

Duckweed is another plant that is perfect for the kuhli loaches aquarium. It provides shelter and a place for your loaches to hide, as well as ample amounts of food and oxygen. Duckweed doesn’t grow very tall, so it won’t take up too much space in your fish tank.

What Are the Benefits of Having Plants in Aquarium?

Having plants in your aquarium can offer several benefits for both you and your loaches. Here are just a few:

  • Plants provide shade and shelter for your loaches who are good at hiding
  • They help keep the water clean by trapping sediment and organic material.
  • They provide food and oxygen for your loaches.
  • They help in maintaining a stable and warm temperature in the aquarium (75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • They give out high levels of moistures for your kuhli loaches.

Other Methods of Taking Care of Kuhli Loaches

Kuhli loaches are diligent and easy to take care of, provided you provide them with the right environment. They prefer plenty of oxygen, so make sure your tank is set up properly before adding them. Provide them with a comfortable spot to relax in the aquarium and as mentioned, add some plants that they can hide behind for protection. In addition, feed your kuhli loach healthy food that includes commercial pellets and fresh vegetables.

Aquarium Setup

When setting up your aquarium, ensure that you have the correct size tank to accommodate your loaches as they can get quite big. You’ll also need to provide plenty of hiding spots and food dishes for them so they don’t have to constantly look for something to nibble on.


Your kuhli loaches will need a substrate that is soft and easy to keep clean. You can use gravel, Java moss, or sand as the perfect substrate for them. Just make sure you change it regularly so it doesn’t get too smelly or dirty.

Tank Size

Your kuhli loach will do best in a tank that measures at least 20 gallons. If you have less space, you can still house them by adding them to a larger tank and covering half of the aquarium with plants. Plus, the larger the tank, the more room you will have to add plants and decorations.


Your loaches will do just fine with moderate lighting. You can add a few watts of light to the tank or use an LED strip to provide supplemental illumination. Be sure not to over-light your aquarium as this could cause problems such as stunted growth and breeding problems among the loaches.

Food and Diet

Kuhli loaches are omnivorous fish and will eat anything small enough, including insects, algae, crustaceans, and other aquatic creatures. As with most tropical fish species, they prefer to feed on a variety of food sources to keep their diet varied. Some good foods for your kuhli loach include flakes or pellets made from fresh vegetables or fruits as well as sinking feeds like flake food sticks or live feed upheaved from the bottom of the aquarium.


Your kuhli loaches will require regular filtration to stay healthy. A good option is a mechanical filter that can be attached to the side of the tank or set up in an external compartment. Alternatively, you can use an air pump and sponge filters to keep your water clean.


Some of the best tank mates for kuhli loaches include tetras, gouramis, and Corydoras. These fish are small enough that they will not consume your loach if it becomes available to eat and share space with them without fighting. As with any new addition to your aquarium, be sure to keep an eye on your kuhli loach and adjust their water parameters as needed. Some of the best tankmates for kuhli loaches include:

  • Tetras: Tetras can be a good tank mate for kuhli loaches. Just be sure to keep water conditions stable and watch them closely as they might nip at smaller fish. Tetras are small, freshwater fish found in lakes and ponds. They live close to the bottom of the water, where they feed on algae and other organic material.
  • Gourami: Gouramis are another good tank mate for kuhli loaches. Like tetras, they can be small enough not to antagonize your loach and can also handle slightly more aggressive fish. They are tropical fish that is hardy in most climates, making them an ideal choice for tanks with fluctuating water temperatures.
  • Corydoras: Another suitable tank mate for kuhli loaches is the Corydoras catfish. These predatory fish can be territorial and require a large tank. However, they are generally good with other fish and will not bother your loach.