Kuhli loaches and sterbai in planted tank?

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Kuhli loaches and sterbai in planted tank?

Postby bigdreams » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:39 pm

Hi all,
I have a heavily planted 55 gallon tank with 4 pearl gourami, 13 cardinal tetras, 7 lemon tetras and 9 sterbai cory. I wanted to add some kuhli cory to the tank, but not sure there's enough room for them in the tank given I have sterbai cory already. I'm not worried about biofiltration (I have a large sump), more worried about overcrowding the bottom and feeding them.

Do you think a school of kuhli loaches would work? I was thinking of getting 12 kuhli loaches, (I like having larger schools, seems to lead to happier fish and more to look at ;)

Would 12 kuhli loaches + 9 sterbai cory be too much? My pearl gourami are nice tank mates except when it comes to eating.. they will eat everyone's food. I've had the Sterbai in the tank for over a month, they seem to be eating enough... Am I going to be going nuts figuring out if the loaches are getting enough?


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Re: Kuhli loaches and sterbai in planted tank?

Postby NancyD » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:17 pm

Nice tank! Very pretty plants & fish. Adding 12 kuhlis is pushing it a bit but I say go for it! Neither is territorial, they should be fine. How big is you sump?

Do you feed tablets, pellets or other sinking foods? If the gouramis have some flake, small pellets etc do they still eat all the bottom food? If you're worried you can feed some sinking food after lights out but before room lights are off. You can't observe as easily but it might work better.
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Re: Kuhli loaches and sterbai in planted tank?

Postby Loachloach » Thu Nov 24, 2016 4:19 pm

Kuhlis would do great in a planted tank and are competitive enough with corys for food so that wont be a problem. Drop the food amongst the plants and they will find it. The only down side is the substrate. They like fine sand to sift through same as corys.
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Re: Kuhli loaches and sterbai in planted tank?

Postby bigdreams » Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:20 am

I feed flakes, sinking wafers, pellets, and dehydrated food from AAP. My gourami go after everything. Maybe I am underfeeding my fish, because they are ravenous eaters. The gourami start searching the substrate for leftover food, they are faster than the Cory which seem to not see food right in front of them.

My sump is a 29 gallon sump, I have about 22-25 gallons of water in the sump. One thing I do worry about is the kuhli loaches getting stuck in my overflow box. That would be most annoying.
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Re: Kuhli loaches and sterbai in planted tank?

Postby BlueLoach » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:11 pm

Would you be able to put a piece of plastic mesh in or over the overflow box? I'm thinking of the stuff used in crafts. Some of it is made with really small holes and it can be cut to size.
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Re: Kuhli loaches and sterbai in planted tank?

Postby Diana » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:37 pm

That craft or needlepoint mesh is aquarium safe. If that is the mesh size you want, go for it.
Easy to cut with sturdy scissors, easy to shape with zip-ties.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
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Re: Kuhli loaches and sterbai in planted tank?

Postby Loachloach » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:37 am

I can't see the image of the tank so I am going to talk in general...

Kuhlis and corys are perfectly fine together and won't outcompete each other. The kuhlis are skittish fish, they'll hide a lot but in a heavily planted bottom they come out for food together with the rest of the fish. There are surely areas where other fish can't get to the food?...I kept mine for a long time in crypt overgrown tank and there's no way a larger fish could easily get to the food at the bottom.....

Maybe try not to drop food just in the open areas, make sure some sinks amongst plant roots and the kuhlis will get to it. They would love some caves. All of mine occupy coconut caves. When I had two caves, they had divided them between themselves. Then I moved them to a smaller tank, with just one cave, they all went into one cave. When I quarantined a small clown loach with them, the clown loach too went into their cave :)
They'd be very brave eating around their cave.....You'd see them poking their noses out immediately after food is dropped. So dropping food near that cave or inside it even will ensure they get some food but I am pretty certain they'll manage find it anywhere there's left overs. Although not exactly nocturnal, they'll come when the lights are off if they are intimidated by other fish..I moved mine to a larger tank that has grown clown loaches in it and is not so planted and I noticed them being out an hour or two after the lights have turned off when the clown loaches go to sleep... They used to be out during light hours when they lived in a heavily planted tank with corys. They do love sand bottom. They sift through it constantly....more important to them than even corydoras so if you have any sort of gravel, that is any bit sharp, I wouldn't get the kuhlis...They wiggle through the sand when they move....I am not sure how it will work out without sand bottom for such a fish..

Alternatively, they do really well in a sand tank, the bottom being covered with leaves....They'd be amongst the leaves constantly...Other than that, they are really hardy fish.

Good luck.
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Re: Kuhli loaches and sterbai in planted tank?

Postby gulogulo » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:40 am

As far as compatibility you should be fine. In my experience once kuhliis get settled in they are active whenever food comes out and occasionally at other times as the mood suits them.
I would be at least a bit concerned about the bioload in the tank, it seems to me to be heavily stocked. You didn't mention the size of the sump, if its large enough then you may be OK from a bioload perspective and the plants will help with that as well.
I definitely agree with getting a large group, they are very social and much more active when in groups, the larger the better.
Make sure that your sump intake and outake are securely covered with fine mesh or you will end up with kuhliis in your sump. You may end up with kuhlii fry in there anyway, most reports of kuhlii and other eel loaches breeding in the aquarium come from aquarists finding baby loaches in sumps or filters.
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