Overview

Brief Summary

The genus Pangio is one of the most species-rich genera in the loach family Cobitidae and is widespread across South and Southeast Asia. It is the largest genus within the southern lineages of Cobitidae, with nearly three dozen recognized species. Pangio loaches are small (<12 cm total length), elongated freshwater fishes. According to Kottelat and Lim (1993), Pangio loaches are distinguished from members of all other genera of the family Cobitidae by their very slender and compressed bodies, by the position of the dorsal fin (which originates distinctly behind the pelvic origin rather than in front, above, or slightly behind), and by the large number of vertebrae. Mature males of all species can be easily distinguished from females by the presence of a thickened first branched pectoral fin ray. Breeding males can be recognized by the presence of a tuberculate pad on the dorsal surface of the pectoral fin, covering the distal half of the enlarged first branched ray and part of the second branched ray.

The different Pangio species inhabit a variety of habitats ranging from moderately swift to very slow flowing streams and representatives are found from India and southern Vietnam to Java. Pangio loaches live in benthic substrates, typically in submerged leaf litter and dense aquatic vegetation. Several species may occur together at the same locality and up to seven species may be found within a single river basin. They are gregarious when kept in aquaria (and presumably in nature), congregating under rocks or decaying vegetation.

Some Pangio species are collected and exported for the aquarium trade. These banded species are generally known as "kuhli loaches" based on the specific epithet of one species, P. kuhlii (named after an active collector in the Dutch East Indies, Heinrich Kuhl [1797-1821]). They are easily recognized by their bright pink to orange and black barred color pattern. They are sometimes inappropriately called "Coolie Loaches" in the aquarium literature. Partly for this reason, several researchers have begun to use the common name "eel-loaches" to refer generally to all Pangio species.  Kottelat and Lim (1993) reviewed the eel-loach species of the Malay Peninsula (Singapore, West Malaysia and Thailand south of the Isthmus of Kra), including comments on the systematics of species from adjacent areas.

As noted above, the Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii) and close relatives are familiar fishes in the aquarium trade. Pangio kuhlii is apparently widely distributed on the Sunda Shelf, except in Sarawak (northwestern Borneo), where it is replaced by P. agma (Burridge, 1992). This distribution pattern is shared with several other pairs of fish species (Kuttelat and Lim 1993). Pangio kuhlii is known from West Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan Timur and Kalimantan Barat (East and West Kalimantan, Borneo), and the Malay Peninsula at least as far north as Phangnga (records from Burridge [1992] from central and southeastern Thailand were considered questionable by Kittelat and Lim [1993], who suggested they may actually refer to P. myersi). Pangio kuhlii  has 6 to 10 usually irregular bars along its body with a dark large quadrangular blotch occupying the proximal (i.e., closer to body) half of the caudal (tail) fin; in contrast to some other Pangio species, the median lobe of the lower lip is not produced into a barbel; and the vertebral count is 34 to 37+ 12 to 15 = 47 to 51 vertebrae.

Based on the molecular phylogenetic analysis by Bohlen et al. (2011), there are three main lineages within the genus Pangio, two of which correspond to two of the four groups recognized by Kottelat and Lim (1993), with the third group matching the remaining two groups of these authors combined. The kuhlii-group includes all species with a dark brown or black banding pattern on yellow or red background, including P. kuhlii.

Burridge (1992) provided technical descriptions of the genus and analysis of the P. kuhlii complex.

(Burridge 1992; Kottelat and Lim 1993; Bohlen et al. 2011 and references therein)

  • Bohlen, J., V. Šlechtová, H.H. Tan, and R. Britz. 2011. Phylogeny of the Southeast Asian freshwater fish genus Pangio (Cypriniformes; Cobitidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61: 854-865.
  • Burridge, M.E. Systematics of the Acanthophthalmus kuhlii Complex (Teleostei: Cobitidae), with the Description of a New Species from Sarawak and Brunei. Copeia 1992(1): 172-186.
  • Kottelat. M. and K.K.P. Lim 1993. A review of the eel-loaches of the genus Pangio (Teleostei, Cobitidae) from the Malay Peninsula, with descriptions of 6 new species. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 41(2): 203-249.
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Comprehensive Description

Biology

Lives in hill streams to lowland forest canals and peats (Ref. 57235). Oviparous (Ref. 205). Well known in aquarium trades as "Kuhli's loach" (Ref. 57235).
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Pangio Kuhlii (Valenciennes in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1846)

The Kuhli Loach is a small (up to 80 mm) loach of the Cobitidae family that inhabits the Southeast Asian areas, mainly Malaysia, Borneo, Sinapore, Sumatra, Thailand, and parts of Java. It is characterised by its slender, eel-like body, dark bands extending halfway down its body and mouth barbels (Burridge, 1992; Kottelat and Lim, 1993). It is also a well known member of the aquarium trade (Tamaru et al. 1997).

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Distribution

Asia.
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Pangio kuhlii is the most widely distributed species of its genus (Burridge, 1992). It can be found in the Malay Peninsula down to Singapore and in Thailand, Borneo, Sumatra, and the Western Portion of Java (Burridge, 1992; Kottelat and Lim, 1993).

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Java.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Vertebrae: 47 - 51
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Pangio kuhlii has the anguilliform (slender and eel-like) body typical of its genus, as well as pectoral fins placed much more anterior than the dorsal fin (Burridge, 1992). Males have enlarged first fin ray on the pectoral fin and wider pectoral (and sometimes pelvic fins) in general (Burridge, 1992; Kottelat and Lim, 1993).

Other characteristics include:

Body with contrasting black and white bars on a pinkish/yellow/white background, belly is white. Color pattern has 6 – 10 irregular bars, dark large quadrangal blotch covering proximal half of caudal fin. Head with two dark bars, excluding blotch on snout, median lobe of lower lip not produced into a barbel. 34 – 37 + 12 – 15 = 47 – 51 vertebrae. Bars on caudal peduncle narrower, nearly reaching the ventral midline. Snout round to truncate, three pairs of barbels: one rostral, one maxillary, and one mandibular. Upper lip more prominent than lower, mandibular jaw teeth absent (Burridge, 1992; Kottelat and Lim, 1993).

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Size

Maximum size: 120 mm TL
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Max. size

12.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 1672))
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Pangio kuhlii is a small species, reaching 80 mm in a genus (Pangio) that normally reaches about 50 mm (Kottelat and Lim, 1993). Aquarium sizes may vary slightly from these numbers. No distinction has been made between sizes for male and females.

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Diagnostic Description

Color pattern consisting of 6-10 bars, usually irregular, with a dark large quadrangular blotch occupying the proximal half of caudal fin; median lobe of lower lip not produced into a barbel.
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Pangio kuhlii has the anguilliform (slender and eel-like) body typical of its genus, as well as pectoral fins placed much more anterior than the dorsal fin (Burridge, 1992).

Males have enlarged first fin ray on the pectoral fin and wider pectoral (and sometimes pelvic fins) in general (Burridge, 1992; Kottelat and Lim, 1993).

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Type Information

Type for Acanthophthalmus myersi
Catalog Number: USNM 103300
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Preparation: Radiograph
Collector(s): H. Smith
Year Collected: 1927
Locality: Nong Khor, S.E. Siam, Thailand, Asia
  • Type:
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Paratype for Acanthophthalmus myersi
Catalog Number: USNM 144222
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): H. Smith
Year Collected: 1927
Locality: Siam. Nong Khor, Thailand, Asia
  • Paratype:
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

demersal; freshwater; pH range: 5.5 - 6.5; dH range: 5
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As with all species in the genus Pangio (or Acanthophthalmus, depending which genus one uses), P. kuhlii can be found in slow moving streams in Southeast Asia. They are often found hidden among the built up leaf litter and detritus (Burridge, 1992). Kuhlii loaches appear to prefer warm streams (between 24 and 29 C) with a relatively low pH (acidic, but not below 5.5). They also seem to prefer low salinity and softer water (Johnson, 1967).

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Migration

No migrations have been observed.

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Dispersal

Pangio kuhlii appears to stay in the same relative area throughout its life. As with other members of the family Cobitidae, the Kuhli loach has a bony capsule partially covering the swim bladder. The amount of air in the swimbladder is controlled via expulsion or inhalation through the mouth (Paxton and Eschmeyer, 1998).

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Trophic Strategy

Pangio kuhlii is a bottom-feeding detritivore and scavenger (Burridge, 1992). Leaf litter and detritus has been found in captured specimens (Mohsin and Ambak, 1983).

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Diseases and Parasites

Viral Diseases (general). Viral diseases
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Turbidity of the Skin (Freshwater fish). Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Hidden Viral Infection. Viral diseases
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Fungal Infection (general). Fungal diseases
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Fin Rot (early stage). Bacterial diseases
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Bacterial Infections (general). Bacterial diseases
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Pangio kuhlii is a small bottom dweller and generally hides among detritus, rocks and algae. As with many bottom dwellers, the kuhli loach forages among the detritus on the floor, using its barbels as sensory organs (Mohsin and Ambak, 1983). Much of its behaviour is also known from aquarium reports where these fish are more frequently observed. They appear to be gregarious, congregating in groups on the stream bottom. They are also thought to be nocturnal, although alteration of the feeding cycle can persuade them to be diurnal.

Its breeding behaviour is not well known but it is postulated in related species that the extended ray of the pectoral fin may play some role in reproduction (Bohlen, 2001).

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Life Cycle

Oviparous (Ref. 205). Distinct pairing during breeding (Ref. 205).
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Life Expectancy

Mature length is reached under four years, however it is not known how long the kuhli loach lives in the wild, and aquarium reports vary (Watson and Balon, 1985).

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Reproduction

The kuhli loach is oviparous (Breder and Rosen, 1966). Reproductive behaviour is not well known, even from the aquarium trade. It is thought that the kuhli loach spawns seasonally (Watson and Balon, 1985). Aquarium enthusiasts report swollen females (presumably with eggs) but spawning behaviour has not been witnessed.

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Growth

Kuhli loaches generally have even growth, following an asymptotic curve and reaching full length in a little under four years (Watson and Balon, 1985). They have not been shown to exhibit any unusual morphology during fry development.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pangio kuhlii

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Pangio kuhlii was not listed in the IUCN red-list of endangered species. Its status has not been evaluated but as an active component of the aquarium trade it is unlikely Kuhli loach species will reach extinction anytime soon (Tamaru et al., 1997). The native population trends are not well known, however, so care should be taken against collecting and deforestation in case Pangio kuhlii is already experiencing declining numbers in the wild.

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Wild population trends of Pangio kuhlii are not known, however as with many exotic species residing in threatened areas care should be taken to preserve the native populations.

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Threats

Not Evaluated
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As with many threats to biodiversity, human activity is the main threat to native Pangio kuhlii populations. Deforestation and slash-and burn agriculture is particularly destructive because it alters the soil composition (grain size and chemistry) and in turn negatively affects the biodiversity of these tropical forest streams (Iwata et al., 2003).

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

aquarium: commercial
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Pangio kuhlii is a popular aquarium pet. 2 million individuals were imported into the United States in 1994, comprising 1% of the total number of fish imported into the United States annually (Tamaru et al. 1997). Its relevance to humans therefore exists mostly in the context of leisure and aquarium trade rather than as a figure of social or economic importance (as with some food fishes).

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Wikipedia

Kuhli loach

The kuhli loach (Pangio kuhlii) is a small eel-like freshwater fish belonging to the loach family (Cobitidae). It originates in Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula. This snake-like creature is very slender and nocturnal. In an enclosed or shared habitat, the kuhli loach hides and, when startled, darts quickly around.

Physical description[edit]

The kuhli loach is an eel-shaped fish with slightly compressed sides, four pairs of barbels around the mouth, and very small fins. The dorsal fin starts behind the middle of the body, and the anal fin well behind this. The eyes are covered with a transparent skin. The body has 10 to 15 dark brown to black vertical bars, and the gaps between them are salmon pink to yellow with a light underside. When the fish is not actively breeding, distinctions between males and females are not readily apparent. However, close observation will reveal that males have more a muscular upper/dorsal cross-section and their pectoral fins tend to be larger, more paddle-shaped, and often have some pigment in them. When breeding, the females often become larger than the male and their greenish ovaries can be seen through the skin before spawning. Spawning is not easy, but when it occurs a few hundred greenish eggs are laid among the roots of floating plants. Kuhli loaches reach maturity at 2 ¾ inches (7 cm) and have a maximum length of 4 inches (10 cm). This fish can live for up to about 10 years.

Habitat, diet, parameters, and related information[edit]

The natural habitat of the kuhli loach is the sandy beds of slow-moving rivers and clean mountain streams. They are a social fish and are typically found in small clusters (they are not schooling fish but enjoy the company of their species), but are cautious and nocturnal by nature and swim near the bottom where they feed around obstacles. They natively live in a tropical climate and prefer water with a 5.5 – 6.5 pH-but will tolerate 7.0 pH in aquaria, a water hardness of 5.0 dGH, and a temperature range of 75 – 86 °F (24 – 30 °C). Kuhli loaches are scavengers, so they will eat anything that reaches the bottom. They usually feed at night, but can be taught to feed in the day in the home aquarium.

Other noteworthy information[edit]

In the wild, the fish spawn communally in very shallow water. The kuhli loach is a bottom dweller that burrows into soft places. Its ordinal name 'Acanthophthalmus' comes from the meaning 'thorn' or 'prickle-eye', after a spine beneath each eye.

Etymology of name[edit]

The kuhli loach was originally described as Cobitis kuhlii by Achille Valenciennes in 1846 to commemorate Heinrich Kuhl's work as a naturalist and zoologist. The fish is also commonly called coolie loach, giant coolie loach, slimy loach, and leopard loach. In scientific literature, it has been referred to as Acanthophthalmus kuhlii. The genus name Acanthophthalmus is a junior synonym of Pangio.

In the aquarium[edit]

Kuhli loach

The kuhli loach is commonly kept as a pet in tropical aquaria. There are a number of species of the genus Pangio that appear similar and are sold under the same name, require similar care, and are all excellently suited for household tanks. They tend to be hardy and long-lived in the aquarium and get along well with their own kind as well as others.

In an aquarium environment, especially if the gravel is suitably finely grained, Pangio species can burrow into the bottom and there remain unseen for long periods of time, emerging to eat during the night. If the gravel is later disturbed, a hobbyist might well find themselves faced with fish assumed lost a long time ago. Kuhlis may also occasionally swim into unprotected filter inlets, possibly leading to their deaths.[2]

Breeding in captivity requires plenty of hiding spaces and consistent water quality.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Pangio kuhlii". Catalog of Fishes. 
  2. ^ "Kuhli Loach Kill". Aquariacentral.com. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  3. ^ Hellweg, Mike. "Are you ready for the challenge of breeding the Kuhli Loach?". Fishchannel.com. Fishchannel.com. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
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Kuhli Loach

The Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii) is a small eel-like freshwater fish belonging to the loach family (Cobitidae). It originates in Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula.

Contents

Physical description

The kuhli loach is an eel-shaped fish, elongated with slightly compressed sides, and very small fins. The dorsal fin starts behind the middle of the body, and the anal fin well behind this. The eyes are covered with a transparent skin. The body has 10 to 15 dark brown to black vertical bars, and the gaps between them are salmon pink to yellow with a light underside. When the fish is not actively breeding, distinctions between males and females are not readily apparent. However, close observation will reveal that males have more a muscular upper/dorsal cross-section and their pectoral fins tend to be larger, more paddle-shaped, and often have some pigment in them. When breeding, the females often become monstrously fat and their greenish ovaries can be seen through the skin before spawning. Spawning is not easy, but when it occurs a few hundred greenish eggs are laid among the roots of floating plants. Maximum size is 4 inches (10 cm) long (matures at 2 ¾ in/7 cm), and four pairs of barbels around their mouth.

Habitat, diet, Parameters, and related information

The natural habitat of the kuhli loach is the sandy beds of slow-moving rivers and clean mountain streams. They are a social fish and are typically found in small clusters (they are not schooling fish but enjoy the company of their species), but are cautious and nocturnal by nature and swim near the bottom where they feed around obstacles. They natively live in a tropical climate and prefer water with a 5.5 - 6.5 pH-but will tolerate 7.0 pH in aquaria, a water hardness of 5.0 dGH, and a temperature range of 75 - 86 °F (24 - 30 °C). Kuhli Loaches are scavengers, so they will eat anything that hits the bottom. Kuhli loaches usually feed in the night time, but can be taught to be fed in the day in the home aquarium.

Other noteworthy information

In the wild, the fish spawn communally in very shallow water. The kuhli loach is a bottom dweller that burrows into soft places. Its ordinal name 'Acanthophthalmus' comes from the meaning 'thorn' or 'prickle-eye', after a spine beneath each eye.

Etymology of name

The kuhli loach was originally described as Cobitis kuhlii by Achille Valenciennes in 1846 to commemorate Heinrich Kuhl works as naturalist and zoologist. The fish is also commonly called coolie loach, giant coolie loach, slimy loach, and leopard loach. In scientific literature, it has been referred to as Acanthophthalmus kuhlii. The genus name Acanthophthalmus is a junior synonym of Pangio.

In the aquarium

Kuhli loach

The kuhli loach is commonly kept as a pet in tropical aquaria. There are a number of species of the genus Pangio that appear similar and are sold under the same name, require similar care, and are all excellently suited for household tanks. They tend to be hardy and long-lived in the aquarium and get along well with their own kind as well as others.

In an aquarium environment, especially if the gravel is suitably finely grained, Pangio species can burrow into the bottom and there remain unseen for long periods of time, emerging to eat during the night. If the gravel is later disturbed, a hobbyist might well find themselves faced with fish assumed lost a long time ago.

There has been no documentation of Kuhli loaches breeding in aquaria.[citation needed]

See also

References

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Kuhli loach

The kuhli loach, Pangio kuhlii, is a small eel-like freshwater fish belonging to the loach family (Cobitidae). It originates in Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula.

Contents

Physical description

The kuhli loach is an eel-shaped fish, elongated with slightly compressed sides, and very small fins. The dorsal fin starts behind the middle of the body, and the anal fin well behind this. The eyes are covered with a transparent skin. The body has 10 to 15 dark brown to black vertical bars, and the gaps between them are salmon pink to yellow with a light underside. When the fish is not actively breeding, there is no known way to distinguish between males and females. When breeding, the females often become monstrously fat and their greenish ovaries can be seen through the skin before spawning. Spawning is not easy, but when it occurs a few hundred greenish eggs are laid among the roots of floating plants. Maximum size is 4 inches (10 cm) long (matures at 2 ¾ in/7 cm), and four pairs of barbels around their mouth.

Habitat, diet, Parameters, and related information

The natural habitat of the kuhli loach is the sandy beds of slow-moving rivers and clean mountain streams. They are a social fish and are typically found in small clusters (they are not schooling fish but enjoy the company of their species), but are cautious and nocturnal by nature and swim near the bottom where they feed around obstacles. They natively live in a tropical climate and prefer water with a 5.5 - 6.5 pH-but will tolerate 7.0 pH in aquaria, a water hardness of 5.0 dGH, and a temperature range of 75 - 86 °F (24 - 30 °C). Kuhli Loaches are scavengers, so they will eat anything that hits the bottom. Kuhli loaches usually feed in the night time, but can be taught to be fed in the day in the home aquarium.

Other noteworthy information

In the wild, the fish spawn communally in very shallow water. The kuhli loach is a bottom dweller that burrows into soft places. Its ordinal name 'Acanthophthalmus' comes from the meaning 'thorn' or 'prickle-eye', after a spine beneath each eye.

Etymology of name

The kuhli loach was originally described as Cobitis kuhlii by Achille Valenciennes in 1846 to commemorate Heinrich Kuhl works as naturalist and zoologist. The fish is also commonly called coolie loach, giant coolie loach, slimy loach, and leopard loach. In scientific literature, it has been referred to as Acanthophthalmus kuhlii. The genus name Acanthophthalmus is a junior synonym of Pangio.

In the aquarium

Kuhli loach

The kuhli loach is commonly kept as a pet in tropical aquaria. There are a number of species of the genus Pangio that appear similar and are sold under the same name, require similar care, and are all excellently suited for household tanks. They tend to be hardy and long-lived in the aquarium and get along well with their own kind as well as others.

In an aquarium environment, especially if the gravel is suitably finely grained, Pangio species can burrow into the bottom and there remain unseen for long periods of time, emerging to eat during the night. If the gravel is later disturbed, a hobbyist might well find themselves faced with fish assumed lost a long time ago.

There has been no documentation of Kuhli loaches breeding in aquaria.[citation needed]

See also

References

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