Kuhli loaches comprise a group of small, elongated loach species belonging to the genus Pangio. Most inhabit rivers, streams and flooded fields across Southeast Asia. The purple kuhli loach (Pangio sp. ‘Myanmar’) was first exported from Myanmar in recent years. It displays vibrant bands of iridescent purple and black over a light brown base body color.
Introducing the Purple Kuhli Loach
- Origin: Streams and rivers of Myanmar (Burma)
- Size: Grows up to 3 inches
- Lifespan: 5 years average, up to 10 years with excellent care
- Temperament: Extremely peaceful bottom-dwellers, best in groups
- Appearance: Eel-like shape, scaleless brown skin with vibrant purple vertical bands
- Varieties: Standard purple kuhli is the only established variety at this time
- Price: $8-12 per fish, groups of 6 run $50-75
Habitat & Tank Requirements
- Natural Habitat: Small freshwater streams and tributaries with sandy or muddy substrate
- Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallon or larger
- Water Parameters: 74-82°F temperature, pH 6.0-7.5, soft to medium hardness
- Tank Setup: Fine sandy substrate, ample hiding spots and shaded areas, low water flow
- Diet: Omnivorous bottom feeders, favoring meaty live or frozen foods
- Feeding: Use sinking foods, forage primarily at night
- Foods: Live/frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, chopped seafood, algae pellets
- Reproduction: Sparse documentation, likely egg scatterers with no parental care
- Breeding Conditions: Condition beforehand with diverse meaty foods, provide fine leafed plants or mesh for egg adhesion, maintain clean soft water between 77-82°F, high aeration.
- Spawning Process: No direct observations have been recorded in home aquaria to date. Breeding likely follows similar process to other Pangio loaches in which males may enter into non-aggressive sparring matches prior to a circular spawning embrace.
Fairly robust fish but sensitive to poor water conditions. Susceptible to skin flukes, ichthyobodo, fungal and bacterial infections when stressed. Use quarantine tanks for new arrivals and monitor water parameters. Raise temperatures and dose appropriate anti-parasitic medications as needed. Avoid overuse of medications.
- Compatibility: Very peaceful, mix well with small tetras, rasboras and other calm species
- Care: Prone to jumping, require securely fitted tank lids. Scaleless skin easily damaged, avoid abrasive decor
- Legalities: None
Suitable Tank Mates
Small tetras, white cloud mountain minnows, celestichthys margaritatus, Boraras brigittae and urophthalmoides, pygmy corydoras, otocinclus catfish, dwarf shrimp, snails.
Difficult to determine visually. Females may be slightly more rotund when carrying eggs. Experts are generally required to vent or perform microscopic examinations of gonads to discern males from females.
How many species of Purple kuhli loach?
There is one recognized purple kuhli loach species – Pangio sp. ‘Myanmar’. Many other undescribed Pangio loaches displaying slight variations likely exist across remote regions of Southeast Asia.
How to feed Purple kuhli loach to make their color brighter?
Offer a rotation of live blackworms, bloodworms, brine shrimp and quality spirulina-enriched pellets to bring out vibrant bands.
How Big do Purple kuhli loach Grow?
Average size is 3 inches long. Well-fed, mature specimens may slightly exceed this length.
How fast do Purple kuhli loach grow?
They grow relatively slowly, reaching max size after 2-3 years. Warmer temperatures and diverse diet can accelerate growth rates.
How long do Purple kuhli loach live?
Average reported lifespan is 5 years. Some have reportedly lived up to 10 years in well maintained home aquariums.
How to take care of Purple kuhli loach?
Give fine sandy substrate and ample hiding spots, plants and shaded areas. Maintain clean, soft, slightly acidic water between 74-82°F. Feed variety of meaty and plant-based foods. Frequent small water changes.
Which food products are the best for Purple kuhli loach?
Live blackworms, Hikari bloodworms, ZooMed shrimp pellets, Omega One veggie rounds, live/frozen mysis and brine shrimp.
Is good to keep Purple kuhli loach as pets?
Yes, purple kuhli loaches are gaining popularity as unique, peaceful aquarium pets. Their small size, simple care and shimmering colors make them a fine addition to planted community tanks.
Why my Purple kuhli loach die?
Common causes include low dissolved oxygen levels, high nitrates, aggression from inappropriate tankmates, malnutrition, rapid water parameter fluctuations, or heavy metal poisoning.
Are Purple kuhli loach aggressive?
No, purple kuhli loaches are extremely peaceful fish. They should never show aggression toward tank mates.
Do Purple kuhli loach kill other fish?
Healthy purple kuhli loaches pose no threat to other fish. However, sick or stressed specimen sometimes exhibit temporary aggressive behaviors including chasing other bottom dwellers from their hides.
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