Betta Fish & Kuhli Loach – Can They Live Together?
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We can all relate- finding a suitable tank mate for a Betta fish is not an easy task. With these magnificent tropical creatures being quite territorial and aggressive over time, it is really important to carefully select the ideal companion.
A mate that, not only share the water requirements but also one that will tolerate their behavior. Matching your Betta fish with a Kuhli loach, however, should bring to a life in harmony.
The most important thing to have in mind here is to provide an adequate size of the aquarium so that these two creatures have enough space not to bother each other.
Betta fish and kuhli loaches can live together peacefully, however, there are a few things to take into consideration, before housing them in the same aquarium. The most important is to choose an adequate aquarium, which is at least 10 gallons in size.
Tank Setup for Betta and Kuhli Loaches
These two tropical fish basically share all tank requirements. That is why setting up their living environment is an easy task and does not demand any special arrangements.
They both require extremely clean water, with moderate light access and plenty of hiding spaces. That said, please keep in mind that a filtration system is necessary to provide these creatures an ideal life (plus, Kuhli loaches like to swim around some current).
Also, a heater is highly needed. Even if a Betta can survive in colder water, this is purely survival and not a happy living. So, please make sure that both of your tropical fish have a suitable temperature range between 76- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit.
When decorating their tank, the chosen substrate has to be sand. Although Bettas can work fine with gravel or small stones, the Kuhli loach does require a sandy substrate. Indeed, this peculiar creature is a passionate burrower and can hurt itself on sharper objects.
Additionally, both fish like having plenty of greenery around the tank, so you are welcome to plant as many as you like. Hiding spots are also needed both for the Kuhli loach and the Betta.
The ideal pH for a Betta is anywhere between 6,8 and 7,0. Although Kuhli loaches prefer more acidic values, they will adapt perfectly to the pH levels which a Betta requires.
Finally, make sure to get some sort of lid for your tank. Both of these fish can actually jump out of the aquarium, trying to escape and ultimately ending up on the floor.
Will Betta Fish Attack Kuhli Loaches?
In theory, Betta fish can attack anything that moves around their environment, if feeling moody. These fish are extremely peculiar and have a funny character sometimes. However, it is not likely they will attack Kuhli loaches.
Kuhli loaches are incredibly peaceful and friendly creatures, so they will never provoke a Betta. Also, they tend to stay at the bottom of the tank, while Bettas like to keep at the middle and top.
It is always necessary to monitor your aquatic pets during the first days of their shared living space, just to be sure they have accepted each other and that there is no need to separate them.
Sometimes, a human intervention will be necessary and every owner should be prepared for that, so it is always good to have a tiny tank ready for such situations.
How Many Kuhli Loaches Should You Get?
Although Kuhli Loaches are independent, they do like to live in smaller groups, so it is advised to keep them in groups of at least 3 to 5. This will ultimately improve their overall being and will definitely help them feel more secure and safe around Bettas.
If you decide to adopt a single Kuhli loach, it will probably spend most of its time hiding and you are risking of rarely seeing it.
This is also enhanced by the fact that they are most active during nighttime. These fish are super-shy and timid (unlike Bettas) so please always keep them in groups whenever possible.
Benefits of Keeping Kuhli Loaches with Bettas
There are several benefits of matching these two breeds into a single tank. First of all, they should get along together without fighting or attacking each other and they greatly share all tank and water requirements.
Secondly, Kuhli loaches are amazing little cleaners. A Betta which does not eat its entire meal will simply leave the leftovers to sink to the bottom. This can usually cause dangerous ammonia spikes, but not when there is a Kuhli loach nearby.
Indeed, these tiny fish are scavengers and will collect all food residues from the tank substrate, cleaning it constantly.
Adding to that, they are not picky eaters and will often collect algae residues and snails from the aquarium. So, if you are not a big fan of those, your Kuhli loach will certainly take care of it.
Frequently mistaken for eels, Kuhli loaches are definitely as interesting as they are delicate. Another thing they have in common with Bettas. Keeping them together is suitable because they will both accept very well the frequent water changes which they require, same as good water oxygenation.
Can Kuhli Loaches Eat Betta Food?
Kuhli loaches are omnivorous and will eat Betta food with pleasure, among many other meals. When kept together, however, it is better to choose sinking pellets for the Kuhli loach.
This will avoid your Betta stealing the entire meal for itself. If it likes to eat its food before it sinks to the bottom, try feeding your Kuhli loaches before heading to sleep.
Additionally, it is good to include a variety of tasty snacks into their diet. Bloodworms, Artemia, Microworms, and Daphnia make amazing choices. But also, occasional vegetables like cucumber, zucchini, lettuce or even cooked spinach.
Owning an aquarium equals to having a small, fully functioning ecosystem inside your home. Not every ecosystem is equal and not every aquarium can accommodate all sorts of fish.
That is why choosing the most suitable life partners for your tropical Betta can sometimes be tricky, especially if it is a slightly or more aggressive individual.
Kuhli loaches are one of the rare exceptions to that, as they will most certainly get along with your Betta perfectly fine.