How Long Will A Kuhli Loach Go Missing? | Is It Hiding?

If you are raising a Kuhli loach in your tank, you will experience new things each day. It is not surprising when you cannot find your Kuhli loach in the tank or at least within your sight. I have been there and I know what you are talking about. Has your Kuhli loach gone missing?  I know you want to know why they even go missing. And of course the main question: How long will a Kuhli loach go missing?

There is no certain time limit for the Kuhli Loach to go missing. They can go missing for few days or six months or for over a year, there is no say in this. Kuhli loach often hides themselves when they are startled or the environment is not optimum.

Once the environment is back to normal and Kuhli loach starts to feel safe, you will see them again in the tank.

This is not even all the information related to how long your Kuhli Loach can go missing. And, it cannot be explained within few sentences.

So, I have tried to answer every question separately about what happens and why Kuhli loach starts to behave rationally.

How Long Will A Kuhli Loach Go Missing?

Have you lost your Kuhli loach in the tank with no trace at all? Well, that is not rare and is quite common than you think.

People often panic and jump to conclusions that their Kuhli loach is dead or got eaten by other tank mates.

Sometimes, this hypothesis can be right but most of the time it is not the case. You may not know this but your Kuhli Loach is a sand sifter and to go missing is like playtime for them.

You can never understand your fish and there is no certainty that your Kuhli Loach will be returning any time soon.

I had a friend who found his Kuhli loach after nearly 2 years while he was changing the decorations of the tank.

His Kuhli loach was hiding there in order to protect themselves from the predators. He always thought it was dead until that day.

Even I have waited for 6 months to see my Kuhli loach back in the tank scavenging the bottom. That’s why I am saying, you can predict or foresee their arrival beforehand.

It is not like your Kuhli loaches are on vacation and will be back after a short break. They will reappear when they feel safe and sound.

There are instances where people have reported that they have found their Kuhli loach back after a day and there are instances where they are turned out dead and decayed after a while.

Have a little faith and keep leaving food for them. There is a chance that they will reappear at night when the lights are off in order to eat.

Why Does Kuhli Loach Go Missing?

It is not like they like to go into hiding out of the blue. They are pretty much scared to be out there that’s why they choose a different approach to the situation.

There can be various reasons for your Kuhli loach to be scared and start to behave rationally. Let me put things in a list way so it will be easier for you to look at things.

Incompatible Tank Mates

If your tank has more than one type of fish, then it is better to look for their compatibility percentage. I have seen so many instances where Kuhli loach goes missing because of the tank mates.

When there is a bullying tank mate present in the tank, your Kuhli loach would try their best to keep themselves away from the harm.

And, the large fish, actually a larger fish who can actually eat up Kuhli loach, can intimidate them.

They will start burying a hole in the sand and bury themselves there. You cannot make your Kuhli loach live with someone they are not compatible with.

They will only come out of the hiding when other fish are resting or sleeping. You will not be able to meet your Kuhli loach till you bring the community tank to their level of compatibility.

Inadequate Water Parameters

Well, can you blame them?? You can clearly imagine what will happen to your fish once you keep them in the tank with inadequate w3ater parameters.

The constant fluctuation in the water parameters makes your fish seek safety. Who will not want to escape the harsh reality and condition around their environment?

Do not blame your Kuhli loach when they go missing before you make sure that the tank is in optimum condition.

Excessive Lighting

Everyone should know the impact of a high watt of light on any fish in the aquarium. Excessive lighting can make your Kuhli loach impatient and stressed.

They will try their best to find the place where the light cannot reach. Once they find that place they will stay there hidden till you close the light.

They will only come out to eat when it is dark in the tank. Or you can say, they will only show you their face when you will not be able to see them.

Kuhli loach will only appear at night in the tank and you will even notice them eating or swimming around the tank.

How can You Find Your Missing Kuhli Loach In The Tank?

Now, you cannot go to the police station and find a complaint about a missing fish in an aquarium, can you?

And neither can you ask someone to come to your home and help you search every nooks and corner of your house in order to find your Kuhli loach.

You have to prepare yourselves and have a little patience when your Kuhli loach goes missing. It is not like you will say Revelio and they will appear all of the sudden. Sorry boss, not a harry potter movie.

However, there is a chance that your fish will come out of hiding on their own after a while or just a few days.

And there is also a chance that your Kuhli loach will stay hidden for years and years till all you can find is their dead floating body.

Well, for now, let’s focus on the good side and good news of this story. You need to know what you are doing at first.

It is quite simple to find the missing Kuhli loach in the tank. You just need to know where to look and how to look for them.

If you pull up some of the tricks from your sleeves, you will happily find your naughty Kuhli loach resting right there in the nooks and corners of the tank.

Here are some of the tricks you can use to find your Kuhli loach:

  1. Remove the decorations and check under them.
  2. Look closely towards the heavily planted area.
  3. Move around the substrate and sand.
  4. Check the filter
  5. Check the pipes.
  6. Remove the bigger rocks and look below them.

How To Prevent Your Kuhli Loach From Going Missing?

The missing case can seem like an unsolvable one but in reality, it is simpler than you think. We often imagine things far beyond the real world.

Their force of habit to bury themselves makes Kuhli loach quite vulnerable for the beginner aquarists. Most of the time, we, beginners, don’t even know what we are doing wrong and why our Kuhli loach is rebelling against us.

We will be helpless and do not know what to do to make our Kuhli loach behave logically and rationally. If you are going through the same thing I have faced in the past, then I have some tricks that will essentially work in Kuhli loach.

Here are the things you can do to help them stay on the surface of the substrate rather than burying inside it:

Give Them Space And Time

The hiding and missing trick can be part of their traits so it is better to give them the freedom to live. My vet often used to tell me that fishkeeping is the hobby that can ask the most patience from a person.

And I can never deny this fact. Every fish is different and each one of them has a different build and features. You can tame a lion just because you have kept them in a zoo.

It is their habit to burrow and sift the sand around. You need to let them play and do whatever they want to do in the tank.

The freedom of doing anything will help your fish get more familiar with their new habitat. You will actually have a certain relief from few jobs related to the aquarium when your fish is happy.

Give them a little time even if they are hiding. They will come out once they feel like it. And even after waiting for few weeks, you do not see them out, do the tricks I have suggested above.

Acclimate Them To The Tank On Arrival

When your fish is not familiar with the aquarium, the sudden change in the environment can startle them.

They will most likely seek a safe space within the tank and hide there till they get familiar. So, it is quite necessary to acclimate your Kuhli loach to the new tank to avoid hiding and missing case.

Check The Water Parameters

Check the parameters almost every day to make sure all of the water conditions are optimum. You need to make sure your Kuhli loach is not having any problem related to the toxicity level or low quality of water.

Keep The Compatible Tank Mates

Bullying, aggressive, territorial, and large fish are the big No when it comes to the tank mates of Kuhli loach.

Go for those aquatic beings who will live happily in the same condition as Kuhli loach and mind their own business.

You need to make sure the fish you are keeping with Kuhli loach is similar in size to that of Kuhli loach. Smaller fish will be a feast for the Kuhli loach while bigger ones that can fit Kuhli loach in their mouth wi8ll turn these into a feast.

Either way, go for the ones that will not startle or scare your Kuhli loach and force them to hide in the tank.

Go For Better Lighting

Do not torture your Kuhli loach with brighter lighting. Mid-level lighting that follows the circadian rhythm will do great for these fish.

If you are careful enough with the dim lighting and proper care during the night, your Kuhli loach will rarely see the shade of their hiding spaces.

Do Kuhli Loaches Bury Themselves?

Yes, they do bury themselves in the substrate or sand present in the tank. It is the same as going missing actually.

Most of the time, when you can’t find your Kuhli loach swimming in the tank, there is a chance that they are hiding in the burrow they made.

Burying is one of the counterattack methods to save themselves from the danger in the tank. When there are bullying fish or even a large territorial fish present in the tank, these fish starts to bury themselves in the sand and hide there till they feel safe.

They will however emerge to feed so make sure you keep food for them in the bottom of the tank. And if you are still unable to see them, try moving the sand here and there.

Your Kuhli loach will be right there hiding among the gravel in order to avoid an improper living environment.

Do Kuhli Loaches Like To Hide?

Well, to be honest, it is not even about likes or dislikes. Hiding and burying is their defense mechanism to cope up with the danger present in the tank.

If you maintain the water quality to optimum all the time and keep your Kuhli loach with the tank mate that is compatible and will never bully your Kuhli loach.

They hate it when they are often disturbed or when they cannot live a peaceful life in the tank. That’s when they decide to go into hiding.

That’s why it is often suggested to keep various decorations to give adequate hiding spaces for your fish. Once they feel safe again, they will come out of hiding.

Or else they will squeeze themselves into spaces that are not even big enough to adjust the loach. Give them enough space and also they are social.

So, when you keep them in a group of 5 to 6 of them, there is a lesser chance of these Kuhli loaches to go missing.

Where Do Kuhli Loaches Prefer To Hide?

When you know what and why related to Kuhli loach when they go missing, it is time to talk about the places where they will actually hide.

There are so many instances where the owner have thought that they have lost their Kuhli loaches. But later on, when the gravel or the decorations are moved aside, they have found their Kuhli loach sitting happily there.

Here are the places I have so far known when it comes to Kuhli loach hiding places:

  1. PVC pipes
  2. Canister filter
  3. Rocks
  4. Plants
  5. Driftwood
  6. Sand
  7. Other decorations

Frequently Asked Questions

You may have more questions in mind related to Kuhli Loaches. I have answered a few of the FAQs people often ask and stumble upon.

Do Kuhli Loaches Dig In Sand?

Well, there is a slight difference between the digging they do and the real digging. Yes, they will go sifting around the soft sand present in the tank but it is not essentially termed as digging.

What they do is actually sift the sand and make a space where they will go hiding. They create a burrow between the sand when it is soft. It can be different when there is gravel present in the tank.

If the gravel present in the aquarium is quite finely grained, then they will surely go burrowing towards the bottom of the tank.

Will Kuhli Loach Jump Out Of Tank?

No, Kuhli loaches are bottom-dwellers and the chance of them getting to the top and jumping out of the tank quite rare.

They are, however, used to the water current and going against it. So, when your filter is cleaning out the tank, there is a chance these Kuhli Loach will go with the flow.

Once, they reach the filter, they will stay there like it’s their home. So, the chance of jumping might be low but getting themselves inside the filter, these Kuhli Loaches do that like a pro.

Also, They will swim to the top and try to jump out of the tank when the water parameters are not optimum.

Stress can make them go crazy and unhappy environment lead to this stunt. So, make sure to secure the tank lid.


In conclusion, it is quite common for your Kuhli Loaches to go on hiding. You might end up thinking your Kuhli loach is missing or even dead. People often think and contemplate that these fish might have become food for some bigger fish in the tank. But in fact, these fish are busy hiding saving their life. There are cases where the owner has seen them after a year or 2 even. That’s why make sure to check all the nooks and corners and even the filter to find them. Keeping leaving food for them even when you don’t see them.

Take care of your Kuhli even when they are in hiding or as people say missing. Don’t worry. They will be back once things in the tank go back to normal. But you still need to check the nooks and corners to confirm they are alive.

If you still have queries related to this, drop in the comment below. I will get back to you when I can.

Good Luck!!!

Happy Fishkeeping!!!

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