Beginner's Guide

Kuhli Loach Tank Size: Ideal Tank Size For Your Fish

One of the first and most important things you will have to prepare while you take upon a fishkeeping hobby is the tank. Without an aquarium, you cannot imagine keeping a fish at home. A tank with optimum water quality with ideal water parameters is what you need while raising fish. But there is one thing you cannot overlook when it comes to the tank. And that is the tank size. You cannot pick one tank hazardously. And when it comes to a slightly average-sized fish like Kuhli loaches, you have to be extra careful. But what exactly is the ideal tank size for Kuhli loach?

The minimum tank size for your Kuhli loach is 15-gallons however it is better to go for a 20-gallons tank. You can keep nearly 4 to 5 Kuhli loaches in the 15-gallons tank while you can add a few more in the 20-gallons tank. The bigger tank along with a company of 6 can be really good for the growth of Kuhli loaches.

However, you have to be careful while keeping a Kuhli loach in the tank. If you try to keep them in a Nano tank, then they will retaliate and you may even lose your Kuhli loach to death.

I am not letting you know this to scare you off but to warn you about the consequences when you don’t give an ideal tank size to Kuhli loach.

You need to understand this topic more to know what I am talking about. Read this entire article to learn more about the importance of tank size for Kuhli loach and which one ideal for them.

Kuhli Loach Tank Size

Kuhli loaches are generally 3 to 4 inches big and sometimes grow up to 5 inches. Hence, you need to keep in mind that they need a tank that can give them enough space to grow bigger and healthier.

A spacious tank with many plants and decorations that exactly mimics the natural habitat of Kuhli loaches is a big yes every time.

You have to keep in mind the population of plants and Kuhli loaches too. If you are planning to add some more fish of different types and families, then pick up a bigger tank.

Your tank needs to accommodate every living being without creating chaos, crowd, or stocking up. You know right that you have to keep a group of Kuhli loaches rather than keeping them alone?

It is necessary to avoid any smaller tank and go for the ideal size rather than experimenting out and about.

For me, 20-gallons for 3 to 6 Kuhli loaches is an ideal tank size when it comes to raising Kuhli loaches. This gives your Kuhli loach enough space to explore, hide, dig, swim, or play around.

If you add any more Kuhli loach to the tank, then add 3 to 5 gallons of water to the tank size. For every Kuhli loach, you need to at least have 3 to 5 gallons of water in the tank.

Minimum Tank Size

Let’s talk about the smallest tank you can get while raising Kuhli loach. It is never recommended to go any smaller than this.

People often think that Kuhli loaches will be happy in a smaller tank as well as they won’t grow much bigger than 5 inches.

Hence, I have seen people experimenting with the 5 gallons tank with a single Kuhli loach. First, do not keep Kuhli loach all alone in the tank with no mates at all.

Second, give them space to grow. Here is what you need to do. The minimum tank size that will be okay for your Kuhli loach is 15-gallons.

Any less than this will make your Kuhli loach uncomfortable and forced into the tank. They need space to grow, keep that in mind.

How Many Kuhli Loach In A Tank?

Now, the number of Kuhli loach in the tank depends on the tank size and the golden rule of thumb as well.

You can stock up all the Kuhli loaches you have in a tank with the capacity to hold only 5 of them. Overstocking and overcrowding can be real issues people often oversee.

Although they produce a relatively small amount of waste, it is necessary to keep appropriate numbers of them in the tank.

Your Kuhli loaches love to be in a group but these fish aren’t schooling fish. Still, you have to keep at least 4 to 5 of them together to make them comfortable in the tank.

A group of three to six Kuhli loaches will be a great addition to your tank. But remember to research and understand the necessities of these fish and most importantly the tank size.

Keep the appropriate number of Kuhli loach according to the size of the tank you are planning to get for your home.

How Many Kuhli Loach In The 10-Gallon Tank?

I do not recommend you to keep them in a 10-gallon tank. But still, I have to give you numbers so that you don’t go overboard trying to experiment with new things.

As we have established the fact that the minimum tank size for Kuhli loach is 15-gallons, let us discuss keeping them in the 10-gallon tank.

If you are planning to keep Kuhli loach in the tank and only Kuhli loaches, then I suggest you go for 6 of them

As these loaches have a small bio load and are only 3 to 4 inches long, they can live happily with 5 others. Although if you are new to keeping Kuhli Loach in the 10-gallons tank, then go for 4 of them only.

Make sure they are comfortable and not gasping for breath or their life while they are living in a 10-gallons tank.

You have to have enough experience to keep 6 Kuhli loaches in the 10-gallon tank. I still ask you to keep them in a 15-gallons tank though.

How Many Kuhli Loaches Are In A 20 Gallon Tank?

The number of Kuhli loaches in the 20-gallons tank is quite similar to the number of Kuhli loach you will keep in a 15 gallons tank.

As I have mentioned earlier that the 15-gallon tank is quite relatively the smallest tank where you can keep your Kuhli loaches.

Hence, 5 extra gallons will not make much difference when it comes to the number of Kuhli loaches in the tank.

Although you can keep 4 to 6 of them in a 10 gallons tank, the number does not increase abruptly for 20 gallons tank.

You need to keep 1 more Kuhli loaches for additional 5 gallons of water in the tank. hence, you can go for 3 to 6 Kuhli loaches when it comes to a 20-gallons tank.

You may question the no difference in the number of Kuhli loaches in the 10-gallons and 20-gallons tank. I can understand the query but it is what it is.

Experts don’t suggest you keep 4 to 5 inches big 3 to 5 fish in a 10-gallon tank. These fish will have a hard time adjusting and living in a smaller tank.

Hence, it is better to go for a 20-gallons tank along with 4 to 6 Kuhli loaches toge4ther. This way your fish will love the company as well as the spacious tank to grow into.

What Will Happen If I Keep Kuhli Loach In A Smaller Tank?

Keeping Kuhli loach in a smaller tank than 15-gallons may seem like a good plan and of course, a full-proof one. But you will be wrong to keep them in the tank way smaller than their ideal size.

You cannot suffocate or push the limit of your fish to live in a smaller space just because you want them to. Don’t you know every fish has its own necessities and some are not made to live in Nano tanks?

First and foremost, you need to keep 5 Kuhli loaches in the tank to make them comfortable and happy in captivity.

While you are planning to keep them in a smaller tank, you have to either lessen the number or force them to adjust.

Neither of these things will be beneficial for your fish and of course, a smaller tank with more fish will lead to pollution.

You will not be able to handle all the chaos in the tank when your Kuhli loach starts to act irrationally. They will need space to breathe and swim in.

So, Nano tanks are a big No for Kuhli loach which can easily grow up to 4 to 5 inches in size. Do not make your Kuhli loach go through hell just because you want to keep them in a smaller tank.

Why Is Tank Size An Important Factor For Kuhli Loach?

Why do people build a home rather than living in a room for their whole life? Or why do people hate the 4 by 4 jail?

Hence, the answer to the question is as simple as that. If you understand the discomfort small spaces bring for you, you will understand why your Kuhli loaches ask for an ideal size of the tank.

Did you know if you want a tree in a pot rather than ground, they will stay small for their entire life? The tree in the pot will only grow according to the space they have for their roots to grow.

Every living being needs space to grow properly and stay happy. No one will be happy when they are kept in a jail where you can’t even breathe properly.

I cannot give any better example than this. You might already get the idea about the importance I am talking about.

If you have not, then let me list these things for you that prove tank size is an important factor you need to look at while raising Kuhli loach.

Growth Rate

Your fish might stay dwarf or small if they don’t get enough space to grow. The external growth might go to pause mode or stop mode, but the internal organs keep on growing.

Can you imagine adding a few more glasses of water in the jug with no space left? What will happen? The water will overflow of course.

Your Kuhli loach will struggle to adjust the internal organs according to the outer layer of their body. This can be quite impossible as the external organs do not have enough space to grow into.

They will suffer a lot while trying to adjust to the smaller tank. They need space to grow and by space, I mean enough space to have extra room for some other fish to adjust.

No Stress

Overcrowding and small spaces make it impossible for your Kuhli loach to have good mental health. Smaller tank size will always add stress to the mentality of Kuhli loach.

Smaller tank equals overcrowding, lower oxygen levels, more pollution, and less quality of life. That’s why it becomes hard for your Kuhli loach to live in the tank that is way smaller for them.

Enough spaces to hide and swim or even play with their tank mates make these Kuhli loaches mentally as well as physically active.

This will keep them far from stress or discomfort in the tank. Hence, they will live longer and will stay happy.

You will barely have to face their missing case or see Kuhli loaches trying to dig the aquarium substrates until and unless they are in a bigger tank with no predators or bullies.


Won’t you feel comfortable living in a spacious house with your family rather than a room with all the family members?

It is the same for your Kuhli loaches. They ask for a definite tank size to stay comfortable and live longer. Comfort will make sure the mental health of Kuhli loach is always optimum.


The freedom of getting to swim around the tank and having a bigger place to explore is always a better option.

Kuhli loaches will be helpless and caged if you keep them in a smaller tank with no places to swim to. They need to have enough plants and decorations where they can play and hide.

These loaches will feel free and happy when they have a tank big enough with all the things similar to their natural habitat.

Frequently Asked Questions

You might be wondering about some of the questions that most aquarists stumble upon while raising Kuhli loaches. I have tried to answer some of the FAQs that people often ask.

Can A Kuhli Loach Live In A 5 Gallon Tank?

No, you cannot keep Kuhli loach in a 5 gallons tank. The minimum tank size for your Kuhli loaches is 15-gallons.

Do not try to push your limit. I can understand why people often ask this question. But are you even sure if this is the right question to ask?

I know, these Kuhli loaches are 4 inches long and can grow up to 5 inches sometimes. So, if we go by the golden thumb rule for the fish that clearly states 1 gallon of water per inch of fish, we can estimate that these Kuhli loaches will live happily in a 5-gallon tank.

But they are wrong and you are wrong if you think that. They might adjust to the smaller aquarium for a while.

But these Kuhli loaches will never be happy in the tank size that is way smaller. They will feel suffocated in the small space and need places to swim to.

Do not bind your Kuhli loach to a 5-gallon aquarium just because they can live alone and go by the golden thumb rule.

Can You Keep A Kuhli Loach Alone?

Yes, you can keep your Kuhli loach alone in the tank. But make sure the tank is big enough even when they are the only ones there.

The minimum tank size for your Kuhli loach is 15-gallons. Any less than that will be smaller for your Kuhli loach.

Even though your Kuhli loach won’t mind being alone, they will love to have some company in the tank. You can keep 4 to 5 of them in the 20-gallons tank.

This company will make your Kuhli loach more comfortable and happy in captivity. The growth rate, as well as the activities, will be higher when they are together in the tank.

It is better to give some friends to your Kuhli loach as well rather than making it suffer alone in the tank. You will love to see them going out and about with their friends and enjoy the tank life.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Kuhli Loach?

Kuhli loaches can be quite a boon to your tank and they will bless you with their presence for so many years.

If you are careful enough while keeping this Kuhli loach in the tank, they will live more than a decade. The average lifespan for your Kuhli loach is about 10 years.

But there are instances where these Kuhli loaches have blessed the aquarium with their presence for nearly 14 years.

They are quite a good fish for you to keep in the aquarium. And the decade of their lifespan will be one of the most beautiful moments of fishkeeping.


In conclusion, Kuhli loach may be quite big compared to some of the small fish like Neon Tetra. But they are quite comfortable living in a tank with the capacity of 15-gallons as well. But do not go less than this and make sure you have the right number of Kuhli loach to keep in the tank. The minimum tank size for your Kuhli loach is 15-gallons while it is better to keep 3 to 5 of them together. Kuhli loaches do well in the tank with at least 5 of them. Hence I suggest you look at bigger tanks if you want your Kuhli loaches to be happy and comfortable.

These Kuhli loaches might act a little differently than any other fish but they are quite fascinating in their own way. You will love to have Kuhli loach in your home aquarium even if your tank is smaller in size.

If you still have queries related to the tank size for Kuhli loaches or anything related to them, check other articles here or drop your query on the comment box below. I will get back to you when the comments are moderated.

Don’t forget to have fun with Kuhli loaches!

Good Luck!!!

Happy Fishkeeping!!

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