Kuhli Loaches and Bettas: Can They Live Together?

If you own just a Betta you surely think after some time to add something different to your tank for a change. It can be a very challenging thing to choose a tank mate for it.  Bettas are known as violent fish that do not get along with other tank mates, however, there are many kinds of fish that can get along with a Betta but you always need to be attentive.

It is proven a Kuhli Loach can be a great tank mate to many fish but what about Bettas? Our answer is yes, Bettas and Kuhli loaches can live together as tank mates without any worries. Kuhli loaches are likeable and interesting fish often mistaken for an eel. They do look like tiny eels that reach up to 5 inches maximum. They are brown with six to eight bands that are orange or yellow. They have a unique appearance and usually stay small. They are also very famous for withstanding any trouble by hiding. Just provide a tank of good size and a lot of hiding places and your worries can go away. 

kuhli loach and betta

Water Conditions for Kuhli Loaches and Bettas

As long as you have just your Betta in the tank it is easy to set it by Bettas requirements. Once when you decide to introduce a new kind and a tank mate there are matters you need to deal with. First, you need to find out about the requirements of the other kind in this case Kuhli loach and their compatibility with Bettas. 

Kuhli loaches are also tropical fish and they like their water between 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 30 degrees Celsius). They require very clean water so the filtration needs to be strong. The PH of the water is preferable to be between 5,5 to 6,5 and water hardness 7,0. The level of ammonia and nitrates should be 0ppm and nitrites > 30ppm.

A Betta likes its water also warm and the best is if the water is between 78 and 84 degrees which is almost a perfect match. Both kinds of fish like warm water so they do not have to adapt. Nitrite level and ammonia level for Bettas are the same, 0ppm. Bettas tolerate nitrates levels between 10 and 20 which is a bit lower than with Kuhli loaches but they won’t mind.  The pH of the water for Bettas should be between 6,5 and 7,5 which is an insignificant difference and Kuhli loaches would tolerate 7 too.  

Talking about the hardness of the water, Bettas prefer softer water less than 25 dH so this parameter needs to be leveled if you want it suitable for both fish.

Taking all into consideration Kuhli Loaches and Bettas are very compatible when we talk about water parameters

Kuhli Loaches Behavior – Do they get along with Bettas?

Kuhli loach is a very shy fish by nature and is a great companion to many kinds. They do not go to school but they feel more comfortable if they are not alone. If let alone in a tank you will hardly see it. Most of the day time they are peaceful but at night time they become very active which is very convenient because Bettas are day fish and they will hardly meet and have conflict.

They spend their time at the bottom of the tank scavenging food while Bettas occupy the top so this is the second reason why they are good mates; they do not endanger each other’s territory. 

Can Kuhli Loaches Eat Betta Food?

Kuhli loaches are omnivores while Bettas belong to a group of carnivores but they eat Betta`s food with pleasure. Bettas like proteins the most but it is advisable to offer them a variety of food. On the other hand, Kuhli loaches are scavengers and they mostly eat leftovers so if you do not want to starve a Kuhli loach better serve some sinking pellets to your Betta. That way something will be left for loaches too. 

This doesn’t mean that you will only feed your Betta. You need to provide a separate diet for the loaches too. They eat a variety of food of both protein sources and plant-based nutrients. It is great if you provide them with mosquito larvae, bloodworms, zooplankton, algae, larvae, micro worms and flies. So, Kuhli loaches will be very happy with live food, prepared food and some vegetables. 

In general, yes, Kuhli loaches and Bettas are compatible in terms of nutrition. It is advisable to feed both of the kinds that way to satisfy individual needs. Provide each kind with a balanced diet and a mixture of different food.

How to Choose a Kuhli loach?

If you decide to go for a Kuhli loach, try to go with a reputable pet store. What should you look at when choosing a Kuhli loach?

Firstly, pay attention to the tank where they are kept, it should be clean, it shouldn’t have waste around. Look for a specimen that is active with vibrant colors. Avoid any fish from a dirty tank or one that has anything else on its body but six to eight bands that are orange or yellow.

Before choosing a Kuhli loach, look for anything you don’t like and avoid anything that doesn’t look normal.

How Many Kuhli loaches Can I Keep With My Betta?

The moment you decide to introduce a tank mate you need to think about space and the size of a tank. Your Betta doesn’t need much space but another tank mate might need it. When we talk about Kuhli loaches it is important to remember that they go in a group of three to six, they need a lot of hiding places and plants, so they need space. We strongly advise you to provide a tank of 20 gallons and more, if possible, for a Betta and a group of three to six Kuhli loaches. 

It is advisable to keep at least 5-6 Kuhli loaches together, they feel more comfortable in a group. Having this number is not too many and they will tend to stay at the bottom of the tank and won’t bother your Betta. 

Final Thoughts

To sum up, a Betta and Kuhli loaches can live together and they can be great companions. Apart from their compatibility connected to water requirements they are compatible with diet too. 

If you decide to keep them together pay attention to this:

  • Provide a tank that is big enough, recommendable size is 20 gallons and more for a Betta and three to six Kuhli loaches. 
  • Have plenty of hiding places arranged with decorations and plants 
  • Have an extra tank ready in case you need to separate them
  • Bettas are carnivores and Kuhli loaches are omnivores, you need to keep that in mind and provide a balanced diet so that both fish needs are satisfied 
  • Keep the water parameters within the range so that it suits both kinds
  • Introduce healthy Kuhli fish to your Betta pet, be careful to choose those with all the positive features we mentioned above.

After everything being said you can now decide on your own whether you will keep a Betta and Kuhli loaches together. Why not? Have a go!

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