|Synonyms||Acanthophthalmus javanicus, Acantophthalmus javanicus, A. oblongus, Cobitis oblonga, Pangio javanicus|
|Distribution||Cambodia, Indonesia (Borneo, Java, Sumatra), Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.|
|Sexual Dimorphism||Females are noticeably plumper when filled with eggs.|
|Maximum Size||8cm (3.2")|
|Water Parameters||Soft and slightly acidic is best long-term. pH: 5.0-7.0, dH: up to 12 degrees.|
|Temperature||23-26 deg C (73-79 deg F)|
Black Kuhli Loaches are social creatures and must be maintained in good sized groups – five would be considered the absolute minimum number. It is very important that the aquarium is well matured and has a sandy substrate in order to protect the delicate sensory barbels of these inquisitive bottom-dwelling fish. Black Kuhli Loaches will very much appreciate areas of dense planting, where they can congregate and literally ‘hang around’ together. In the wild, these fish live amongst the leaf litter in sluggish waterways, and many aquarists find that keeping - and regularly replacing - dried Indian Almond Leaves (Terminalia catappa) on the bottom of their aquarium provides these fish with natural hiding places and conditions. If housing smaller specimens, be sure to protect them from any filter or powerhead intakes as they do like to try and squeeze into tiny nooks and crannies. Black Kuhli Loaches are a peaceful species and do well in quieter tanks with tankmates of a similar disposition. There are many different Pangio species living in south east Asia, a fair number of which are exported in the aquatics trade, and often misidentified. The vast majority have similar needs to those described here. As with all loaches, these fish can jump clear of the water (they are especially prone to this when newly introduced), so ensure that the tank has tight fitting coverslides with no escape holes. May also be seen on sale as the Java Loach.
Sinking catfish pellets and small sized frozen foods such as mosquito larvae, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp, and daphnia. Smaller specimens will appreciate baby brineshrimp and cyclops. Will also nibble on any flake that makes it to the bottom of the aquarium.
There are reports of ‘unplanned’ breedings of some Kuhli Loach species in captivity, although these are few and far between. Most of these are said to have occurred in densely planted aquariums with no predatory fish present, or else in older aquariums running with undergravel filters, where the fish have dug underneath the plates. Well cared for females regularly fill with eggs, but the actual spawning, for a large part, still remains a bit of a mystery.