Can kuhli loaches live with shrimp?

kuhli loach

The Kuhli Loach, sometimes known as a Coolie Loach or Leopard Loach, is a distinctive tropical fish native to freshwater streams in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, and Borneo. They look like eels with narrow bodies and tiny, hard-to-see fins.

Kuhli Loaches are omnivorous, eating plant materials, leafy vegetables, aquatic invertebrates, and shrimp. Shrimp provides high-quality protein and minerals to these fish. So, keeping Kuhli Loach with your shrimp is really dangerous. It’s like putting a lion and a deer in the same den and then expecting the lion to leave the deer alone. Incidentally, Kuhli Loaches are not acting violently or with a sense of vengeance; rather, shrimp are as delectable a diet for Kuhli Loach as a deer is for a lion.

This article explains the natural habitat of Kuhli Loaches and their incompatible living condition with shrimps.

Does Kuhli Loach Eat Shrimp?

Kuhli Loaches are natural omnivores that can consume almost everything. They eat anything from tiny shrimp to plant debris. Interestingly, they function as a natural filter. Their instinct is to put whatever fits in their mouth. They don’t care if it’s a shrimp or anything else.

Kuhli Loach are bottom-dwellers, so they’ll spend much of their life swimming merrily just where they’ve always been. They’ll have fun frolicking around the tank and feasting on any scraps of food they can dig up from the bottom.

These fish rely on shrimp as a primary source of the high-quality protein and vital elements they require. However, if shrimps are the only sort of food that is available in the tank, they can be reluctant to consume them.

There is a possibility that your Kuhli Loach is famished and rummaging about on the substrate of the aquarium in quest of food. While foraging for food, they occasionally come upon shrimp, which they devour with gusto when they find them.

It is a simple act motivated solely by a desire to satisfy its hunger for food. Because loaches are nocturnal and reside at the bottom alongside shrimp, you’re unlikely to capture them in the act.

Also, contrary to what you would think, this does not suggest that your Kuhli Loach is a hostile fish. If there are other fish in the tank with it, you won’t see this particular species swimming alone very often.

Characteristically, Kuhli Loaches are easygoing creatures. These fish are docile and generally amiable, so long as no one bothers them. They’ll get along great with other, less aggressive fish. If you wish to create a multi-species aquarium, you can add fish from different environments.

You might try feeding the loaches food that is either fresh or frozen and specifically made for them to eat. If you do not want your shrimp to be eaten, another option is to attempt to hide them on the bottom of the tank in some kind of crevice or other hiding places.

Can You Keep Kuhli Loaches with Shrimp?

If you really must keep shrimp and Kuhli Loaches together, you should be aware that they will only coexist peacefully until the loaches reach a size at which they can consume the shrimp.

Both Kuhli Loaches and shrimps require a lot of room to move about. If your aquarium is too small for both, the shrimp may get cramped and frightened, while the loach may go without food or oxygen.

Building a Co-existing Habitat

You don’t have many options to trust Kuhli Loach with the safety of your shrimp. Otocinclus is a good choice if you’re set on keeping a fish with your shrimp. These Otocinclus are the only ones that are proven to not harm shrimp, so feel free to stock them in your aquarium.

Keeping juvenile loaches is another option, albeit a temporary one. However, juvenile loaches do develop, and they grow much more quickly. So, before you can arrange your tank to segregate loaches and shrimp, those shrimplets might be gone in the blink of an eye.

If the shrimps are large enough to be at the middle and upper sections, then they are completely safe since these bottom-dwelling loaches would scarcely make it past their substrate.

For a harmonious co-existence, you should opt for shrimp or fish who will neither intimidate nor be bullied by your Kuhli Loach. They are scavengers, and they will be busy having fun and devouring any food they can find at the tank’s bottom. As a result, it is preferable to opt for mid-dwelling or top-dwelling fish.

Compatible Shrimp Species with Kuhli Loaches

We see some shrimp species live with Kuhli Loaches without much aggression. However, it is best you test this theory before placing them together in the same tank.

Here are a few shrimp species that can live together:

Amano Shrimp

If the water conditions are right, Kuhli Loaches and Amano shrimp can live together. Kuhli loaches are more aggressive than Amano shrimp, so make sure they have adequate space to move around.

Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp and Kuhli Loaches may share a tropical fish tank. To avoid food competition, keep them sufficiently apart to avoid attacks.

Ghost Shrimp

One kind of shrimp recognized for its ability to thrive in low-oxygen conditions is the ghost shrimp. It is recommended to test the notion that these shrimp can coexist with Kuhli Loaches before putting them in the same aquarium.


A Kuhli loach’s diet would be incomplete without the occasional shrimp meal. Never introduce loach to your shrimp tank unless you want to lose all of your shrimp. Only the pickiest loaches will avoid your shrimp. You can try keeping Kuhli Loach with shrimp, but only if the loach is young enough that its mouth is too tiny to accommodate the shrimp.

But there’s no need to sacrifice your shrimp on the altar of scientific investigation. There are plenty of other fish out there that are big enough for your Kuhli Loach to consume.

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