Do Kuhli Loaches Eat Snails? What You Need to Know

Jaime Douglas
Jaime Douglas

Writer at The Aquarium Keeper

The kuhli loach (Pangio kuhlii) is a very interesting fish, that has a snake-type long body, and can grow up to 3 inches in length. Kuhli loaches are relatively beautiful fish, that have yellow and black stripes on their body. When it comes to kuhli loaches and snails in the aquarium, some people have mixed feelings about this combination. Some aquarists say, that kuhli loaches eat snails, while others have never had any problem with kuhli loaches eating snails. So, what is the truth in this matter? Continue reading to find out!

Table of Contents

Kuhli Loach Diet

Before getting into the main topic of this article, it is important to find out what kind of food kuhli loaches enjoy eating. Kuhli loaches are carnivores, which means they need high protein and plant-based food in their diet. These species can eat:

  • Frozen/live bloodworms
  • Frozen/live brine shrimp
  • Pellets
  • Algae wafers
  • Blanched vegetables (zucchini, spinach, carrots)
big kuhli loach close up on the bottom of aquarium

Kuhli loaches are not picky eaters and can eat a lot of different things. If they are very hungry, kuhli loaches might also eat some algae that are found in your tank. Because they are bottom-dwellers, it is best to give this species food, that eventually sinks, so that kuhli loaches can easily find their meal.

You might also like to read: Freshwater Snail Eggs in Fish Tank: What To Do?

Do Kuhli Loaches Eat Snails?

Moving on, as we mentioned above, some people say, that kuhli loaches indeed eat snails, and other aquarists insist, that they don’t. Kuhli loaches are peaceful community fish, but you should know, that these species are opportunistic fish. Kuhli loaches can indeed eat small live or dead snails if they feel very hungry. It is unknown how they do it, either by sucking the snail out of the shell, or crushing the shell and eating the leftovers Kuhli loaches are nocturnal creatures, which means it is hard to know how they eat snails. The most popular snails, that can get eaten by kuhli loaches are:

  • Pond Snail
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snail
  • Ramshorn Snail

All of the snail species mentioned above don’t grow very large, which means that kuhli loaches mainly eat small, developing snails. If you have a snail infestation in your aquarium, getting some kuhli loaches might help to reduce the snail numbers. It is also important to mention, that not all kuhli loaches eat snails, it depends on their environment and living conditions. If these species are kept in a healthy and friendly environment with plenty of food, it is less likely, that kuhli loaches will see smaller snails as food.

Another big factor is character. Some kuhli loaches are very shy, and can literally not be seen in the tank for days, while others can be more social. There are a lot of different variables, that can affect whether kuhli loaches will eat smaller snails, but just know, that it is possible.

What Snails Can't be Eaten by Kuhli Loaches?

Not all snails can be seen as food by kuhli loaches. Only smaller snail species can be consumed, because of their size, while bigger snails really can’t be eaten by kuhli loaches, unless they are not alive. Here is a list of snails, that can’t be eaten by kuhli loaches:

  • Apple/Mystery Snail
  • Nerite Snail
  • Rabbit Snail
  • Assassin Snail

All of these species are relatively larger than basic invasive aquarium snails, and can’t be attacked by kuhli loaches. Although it is possible, that kuhli loaches might try to eat aquarium snail eggs if they have the chance, because kuhli loaches are scavengers, and will literally eat almost anything that they can.

You might also like to read: Mystery Snail Breeding Step-by-Step Guide

Are Kuhli Loaches Peaceful?

Even though some smaller aquarium snails can be eaten by kuhli loaches, these species are seen as peaceful community fish. Kuhlis are seen as shy, bottom-dweller fish, that rarely appear during the day, and mainly thrive during the night.

Will Kuhli Loaches Eat my Fish?

You shouldn’t be worried about kuhli loaches eating your aquarium fish unless it is deceased. If the fish is not alive, it may try to eat some part of it, but when it comes to living fish, there is very little chance, that a kuhli loach will attack and eat your aquarium fish. These species don’t have the capabilities to hunt down living aquarium fish, so your fish would not get eaten by kuhli loaches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Kuhli Loaches Eat Shrimp?

Similar to snails, kuhli loaches can see smaller baby shrimp as food, and can definitely eat it. If the shrimp is small enough to fit in the mouth of a kuhli loach, it will be devoured without a second thought.

Do Kuhli Loaches Eat Amano Shrimp?

In most cases, kuhli loaches will not touch amano shrimp, simply because these species of shrimp are just too big for them to eat. Smaller baby amano shrimp might get eaten if you house them with kuhli loaches.

Writer's Thoughts

To summarize, kuhli loaches are amazing community species, but they can consume smaller snails if they feel like it. Nevertheless, most fishkeepers see smaller invasive snails as a burden in their aquarium, so in most cases, it is not a bad idea, if kuhli loaches eat small invasive snail species.

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