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Kuhli Loach (Pangio semicincta)

Pangio semicincta
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Family: Cobitidae

Currently accepted to occur in Peninsular Malaysia plus the Great Sunda Islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

Most commonly found in shallow, slow-moving sections of forest streams or other calm habitats such as swamps, oxbows, and backwaters. Many such environments are associated with ancient peat swamps and contain black water although it’s also found in clear waters which may or may not be tannin-stained to some extent. Such habitats are typically shaded from the sun by marginal vegetation and the dense tree canopy above. The water generally has a negligible dissolved mineral content, is poorly buffered and pH can be as low as 3.0 or 4.0 due to the gradual release of tannins and organic acids from decaying plant material. Depending on locality the substrate may be composed of peat, mud or sand with the fish typically abundant in piles of leaf litter.

Maximum Standard Length:
90 – 100mm.

Aquarium Size:
An aquarium with base measurements of at least 60 x 30 cm or equivalent is recommended.

Use a soft, sandy substrate since this species likes to dig and tends to spend some of its time completely buried. When coarser gravel is used it may become stressed or damage itself, and feeding behaviour can be inhibited. A few driftwood roots and branches, placed in such a way that plenty of shady spots are formed, can be used to add structure to the display and addition of dried leaf litter would provide additional cover and aid in simulating natural conditions. Fairly dim lighting is also preferable with aquatic plants from genera such as Microsorum, Taxiphyllum, and Cryptocoryne suitable. Gentle filtration providing a little surface agitation is adequate and high flow rates best avoided. Ensure that small specimens are unable to enter filter intakes and cover the tank well as most loaches do jump at times, especially when introduced to a new environment.

Water Conditions:
21 – 26°C
pH: 3.5 – 7.0
Hardness: 0 – 143 ppm

Chiefly a micropredator sifting mouthfuls of substrate through the mouth and gills from which insect larvae, small crustaceans and suchlike are extracted with a proportion of the natural diet also likely to comprise organic detritus and plant material from the gut contents of prey. In the aquarium it will accept sinking dried foods but should also be offered regular meals of live and frozen Daphnia, Artemia, bloodworm, micro worm, grindal worm, etc.

Behaviour and Compatibility:
Pangio spp. are peaceful both with one another and other fishes and there exist no reports of them harming tank mates though they may prey on eggs or fry. In nature they’re often found in large aggregations and in captivity will often pack themselves into a single nook, cranny or cave when at rest, so a group of at least 5-6 specimens should be the minimum purchased. Small, peaceful species from similar environments such as Boraras, Sundadanio, smaller Rasbora, Trichopsis, Sphaerichthys, Kottelatlimia, etc., constitute the best tank mates.

Sexual Dimorphism:
Adult females are typically heavier-bodied and a little larger then males, while in mature males the first pectoral-fin ray is branched and thickened.

Several vague reports exist but none are supported by solid information or photographs. Presumably a seasonal spawner in nature.

This species is among the most frequently misidentified in the hobby, almost always being traded as P. kuhlii. However the latter is currently considered endemic to Java, from where commercial collections are almost unheard of, and has possibly never been seen in aquaria.