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Can You Keep Kuhli Loach And Shrimp In The Same Tank?

When maintaining a home aquarium, there are certain compatibility factors to consider for the aquatic life you include in the tank. Some aquatic creatures do not coexist well, whereas others make ideal pairs for symbiotic relationships.

For example, those who keep shrimp in their aquariums often question the compatibility of Kuhli loach and shrimp. 

Unless you are keeping baby Kuhli loach with full-grown shrimp, it’s not advisable to keep these two creatures in the same aquarium. Doing so runs the risk of your Kuhli loaches eating your shrimp once they are big enough to fit them in their mouths.

Therefore, once your Kuhli loaches are conceivably large enough to eat the shrimp kept in the same tank, you should separate these creatures into different aquariums. 

In this guide, we’ll break down the reasons you shouldn’t keep Kuhli loaches and shrimp in the same tank. We’ll also explain the short time frame in which you can keep these crustaceans and eel-like creatures together if you absolutely have to.

Finally, stick around to find out which varieties of shrimp are actually large enough to peacefully coexist with Kuhli loaches and which ones are too small to stand a chance.

Can I Keep Kuhli Loach With Shrimp?

You can keep Kuhli loaches in the same tank as shrimp, as long as your shrimp are much larger than your Kuhli loaches.

If you don’t keep these creatures in separate tanks, you will likely incur incidents wherein the loaches eat the shrimp at some point. It just boils down to the natural order of the food chain. 

Even if your Kuhli loaches do refrain from eating their shrimp tank-mates at first, you can’t guarantee that your shrimp will be alive for very long. This is because many fish and aquatic creatures have a habit of eating whatever is nearby that will fit in their mouth.

This is especially true for tank fish like Kuhli loaches. If they see a shrimp small enough to eat nearby, it just makes sense on a survival basis to go ahead and eat it. 

While some people tend to think that this Kuhli loach behavior is aggressive or bizarre, it is in fact very normal. Kuhli loaches may even eat shrimp in the same tank completely by accident as they are scavenging for food. 

“Kuhli Loaches in Kale” by Krista76 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Will Kuhli Loaches Eat Shrimp?

Kuhli loaches are like most aquarium dwellers in that they’re prone to eating whatever is around them. Normally, they eat bloodworms and blackworms multiple times a week, as well as flake food several times a day.

However, as omnivorous creatures, it’s basically inevitable that Kuhli loaches will eat shrimp if they’re kept in their general vicinity. When it comes to shrimplets, you can just about guarantee that they will get eaten by Kuhli loaches. 

Kuhli loaches can grow to be much larger than most kinds of shrimp while they’re kept together. The early days of a Kuhli loach’s life are just about the only time frame in which they’ll be small enough that you don’t have to worry about them eating full-grown shrimp.

However, as the Kuhli loaches grow and age, there is a high likelihood that they will eat shrimp right out of their shells (just as they would with snails, for instance). Once the Kuhli loaches have grown to where their mouths can fit a shrimp inside, they will likely strike on the opportunity. 

The most logical solution to this dilemma is to just not put shrimp and Kuhli loaches in the same tank.

As tempting as it may be to pair these creatures for the aesthetic effect, it won’t end positively. In the end, if your loaches eat your shrimp, you’ll end up inadvertently killing off your shrimp and be at a loss.

This is not to mention the financial setback you’ll face when you have to replace your beloved creatures. 

What Type Of Shrimp Can Live With A Kohl Loach?

However, some aquarium owners may still want an arrangement in which they can keep shrimp with Kuhli loaches in a coexistence.

Luckily, it is possible, but you have to know how to choose the right types of shrimp for your tank.

You want to look for large and calm varieties of shrimp, such as Amano shrimp, Bamboo shrimp, or Cherry shrimp. 

Since Cherry shrimp carry their eggs under their bodies, they are naturally larger than other shrimp varieties. On average, a Cherry shrimp get as large as 1.5 inches (females) and 1.25 inches (males), which is large compared to the average size of a Kuhli loach’s mouth.

Further, Amano shrimp can grow up to 2 or more inches, which means they are no match for a Kuhli loach’s mouth. And the non-aggressive Bee shrimp variety, which is commonly used in freshwater tanks, is typically more than 4 inches in size (safe to put around the loaches). 

Now, you also should be aware of the types of shrimp that simply cannot coexist with Kuhli loaches due to their unfortunate size in comparison. In terms of shrimp varieties that definitely won’t last long among Kuhli loaches, you want to stay away from small varieties.

Examples include Ghost shrimp, Grass shrimp, Babaulti shrimp, or Bee shrimp varieties, which are all small enough to be food temptations for Kuhli loaches. These little guys sadly won’t stand a chance around hungry Kuhli loaches, no matter their relationship inside the tank. 


Most aquarium owners contemplate the combinations of aquatic life they can put together for various reasons. And although it’s tempting to assume that aquatic creatures will coexist in a tank, it’s all too easy to unknowingly make the mistake of pairing Kuhli loaches and shrimp.

Aside from scenarios where your shrimp are large enough to avoid getting eaten (Cherry shrimp, Amano shrimp, etc.), you run the risk of Kuhli loaches eating whatever shrimp are in sight of them. To avoid this unfortunate situation, you should keep small shrimp (like Babaulti, Ghost, and Bee shrimp) in separate tanks from your Kuhli loaches, unless the Kuhli loaches are still babies.