Kuhli Loach Eco Complete – Is It Safe And Should You Use It?

Last Updated on January 24, 2022 by cmoarz

It’s time to set up a new tank for your Kuhli loaches but you’re not sure what substrate to use. You’ve heard about Eco-Complete and the fact that it’s a very good substrate choice for planted tanks, but you’re also wondering if kuhli loaches will be able to burrow in it as they do with other substrates, as well and enjoy it.

In this article, I’ll try my best to answer those questions as well as address some other considerations about using Eco-Complete in general. But before we get started, let’s take a look at the product itself to make sure everyone is on the same page.

What You Need To Know About Eco-Complete

Eco-complete touts itself to be not only a substrate but also an organic additive that promises aquarium plants “grow like crazy”, with less frequent need for fertilizers.

It contains live bacteria that convert fish waste into natural plant foods, requires no rinsing, and claims to have a complete mineralization process that enhances root development and allows plants to absorb the highest amount of nutrients for better growth.

Containing more than 25 minerals to nourish aquatic plants, it says that plants absorb essential minerals immediately upon contact with water.

How does Eco-Complete work to help plants grow so well?

The manufacturer claims this substrate contains iron-rich red marine algae, along with natural buffers and conditioners which help maintain proper pH levels for healthy plant growth. It also provides a slow release of nutrients, trace elements, and vitamins.

This is all true. Eco-complete is a fantastic substrate for plants and planted tanks.

People who have used it for this purpose swear by its effectiveness. It really is one of the best substrates out there to use with plants.

However, you’re reading this article because your Kuhli loaches are just as much a part of your family as your plants are and Eco-Complete may not be the right substrate choice for them for the following reasons:

Why Eco-Complete Isn’t The Best Substrate For Your Kuhli Loaches

Kuhli Loaches Burrow in Substrates

Part of what makes Eco-Complete such a great substrate to use in planted tanks is that its very coarse texture allows it to form roots down into the substrate, which helps prevent the uprooting of plants due to fish digging.

However, kuhli loaches are known to burrow through substrates often. Eco-complete is too coarse and sharp for your khuli loach to enjoy burrowing through as they would other substrates, such as sand.

The Rough Material Could Damage The Underside Of Your Kuhli Loach

Khuli loaches love to slither around on the bottom of the substrate because it gives them an opportunity to eat tiny crustaceans, insect larvae, and other small critters that live in the substrate.

However, if your kuhli loach burrows too far down into an Eco-Complete bed, it could damage the underside of their bodies because the substrate is so rough.

While it’s not exactly something most people would consider, because the likelihood isn’t huge that it could happen, it does and can happen.

When it does, It could easily lead to infections or injuries that could kill your fish.

Most important, Khuli Loaches Can Survive On Eco-Complete But They Wont Be Happy

The most important aspect for us aquarium hobbyists is to make sure our fish are happy and healthy.

We spend an enormous amount of money to make the ideal habitats for our little tank friends. There’s no reason to make things more difficult on ourselves or our fish by choosing a substrate that they aren’t happy with!

Our Recommendations

Our recommended substrate for Khuli loaches is either going to be sand, Fluorite sand, Black Diamond Blasting sand, or some brand of aqua soil.

This will allow your kuhli loaches to burrow through the substrate, which they love.

However, With that said, You can have your cake and eat it too!

If you are not worried about taking a few more inches of tank space with extra substrate depth, You could consider using eco-complete as a bottom layer for your plants and using a deep layer of sand as your top layer.

This way your plants can get the benefits of having eco – complete, while also allowing your kuhli loaches to burrow through sand!

If it ever comes time to change out your substrate, it might be a bit of extra work, but it’s entirely worth it to not have to fertilize your plants for over a year and also give your loaches a happy home.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions! Thanks for reading and good luck with your aquariums!


Owner of AquariumGravel.com and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!