Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Virginia, USA. Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Trail.
Hello! Nice little setup! I'm a Huge fan of Kuhli loaches, and I'm jealous you can get the banded as opposed to the black. I can't get them here without outrageous shipping fees from out west. I'm not an expert so I'll offer my experience mostly...
In my 10g I had 6 Kuhli loaches, 6 neon tetras, and a couple of mollies with no problems whatsoever. But I couldn't even grow java moss with the few LEDs built into the hood! I had a few ghost shrimp, but they never lasted more than a week. I think that was something to do with particular needs of the shrimp though, and not the water quality generally. The more "surfaces" you have in the tank, from things like your driftwood and plants, the more good bacteria you have to process all the waste. I wouldn't worry that you are overstocking at this point, but gradual additions are best just to give time for the bio-film to develop and adapt to the extra load. Maybe let the Loaches and friends settle in for a week or so before bringing in others. It's also good to know that it's okay to under-feed for a while, but over-feeding can cause big problems fast. Testing for ammonia early on helped to settle my worries.
My only question is how you would have had a bacterial bloom with no livestock yet. The fog looks a lot like what I would get after adding sand, just the fine particulate matter.
Your loaches will Love that sandy bottom!