Thanks for stopping by! This complete, comprehensive guide on yoyo loach care will teach you about their tank parameters, health, diet, behavior, tank pairings, and more!
The Yoyo loach (Botia almorhae) has many names. They are also referred to as Almorha Loach, Reticulated Loach or Pakistani Loach. The Yoyo is an Asian species native to India, Bangladesh and Nepal. In the wild, youngsters typically inhabit downstream water sources, whereas the adults tend to be found in highland streams.
They prefer water sources with calm, slow moving currents and lots of rocks or fallen branches which provide shelter. They are not recommended for beginner fish keepers due to their feisty nature and need for low lighting.
Most reputable aquarists will not sell Yoyo loaches to new fish keepers. As such, they are not generally stocked in large numbers, however, your local fish store should be able to source them for you relatively quickly.
They are a more expensive option, with an average price per fish of $4 (£3.50). That being said, more online aquarists are selling Yoyos, so they are more readily available than they were even 5 years ago.
Yoyo Loach Lifespan
The healthy age range of a Yoyo loach is 5 to 8 years, though many fish keepers note having their loaches for up to 10 years. To ensure your Yoyo lives a long and happy life, be sure to provide a suitable tank with stable water parameters and carefully managed diet.
The Yoyo loach gets its name from the unusual markings that show on juvenile fish. They appear to have lots of alternating ‘Y’s and ‘O’s, but they fade or join as the fish grows to become a reticulated pattern.
They look similar in body shape to Corydoras or catfish. Their mouth faces downwards so they can search for food in the substrate. Their bodies are long and streamlined, with a cone shaped head. They also have short barbels, which look like whiskers. These barbels are used to locate food.
Coloring differs between fish, but most Yoyos have a silver body. Some appear a light brown or gold and the odd one can look to have a blueish hue. Their patterning is formed of dark lines and spots, that form a reticulated pattern that resembles a web or net.
Most loaches will grow to around 2.5 inches, however, given a spacious tank and a high quality diet, they can reach up to 6 inches.
Yoyo Loach Aquarium Care
The tank you choose is very important. Yoyos are a very active and energetic fish. Although the spend most of their time on the bottom of the tank, they require a lot of swim space. They should also be kept in groups no smaller than 5. Smaller groups or lone loaches can be aggressive. The ideal tank should be 5 feet in length and be a long, shallow rectangle rather than a tall and upright. A rectangular tank provides a larger surface area.
Yoyos require a soft fine substrate to prevent their barbels from being damaged. Sand is the best option, but you could also use a fine gravel. If you are planning on keeping live plants, you will need to have a substrate at least 2 inches deep and allow your plants to root in for at least a month before adding loaches. This is because they dig the substrate in search of food. If your substrate is too shallow or your plants have not had enough time to grow long roots, you will find most of them floating on the surface!
Plants and Decorations
A variety of plants will be best for your loaches to provide areas to shelter or search for trapped food. Depending on your lighting and other tankmates, you have lots of option for plants. A mixture of tall stem plants and broad leaf plants will create different areas of shelter.
Loaches love hides, so be sure to add caves or clay pots, as well as driftwood, bogwood and large stones/rocks to mimic their natural environment. Choose smaller caves or hides, as loaches prefer the snug spots better.
Even though Yoyos can tolerate a wider range of parameters than other loaches, the ideal temperature range is 24-30°C (75-86°F). This ranges mimics the temperatures of their natural habitat.
pH and Hardness
Yoyo loaches can easily tolerate a pH between 6.0 and 8.0, but be careful to keep your pH stable. Water hardness can be anywhere between 3 and 12dKH. If you are unsure of your water hardness, check your water provider’s website or, if you use RO water, contact your supplier.
Since they spend most of their time on the bottom of the tank, Yoyos prefer dimmer lighting. If you need to provide brighter light for other fish or plants in your aquarium, make sure there are plenty of shaded areas by adding broad leaf plants and plenty of caves or hides.
Loaches are greedy eaters and generate a lot of waste, so you need to ensure your filter can keep up. You should also be doing weekly water changes and using a substrate vacuum to remove all the fish waste.
If you like, you can allow algae to form on some plants or decoration, as your loaches will happily graze on this.
Yoyo Loach Video
Yoyo Loach Health
Yoyo loaches have smaller scales than some other fish species, which means they have less protection against infections. If there are parasites or fungus in your tank, the loaches will usually be the first to show signs of illness.
Common Health Issues: thankfully, they do not have any species specific illness that you need to be wary of. The biggest concern is diet.
Yoyos are notoriously greedy and over-feeding can be a serious issue. You will need to carefully manage the food you put into the tank and try to feed a few smaller portions rather than one large portion. It will also benefit your loaches if you have one day a week without feeding anything.
Healthy Signs: a healthy loach will be active and swimming for large portions of the day. They will also have plump bodies and be constantly searching for food or schooling with other loaches in the tank.
Yoyo Loach Food & Diet
As previously mentioned, these fish require lots of small meals throughout the day to prevent them becoming bloated. They will eat any food they can get, so you don’t need to spend a fortune. As with any fish, variety is best. You can feed a high-quality fish flake or sinking pellet, but supplement their diet with live foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp.
Yoyos also love snails. If you have a snail problem, a loach will quickly cut down your snail population.
Behavior & Temperament
Yoyo loaches can be difficult to keep with smaller peaceful fish and many loach keepers have reported that their small fish have been attacked or killed by their loaches. They are very active and confident fish that requires plenty of hiding spots and areas to swim freely. If they cannot do this, they become stressed and agitated.
They are a schooling fish and do best in groups larger than 4. Watching their behavior can provide hours of fun. A confident and settled group of Yoyo loaches will actually play and they are not nocturnal like other loaches.
Yoyo Loach Tank Mates
You should be very careful when choosing tankmates for Yoyo loaches. They are not suited to sharing a tank with slow moving or nervous fish. They may also see smaller fish as food. The best tankmates are other loaches or larger fish that occupy the top of the tank.
As mentioned earlier, Yoyos must be kept in a group. A single loach in a community tank will get aggressive with other fish as they do not have any loaches to school with.
Yoyo Loach FAQ
- Are Yoyo loaches aggressive?
Yoyo loaches can be aggressive with slow moving fish or smaller fish they may see as food. They are best kept in a group and with similar sized fish.
- What do Yoyo loaches eat?
Yoyo loaches will eat pretty much anything and they will keep on eating even if they are full.
- Why is my Yoyo Loach hiding?
Don’t worry if your loach is hiding. They require a few small caves or pots to hide in so they can rest.
- Why is my Yoyo Loach so fat?
If your loach appears plumper than normal, he is probably bloated. Feeding fewer and smaller portions and include at least one day a week where you do not feed anything. Yoyos are greedy and will eat anything they think might be food.
- How do you tell if a Loach is male or female?
There are not many differences between males and females. Females tend to have a more rounded belly, whereas males have a red shading on their barbels.
A lot of consideration must be made when planning to add Yoyo loaches to your tank. They can be aggressive towards some fish, so do your research! Other than this, Yoyos are a fantastic addition and will provide you with hours of entertainment.