Dojo Loach Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

As a beginner, caring for a Dojo Loach can seem challenging, but don’t fret. This guide breaks everything down for you, from setting up the tank to feeding. Keep reading and you’ll learn how to provide top-notch care for your loach.

dojo loach

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Dojo Loach Species Profile and Identification

Meet the dojo loach, also known as the pond loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus). Originally from East Asia, they are a popular aquarium fish introduced to regions across the globe.

  • Appearance: These are slim fish with an eel-like bodies and can vary in color from yellow, olive green, light brown, to gray along with unique varieties like pink, orange, and albino.
  • Size: Normally, they can grow up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) long, but in captivity, they tend to reach only up to 6 inches (15 cm).
  • Features: One distinct feature is the presence of three sets of barbels around the mouth, which they use to search for food in substrates or to dig under gravel and sand for protection.
  • Behavior: Interestingly, they are known for their ability to detect changes in barometric pressure and react accordingly, hence, the name weather loach.

Remember, just like other members of the Cobitidae family, each dojo loach has its own unique traits and personality. You might just find your little fish more intriguing than you expected.

Dojo Loach Supplies

When you’re starting your Dojo Loach care journey, it’s essential to get the right supplies. Let’s break down exactly what you’ll need:

  • Aquarium: Opt for a large tank of at least 65 gallons (250 liters) with a base measuring at least 48″ x 18″ (120cm x 45cm). Keep in mind, Dojo Loaches like to have room to roam around.
  • Substrate: Soft, sandy or fine gravel substrates suit these fish since they spend a good amount of time buried in it. Avoid hard, coarse material as it may cause the fish stress or physical damage.
  • Decor: Include items such as water-worn rocks and driftwood for hiding and shading. Your Dojo Loaches, being the shy animals they are, will appreciate these hiding spots.
  • Heater: Since these loaches are comfortable in temperatures of 18 – 23°C (64 – 74°F), a good quality aquarium heater is necessary.
  • Filter: Choose a highly recommended aquarium filter that Dojo Loaches won’t accidentally enter due to their small size.

Remember, whatever supplies you decide to go for, take into consideration the comfort and health of your Dojo Loach!

Dojo Loach Tank Setup

Creating an optimum tank environment for Dojo Loach is critical for its well-being. A tank with a volume of at least 65 gallons (250 liters) or larger will ensure a healthy habitat.

  • Add a soft, sandy substrate, like fine gravel, where your Dojo Loach can safely burrow. Coarser materials can result in stress and possible injury due to their digging nature.
  • Integrate water-worn rocks and driftwood branches in the setting so your loach can have ample hiding places. Secure these elements before adding the substrate to prevent toppling by their digging activity.
  • Once you’ve set up your tank, fill it up with dimly-lit waters that simulate the low-light conditions of its natural habitat. Loaches come from sluggish bodies of water, so avoiding high flow rates is crucial. A degree of oxygenation is still recommended, though.

Do remember to keep the tank well-covered and ensure that small specimens can’t enter filter intakes. Dojo Loaches are known to jump especially when newly introduced to the tank.

Lastly, avoid adding the Dojo Loach to a biologically immature set-up; they indeed can cope with less-than-ideal conditions, but your goal should be to keep your Dojo Loach content and stress-free.

Dojo Loach Water Requirements

Proper water conditions are essential when raising Dojo loaches. It’s important to maintain a water temperature between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 22 degrees Celsius).

  • Water pH: Dojo loaches thrive well within a pH range from 6.0 to 8.0. Slightly acidic or slightly alkaline water conditions are ideal.
  • Water Hardness: Dojo loaches can adapt to a water hardness level ranging from 1 to 12 degrees.
  • Water Temperature: While they can adapt to lower and higher temperatures, maintaining a water temperature between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius) is recommended for optimal health.

Despite these baseline requirements, remember that sharp and frequent fluctuations in water parameters can cause stress in Dojo loaches. Therefore, consistency is key in maintaining water conditions.

Regular water changes, keeping a check on the ammonia levels and using a good quality aquarium heater can help you maintain these water conditions.

Dojo Loach Diet and Feeding

Feeding your Dojo Loach properly is essential to its health. These fish are omnivorous bottom-feeders, known for their voracity when it comes to food.

  • They primarily feed on organic materials, such as algae.
  • Additionally, they also enjoy small aquatic organisms like tubifex worms.

Feel free to provide a variety of snacks for your Dojo Loach. They’re not particularly picky and will take delight in alternating between live, frozen, and dried meals. Nutrient-rich foods like Daphnia, Artemia, and bloodworms are ideal additions to their diet.

It’s important to remember not to overfeed. A good rule of thumb is to offer only as much food as they can consume in 2-3 minutes, once or twice a day. Be observant of your fish’s feeding habits since overfeeding or underfeeding can lead to health issues.

One more fun fact – these fish have a special propensity for snails. So, if your tank has a snail infestation, your Dojo Loach might assist in reducing it. However, remember that they don’t consume snails rapidly enough to totally solve an infestation problem.

A balanced and assorted diet will help keep your Dojo Loach healthy and comfortable. Stay mindful of their habits, and they’ll reward you with vibrant activity and longevity.

Dojo Loach Care Schedule

A routine is key for ensuring a healthy and content environment for your Dojo loach. Now, let’s explore what a typical care schedule looks like.

Weekly tasks

  • Water changes: Dedicate a day each week for changing up to 25% of the tank water. This maintains good water conditions, crucial for your loach’s well-being.
  • Inspecting the tank: Look for any unusual behavior or signs of illness in your loaches, and address any issues promptly.

Monthly tasks

  • Tank cleaning: In addition to weekly water changes, do a deeper clean once a month. That includes scrubbing off algae from tank surfaces and cleaning or replacing the filter media.
  • Health check-ups: Take a closer look at your loaches, checking for any changes in color, size, or behavior.

Occasional tasks

  • Feeding adjustments: Monitor and adjust feeding schedules as needed depending on the age, size, and health of your Dojo loach.
  • Equipment check-up: Ensure all tank equipment, such as filters and heaters, are working properly.

Maintaining a care schedule is critical in keeping your Dojo loach thriving. This way, you can stay on top of potential problems and provide your pet with a long and healthy life.

Dojo Loach Health Problems

Despite their hardiness, Dojo Loaches are prone to a few health issues. It’s crucial to monitor their health and take the necessary steps to prevent these ailments.

Ich or White Spot Disease

This is a common issue in aquarium fish, and Dojo Loaches are no exception. It’s noticeable by the white spots that appear all over the loach’s body. Aquarium salts, increasing temperature incrementally, and over-the-counter medication can treat ich effectively.

Skin & Gill Flukes

These are parasites that can cause rapid gill movement, excessive slime, and clamped fins. Flukes can be identified under a microscope and treated with an anti-parasitic medication.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections are usually a result of poor water conditions. Red streaks, open sores, and loss of appetite are signs of a potential bacterial infection. Regular water changes can prevent this, but once it occurs, it should be treated with antibacterial medication.

If you notice your Dojo Loach acting out of the ordinary, like erratic swimming or loss of appetite, it’s essential to look for signs of these health problems. Regular monitoring and keeping optimal water conditions can help prevent most of these health issues.

With the right treatment, your Dojo Loach can bounce back from these ailments and continue living a healthy and active life in your tank.

Dojo Loach Tank Mates

When it comes to selecting tank mates for your Dojo Loach, the key factor to bear in mind is their peace-loving nature. They are friendly fish that fare best with other non-aggressive species.

  • Medium to large-sized fish that swim higher up in the water column are excellent choices. Examples of these are peasful cichlids or tetras. They will add visual interest to your tank without disturbing your loach.
  • Stay away from fancy types of goldfish, though. While the Dojo Loach can co-habit well with comets and shubunkins, particularly slow-moving species might get intimidated during feeding time.
  • They also are known to chow down on eggs or very small fish. So, if you have a breeding tank, you might want to keep them separated.

Take time to do your research. Paying attention to the adult size and temperature requirements of other potential tank mates is essential. This will help you ensure a calm, harmonious aquarium environment for all.

Dojo Loach Breeding

Breeding Dojo loaches (pond loaches) in home aquariums is quite a challenge, but not impossible. Honestly, most aquarium-bred Dojo loaches are the result of induced spawning.

The natural breeding process of Dojo loach is an interesting sight. The female leads the male into dense vegetation, and just as the eggs are released, the male wraps his body around hers. This unusual “ring formation” is a unique characteristic of Dojo loach breeding.

Now, while replicating these conditions in an aquarium, consider the following points:

  • Age and Size: Your Dojo loaches should be at least 2-3 years old and about 4.3 inches (110 mm) SL (Standard Length) before you attempt breeding.
  • Breeding Tank: Set up a separate, grassy breeding tank.
  • Water conditions: Slightly raise water temperature and maintain excellent water quality.

Then, nature plays its part.

After hatching, the fry exhibit external gill filaments, which disappear after 10-12 days. Make sure to provide tiny, nutrient-dense fry food during this stage.

Bearing in mind breeding Dojo loaches is not for the faint-hearted. Careful observations, maintenance and a lot of patience goes into successful breeding. If you are up for the challenge, the result can be a delightfully rewarding experience.


By following this care guide, you can ensure a fulfilling and safe environment for your Dojo Loach. Caring for this fish can be a rewarding experience, providing you with a fascinating glimpse into aquatic life.

Feel free to drop a comment sharing your personal experience with Dojo Loach care – we’d love to hear from you!

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