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Have you been looking for an exquisite fish to keep in your aquarium? Scientifically known as Botia almorhae, the Yoyo Loach is one of the most unique fishes to grace the aquarium pet industry.

It’s a silver loach that features dark markings that resemble the letters ‘Y-O-Y-O’ and as it moves through the water, some say its bouncy movements look very much like those of a yoyo toy.

What’s more, the Yoyo Loach, which is also known as Pakistani Loach or Almora loach, has four pairs of barbels that protrude from its mouth area.

These slender, whisker-like sensory organs add to the uniqueness of this species. And if that’s not enough, yoyo loaches usually appear scale-less though they possess small scales.

If you’re looking to rear a yoyo loach, here’s every important thing you need to know:

Yoyo Loach Natural Habitat

The yoyo loach fish is native to the still and slow-moving freshwater rivers of Pakistan and India. Note that yoyo loaches from India are lighter in colour than those from Pakistan.

Researchers aren’t sure if this colour difference is due to the loaches being different species or environmental reasons.

All the same, all loaches spawn upstream and then move downstream to see out the rest of their lives. They also prefer to gather in still pools with plenty of aquatic food and vegetation under rocky substrates. Today, native populations of yoyo loaches are widespread through the Middle East and Asia.

Even the ICUN lists yoyo loach as a ‘least concern’ in the red list because of how common these fishes are. And in the wild, they mostly stay in the middle and at the bottom of the water column.

It’s rare to see them swimming at the surface, but they are extremely active and constantly dart about.

Yoyo Loach Fish Tank Requirements

Yoyo loach are hardy fish but only when in the right conditions. So never attempt to introduce them into biologically immature tanks.

In fact, it’s this need for pristine water, and the fact that they have small body scales, that makes them unfitting for beginner aquarists. Any fish with reduced scales is more prone to diseases and extremely sensitive to the medications used to treat these diseases.

However, yoyo loach fish will do just fine in a medium-sized tank. They also thrive in setups akin to their natural habitats with open areas to swim, places to retreat, and lots of plants.

And because they are burrowers, add a fine substrate like sand and gravel. Anything with sharp edges is likely to injure your fish.

It’s also recommended to install a tight-fitting lid as yoyo loaches tend to jump whenever they get startled. And as mentioned earlier, hiding places come in handy especially because this fish will feel nervous when you introduce it to a new tank.

Another important feature to have in the tank is a powerhead or canister filter for proper water current. Because In captivity, yoyo loaches do best in weak-moving waters with subdued lighting.

What’s more, limit yourself to one fish per every 10- to 15- gallon tank. So to keep four yoyo loaches, you need at least 70 gallons.

Yoyo Loach Water Conditions

One thing’s for sure- with yoyo loaches, your aquarium needs to constantly have well-oxygenated and clean water.

Which is why the filter system should be as efficient as possible and 30% of the tank water gets replaced every week. Additionally, the following water conditions should also suffice:

  • Water temperature: 75.0 to 86.0° F (23.9 to 30.0° C)
  • pH range: 5-7.5
  • Water hardness range: 3 – 10 dGH
  • Brackish: No

Remember to maintain relatively stable water parameters to ensure your fish don’t become disease-ridden or stressed out. And don’t fall for the ‘hardy fish’ trap like most other owners do. With this fish, aim for perfection.

Yoyo Loach Diet & Feeding

Yoyo loaches are omnivorous fish, meaning they’ll eat just about anything. They love pellet and flake foods such as brine shrimp (frozen or live), daphnia, mosquito larvae, tubifex as well as vegetable foods like algae wafers. Not only that.

Expect your yoyo loaches to swim to the top during feeding time. And once you offer them food, they grab it, turn, and make the cute sucking noises. It’s best to feed a variety of foods just before turning the lights out. Also, take note that yoyo loaches eat any snails in the tank.

Yoyo Loach Tank Mates

Keeping about seven yoyo loaches at a go is key since these fishes do best when they’re in groups. Even so, ensure to introduce other peaceful aquatic animals as well.

Yoyo loaches should live with other similarly-sized fish for interaction and stimulation. Anything yoyo loaches can’t view as food will be fine.

Remember, these fish stick to the middle and bottom of your tank, so having other specie to occupy the upper portion is always nice. Here’s a list of some of the most popular yoyo loach tank mates:

  • Glass catfish
  • Cory catfish
  • Angelfish
  • Molly fish
  • Congo tetra
  • Plecos (Clown or Bristlenose work best)
  • Clown loach

It’s also important to note that yoyo loaches may seem aggressive with other members of their species but that’s only because they’re tussling for dominance.

Yoyo Loach Breeding

Unfortunately, no one has established a definitive breeding method for yoyo loaches yet because, in the wild, these fish migrate and breed far from their habitats during the breeding season. Therefore, a female yoyo loach in captivity carries eggs that can’t get fertilized.

In as much as some professional breeders have had a bit of success breeding this species of fish, most specimens in the market come from the wild. Check out this guide for future updates in case someone finds a way to safely breed yoyo loaches in a home aquarium.

Bottom Line

Yoyo loaches are some of the most fun fishes to own. They aren’t nocturnal, and so they spend most of their day entertaining you and your friends with some playful antics.

If you’ve had success keeping other species of fish, you’re likely to have an easy time with yoyo loaches. All the best!

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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