Dojo Loach

Dojo Loach: The Complete Care Guide

One of the best fish to start an aquarium is the Dojo Loach. They are flamboyant and come in numerous exotic textures. It is a freshwater fish that thrives well in groups too. They are easy to maintain and a treat to watch. They also make great companions as they respond to human touch very well. 

No matter how easy they are to maintain, a good understanding helps the fish to thrive in the right environment. So, we have put together all information you need to care for your fish. 

Dojo Loach Overview

Information Chart Dojo Loach
Scientific Name: Misgurnus anguillicaudatus 
Family: Cobitidae
Care Level: Beginner
Temperament: Peaceful
Color: Vibrant color, from yellow to olive
Lifespan: Up to 10years
Size: Up to 12 inches
Diet: Omnivore, a balance of vegetarian diet with animal protein is good for them
Minimum Tank Size: 4 feet tall which can hold 55 gallons of water
Temperature: 50-82-degree Fahrenheit
WaterConditions: The pH should be 6.5 to 8.2, and the hardness of the water should fall between 5-8dKH
Tank Mate Compatibility 1-2 small size peaceful fish

Dojo Loach Appearance 

Dojo Loach has a sleek cylindrical body that flattens near the ears. It appears like an eel. However, it is different from eel in color and length. The elongated body is covered with tiny scales which are visible. It has two pairs of barrels on its lower jaw and, the fish has a total of 10-12 barrels around the mouth. 

It has a rounded fin like an eel, which flattens around the tail. The fish’s dorsal fin is located near the tail, while the pectoral fin is behind the gills. They often like to rest at the bottom of the tank. If you look closer, you will see the fish has a pointed head which symbolizes it is from the Loach family, as it is a common feature to identify Loach fishes. 

The Dojo Loach fish has small eyes which are brown or yellow. The color depends on the environment in which it is living. The body of this fish is generally olive in color, light greenish, and has lots of dots or small spots. It is not uncommon to encounter white and golden species of Dojo Loach. 

The golden variety is also known as, during the sale, “golden dojo loach.” However, it might not get noticed, but the body is partially in albino form, the body of Dojo Loach is pinkish with a tint of yellow. The eyes are always dark in color.

Lifespan Of Dojo Loach

The typical life span of Dojo Loach is 7-10 years. For such a small fish, it is quite a long life. If the fish cares enough, it can live up to 10 years. Meanwhile, it is a known fact that expectancy depends on the conditions in which it lives. The best way to ensure fish’s healthy and long-life expectancy is to give them the right environment to live in. 

They are freshwater fish and need the optimal temperatures to stay healthy. So be careful what you feed them, which water you put in the aquarium. Always check the temperature of the water with a thermometer to ensure it is neither too hot nor too cold. 

Nutrition is another factor on which life expectancy depends. Feed them the right balance of food, and don’t overfeed them. Balance of protein is crucial for their growth of intensifying the colors. In addition, adhering to the healthy cleaning habits of the tank will ensure that your little pets live longer with you.

Dojo Loach Size

The typical fish size is 10 inches on the lower end and 6 inches for the longer specimen. However, some of them exceed this size and increase above the length of 6 inches. This happens when they have ample space to grow. If you want to breed a fish longer than 6 inches, put them in a big tank with more than 55 gallons of water.

In the wild, the fish can grow up to 12 inches. This generally happens in ponds. However, it can happen in the aquarium if proper care, nutrition, and enough space are given to the fish.

Natural Habitat and Origin

Weather Loach, also known as Dojo, or Pond Loaches, is native to Asian countries like Japan, Korea, North Vietnam, South Korea, and Siberia. The fish is an inhabitant of slow-moving shallow water bodies. The water bodies in which they are mostly found is in pond, streams, bogs, and rivers. They ideally live in water with a thick amount of vegetation and muddy substrates. 

These fishes have adapted to the change in habitats where the water level is variable. The fishes can gulp air from the surface of the water where the oxygen level is depleted. They can even survive after jumping out from the water for a more extended period than other fishes. These fishes feed on small aquatic creatures, insect larvae, small crustaceans, and worms. 

Care And Tank Set Up for Dojo Loach 

Dojo Loach Tank Size and Other Specifications

To welcome a fish in your life, you need to prepare your home for that. To give them the right environment, start with choosing the right size of the tank. The ideal length of the tank to keep 

Optimum Tank Size for Dojo Loach

The recommended size tank size for dojo loach is 48″ x 13″ x 21″(LXBXH)in volume. You can keep Dojo Loach in a tank of 22 gallons, and it can reach up to 55+gallons. A tank of 4 feet or higher is good for the fish to keep and breed. These are feisty fishes who enjoy jumping, so make sure you have a tank with a lid. When the right size of the tank is ready, you can proceed to the decoration of the tank to give them a pond-like environment.

The minimum tank size is 35.5”x11.9”x11.9” (LXBXH). The minimum amount of water in volume is 22 gallons. 

Tank Shape for Dojo Loach

The ideal tank shape for dojo loach is curved at the bottom. They like to move around in circles and dig deep in the bottom, so curved edges in the bottom are better for them. 


The loaches are excellent diggers. They invest most of their time in searching for scraps of food. We would recommend you choose fine sand for the substrate. It helps them to get the right environment to dig with a pointed head. They like to explore and bury themselves in the bottom of the tank. So, go for anything soft, don’t go for gravel or pebbles or anything with sharp ends as they can quickly get a cut.

Filter Type

Filtration and oxygenation are also crucial parts of decorating the fish tank. The weather loaches prefer moderate flow, so you can achieve it by putting a filtration machine underneath the gravel. Another method is to use air stones. The air stones are easy to put and clean so that you can keep the fish tank maintained. 

How Many Dojo Loach In 20 Gallons Tank?

Ideally, you can keep a maximum of 2-3 Dojo Loach in a 20 gallons tank. 

Temperature And Water Parameters

Now that you have a clear picture of the fish’s lives and their natural habitat, you can mimic the same in the aquarium. For that, you need the right temperature for the water and the proper pH balance. 

Water Temperature

The idea water temperature for Dojo Loach is 50-82degree Fahrenheit. However, you should aim for 65- 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ph Balance

The perfect water pH level for Dojo Loach is pH 6.0-8.0. Therefore, a little acidic level of water is not harmful, but it should not exceed the level of 8.2.

Water Flow Rate

Dojo Loach survives at a slow water flow rate. They are mostly found in ponds and rivers where the water flows at a slower pace compared to oceans. So. to give them the right environment in the tank, put the water flow at a slower rate. 

Water Hardness

The hardness of the water should fall between 5-12 dKH. The water should be fresh at the right temperature to breed and get good care. 

Dojo Loach Tank Landscape

When you welcome a new life into your home, start by giving them the same environment they are comfortable with. Dojo loaches enjoy most when they are in an environment that replicates their natural habitat. So put some driftwood, twisted roots, caves, and smooth stones.

Dojo Loaches tend to hide whenever they feel threatened, so caves are an appropriate decoration for them as they can hide from other fishes when they feel scared. 

Aquarists mostly prefer pieces of large driftwood and plants. Put it well in the substrate. You can even use soft pebbles to secure them, so they won’t get uprooted when they dig. 

Best Plants for Dojo Loach to Keep in Tank:

Worst Plant for Dojo Loach to Keep in Tank:

  • Duckweeds
  • Taxiyphyllum barbieri


You can put the LED lights to brighten up the fish tank.  


Dojo Loach does not discriminate between eating and opportunistic meals. This means they eat everything that passes by them in water. Therefore, when you put the food in the tank, make sure that the other fishes in the tank which eat from the water do not eat all food, as Dojo Loach likes to take time and eat by digging the scraps of food from the bottom of the tank. 

Best Diet for Dojo Loach


Dojo Loach is easy to feed as they are omnivores and primarily feed on algae and organic matter. However, they don’t get these in fish tanks, so the onus is on you to provide them a well-balanced diet. It is best to provide them a variety of frozen, dried, and living foods. The food includes worms such as earthworms or bloodworms, shrimps, and small crustaceans.

If you are not sure if your fish are getting enough food as they scavenge food from the bottom, you can provide them liquid-based food, which is a turkey baster. Alternatively, you use tongs to put the food in the bottom of the aquarium to ensure they are getting feed properly. Another great choice is to feed them by sinking pallets. These are easy to put in the tank and meet their dietary needs. 

To ensure they are not nutrient deficient, you can supplement the dry food with frozen or live food like insect larvae or tubifex worms. Pond loaches get attached to the owner easily, so they like to be fed by hand sometimes. 

How Often Should You Feed Dojo Loach? 

We recommend you put food at various times in a day instead of giving them all at once. The interval of feeding the fish should be 3 to 4 hours. The best sustenance food type is a blend of plants and proteins. For the additional requirement to give better health to the fish, put some animal protein. It helps in coloring the fish and healthy growth. 

Behavior And Temperament

Dojo Loaches are relatively peaceful fishes, and they don’t cause trouble to other fishes. They tend to hide when they feel threatened to stay in the open. However, these fishes are pretty social and playful when they are in large groups. 

One of the best things about petting a Dojo Loach is they are friendly with humans. They respond to human contact, and when they start feeling safe, they will get used to you. So, if you take good care of your fish, they will feel comfortable getting feed by your hand, and they will even allow you to touch them.

But, as we have mentioned earlier, they are escape artists. You cannot confine them into one place. As a result, they will always find a space from where they can escape. So, if you find your fish one day on the floor, don’t get scared they can survive out of the water as they gulp oxygen from the atmosphere, put them back securely in the tank. So, if you are bringing Dojo Loaches, make sure you have taken enough measures to avoid this.

Are Dojo Loach Lone or Societal in Nature?

Dojo Loach is a social fish, and it needs other fish to feel safe around. So, when they are kept with other fishes, they like to come around in a day from their holes and make pyramids. It is so visually pleasing that you can spend an entire day watching them make one. 

However, if you put them alone in the fish tank, they will hardly come out of their holes and spend most of the time lying on the sand bed. So, you can keep at least two-three fishes with them to make them feel safe. They adjust quickly in the tank when they are not alone.

Tank Mates

One of the essential things you should consider while bringing a Dojo Loach is not putting them alone. They are social fish, so that you can fill the tank with non-aggressive fish. The weather loaches are bottom fishes, which means when you are looking for tank mates, look for fish that can occupy other parts of the aquarium like the middle or the top. Some of the tank mates for the fish are:

Ideal Tank Mates

  • Zebra danio (Danio rerio): Another fish you must consider as tank mates for dojo loaches or pond loach is Zebra Danio. They are mid-water and upper-water swimmers so that they won’t share the space with the dojo loach. The optimal temperature for keeping these fish is 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, they are very small.
  • White cloud mountain minnow: These look similar to Zebra danios and the ideal temperature to keep them is 60-72 degrees Fahrenheit. These fishes are even smaller compared to Zebra danios and have a length of only 1.5 inches which is 2.5 cm. However, it can grow up to 2.5 inches. 
  • Paradise Fish: If you are looking for the perfect pair of dojo loach, then look no more and get paradise fish. It is an ornate version of gourami fish. These fishes grow up to 2-4 inches. The paradise fish is aggressive compared to other fishes listed in this article now. 
  • Dojo Loach: Many aquarium hobbyists claim that Dojo Loach performs best when they are in a group. So, to make them feel safe in the tank, you should have at least three fishes so they can be closer to similar fish. 

Bad Tank Mates

  • Redtail shark: Redtail sharks are great to look at due to their colorful color, but they like to investigate every nook of the aquarium, so keeping them with Dojo loach is not a good idea. They will feel threatened.
  • Flowerhorn Cichlid: They are native to SouthEast Asia. Flowerhorns are aggressive, and they are significant. So, it is not an ideal choice for small aquariums.
  • Bucktooth tetra: They have a shimmery texture and add shine to your aquarium, but they are notorious little creatures. They like to peel off scales of other fishes and attack them for no reason.

While buying a fish, make sure the other fishes match the water temperature requirement of dojo loach and have similar food habits. Moreover, give them the right tank so every species can easily fit in a tank and have ample space to move around. Finally, the filtration and oxygenation should be in the right place. 


Dojo loaches lay eggs to reproduce. The females lay eggs, and they can lay from 100-150 eggs at a time. The eggs are 1.7-1.9mm in diameter and are brownish. Although they can’t be bored in the home tank, they are bred in the wild or farms.

Breeding Level: 


Sexual Dimorphism

It is easy to distinguish males due to their thick pectoral fins and fatty tissue. 

Common Diseases and Their Treatments


This happens quite often in dojo loaches. This is also called white spot disease, as white spots are caused over the body due to free-swimming aquatic parasites. The parasite is called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. You can see the symptoms of a change in the behavior of the fish. They tend to flick or rub their bodies against any objects in the tank. 

It is easily treated. Raise the temperature of the water to 82 degrees Fahrenheit for three days continuously and treat the water with medication to cure the itch.

Bacterial Infection

This happens due to internal parasites. The weight declines suddenly, and it stops eating. It can be treated with antiparasitic medication.


These are a parasite that gets attached to the gills or body of the fish. You can quickly identify this when the fish with flukes always rub against any solid object. To avoid this, treat the water with antiseptic medication.

Facts About Dojo Loach

  • Whether loaches can identify any changes in the barometric pressure, so next time when it is going to rain, take a hint from your fish!
  • When they are kept in tanks, they can only grow up to 6 inches, while in the wild, they are known to grow up to 12 inches.
  • They also like to snack on freshwater snails.

Is Dojo Loach Right for You?

Yes, in my opinion, they are perfect for keeping in aquariums. They do not need much maintenance, and they are peaceful fish. So, if you want to commit to a pet and want to start small, get yourself a pair of Dojo Loach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Dojo Loach Need a Heater?

No, they like the water cold. Until and unless your room temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, we recommend not using the heater.

What Do You Feed Dojo Loach?

Dojo Loach is not a picky eater so that you can feed them any flake food, sinking pellets, and insect larvae.

What Size Tank Does a Dojo Loach Need?

Depending on how many fish you have in the aquarium, they need a small to medium tank size that can hold 20-55 gallons of water.

Do Dojo Loach Clean Tanks?

Yes, when they are in pairs or groups, they like to clean tanks. Then, they scavenge everything and eat up any scraps of food left behind.


As you can see in this article, it is not that difficult to keep dojo loach. You can care for them no matter how experienced or inexperienced you are. They are easy to care for, and they give amazing rewards by responding to your care. So, get one for yourself and have a silent and mute companion in your room.

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