Everything from Breeding to Tank Size

Everything from Breeding to Tank Size

The Yoyo Loach is also known as the Pakistani Loach. This is due to its place of origin and the reticulate loach from its giraffe pattern. Even though they are known as scaleless fishes, they do have small scales embedded in their skin. It is a bottom-dwelling fish and an active scavenger. They are semi-aggressive but live well with their own species. 

The name Yoyo Loach is said to have come from a photographer named Ken Childs. He played a major role in the aquarium importing business for several years. There are two variations about why he named this fish Yoyo. The first was that they bounced around like a Yoyo. The second has to do with the fish’s color pattern, especially the patterns on the juvenile fish. 

This guide will give you all the information that you would need to take care of a Yoyo Loach. This will help you understand the nature of the species, their specifications, and if they are a perfect fit for your aquarium.

Information Chart Yoyo Loach
Scientific Name: Botia Almorhae
Family: Botiidae
Care Level: Intermediate
Temperament: Peaceful
Color: Silver body and black patterns
Lifespan: 5-8 years
Size: Up to 2.5 inches
Diet: Omnivorous 
Minimum Tank Size: 20-40 gallons
Temperature: 75.0-86.0°F
WaterConditions: pH 6.5-7.5
Tank Mate Compatibility Community tanks (Peaceful and semi-aggressive)

Yoyo Loach Appearance 

Yoyo Loach has a lot of variations when it comes to their appearance. However, they all have a common profile. They have long and slender bodies and have certain unique features. For once, they have a conical-shaped body with a bit of snout. Since they are bottom-dwelling fish, their body shape makes it easier for them to rest on the sand. 

The most striking feature of this fish is its mouth. Every fish has four pairs of barbels. These barbels protrude from their mouth and help them feel the ground. 

When it comes to their color, the Yoyo Loach comes in a silver cover with dark markings all over their body. These markings are not visible on their belly. The bottom of the fish is often devoid of such a pattern and comes with a yellowish hue. The patterns are most clear when the fish is young and changes as they grow mature. Their pattern creates a net-like effect and for some specimens, the pattern is composed of thinner lines and dots. This makes the effect look more subdued. On other species, they are rather chunky. Many specimens also come with forked stripes and dots. 

Lifespan of Yoyo Loach 

The typical lifespan of a Yoyo Loach is five to eight years. With enough care, this fish can live longer. Sometimes these fish can survive for over 20 years too! However, for a longer lifespan, you will have to take good care of the fish and make sure that they’re healthy. With a carefully monitored environment, the lifespan of these species can be increased. 

Water conditions, diet, and many other factors will define the lifespan of this fish. If you want to increase the lifespan of this fish it is important to make sure that all of these factors are maintained. 

Yoyo Loach Size

The typical Yoyo Loach grows up to 2.5 inches when fully grown. However, their size can depend on a lot of factors. Their diet, tank size, genetic composition, and health are few factors that define their size and influence how big they can get. 

In their natural habitat, the Yoyo Loach can grow up to 6 inches long. The Yoyo Loach can grow to this size in their tank. However, this means that they need to be provided with a bigger tank. This should give them enough space to grow. 

Natural Habitat and Origin 

The Yoyo Loach are native to the still and slow-moving fresh waters of India and Pakistan. The Yoyo Loach from India is lighter in color than the species from Pakistan. Researchers haven’t figured out if this color change is due to the differences in species or due to environmental reasons. 

The species prefers to congregate in the still pool with a rocky substrate where there is enough aquatic vegetation and food. All the loaches spawn upstream and downstream to see out the rest of their lives. Today, the Yoyo Loaches are widespread throughout the Middle East and Asia. 

The IUCN lists the Yoyo Loach as having the least concern in its red list because of how common these species are. In the wild, they stay in the bottom of the middle of the water. It is rare to see them swim on the surface of the water. They are extremely active and keep swimming around. They will bring life to your tank. 

Yoyo Loach care and Tank set-up 

Yoyo Loach Tank size specifications

Optimum Tank Size for Yoyo Loach 

The recommended tank size for Yoyo Loach is 40 gallons. 20 or 30-gallon tanks can be used for juveniles. These numbers only work if you keep only one Yoyo Loach in your aquarium, and this isn’t recommended. Keeping the species in a school would always be better. When purchasing a tank, it is important to note that bigger the tank the better. Bigger tanks are essential for the wellbeing of the fish and will give them enough space to swim around. The health of the fish is closely linked to their habitat, so they need to be provided with a bigger tank. If you plan on keeping more than one Yoyo Loach it is always better to provide fifteen gallons of space to every additional Yoyo Loach added to the tank. A large group of 5 to 6 fish will need over 100 gallons of tank space. One important thing to note is that the fish can have the tendency to jump out of the tank, so it’s always safe to have a lid over the tank.

Tank Shape for Yoyo Loach 

The tank shape for a Yoyo Loach does not matter. However, it’s always better to keep them in a tank that is bigger and rectangular in shape. This will make sure that the fish has enough space to swim around and live comfortably. The tank size and its conditions are extremely important for the health of these species. Compromising on this would be detrimental to their well-being. Hence, looking at a bigger and more comfortable tank would be a better option. 

Filter Type 

The Tank of the Yoyo Loach should have a certain level of resemblance to its natural habitat. This would help them stay comfortable and healthy. So, slow-moving water is extremely important to them. A gravel filter or canister filter would be the best for this species. 

When it comes to the filter any standard filter would do. Do not utilize a pump that is too powerful. This will help in diverting the filter outlet against the glass or put some plants in the stream’s path to break up the flow a bit. 

Some Yoyo Loaches like to live in stronger currents. An air bladder can be added to the tank to provide them with this stimulation. Fish that want to feel the fast current would play in the steam and those who do not want it will simply ignore it. 


Because they are burrowers a fine substrate like sad and gravel would be the best suited for them. It is safe to avoid anything with sharp edges because this can injure the fish. They use their barbel to look through the sand for something to munch on. Hence, using a soft substrate is extremely important. 

How many Yoyo Loaches in a 40-gallon tank 

For each Yoyo Loach in your tank, you need 10-15 gallons per fish. So four would need at least 70 gallons. In a 40 gallon tank, you can keep 2-3 fish. 

Water Parameters for Yoyo Loach 

Water Temperature 

The ideal water temperature for Yoyo Loach is 75.0-86.0°F. 

Yoyo Loach is a hardy fish, but only in the right conditions. So introducing them to a biologically immature tank would be unhealthy. For a healthy Yoyo Loach, certain water parameters must be kept in mind. Water temperature is extremely important. The parameters mentioned above will help mimic their natural habitats and create a healthy environment for them to grow. 

Water Flow Rate

In its natural habitat, the Yoyo Loach lives in slow-moving pristine water. Stable water conditions need to be maintained to make sure that the fish isn’t stressed. A stressful environment would give them disease and create an uncomfortable situation for them. The aim should be to reach perfection when it comes to this species. 

pH level 

The perfect pH level for Yoyo Loach is 6.5-7.5 pH. This shows that the Yoyo Loach prefers soft and acidic waters. The water in their natural habitat in India and Pakistan is usually a bit warmer, so mimicking this environment in the tank will always be helpful. 

The water should be tested regularly to maintain the perfect pH level. A perfect pH level will help in keeping the fish healthy and safe. Bringing home a pH tester will always be helpful. The tester will help in maintaining the pH and making sure that the water is not too acidic or less acidic. 

Water Hardness 

The water hardness for the Yoyo Loach should be around 3 to 10 dGH. The Yoyo Loach cannot survive in brackish water conditions. So, you need to be very careful about this. 

Maintaining healthy water conditions for the species is extremely important. It is advisable to carry out a 30% water change every week in addition to having an excellent filtration system with good water movement. At least 10 to 15 times an hour is ideal when it comes to tank water turnover. A healthy tank condition that mimics their natural habitat will help in making the fish more comfortable. The Yoyo Loach is known to be a shy fish at first, so to make the environment more comfortable for them having the tank set up with the perfect water conditions will help them feel safe and comfortable. 

Yoyo Loach Tank Landscape 

When a Yoyo Loach is first introduced to the tank, it might be shy. Because of its shy nature, it will tend to hide in certain corners of the tank. You must make sure that the tank set up is comfortable for the new fish. Having the perfect decorations and water conditions in the tank will give you the best results. The following steps can be considered when decorating the fish tanks for the Yoyo Loach 

Best Plants for Yoyo Loach Tanks 

In the case of the Yoyo Loach, you will need plenty of plants with enough space for them to swim around. They thrive in setups akin to their natural habitats which have plenty of plants, swimming space, and places where the fish can hide when they want to. 

The Yoyo Loach will do fine with any kind of plants that can be found in other tanks. Plants like Vallisneria, swords, crypts, Java ferns, wisteria, etc are the best for the fish. Many many species of rotala, crypts, didiplis diandra, swords, blyxa japonica, various species of bacopa, anubias, etc will also be a great addition to the tank. 

Worst plant for Yoyo Loach 

Since the Yoyo Loach is comfortable with most basic aquarium plants, you do not have to worry too much about the plant set up. Plants that are unsafe for any aquarium should be avoided. You can avoid plants like foreground plants because the fish takes great joy in uprooting them. Floaty stem plants can also be avoided because the fish might have the tendency to uproot them. 

Decorations for Yoyo Loach Tank 

In addition to their tendency to migrate, Yoyo Loaches have several unique features. A part of their life may be spent in rocky streams with no vegetation. Afterward, they will move to a sandy area filled with vegetation. So, mimicking such an environment with decorations will always be helpful. Items like driftwoods, caves, and rocks can be added around the tank. This will turn the tank into a fun and comfortable space for the fish. Caves can work as a perfect hiding spot for the Yoyo Loach. Hence, the caves should be similar in size to the fish because this would make the caves the perfect hiding spots for them. 

These species are very curious in nature. Hence, making sure that the tank is lively will make the fish very active. 

Lighting for Yoyo Loach tanks 

The Yoyo Loach prefers subdued lighting, which is something that will have to be taken into consideration when purchasing aquarium lighting for them. Anything too bright will be uncomfortable for them. 

Feeding Yoyo Loach 

Best Diet for Yoyo Loach 

Feeding Yoyo Loach

Yoyo Loaches have a very mighty appetite. They are omnivorous and will eat any kind of live food. It is important to not overfeed them because this can make them fall sick. Yoyo Loach loves pellet and flake foods such as brine shrimp (frozen or live), daphnia, mosquito larvae, tubifex as well as vegetable foods like algae wafers. Live or frozen brine shrimp, tubifex, bloodworms, daphnia, and mosquito larvae are other food favorites of the Yoyo Loach. 

In the case of some specimens, the Yoyo Loach can be picky eaters at first. If you have such a specimen make sure that you give them live tubifex or bloodworms. Although these fish are primarily bottom-dwellers, they will come to the surface at feeding time. 

How often should you feed the Yoyo Loach?

The Yoyo Loach should typically be fed multiple times in a day. Due to their huge diet, it is always best to feed them throughout the day. However, you should make sure that the fish is not overfed. So, giving them food that lasts for only a few minutes will be the best option. 

Behavior and temperament of the Yoyo Loach 

Are the Yoyo Loach lone or societal in nature?

The Yoyo Loach comes from a generally peaceful community of fish. With their own school, they are extremely active and will be seen swimming around. They are the happiest when kept in a group of six or more. Here, the school will be peaceful and the hierarchy will be established. They might have minor conflicts with each other. In this case, their color might change. Once the conflict has been resolved, their color will go back to normal. The Yoyo Loach is also a nocturnal species. Hence, they are the most active at night. 

Yoyo Loach Tank Mates 

Ideal Yoyo Loach Tank Mates 

They are generally peaceful towards other species of aquatic animals. The most ideal tank mates for the Yoyo Loaches are Glass Catfish, Cory Catfish, Angelfish, Molly Fish, Congo Tetra, Plecos, and Clown Loach. 

Bad Tank Mates for Yoyo Loach 

Unfortunately, the Yoyo Loach can be aggressive towards some species. The species that you should avoid would be shrimps, crabs, snails, etc. Other bad tank mates include Peacock Bass, Jack Dempsey, Oscar fish, Tigerfish, Bettas, etc 

Breeding Yoyo Loach 

Breeding the Yoyo Loach in captivity is quite rare and only very few skilled hobbyists have been successful in doing so. Very little is known about their breeding habits except for the fact that they tend to migrate upriver to breed. 

On average, they can lay up to 5000 eggs. However, not all eggs get fertilized. Fertilized eggs will have a greyish tint while the unfertilized egg will be white. The unfertilized eggs must be removed from the tank to avoid contamination of the water. 

Yoyo Loach Breeding Level- Hard 

Yoyo Loach Sexual Dimorphism 

To distinguish between male and female Yoyo Loach we can notice that the females will have a plumper appearance than the males, especially during the breeding period. Reddish barbels are present on the mouth of the males. 

Common Diseases and their treatment 

1. Ich 

Ich is one of the parasitic diseases that the Yoyo Loach can be exposed to. It often shows up as white patches all over their skin and is highly contagious. Other symptoms include gasping for air, loss of appetite, lethargy, and a strange swimming pattern. 

It is important to quarantine affected fish and give them the required medication. Potassium permanganate, acriflavine, malachite green, and salt baths are potent treatments for ich. 

2. Cotton Ball Disease 

This disease is caused by bacteria found in unclean water. Common symptoms include white mucus coats around the gills, gasping for breath, and strange swimming patterns. Treatments include quarantining the fish and administering them with over-the-counter medications. 

Facts about Yoyo Loach 

  1. The scientific name of the Yoyo Loach is Botia Almorhae 
  2. During the day the fish hides beneath snags, stones, and thickets of algae 
  3. Apart from Indian and Pakistan, the fish has also been found in Nepal 
  4. Some say that they were named Yoyo because the markings on their skin read Yo-Yo. 

Are Yoyo Loaches Right for you? 

You need to have a certain level of experience when it comes to keeping Yoyo Loaches as pets. If you are an experienced aquarist then, this fish would be perfect for you. Their vibrant color and playful behavior will make them a perfect addition to your tank. However, you will have to make sure that the tank fulfills certain parameters before the fish is put into the tank. 


Can I keep one Yoyo Loach in my tank?

It is not the best option to keep just one Loach in your tank because this can make them lonely. Keeping them in a school will make them lively and fun!

Can Yoyo Loach get aggressive? 

They can be aggressive if kept with other aggressive creatures and species like snails and crabs. 

What is the lifespan of the Yoyo Loach?

The average lifespan of the fish is 5-8 years. However, they can only live this long if they’re taken care of properly. 


In a peaceful community tank, the Yoyo Loach would make an excellent addition. As these fish are sensitive to water parameters, they are not recommended as pets for inexperienced fishkeepers. The Pakistani loach should never be added to a brand new aquarium that has just been cycled. With enough care and attention, this fish can live a healthy and comfortable life.

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