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Yoyo Loach Care Sheet – Feeding, Diet, Tankmates, Breeding

The Yoyo Loach fish is an elegant and beautiful fish that is also commonly referred to as the Pakistani Loach, Botia Yoyo, Almora Loach, and scientifically, the Botia Almorahae.

It is an aquarium fish that belongs to the Loach family. Some people call it a scaleless fish because the scales embedded in their skin are very small. It's inherent nature is that of an active scavenger with a semi-aggressive personality. It loves hanging around its own kind.

Several sources credit the name Yoyo Loach to a photographer called Ken Childs, according to ​thesprucepets. He is commonly known for the big role he plays in the aquarium and fish tank import business of which he has been relevant for several years. There happen to be two different stories as to why he chose to name this fish "Yoyo". 

The first one was because he noticed how naturally active these fish were and it reminded him of the yoyo toy and the second version was because of the patterns the fish had. He claimed that they looked like the Y's and O's collections.

This is a gorgeous as well as playful fish that is a native to the Pakistani and Indian regions, hence its very popular aka the Pakistani Loach. It lives in fresh water and is relatively small.

Those fish that are harvested from Pakistan usually happen to be a bit darker than their lighter counterparts from India. This Yoyo Loach care guide is all you'll ever need.

What Does The Yoyo Loach Look Like?

The Yoyo Loach grows up to around three inches or seven centimetres long. However, those measurements are when it's bred in captivity. When in the wild, they grow to be considerably much larger in size with measurements of around six inches or fifteen centimetres long. 

The average lifespan of the Pakistani Loach is known to range from five to eight years. Although there are some reports that claim some Loach species have lived for over sixteen years. More than half the commonly known estimates.

The juvenile Yoyo loach fish usually has a very different color from their mature adult counterparts. When they're young their bodies only have stripes, but as they get older they begin to develop their marble-like or net-like coloring characteristics.

This happens when they get to around three to four months of age. It's a pretty and pleasing to the eye fish that is silver in color accompanied by dark vertical bands. When healthy they'll shine a prismatic light blue which blends seamlessly all across the body of the fish.

All species in the Botiidae family contain a little spine under their eyes. It has a sort of "skin" pocket that is used to keep it hidden making it seem invisible to the naked eye.

When the Yoyo gets stressed, scared or startled for any reason, the spine shoots out and reveals itself much like a hidden knife blade. It's normally extremely sharp and can indeed puncture the bag your using to transport the fish.

This is something you definitely need to look out for. You should also be very careful when handling the fish because it will always try to protect itself using that knife-like spine.

What is The Ideal Tank Size?

For an aquarium or fish tank fish, the Pakistani Loach is known to become considerably large in size. The bare minimum tank requirement for an average Yoyo Loach is one that can hold up to one hundred and thirty liters or thirty gallons of water when they're still young.

In such cases, bigger is always going to be better and if you want your fish to thrive then you'll really have no other choice but to provide your fish buddy with a tank than can hold two hundred liters or forty gallons of water or more.

The fact that they are naturally very playful as well as have semi aggressive personality means that they will usually quickly outgrow small aquariums or fish tanks, according to ​aquariumtidings.

Another reason why you should keep the Yoyo Loach in tanks that are considerably large in size is because they are generally a very social fish. Like we mentioned earlier, they love hanging around their own kind and normally have to be kept and bred in at least groups of five.

Keeping them in groups that are smaller that what we've mentioned in this article will stress them out a little bit and may even cause them to seclude themselves and spend the majority of their time hiding. And, of course, we don't have to tell you how boring it can be watching a fish that's constantly hiding due to stress.

Are They Easy To Look After?

Unless under the right conditions, the Yoyo can be quite a hard one to look after. It's normally not recommended for the beginner aquarist because of the pristine water conditions it requires to survive and flourish as well as the small scales they have on their body.

Reduced scales in fish makes them more likely to contract diseases. They also make them very sensitive to medication which makes it equally hard to effectively treat them.

Having the experience to treat scaleless fish is something you'll definitely require if you want to successfully keep and breed Yoyo Loach fish. That is if you intend for them to lead a long and healthy life.

Also, it's important you avoid introducing this type of fish into aquariums or tanks that are biologically immature, according to animal-world.

What Do Yoyo Loach Fish Eat?

Even though the Yoyo is generally omnivorous and accompanies vegetation in its diet, it particularly enjoys eating meaty foods. However, it doesn't necessarily need the the meat and if insects and the like grow scarce they can certainly survive on feeding of plant matter and vegetation.

The fact that they're this versatile makes them an aquarium fish that is very easy to feed. Almost anything you feed them they'll gladly accept. From freeze-dried to frozen to flake foods. Turn off the lights and drop in some sinking pellets into their aquarium and watch how lightning fast they'll be devoured.

Live foods are something they happen to be peculiarly fond of and you'll find that they'll eat themselves silly if fed brine shrimp and bloodworms. Any snails they come across in the aquarium will also be fair game and a delicious meal to them. You'll have to provide them with a wide variety of food if you want them to maintain a proper and healthy lifestyle.

If you don't have access to live food, don't fret, frozen food will do just fine and they will still adore you for it, according to ​aquariumtidings. A very good frozen food alternative that they enjoy is daphnia but you can get brine shrimp and bloodworms frozen as well. 

Don't forget to always defrost the fish food first before feeding it to your Yoyo Loach. This can be done by placing the food container into some warm water. Do this for a period of about five to ten minutes and your food will be ready to serve to your fish.

What Items Should You Place In The Tank?

Aquariums and fish tanks that contain Yoyo Loaches should always have several caves and the like in order to give a sense of security to the fish. They like caves that are deep which contain tiny openings that can allow for them to squeeze their whole body through.

In fact, it is very normal for you to find your Pakistani Loach getting constantly stuck in one of the many deep caves and it's usually a good idea for you to check if any of them may need a little rescuing when doing your routine water change.

Open rock enclosures and large caves are some things you'll find they'll ignore unlike their cousins, the clown loaches, who are known for piling themselves to the brim in such spots.

You don't have to necessarily buy this ornamental caves which we all know can be expensive. Instead, you can can make them at home for literally one tenth of what it would cost you to purchase them.

All you need is aquarium sealant, PVC pipes and some sand or rocks. Using the sealant, glue your rocks or sand to the top of your PVC pipe and let it dry. Once that's done, bend it into the shape of you want it to be and like that you have a cave Pakistani Loach fish.

Which Tankmates Mix Well With Yoyo Loach Fish?

You may be wondering, ok what fish can I mix them with? Can I mix them with a Bristlenose Pleco, or any other fish for that matter? In general, the Yoyo Loach is a very sociable fish. They usually get along with most of the other types of aquarium fish. Nevertheless, you might want to avoid placing the in the same fish tank with fish that are raptorial feeders or aggressive in nature. When it feels safe, you'll finding it constantly playful and and actively swimming all over the tank.

These are fish that also never have bad appetite complications. They can be generally said to be a fish species that make for good tank mates and one that co-exist harmoniously with most other fish, especially if they are of its own kind.

The alpha male in the school automatically takes the role of chief and sometimes tends to bully the younger Yoyo Loach males. But don't worry, these quarrels rarely end up in cases where there's serious injury involved.

The bottomline is that you'd rather keep your Yoyo Loach fish among the company of its close cousins such as the freshwater clown fish and the like or a good alternative to a close cousin like African Cichlids, such as the Kibrensis fish species.

Are They Easy To Breed?

Even though this type of fish is particularly adept at easily adapting to life in captivity which is the aquarium, there aren't any confirmed reports of it being successfully bred while in captivity.

There are always those few and far between reports of someone that has claimed they've been able to successfully breed this type of fish while in captivity, but as of this moment, none of those accounts, claims or reports have been officially recorded and confirmed. So as of now, breeding them in captivity is practically non existent.

In fact, even the large fish farms sometimes have trouble successfully breeding the Pakistani Loach fish. Some of them have even resorted to hormone experimenting in order to trigger breeding capabilities.

They're actually very few fish farms that breed and produce Yoyo loach fish to the general public. So to answer the question of whether it is easy to breed this species of fish, it definitely is not. This is in no way a fish for the beginner fish tank breeder or beginner fish tank keeper in general.

How Do You Tell The Sexual Difference?

A female Yoyo Loach fish that has grown into a mature adult is usually much rounder as well as plumper than their male counterpart, according to ​fishlore. Another commonly noticed difference between the male and the female fish in this species is the male, around and on its barbel, displays a more reddish pigment than that found on the female. 

However, to the naked eye and on face value, both the male and female seem to be completely similar. The plumper and fatter frame shows more clearly when the female has its insides filled with eggs. Which means that the only time one may notice this body size difference is when the female is pregnant and almost ready to lay its eggs. Other than that, you'll barely notice the difference.

What Are The Ideal Aquarium Conditions For Their Tanks?

One of the most important things these loaches need to survive is to always exist in well-oxygenated and clean water. You'll be required to frequently change the water in your tank not less than twice a week.

The Yoyo Loach is a native of the still waters of Pakistan and India. It prefers soft, warm, acidic waters. It is vital that you change the water as often as you can while keeping the lighting in the tank subdued as well.

Alongside the frequent water changes, make sure you vacuum the rocks and gravel found in the fish tank to ensure you get rid of any excess waste or food. This helps keep the water clean for longer periods.

The Yoyo Loach likes to spend majority of its time swimming around the bottom of the fish tank, but they'll occasionally frequent the middle regions of the aquarium as well.

The turnover of tank water should at least be around ten to fifteen times per hour. Including an under-gravel filter in the tank is a terribly good idea because it encourages the creation of highly oxygenated water throughout the aquarium while also reducing waste.

Adding a power head or canister filter will help produce the current flow required by this fish.

If you want to avoid making your new Yoyo Loach constantly nervous, provide it with several hiding places. Once it feels safe and has successfully acclimated to its new climate they will begin to spend a majority of their time out in the open.

During the night-time is when you'll find that they're most active and playful. You'll also notice that they love burrowing into substrate. Don't be too alarmed when you happen to find one missing.

On closer inspection, you'll probably find it hiding under a pile of gravel. The aquarium or fish tank lid should always be closed tight as well because this type of loach is fond of trying to jump out of the water.

Your aquarium setup should basically resemble the loaches' natural habitat. This means plenty of plants, large tracts of open space as well as several hiding options they can retreat to. Because they happen to be burrowers by nature, ensure you use smooth and fine sand or gravel when making substrate for the tank.

The chemical composition of the water in the aquarium should measure a pH level of 6,5-7,5 alongside a hardness of dH <12. The temperature of the water should always range between twenty to twenty seven degrees Celsius with twenty five degrees being the optimal temperature. It will still be okay if the temperature rises to a level of thirty degrees Celsius.

What Are Their Social Behaviours Like?

The Yoyo Loach species is basically a community fish and a considerably good one at that. Although they spend a majority of their time hiding during the day, when evening and night-time approaches they begin to increase their activity levels.

They are more or less semi aggressive and are largely a peaceful lot, however, they can certainly hold their own against any mildly aggressive fish tank mates. Any addition of slow swimming long finned fish should be closely monitored.

It is advised that you keep them in groups of six or more fish of their own kind. In the beginning, they may come off as being aggressive against their cousins and other loaches, however, this shouldn't worry you too much because that just normally means hierarchy establishment.

Their colors normally even dim out when they find themselves in conflict with other fish but that's also nothing that should bother you too much as well. So, in summary, when it comes to their natural personality, you can define the Yoya loach as being peaceful with a little boisterousness to them.

Diseases That Affect The Yoyo Loach Fish?

Loaches, unlike other aquarium fish, are usually easily susceptible to contracting disease. This may be largely due to the fact that it has no head scales and has faint body scales. You'll have to be very careful when introducing Pakistani Loaches to established fish tanks.

They're also extremely sensitive to certain types of medications as well, which makes them pretty difficult to effectively treat when they fall sick. In fact, this will normally require a separate hospital aquarium.

Drastic condition changes and cold water can cause the fish to get stressed which can lead to them contracting certain types disease.

Ich is the most commonly recognized disease that affects the Yoyo Loach. It's short for "Ichthyopthirius" and is also referred to as White Spot Disease. It's a parasite that is known to attack all kinds of aquarium fishes, but Yoyo Loaches are the ones that are often attacked first by these parasites.

Like we've mentioned earlier in this article, their no scales body makes them a very hard fish to treat. Their sensitivity to most medication means that they will usually require half the dosage of the medication required to treat the illness.

The Skinny Disease is the second most common ailment that affects the Yoyo Loach species. It has a fairly simple diagnostic process and can be spotted relatively easy. If your loaches have no problem with appetite and are eating healthy amounts of food but still constantly seem to be losing weight, then you might be dealing with a case of Skinny Disease. The cause of this is internal parasites which can be effectively rectified with proper treatment.

When there's a disease outbreak in the tank, if dealt with at an early stage, you can often limit the problem to just one fish or a group of fish. When keeping fish as sensitive as these, catching disease as well as deteriorating water conditions before other tankmates get affected becomes quite common.

This is largely due to the fact that the Pakistani Loach generally requires a lot of attention. Providing your Yoyo Loach with a balanced diet and a proper environment is the best way to keep and maintain the good health of your fish. Like they say, prevention is always better than the cure.


The Loach family has many species attached to them and all of them have different temperaments, sizes, shapes and coloration to them. Some of them are shy while others are outgoing. Some are very active and playful at night while others prefer to be this way during the day.

Other Loaches that happen to be quite popular, besides the Yoyo Loach of course, are the Khuli Loaches and Wheather Loaches breed. But one thing's for sure, all of them are great fresh water options for any aquarium.

If you have a freshwater tank, then you might want to try keeping some Yoyo Loaches. Hopefully this Yoyo Loach care guide has fully prepared you for any outcome. Oh, and sharing is caring. If you liked the article, please feel free to share.


Hey, thanks for passing by, welcome to the blog for Pet Fish fans. This is me, Wayne, and my son Theo. I started this journey after we bought him hist first Fish Tank of fish. Follow my site for my research and info on Pet Fish.