Yoyo Loach – A Complete Guide (Care, Diet, Facts)

An animated edition to the fish tank, the yo-yo loach is very active, sometimes bouncing around like a yo-yo. This fish is a total pleasure to watch; a fish with sparkle. It can be identified by the specific Y- shaped  markings and the barbells around the mouth. It has been said that some people can even see the word yo-yo on its body.

The yo-yo loach is a beautiful fish whose markings can change in color from black to blue. The markings of the yo-yo loach are more prominent when they are younger. As they get older, their markings take on a hint of blue. The yo-yo loach is thought to be without scales.  It has very small scales that make it appear smooth.  The fish has translucent fins.

In the tank, yo-yo loach will most likely live 6-8 years.They grow to about 5 inches. The fish is fairly easy to care for.. As with any fish, it is always best to copy their natural surroundings as best you can.

The yo-yo loach likes to hide in cave or tunnel-like areas, rocks and driftwood. Whenever they feel threatened, the fish displays a spine in the under-eye area.  In normal circumstances, it is covered in a membrane and doesn’t show.



The yo-yo loach has the scientific name of Boeotian almorhae. It originates in fresh water streams and rivers in Northern India; the Ganges and Indus Basin. They live in the slow-moving and still waters with rocky substrates and plenty of vegetation. They like to hide within these areas. They are found in large schools within pooling areas of the river.

The yo-yo loach is called by several different names.  It can be known as the Pakistani or the reticulated loach. The fish has also been named the Black Almora loach.

They were originally from Pakistan. Now the yo-yo loach can be found throughout Asia and the Middle East. These fish are more widespread than they used to be. They’ve been reclassified into five families of loaches. Now the yo-yo loach is acclimated to these areas as well as India.They live 20 years in their natural habitat., which is slow moving streams and rivers.


The yo-yo loach is a blend of silver and gold as its base cover. It is covered with black or blueish markings that look like Y’s and O’s from mouth to tail. Their fins are practically see-through and they make a sparkling addition to your freshwater aquarium

The yo-yo loach can also be described as having zebra like markings. These markings camouflage them from predators. When they are young the markings even make out the word yo-yo. They also have black bar-like markings on their lower side.When males mature, they can have a reddish snout. Sometimes these bars are accompanied by a black dot.These work to confuse predatory fish.

The yo-yo loach has been called scaleless. They have really small scales embedded into their skin. This gives them a smooth appearance. They have a pointy type head. They have short barbells that help them.  search for food. The yo-yo loach does have an under-eye spine-like appendage that is covered in mucus. It is noticeable when the fish feels threatened. Otherwise you cannot even tell its there. In captivity the yo-yo loach will grow about 2.5 inches long. Although some have grown as long as 6 inches.


The yo-yo loach is a very active and social fish.  Unlike other loaches, the yo-yo is not nocturnal. It has been said that they bounce up and down like a yo-yo. The yo-yo loach is prone to jump around. They will constantly look for food. Make sure the tank is covered and there are no openings for the fish to squeeze through.

The yo-yo loach is a very tough and tolerant fish. They will stand up for themselves; they are not shy. When it does become stressed, it prefers to hide in plants or small-mouth caves.

This fish is very outgoing. The yo-yo loach is not usually an aggressor but could display some of those behaviors. For this reason, it is best to keep the species together. Even though they may fight for dominance. There is no harm. If they are with their own kind, they will congregate in an area together.

The yo-yo loach species likes to form a social structure or pecking order. Often times the fish will bully each other or possibly fight. This helps them determine dominance within the group. Many loaches often appear to have a change in color when interacting with each other.

Social Environment

The yo-yo leach should be kept away from shy fish or possibly, smaller fish You don’t want to have very aggressive fish in the same tank either. Even though they are outgoing, the yo-yo loach appreciate their alone time. If the tank is too small, the yo-yo loach can begin presenting some aggressive behaviour. If the fish gets  lonely, it may become withdrawn.

Make sure to keep the yo-yo loach with fish that are of the same size and temperament. They are best with mild mannered or semi-aggressive fish. Sometimes the activity of the loach may become stressful to another fish that is timid. They do best with their own species. The yo-yo loach have a form of hierarchy, so they do fight over who is the dominant one. It is ideal to keep them in groups of five or 6.

They are basic bottom dwellers. They will sometimes hang out in the middle of the water When choosing tankmates, find fish that are middle or top dwellers. Rarely will the yo-yo loach come to the surface. Some of the time, the yo-yo loach lays on the bottom of the tank in a weird resting position.

Some ideas for tankmates would be tetras, catfish, goldfish, or plecos. A fish to avoid putting in the same tank would be a cichlid or a betta. The pet store can give you more information on which fish to house together.

Breeding the yo-yo loach in captivity has  never been documented. The female yo-yo loach regularly fills with spawn even though breeding does not usually occur in captivity. Probably because the males usually swim upstream in their natural habitat to breed.

Tank Environment

The yo-yo leach require easy to moderate care. They will need a 20 to 30 gallon water tank. This will work for 3-4 young fish.  They may need a larger tank as they mature. The amount of water depends on the size of the tank, as well as, the number of fish you have in the tank. There should be 10-15 gallons of water per fish.

The water ph and temperature need to be at a constant level.  It should have a ph level of 6.5-7.5.   The water temperature should be 75*to 85*F. The natural habitat of a yo-yo loach is a slow-moving stream. You can mimic this with the filtration system that you install in the tank.

These fish like to dig so they should have gravel or  pebbles in the bottom of their tank.  The yo-yo loach will need rocks and pieces of driftwood in their tank.They will need plants for hiding and nibbling. They also like places like small-mouth caves that they can squeeze into.

The yo-yo loach is known to sleep and play a lot during the day.  They also come to life and swim around in the evening. Streaming a small bit of light into the tank is preferred.

Feeding Your Fish

The yo-yo loach should be fed in very small amounts throughout the day.They are omnivores, preferring chopped worms and brine fish. They will also eat plant matter. It is ideal to include several live plants in the tank for this purpose. They will eat anything and still be constantly searching for food.  They need to have food that is balanced in vitamins and minerals. When in their natural habitat, they are mostly bottom dwellers.  They are known as scavengers in the wild, a very important part of their ecosystem.

They look for food at the bottom, so they should not have to depend on food that is floating on the top. Although, rarely they will take food that is on the surface. yo-yo loaches, like their family, do have some nocturnal behaviors. If you feed them before the lights go out, they will retrieve the food and eat.

The yo-yo loach prefers algae wafers as opposed to fish flakes or pellets. The powder from the fish flakes may get stuck in their gills. They anticipate their food will be on the bottom.  Make sure that enough food reaches the bottom, especially if you have middle dwellers that could eat it all. The yo-yo loach likes to eat chopped earthworms and thawed frozen blood worms to supplement their diet. They will take small chopped cocktail shrimp, mysis shrimp, or small snails.

Fish Tank Maintenance

The most important part of raising fish is to have a cleaning schedule for the tank. The tank will require a total breakdown cleaning at least once a month unless you notice something that  needs your attention right away. It is so important to have a solid maintenance plan. It can prevent your fish from getting ill.

Having a good filtration system is a very important aspect in maintaining your fish tank. It oxygenates the water. Also keeps it clean and provides a small amount of movement in the water. A cleaning where you vacuum the gravel, scrape the glass and change at least half of the water should happen at least once a week. Always be sure to unplug anything that is electrical before cleaning

Make sure that you clean the bottom portion, as that is where loach like to hang out. Any additional items in the tank must also be thoroughly rinsed before they are added back in after the total breakdown.

You will need to replace half the tank water with fresh water. Of course, the amount of water depends on the number of fish as well as the size of your tank. Be sure to check the ph level, temperature, and hardness of the water.The yo-yo loach are very sensitive to the water parameters.

Remember that the yo-yo loach can jump from the tank, as well as squeeze into tight spaces. Keep an eye out for this when you are doing tank maintenance.

Caring for the Sick Fish

The yo-yo loach does not have much scale protection. Their scales are very small. This is the cause for most diseases for the yo-yo loach. The best prevention to disease is to keep your tank maintained. Observe your fish daily. If you suspect disease, quarantine your sick fish. Put the loach into a tank by itself. Make sure that the quarantine tank has everything that the regular tank does. You are allowing the fish freedom and space to get well.

The most common illness that you would expect in your loach would be ‘the white spot disease.’ A parasite causes white spots all over the body of the fish.Ich is another name for this parasitic disease. Loaches are the first to succumb to these diseases, as their scales do not offer a lot of protection.

A second disease that you should watch for is Skinny disease. This is where your fish eats regularly but does not gain weight. This means that there are internal parasites. This is also easy to spot and then care for. It is hard to pinpoint exactly where the diseases come from, as there are many ways to introduce parasites to your tank. Maintenance is key to keeping parasites at bay.

The yo-yo loach can be a wonderful addition to your freshwater aquarium. As with any pet, fish require routine maintenance and observation. If you keep a clean tank environment and friendly ecosystem within, your yo-yo loach will have a lifespan of about 6 years.

The yo-yo leach can be found in slow moving streams located in northern India. You can recreate the same current by putting a small motor in your fish tank. They like to hide, so adding plants and smooth rocks to the environment is ideal.

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