The Yo-Yo Loach is a popular aquarium species that displays fascinating group behavior and beautiful coloration!
The Yo-Yo Loach (Botia almorhae), also known as the Pakistani Loach (even though it is not from Pakistan), is native to the Ganges River system in Northern India. Named for its juvenile color pattern that appears to spell "Yo Yo," this species is a very active, inquisitive fish that is very gregarious in nature. As it matures, its black and gold coloration develops into a more complex, reticulated maze-like pattern. It is compatible with many other fish and plants as well.
The Yo-Yo Loach is an omnivorous species requiring a diet of meaty foods regularly supplemented with vegetable and fruit matter. It will often accept high quality dry foods, but its diet should also include regular offerings of live/frozen meaty foods of invertebrate origin. It also eats a fair amount of vegetable or fruit matter, so these items should be offered in sparing amounts on a regular basis. There are some reports that the Yo-Yo Loach may occasionally eat soft leaf plants, so care should be taken to observe this fish when adding it to an aquarium with such plants. It is not known to bother more durable plants with heavier leaves, such as Anubias, Java Fern, Moneywort, and most mosses, among many other plants. In most cases, the Yo-Yo Loach will not do significant damage to well-established plants in a larger aquarium as long as it is well-fed, including regular, but sparing vegetable and fruit matter in its diet.
The aquarium of the Yo-Yo Loach should include plenty of plants, rockwork, and driftwood for it to explore. Plenty of cover is necessary for this species and will ensure the most activity and least stress. The Yo-Yo Loach is an active species that also needs plenty of clear room in the aquarium for swimming and exploring. It exhibits a very sophisticated schooling behavior and social hierarchy where each individual species constantly strives to be the “leader of the school” by swimming to the front of the group. While this behavior may seem aggressive, it generally involves no real fighting and results in an exceptional level of activity. As long as the school includes at least 6-8 specimens, aggression or bullying within the school will be minimal or nonexistent. However, if the Yo-Yo Loach is kept solitarily or in too small of a group, it can become withdrawn or aggressive. It will sometimes jump from the water, so a secure lid is necessary for its aquarium.
The Yo-Yo Loach will thrive in an aquarium with very clean, well-maintained, high-oxygen water of moderate or high water flow and is generally peaceful with other species of fish, although its boisterous nature can be stressful to other very passive fish. It is an excellent tankmate for most rasboras, tetras, danios, livebearers, and other schooling fish that inhabit the middle and upper levels of the water column. In a spacious tank, it can also be kept with other bottom-dwelling fish that are not too timid or prone to be outcompeted at feeding time. The Yo-Yo Loach, like most typical loaches, often preys on tiny shrimp and snails. This is very useful in helping reduce “pest snails,” but must also be considered with larger ornamental snails and shrimp. The Yo-Yo Loach is a predator of many invertebrates.
The Yo-Yo Loach is a truly entertaining highlight of the aquarium under the right conditions. Its personality, appearance, and activity make it a truly exceptional species that is beloved in the aquarium hobby.
What We Like About This Fish:
Vivid black reticulated pattern over gold body coloration
Incredibly bold and active fish that almost never stops swimming and foraging
Adaptable to a very wide temperature range
Very active in middle and lower levels of the aquarium
Excellent candidate for many planted aquariums
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
Temperature: 66° - 81.5° F (19° - 27.5° C). Care should be exercised to maintain high dissolved oxygen levels at the higher end of this temperature range.
pH: 5.5 – 7.5
KH: 8 - 12 dKH
Minimum tank size: 55+ gallons for a small group
Diet: Omnivore. Live and frozen meaty foods, especially frozen foods such as cyclops, Daphnia, Artemia, Tubifex, and bloodworms will all be readily accepted. High quality dry foods are also likely to be accepted. Some plant and fruit matter, such as cucumber, zucchini, blanched spinach, and melon should also be offered.
Social behavior: MUST be kept in schools of 6-8+ specimens. This species exhibits complex schooling behavior and will often become withdrawn or aggressive when kept by solitary or in smaller groups.
Average adult size: 5.5 – 6.3 inches (14 - 16 cm)
Average purchase size: 1 - 2 inches (5cm)