Yoyo Loach (Botia almorhae): Ultimate Care Guide


The Yoyo Loach, known by the scientific name Botia almorhae, is originally from Pakistan and is also known as the Alora Loach. The name Yoyo Loach originated after photographer Ken Childs noticed how the fish resembles a child’s yoyo as it swims up and down, with a yoyo pattern on its sides. The Yoyo Loach belong to the Botiidae family, with the loaches divided into five families including Balitoridae, Botiidae, Cobitidae, Nemacheilidae, and Vaillantellidae.

The Yoyo Loach is extremely widespread and found throughout Asia and the Middle East, with populations thriving in India and Pakistan in the largest numbers. Because of how common this species is, they are listed as Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list. The Yoyo Loach is different from most other loaches because they are not nocturnal and are most active during the day. This species is always looking for food and bring a lot of activity to the bottom of any aquarium.

The Yoyo Loach has black stripes down their sides that are broken up by their silver body and black dots. Since their stripes are not fully solid, the bodies of the Yoyo Loach create the letters “Y” and “O” that make up their name. The Yoyo Loach also has hints of blue that outline their black stripes and they use their dimensional pattern to distract predators as they swim by. The fins on this fish are translucent and they have a forked caudal fin. The Yoyo Loach has a small, pointed head with short barbels that help them search for food.

Yoyo Loach
Yoyo Loach (Botia almorhae)

Yoyo Loach Care

The Yoyo Loach is a hardy fish species, but they need stable water conditions to thrive in an aquarium habitat. They prefer still water with many rocks that allow them to search for larger bits of food easily. The Yoyo Loach is adaptable to various water conditions but should be given time to get used to substantial changes should they occur in their tank.

Yoyo Loach Temperature

The Yoyo Loach prefers a water temperature in their tank that fall between 75 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of water should be measured frequently to ensure the consistent tank conditions that the Yoyo Loach needs to be healthy.

Yoyo Loach Water pH

The Yoyo Leach needs a water pH in their aquarium that ranges from 6.5 to 7.5, with slight alkalinity and water hardness that ranges from 3 to 9. The correct pH and hardness are important to ensure a quality habitat that will keep the Yoyo Loach happy in their home.

Yoyo Loach Size

The Yoyo Loach grows to an average size of two and a half inches in captivity but can reach up to six inches in the wild.

Yoyo Loach Tank Size

The Yoyo Loach should live in a tank that is at least 40 gallons in size to provide an optimal habitat. They can start in a 20-gallon tank when they are young but will need a larger tank as they grow up and get bigger in adulthood. The more Yoyo Loach you add to a tank, the bigger the aquarium will need to be. Each fish needs 10-15 gallons of water to roam, so a school of five Yoyo Loach would need at least 70 gallons to live peacefully.

Yoyo Loach Food & Diet

The Yoyo Loach is typically a scavenger in the wild, eating bits of food that they find on the rocky bottom surfaces of their ecosystem. This species uses most of their time searching for food and enjoys eating a variety of things such as small crustaceans, insect larvae, and plant matter. The Yoyo Loach is easy to feed in a tank, as they will eat pretty much anything they can find in their search and are known for their big appetites.

The Yoyo Loach enjoys a variety of foods in their diet and should be fed diverse meals to keep them happy and healthy. When in a tank, this species can be fed shrimp, daphnia, and vegetable foods like plant matter and algae wafers. Because the Yoyo Loach is a bottom-dwelling fish species, they must be able to access their food at the lower water columns of a tank so sinking foods work best. The Yoyo Fish also enjoys a challenge and excitement, so putting their food in at a different spot in the tank will keep their mealtime interesting and engaging.

Do Yoyo Loach Eat Algae?

The Yoyo Loach is a scavenger and will eat nearly anything, including a small amount of algae or plant matter. Although the Yoyo Loach is not averse to eating the algae it comes across, this is not the main diet of this fish species, and they need a more diverse food spread to keep them happy and healthy. The Yoyo Loach is not a picky eater, but this comes at the cost of them eating beyond fullness and often making themselves sick.

Do Yoyo Loach Eat Snails?

The Yoyo Loach will eat small snails that they come across on their search for food in the wild and in their aquarium tank. If snails are a problem in an aquarium tank and need to be removed, the Yoyo Loach is a good addition.

Yoyo Loach Lifespan

The average lifespan of the Yoyo Loach is five to eight years in captivity with proper care. In the wild, the Yoyo Loach can live for up to a decade in their natural habitat.

Yoyo Loach Tank Setup

The Yoyo Loach tank should be set up to closely match their natural habitat and aid in their explorative demeanor. Large gravel or small rocks should be used as substrate to allow the Yoyo Loach to easily search for their food at the bottom of the tank. Because the Yoyo Loach prefers slow flowing water, an under-gravel filter or canister filter are most recommended for their tanks to oxygenate and clean.

The Yoyo Loach needs a lot of natural cover in their tank, therefore plants are perfect for their habitat. This fish enjoys hiding and exploring, so roots and aquatic plants make great additions to their aquarium home. They also enjoy deep caves with small openings that they can squeeze their entire bodies through. The Yoyo Loach is known to jump from their tank, so a lid that fits the aquarium well is very important for safety and survival.

Yoyo Loach Breeding

The Yoyo Loach is a migrating fish, meaning they swim upstream in the wild before spawning. They are a freshwater fish that really cannot breed in an aquarium habitat.

How to Breed Yoyo Loach

The Yoyo Loach is a species that is exceedingly difficult to breed in captivity because of their migrating nature in the wild. They are almost impossible to breed in a tank since they cannot practice their natural mating behaviors. A small number of professional breeders have been successful by using hormone injections to breed to Yoyo Loach, but wild caught members of this species will not mate in a tank. In professional breeding tanks, the water conditions are raised above 77 degrees Fahrenheit and the Yoyo Loach diet is restricted to mostly plants and vegetables.

Yoyo Loach Male or Female: How to Tell the Difference?

The male and female Yoyo Loach are moderately dimorphic when they reach a mating age. The male Yoyo Loach has a slimmer body, with darker colors around their snouts and barbels than their female counterpart. In general, female Yoyo Loach also have longer snouts with rounder bodies.

Do Yoyo Loach Lay Eggs?

The female Yoyo Loach lays up to 500 eggs at a time when spawning, but not all will get fertilized or survive. The eggs are clear at first and then turn grey after fertilization, hatching around a day later where the larvae live off their yolk sac for the next two days. Yoyo Loach fry survive on a diet of brine shrimp, insect larvae, and powdered food for about a month until they reach their juvenile state and can be added to the main tank.

Yoyo Loach Disease

Because of their thin scales, the Yoyo Loach is prone to catching disease and illness fairly easily. This species will commonly contract Ich, or white spot disease, which will cause white spots all over the body because of parasitic infection. Whenever the Yoyo Loach is ill, it will need to be isolated its own tank to heal while the other tank is cleared of infection. With thin scales, the Yoyo Loach will also likely react to medication differently than most other fish species and will usually only require about half the dose as other tankmates.

The Yoyo Loach is likely to catch disease first in a tank and water should be changed regularly to eliminate the chance of illness originating and spreading. Adding fish to unstable tanks increases the likelihood that there will be fluctuating water conditions that cause bacteria growth and parasites.

Why is My Yoyo Loach Hiding?

The Yoyo Loach spends most of its time exploring small areas such as plant roots and caves, but also hides for extended periods of time when they are scared or stressed. If the Yoyo Loach is in a tank with overly aggressive fish, they will spend most of their time in hiding and this is a reason they prefer large tanks with community fish. If they are hiding for a brief period of time, the Yoyo Loach is likely just exploring but if they disappear for days, they might be experiencing a stressor in their tank. It is also common for Yoyo Loach to get stuck in small spaces while exploring, so they should be checked on if they go missing for a long duration of time.

Yoyo Loach Tank Mates

The Yoyo Loach can exist in a tank with a variety of other fish but picking the most compatible ones is important for the community. This fish spends most of its time exploring the bottom of the tank, so there are many options for fish that inhabit the middle and upper water columns of the aquarium. The Yoyo Loach can also cohabitate with other bottom-dwelling species, as long as they are not competitive in nature.

Are Yoyo Loach Aggressive?

Because the Yoyo Loach is energetic and inquisitive, they are social fish but may keep to themselves when introduced to other fish species. The Yoyo Loach is independent but not shy and will stand up against other fish that exhibit aggression, although they are typically a peaceful species within a diverse aquarium setting.

How Many Yoyo Loach Should be Kept Together?

The Yoyo Loach can be kept together in a tank, but they like to show their dominance, and this should be taken into consideration when deciding on school size. Typically, a group of five or six Yoyo Loach are ideal to include in one tank. This species can exhibit aggressive behavior toward one another and bully members of their family. Having a group of multiple Yoyo Loach will help distribute dominant behavior and limit the potential problem of one fish experiencing most of the aggression.

Compatible Tank Mates with Yoyo Loach

The Yoyo Loach should be kept with peaceful fish that are the same size or smaller. A few examples of tankmates that will be compatible with the Yoyo Loach are the Glass Catfish, Tetras, Angelfish, Goldfish, and Plecos.

Yoyo Loach and Corydoras

The Yoyo Loach and Corydoras will make compatible tankmates as long as there is enough room for both species to explore and not feel overcrowded by the other. Because Corydoras are a bottom-dwelling species like the Yoyo Loach, it is important that each has enough space at the bottom of the tank. If there is ample room and enough places for each fish species to hide, they should exist well together as they are both peaceful scavenger fish.

Yoyo Loach and Rainbow Shark

The Yoyo Loach and Rainbow Shark live together in the wild and can be compatible in a tank as long as the Yoyo Loach is big enough. Rainbow Sharks often feel like their space is threatened by bottom-dwellers but do the best with the Yoyo Loach. If a Rainbow Shark feels threatened, they might attack a Yoyo Loach but for the most part these two species will get along fine if there is enough room in the tank for both to have their own ample space.

Yoyo Loach and Neon Tetras

The Yoyo Loach and Neon Tetras make strong tankmates because of their compatibility in temperament and habitat needs. Neon Tetras are considered to be community fish and universally compatible with their peaceful demeanor. The Neon Tetra is a non-aggressive tankmate that spends most of its time dwelling in the middle water columns of their aquarium ecosystem.

Incompatible Tank Mates with Yoyo Loach

The Yoyo Loach will not be compatible in a tank with fish species that are aggressive in nature or much larger than themselves. Several examples of tankmate that will be incompatible with the Yoyo Loach are most Cichlids, Tiger Barbs, Bettas, Red Finned Sharks, and Tiger Fish.

Yoyo Loach and Shrimp

The Yoyo Loach should not share a tank with shrimp or snails because they will eat these species and eliminate them from the habitat. Although the Yoyo Loach is prone to eating snails and shrimp, they may avoid some species of shrimp such as the Cherry Shrimp due to their size and should be monitored closely if enclosed in a tank together.

Yoyo Loach and Goldfish

The Yoyo Loach and Goldfish are not typically the most compatible tankmates because of their differing needs in water temperature and habitat. Goldfish prefer much cooler water temperatures than the Yoyo Loach and it would be difficult to regulate a habitat that makes both species happy in one tank.

Where Can I find Yoyo Loach for Sale?

The Yoyo Loach is a popular aquarium fish and can be found at most freshwater fish stores, both online and in person. They are abundant in their population and are not hard to find by aquarists.

Yoyo Loach Price

The Yoyo Loach is a relatively inexpensive fish, costing around five to eight dollars per fish. Their popularity and population abundance helps to keep the costs of these freshwater fish on the lower end.

Yoyo Loach vs Clown Loach

The Yoyo Loach and Clown Loach both belong to the same family of fish and are energetic in their demeanor. Both the Yoyo Loach and Clown Loach are social fish that enjoy community tanks and are most active during the daytime, unlike other loaches in their family. They both also spend much of their time searching for food and are known the eat anything that comes across their path. The Clown Loach can grow to over 12 inches in length, making them quite larger than the Yoyo Loach at their full size. The Clown Loach looks different than the Yoyo Loach as well, with an orange and black striped body, and red fins.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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