Yoyo Loach: Ultimate Guide (Care, Diet, Breeding & More)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

Yoyo Loach is a brightly colored freshwater loach that can add a unique element of style, beauty, and interest to any aquarium. It is the perfect pet fish regardless of your experience level. And when you think about their ease of care, you won’t have any excuse not to keep the Yoyo Loaches at home. 

We are insanely attracted to their glistening bodies, but that’s just one of the reasons we recommend them to aquarists of all levels. Their temperament alone will make you want to keep multiple species in the same territory. 

If you are on the fence about which Loach fish to consider for your next fishkeeping project, this guide will teach you everything about Yoyo Loach care. 

Do you even know the origin of the word Yoyo in the fish’s name to begin with? Maybe not. But don’t worry because this guide will cover everything from the fish’s origin to lifespan, appearance, tank size, diet, typical behavior, tank mates, breeding, and more. 

Species Overview 

Yoyo Loach, or Botia almorhae, is a wonderful freshwater fish that tops many aquarists’ list of the most popular Loach varieties. In the wider aquarium community, these fish have also been called the Lohata Botia Loaches, Pakistani Loaches, and Almora Loaches. 

Interestingly, these fish don’t originate from Pakistan. And it’s no coincidence many aquarists question the Pakistani given name. Generally, these fish are endemic to specific Asian regions like Nepal and the Ganges basin in Northern India. 

Regardless of where you belong in this debate, Yoyo Loaches are a beautiful and active species with a charismatic personality, ranking highly among the few Loach fish that tickle all boxes. 

Category Rating 
Family Botiidae  
Color  Silver body and black patterns 
Lifespan Up to 5-8 years 
Care Level Intermediate 
Behavior & Temperament Peaceful  
Compatibility  Community tanks with other peaceful or semi-aggressive fish 
Food and Diet Omnivores  
Size Up to 2.5 inches 
Tank Setup Freshwater; lots of plants with a large area to swim and hide  
Tank Size (Minimum) 40 gallons for adult fish, 20 gallons for juveniles 


A typical Yoyo Loach lives for 5-8 years in home aquariums. That’s a standard lifespan for most freshwater fish, making the Yoyo Loach a solid investment in the long run. 

We’ve had rare circumstances where Yoyo Loaches have lived for as long as 20 years. And while this only occurs under exceptional circumstances, you can always help your fish stay at the healthy end of the growth spectrum by providing what they need to thrive at home. 

That entails the right tank water conditions, a balanced diet, and ideal tank mates to help extend their lifespan. 


To begin with, Yoyo Loaches take on a characteristic Loach appearance, with long, slender bodies like you would expect with most fish of their family. 

Their heads assume a conical-shaped pattern, with commonly ignored snouts and flat bottoms. Like most Loach species, Yoyo Loaches have prominent mouths, with four pairs of strong barbels for feeding. 

Interestingly, not all Yoyo Loach species will have the same color pattern, even though many fish take on a magnificent silvery base coloration. Other colors commonly spotted in these fish include gold, yellow, and subtle blue, just to mention a few. 

Shall we talk about the reticulated pattern now? To complement their general appearance, the Yoyo Loaches have beautiful black lines randomly distributed all over their bodies, with the only exception being their yellow bellies.   

Many sources claim the “yoyo” word in these fish’s name originates from their distinctive body pattern, which is hard to disagree with. 

As far as sexing goes, it’s easy to differentiate the male Yoyo Loaches from the female fish. Usually, the males have more pronounced red barbels with smaller bodies compared to the plump females. 


So, how big do Yoyo Loaches get? 

A fully grown Yoyo Loach measures just around 2.5 inches in captivity. And as expected, different factors like genetics, diet, and tank setup will influence the fish’s average size. 

As usual, these fish have a better growth rate in the wild than in captivity. A typical Yoyo Loach fish has been documented to grow up to 6 inches long in the wild, and while you can replicate the same in captivity, it requires proper commitment from the start. 

What we know is that creating a large tank will be a significant step towards maintaining your Yoyo Loaches in the best state as far as their health and well-being are involved. 

Yoyo Loach Care 

Yoyo Loach care is easier than many people think. These are less demanding fish that fit the category of low-maintenance species.   

It’s no secret keeping Yoyo Loaches in a standard environment with the best tank water conditions improves their quality of life at home. That’s why we encourage aquarists to stick to the detailed care guidelines by understanding Yoyo Loach’s needs in detail. 

And now, let’s start with the basics; tank size. 

Tank Size 

The average tank size for a typical Yoyo Botia depends on the fish’s age. In general, an adult fish will be more comfortable inside a 40-gallon tank in captivity. On the other hand, the young fish are best kept inside a 30-gallon tank. 

Generally speaking, many aquarists who keep Yoyo Loaches at home adopt a simple rule to ensure their pet fish are happy, healthy, and satisfied throughout their lives in captivity. 

This involves the standard 40 gallons for every adult fish and an extra 15 gallons or more for any new species joining the same habitat. 

We recommend keeping Yoyo Loaches in small groups of up to 5-6 fish inside a 100-gallon tank to prevent any form of loneliness arising from increasing stress levels inside the aquarium. 

Water Parameters 

We can’t stress enough the significance of mimicking the natural environment if you keep any freshwater fish at home. And for Yoyo fish, your priority will be to replicate the warm, acidic waters in the natural habitat. 

Like any fish, Yoyo Loaches would greatly benefit from frequent water testing to ensure the tank water matches their needs in captivity. 

So, this is the perfect time to purchase a reliable aquarium testing kit to be sure everything is within the acceptable or, at least, the recommended range. 

For the better part of the days, everything should be maintained within the following range; 

  • Water Temperature: 75°F-86°F 
  • Water Hardness: 3-12 dKH 
  • pH levels: 6.0-8.0 

What to Put in Their Tank? 

Just to let you know, Yoyo Loaches originate from slow-moving Asian rivers with warm, acidic waters and lots of vegetation. And just like many fish, they need enough hiding places to feel more secure in captivity. That means you must provide proper shelter with the right plants. 

As far as the substrate choice goes, Yoyo fish prefer a soft, sandy surface, thanks to their intense digging habits that extend in captivity. Rough surfaces and other sharp objects could easily damage their barbels, exposing them to devastating opportunistic infections in the process. 

On top of that, Yoyo fish would also benefit from other decorative items like caves, driftwood, and rocks. However, it’s worth mentioning that not all caves will suit your Yoyo Loaches. 

Only consider the right sizes that give sufficient swimming space without appearing too large to block the fish’s path or too small to be confused with some ordinary snack.   

Next, consider live plants if you need a creative design with a natural feel. Even as you introduce a diverse range of plants to the aquarium, make sure all the vegetation is properly anchored to limit the risk of physical injuries. 

Don’t forget to give your fish enough swimming space because that’s all that matters to the distinctive Yoyo Loaches. 

And just like you would pay keen attention to the tank design, don’t ignore the significance of a proper filtration system. Many aquarists think that Yoyo fish won’t sour the tank water as much because of their small bodies, and that’s where everything could easily go wrong. 

We recommend an air bladder to maintain the right balance of robust filtration and occasional strong current that the active Yoyo Loaches greatly appreciate. 

Common Diseases 

From what we know so far, Yoyo Loaches are a hardy species that will readily thrive in the right environment. However, they look vulnerable in many situations, which is one of the reasons you could be reluctant to keep them at home. 

Naturally, strong, elongated scales offer much-needed protection to most freshwater fish. And obviously, the tiny scales on Yoyo Loaches are always going to cause endless problems to these fish in captivity. 

Yoyo Loaches might not be vulnerable to species-specific diseases, but they are increasingly susceptible to fungal and parasitic infections. If you keep them at home, you must prevent common ailments like Ich

Take action as soon as you notice unusual behavior in your fish, like an altered or strange swimming pattern, loss of appetite, or visible spots all over their bodies. 

All in all, never forget that most of the diseases affecting Yoyo Loaches are tied to the actual tank water conditions. So, if you want to help them reach their optimal size in captivity, you must monitor the tank water status frequently and ensure your fish are well suited to thrive in such environments. 

If anything goes beyond the standard values, probably it’s time to cycle and change up to 50% of the tank water. Sometimes, leftover fish food or new Yoyo Loach tank mates also contribute to disease outbreaks inside the tank. 

That’s why you must monitor the fish’s diet and observe their interaction with a new buddy for the first few weeks to see if they could be a great match in reality. 

What Do Yoyo Loaches Eat? 

Yo-yo Loaches are an exciting pet fish that you should consider introducing to your aquarium straightaway. But they are also heavy eaters. 

If you keep them at home, you will have to feed them multiple meals throughout the day to satisfy their large appetites. 

Luckily, they are natural omnivores, meaning they will have a wide variety of foods on their list. They can survive off algae wafers and sinking pellets in captivity in addition to meaty foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and earthworms. 

Keeping the Yo-yo Loaches together with your snails is an outright bad idea because your little Loaches won’t hesitate to feed on the innocent invertebrates. 

What’s more, feeding Yoyo Loaches at home carries a huge risk of overfeeding, thanks to their large appetites. Accordingly, design a suitable meal plan even if it means feeding these loaches small amounts of food at different times of the day. 

Behavior & Temperament 

Well, well, well. You might have anticipated that Yoyo Loaches won’t present a bigger challenge as far as their typical behavior goes, and we can’t agree more. They are peaceful freshwater fish that have been incorrectly identified as shy in the past. 

Look, many Loaches tend to hide inside the tank, spending their time far away from any potential intruders and even their owners from time to time. And sometimes, this gets confused to be a shy, timid, or skittish behavior. 

We can’t promise that all species will exhibit similar behavior patterns in captivity. Still, we know Yoyo Loaches as a highly active species that will spend most of their time swimming around the tank, enjoying their own company. 

It’s hard to classify them as schooling fish, either, but Yo-yo Loaches are more comfortable in small groups of up to 4 or 5 species.  

Now, this should be exciting. The Yoyo Loaches demonstrate high activity levels at any time of the day, and nothing seems to stop them at home, not even the approaching darkness at dusk. 

Fighting in the Yoyo Botia family from time to time is expected. Usually, this results from choosing the wrong tank mates, where the stronger fish will constantly attack and terrorize the perceived, weaker species. 

That’s why we recommend a small population of Yoyo Loaches inside the tank at any given time to limit any aggressive tendencies. 

Yoyo Loach Tank Mates 

Yoyo Loaches thrive in small groups, and probably that’s the first place you should look for new tank mates. Typically, many aquarists are comfortable keeping these fish in small groups of up to 5 or 6 species at a time to help them flourish in captivity. 

Sometimes, you can opt to include other peaceful fish if you intend to create a truly breathtaking aquarium. In that case, you will need the right species that match Yoyo Loaches’ body size and behavior. 

Any aggressive fish doesn’t belong to Yoyo Loaches’ habitat, just like most traditional bottom dwellers shouldn’t be considered with these Loaches. 

When it comes to the suitable tank mates, here’s the full list of the possible buddies for your cute-looking Yo-yo Loaches; 


Yoyo Loach breeding is as good as impossible in captivity, and there are no documented records to suggest otherwise. Literally, no aquarist has managed to pull it off successfully, and here’s why. 

Unlike most species, Yoyo Loach breeding is dependent on the fish’s behavior during the spawning period. They are known to migrate during the breeding season, preventing any slightest chance of the male species ever fertilizing the female’s eggs in captivity. 

In summary, breeding Yoyo Loaches is best left for experienced breeders who might have done it successfully before.  

Meanwhile, other aquarists can continue to enjoy the beautiful sight of stunning Yoyo Loaches and only hope that someday, they will find a secret to solving this puzzle. 

Of course, we will keep you updated on any progress around successful Yoyo Loach breeding. 

Final Thoughts 

So, that’s everything you need to know about Yoyo Loach care. Contrary to many people’s opinions, looking after these fish at home is not challenging. 

All it takes is a great mastery of the basics and a strong desire to give your fish everything they need to thrive in captivity. 

Yo-yo Loaches are a fun fish to have as your favorite pet, and the more you understand their care guidelines, the sweeter the hobby. 

We rank them highly among our beloved Loach fish and hope you can finally see why they should never miss in any peaceful community tank.