Yoyo loach also known as Almora loach or Pakistani loach, is a fast-moving schooling fish with bright and bubbly colors that add life and vitality to your otherwise monotonous aquarium. Caring for the Yoyo loach is not so difficult once you know what to do.

We have carried out extensive research on the Yoyo loach, and this article is a summary of all we have learned.

You will find easy ways to care for your Yoyo loach, diet to feed them, and breeding tips in this article.

Yoyo Loach Stats

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: 6″ (10cm)
Tank: 36 inches when small. Due to their social structure larger is needed for proper care.
Strata: Bottom, middle
PH: 6.0 to 7.5
Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 2.0 – 10.0


Order: Cypriniformes
Suborder: Cyprinidae
Family: Cobitidae
Genera: Botia
Species: Almorhae


The Yoyo loach earned its name from Ken Childs, a well-known fish photographer. Ken Childs observed the jumping pattern of the fish was exactly like the yo-yo. In his article published in the English daily, he referred to these fishes as Yoyo loaches, and since then, the name stuck.

The Yoyo loach is endemic to the Middle East and Asia. It favors still or slow-moving waters and can be found in India’s Ganges River and most rivers throughout the Indian subcontinent. It was originally classified into two families: “Cobitidae and Balitoridae”.

However, further studies have led to the reclassification of the Almorah loach or Yoyo loach, as most people call it. Owing to the reclassification, we now have the following families: Cobitidae, Balitoridae, Bottidae, Vaillantellidae, and Nemacheilidae.

– Appearance

Yoyo loach has a unique silvery golden base color peppered with black streaks that run across its entire bodies. The golden and black colors are arranged in a pattern that gives the semblance of Ys and Os.

Essentially, when you look closely at the Yoyo loach, it almost seems as if the word Yoyo is spelled out on its body. Isn’t that beyond awesome? The pattern is more prominent in young fish and less obvious in aged fishes.

Yoyo loaches or leopard loaches have a tiny mouth with four barbels used that help them scout for food at the bottom of the tank. They have a spine that lies below their eye and is hidden by a membrane-like coating. Their spine serves as a defense tool; when they are stressed or threatened, the spine slides out like a knife. This spine is very sharp. Thus, when transporting Yoyo loaches, it is advised that you use two bags – one inside the other.

– Gender Differences

Both genders of Yoyo loach are similar; however, you can use a few differences to tell them apart. The females have a plumper appearance than the males, especially when they begin to breed. Another distinction is the reddish barbels present on the mouth of the males.

– Size

The average size of a full-grown Yoyo loach in the wild is 5 inches (13 cm). However, in captivity, they often do not grow as big as this. How big your Yoyo grows is dependent on several factors. These factors include diet, genetics, tank size, and care.

– Behavior and Temperament

Yoyo loaches have a peaceful disposition and will most times confine themselves to the bottom of the tank. They can, however, display signs of aggression when kept alone with other fish species; thus, it is advised that you raise a group of Yoyo loaches, not just one. Thanks to their peaceful disposition in groups, they are compatible with a wide host of fish species.

They are docile compared to other fish species; thus, they should not be kept in a tank filled with aggressive fishes. Hostile fishes often cause them to flee and hide, depriving you of their energy and color. On some occasions, Yoyo loaches have been known to go into hiding permanently and even refuse food; this doesn’t bode well for their health.

– Lifespan

The average Yoyo loach lifespan is 5-8 years. However, as with other fish species, with proper care, they can live past the eight-year mark. To help, we have put together a guide to help you care for your Yoyo loach.

– Can I Raise a Single Yoyo Loach?

Yes. However, it is not advised because the Yoyo loach is a very social fish species. They form a natural hierarchy within their community and often do not do well alone. As they grow, they may become hostile.

We advise that you buy Yoyo loaches in groups of at least 3.

Yoyo Loach Care

The importance of caring for your Yoyo loach cannot be overemphasized. Proper care helps your fish live longer and helps prevent them from coming down with the common freshwater diseases. With proper care and diet, you can effectively reduce the risk of stress for your fish.

You will learn about everything you need to know to care for your Yoyo loach below. Let’s get started, shall we?

– Setting up a Tank

When setting up a tank for a yoyo loach, space is a big deal because this loach species love deep tanks with narrow openings. Thus, an ideal tank for the Leopard loach should be at least 30 gallons big. It should also have numerous caves to give the fish a sense of protection and breeding space.

However, tank space is just one of the numerous factors you must consider when setting up your Yoyo loach’s tank. We have taken the liberty of outlining other things that you must consider in the tank setup; you will find them below.

  • Tank size – Keep these loaches in a tank of at least 30 gallons. Yoyo loaches are social fishes, thus, they need to be kept in a community of at least three other loaches. Due to this, you will need a big tank to accommodate all their swimming. Also, in smaller tanks, the aggression can reach really disturbing heights. As they grow, you will need to switch to a bigger tank. To save yourself the stress, you can simply buy a large tank of about 60 gallons from the start.
  • Temperature – We advise that you keep your yoyo loach at a temperature of 75-86 ℉. Maintaining this recommended Yoyo loach temperature helps stimulate breeding in the adult species.
  • pH – Yoyo loaches can survive in various pH; however, it is advised that you keep the pH levels constant. The recommended pH range for Yoyo loach is 6.5 to 7.5
    Hardness – Like all water conditions in the tank, it is advised that you keep the water hardness fairly constant. The maximum should be 12 dGH.

– Feeding

Yoyo loaches have a voracious appetite and can’t eat just about anything. These fish will consume any quantity of food you put before them. However, you must be careful of overfeeding as it can make them ill.

Even though Yoyo loaches are not picky eaters, you must know how to balance their diet. After all, the health of your Yoyo loach is, to a large extent, dependent on what you feed it and how often you feed it.


Yoyo botia are omnivores; thus, the perfect diet for them will be a blend of meat and fresh greens. You must feed them with a diet primarily composed of high-quality flake or pellet food to prevent them from suffering high levels of stress and falling sick. Throw in a bit of frozen or live food from time to time, and you’ll have yourself a very healthy fish.

Here’s a list of the best diet to place your Yoyo loach on:

  • Plants – Remember that your loaches need a lot of plants in their diet. Thus, you must ensure that there are enough plants in the tank to eat if they feel like it. You can feed your Yoyo loach vegetarian foods like lettuce, spinach, cucumber, etc.
  • Live Food – Yoyo loach enjoy live snails, mosquito larvae, blackworms, daphnia, and brine shrimps
  • Frozen Food – You can try out frozen food in the absence of live food. Some of the Yoyo loaches ’ favorite frozen food include bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp. Here’s a little friendly advice: defrost the frozen food before throwing it into the tank.
  • Fish Flakes – It is advised not to feed them fish flakes, as this may not be well digested by the Yoyo loach. Also, their gills can become irritated when the loaches are fed fish flakes because of the powdery deposit left on them.

Can I Feed My Yoyo Loach Fish Feed?

Yes, you can. It is also a great thing that there are many fish feed available over the counter these days. Before you purchase any, we recommend that you look up the ingredients and check the product reviews.

We have had great success with Hikari Sinking Wafers in the past, but any sinking food will do. Don’t forget to pick up some algae wafers while you are at your local pet store; Yoyo loaches absolutely love them.

Tank Mates for Yoyo Loaches

The Yoyo Loach is a great fish to raise. It has a peaceful disposition and so can share a tank with so many other species of fish. Since they are compatible with many fish, it is easy to raise a happy fish community.

When picking out tank mates for the loach, a rule of thumb is to keep them with less aggressive fish that are smaller or around the same size.

Compatible tank mates for Yoyo loach include:

Tank Mates to Avoid

Since Yoyo loaches can be very active and social, they should not be placed in the same tank as slow-moving or aggressive fish species. Avoid them like the plague; after all, you don’t want your Yoyo loach dying from stress.

We have listed a few of the fishes that Yoyo loaches are not compatible with:

  • Oscars
  • Jack Dempseys
  • Tiger Barbs
  • Bettas
  • Red Finned Sharks
  • Tiger Fish
  • Peacock Bass


Breeding Yoyo loaches in captivity are rare, and only very few skilled aquarists have managed to do so successfully. Certain conditions must be in place to facilitate the breeding process.

  • Temperature – The water conditions have to be just right, with temperature maintained around 22 to 25 ℃. The water in the loach tank must be clean and have the right hardness and pH.
  • Tank – The underside of the tank will also have to be coated with a net to aid the spawning. Also, you must ensure that the tank holds a minimum of 150 liters.
  • Feeding – Only healthy fish can breed; therefore, you must prepare your Yoyo loach for breeding by feeding it the appropriate diet. The meals should be thrown in small portions that they can consume under 3 minutes to prevent overfeeding. Feeding should be frequent.
  • Hormones – Once all these are done, your fish should be injected with hormones to stimulate the production and release of viable eggs.

Yoyo Loach Eggs

On average, the yoyo loach can lay up to five thousand eggs. However, not all of these eggs are fertilized. The fertilized eggs have a grayish tint, while the unfertilized eggs are white. You must remove all the unfertilized eggs from the tank to prevent the water from getting contaminated.

Once the eggs have hatched into fry, you can begin feeding them to help them grow. Position small portions of food for them at the cave entrance.

What Causes Stress in this fish

Yoyo Loach, like all living things, can become stressed. Yoyo loaches do not do well with stress. It predisposes them to a wide variety of freshwater diseases. Stress can be induced by poor water conditions such as low oxygen, high pH, extremely high temperature, etc. Other stress contributors include poor diet and frequent change of residence.

Indicators of Stress

If you notice your precious Yoyo loach displaying any of these symptoms, you should know that it is stressed:

  • Gasping at the Water Surface – One way to recognize that your fish is stressed is it gasping at the surface of the water. Often, it is a clear indication that the stress your fish experiences is brought on by poor water conditions. If you investigate, you may discover that the oxygen levels in the water is low.
  • Loss of Appetite – When your Yoyo loach begins to display a sharp loss in appetite, it is not much of a jump to infer that it is stressed.
  • Strange Swimming Pattern – An odd swimming pattern is often a good indicator that your Yoyo loach is stressed.

Treatment for Stress

Being able to tell that your fish is stressed is the first step in the treatment of stress. The next is correctly identifying the stress trigger. For example, when you notice your loach gasping for air, you can infer that the oxygen level in the water is low. With that, you can go about buffing up the oxygen concentration in the tank.

Common Diseases

The almost non-existent scales of Yoyo loaches make it especially difficult to keep them free of diseases. However, a great start to breeding healthy Yoyo loaches is to provide them with quality water conditions and diet. Common Yoyo loach diseases are outlined below.

– Ich

Ich is one of the parasitic diseases that Yoyo loach is predisposed to. It often manifests with white patches on the skin and is highly contagious. Other symptoms are gasping for air, loss of appetite, lethargy, and a strange swimming pattern.


Quarantine the affected fish and administer the appropriate medications. We advise that you treat the entire tank to prevent reoccurrence. Potassium permanganate, acriflavine, malachite green, and salt baths are potent treatments for ich.

– Cotton Ball Disease

The cotton ball disease is caused by bacteria found in unclean water. Common symptoms of this disease include white mucus coating around the gills, gasping for breath, strange swim patterns, etc.


Quarantine the affected fish and administer over-the-counter medications.


  • The Yoyo loach favors still or slow-moving waters and can be found in India’s Ganges
  • River and most rivers throughout the Indian subcontinent
  • It is an energetic and colorful fish, a great addition to your aquarium
  • It has an average life expectancy of 5-8 years

The yoyo loach is generally peaceful and can live for a long time. Exactly how long it lives is dependent on the level of care you show it. We trust that our article has equipped you with all you need to know about Yoyo loaches. Go ahead now and get one for your aquarium.

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