Yoyo loach

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Yoyo loach
Yoyo Loach.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Botiidae[1]
Genus: Botia
Species: B. almorhae
Binomial name
Botia almorhae
J. E. Gray, 1831

The yoyo loach, Almora loach or Pakistani loach, Botia almorhae, is a freshwater fish belonging to the loach family Botiidae. It originates in the slow-running and still waters of India and Pakistan, whence the name Pakistani loach. It is commonly found in aquariums, but is not nearly as popular as its relative, the clown loach. It may attain a length of up to 13 cm (5 in), and is named for its black and white patterns, which often can be seen to spell "yoyo" (especially in smaller/younger specimens), hence the common name yoyo loach.

In the Aquarium[edit]

The yoyo loach, in comparison with the clown loach, is more active (in the absence of aggressive tank-mates) than its relative, but is still relatively docile. It is best kept in shoals of five or more: this helps distribute the rare abuse by the largest, alpha loach, and establishes a stable pecking order. The yoyo loach is fairly hardy and open to water conditions, but has a tendency to prefer soft, acidic water, from a pH of 6 to around 7.4; however, with gradual acclimation, they can be kept in rather hard, alkaline water, even up to a pH of 8. As tropical fish, they prefer temperatures in a range from 24 to 27 °C (75 to 80 °F). Yoyo loaches prefer to be kept in slow-moving water, although some individuals have shown preference for faster moving waters. Being smaller than the clown loach, they can be kept in smaller tanks: a shoal of three can be kept comfortably in a heavily planted 30-US-gallon (110 L) aquarium with water changes of 10-20% per week. Lacking other fish or plants in their environment, the yoyo loach may become stressed. Being mostly docile fish, they should not be kept with highly aggressive fish. The yoyo loach can be kept comfortably with a small group of Otocinclus catfish, other loaches, as well as other passive fish. This fish can live for 20 or more years.


The yoyo loach has a tendency to hide occasionally (or permanently, with aggressive fish), especially when unaccustomed to humans, or sharing the tank with aggressive fish. They prefer to have caves in which they can fit snugly; they will ignore open caves (clown loaches readily adapt to open caves). They have been known to get stuck when the cave is too tight. They will often at various intervals simply decide to sleep and lie on their sides on whatever surface is nearby. This can cause alarm in the aquarist, who may believe the fish is dead. Once accustomed to humans (and not in the presence of aggressive fish), they will often react with excitement at their owner's approach, either by association with feeding, or out of curiosity. They can often be seen watching their owner, and occasionally following him. In the absence of aggressive tank-mates, yoyos will be more out in the open than clown loaches.

Diet and feeding[edit]

Yoyo loaches will eat a variety of foods, and should be fed accordingly. They will eat flakes, pellets, frozen brine shrimp, and freeze-dried tubifex worms. Yoyo loaches have a peculiarity in feeding, in which when they feed from the surface of the water, they generate 'clicking' noises. These same sounds can sometimes be noted while they are swimming. These clicking sounds are generated when the loach grinds its pharyngeal teeth.

The yoyo loach will readily devour snails, especially the smaller variety. Invertebrates are one of the yoyo loach's natural food sources, and freshwater shrimp and snails are not safe.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kottelat, M. (2012): Conspectus cobitidum: an inventory of the loaches of the world (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Cobitoidei). The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Suppl. No. 26: 1-199.