|Typical aquarium specimen labelled as Botia almorhae, but these are likely a related species (see text).|
J. E. Gray, 1831
Botia grandi Gray, 1832
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 the Ganges basin in northern India and possibly Nepal. Despite the alternative common name Pakistani loach, the true B. almorhae is not known from Pakistan (the species in this country is B. birdi).
It may attain a length of 14–16 cm (5.5–6.3 in), and is named for its dark and pale patterns, which often can be seen to spell "yoyo" (especially in smaller/younger specimens), hence the common name yoyo loach. The final common name, Almora loach, refers to Almora in Uttarakhand, India. Specimens labelled as B. almorhae are commonly found in the aquarium trade, but most (if not all) of these appear to be the closely related B. lohachata, two possibly undescribed species popularly referred to as B. sp. "Kosi" and B. sp. "Teesta", or hybrids.
In the aquarium
The yoyo loach is frequently kept in aquariums and is relatively docile toward most other aquarium inhabitants; though, a playful group of hyperactive yoyo loachs can bump & bawl other fish's schooling behavior.
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 tolerate 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, and play in the air-bubbler. Lacking other fish or plants in their environment, the yoyo loach may become stressed; the yoyo loach needs environment stimulation. 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.
In an aquarium, the yoyo loach has a tendency to hide occasionally, especially when sharing the tank with aggressive fish; though in a tank with no aggressors, a school of yoyo loaches can act more like a pack of hyperactive puppies, being constantly at play, dig-up / probing the aquarium floor in the morning, afternoon siesta snoozing on the aquarium floor or in logs or in plants and in their favorite hide-holes, and sleeping in close proximity of each other. When sleeping, an observer may inadvertently think that the yoyo loach has died; watch for period beating of the fish's gills as sign of life.
Yoyo loaches prefer to have caves in which they can fit snugly and will ignore open caves.
Yoyo loaches will eat a variety of foods, such as processed flake or pellet food, frozen foods, and freeze-dried foods; and as a pack may mercy-kill & consume sick small-fish. When they feed, they generate 'clicking' noises. These same sounds can sometimes be observed while they are swimming. These clicking sounds are generated when the loach grinds its pharyngeal teeth. The yoyo loach will eat smaller snails in the aquarium; as such, a pack of yoyo loaches can be a perfect means to control snail infestations.
- List of freshwater aquarium fish species
- The Aquarium Wiki Encyclopaedia—Care information for yoyo loaches
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Botia almorhae" in FishBase. 09 2014 version.
- "Botia almorhae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 12 June 2006.
- SeriouslyFish: Botia almorhae. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Grant, S. (2007). Fishes of the genus Botia Gray, 1831, in the Indian region (Teleostei: Botiidae). Ichthyofile 2: 1-106
- Chaudhry, S. (2010). "Botia almorhae". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2010: e.T168483A6500554. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T168483A6500554.en. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- 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.
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