Yoyo Loach Info and Care

Loaches are always an interesting addition to an aquarium. However, most loaches often tend to be a bit reclusive, the Yoyo loach is a happy exception to that, and here is a closer look at this really lively and playful fish.

A little background

This fish is known by many names including Pakistan loach which is a misnomer as this fish does not originate from Pakistan. Instead, it is naturally found in the upper reaches of the different rivers in India and Nepal.

These are fishes with a highly streamlined body which is very typical of a loach. Its silver coloration with black bands makes it a very striking fish that will liven up the aesthetics of any aquarium it is introduced into. Sometimes, the black bands can look as if they are spelling out the word ‘Yoyo’ which is where this loach gets its most common name.

Yoyo Loach Natural Habitat

Yoyo Loach

Even though these fish naturally occur in rivers, their typical habitat is usually located in the slow-moving parts of the riverine systems they inhabit. They spend most of their time near the bottom of the river amongst pebbles and rocks where they forage for food. These places are usually devoid of vegetation with plenty of open spaces. These fish commonly move in groups often darting in open water from one spot to another

Ideal Tank Setup

As is the case with any fish, trying to replicate the natural habitat of the fish in question is often recommended but the yoyo loach isn’t too picky when it comes to the tank setup. You can almost use any type of substrate as long as there is one. If you are using something sandy or fine, make sure to add plenty of pebbles.

The ideal substrate would be a combination of coarse gravel and pebbles. Also, add plenty of decorations so that these fish have plenty of places to retreat to if and when they feel threatened.

As for plants, these loaches really don’t care. It is all up to you. Just make sure to leave plenty of open spaces to accommodate their highly active lifestyle. As these loaches are highly social, you will need to keep at least four of them together and that means a tank that is at least 40 gallons in size when the fish are young. For adults, you will need to provide at least 15 gallons per fish.  This number is not set in stone just be sure to use your best judgment.

Keep water flow to a minimum especially along the bottom of the tank.

Yoyo Loach Diet

This is perhaps the easiest aspect of keeping these fishes. Thanks to their penchant for scavenging and active foraging, getting them to eat isn’t an issue. They are also active during the day, which while being a rarity among loaches is incredibly helpful in keeping them well-fed. As for the food itself, they will accept almost anything that will sink to the bottom of the tank. To keep them healthy, provide these fish with a mix of plant-based foods and protein-rich foods.  


Yoyo loaches are highly endearing and a lot of that comes down to their inquisitive and curious behavior. They can bring life to any aquarium thanks to their constant movement and foraging. They also keep mostly to themselves and this coupled with their generally peaceful disposition makes them a great addition to a community tank. They can occasionally show some aggression towards others of their own kind but it very rarely amounts to anything serious. They go back to foraging and generally swim about after chasing each other for a short while.

Water Parameters

Like all loaches, the yoyo loach has few scales and thin skin. This makes them vulnerable to a lot of diseases and that is why it is important to keep the tank’s water parameters as close to perfect for them as possible. They are generally hardy but if they are exposed to rapidly fluctuating conditions or a tank that is too dirty for prolonged periods of time, they can become sick which is usually fatal for these fish. On the plus side, it does not take a lot of effort to create the conditions that these fishes thrive in. Here is a summary of what these fish prefer when it comes to the water condition.

  • Temperature: 75°F to 86°F or 24°C to 30°C
  • pH: 6.5-7.5
  • Hardness Range: 3-10 dGH

Stability is key to keeping these fish happy and healthy and you can achieve that very easily by using a good filtration system and following a regular maintenance and partial water change schedule.

These fish can also be particularly vulnerable to ammonia and nitrites and that is why it is very important to only introduce them in tanks that have been properly cycled. While they can tolerate small amounts of nitrates, it is advisable not to let the nitrate levels become too high.

YoYo Loach Tankmates

neon tetra

While these fish are on the smaller side and they generally have a peaceful disposition, they have the ability to fend for themselves and can stand up to more aggressive fish. This ideal combination of tenacity and a peaceful disposition makes them a great fit as tankmates for a large range of fish. As long as their tankmates aren’t too big or too fast, the yoyo loach would do just fine. Some great tankmates for the yoyo loach include

Do keep in mind that these loaches are vociferous feeders of crustaceans and hence they should not be mixed with snails and shrimps.


In their natural habitats, these fish migrate for breeding purposes and as this is pretty much impossible to replicate in the home aquarium, breeding the yoyo loach in captivity, especially in a home setup, is not something that is feasible.

If you’ve had success breeding yoyo loaches in the past let me know in the comments.

Loaches as a whole are great fish and their inquisitive and curious behavior gives them an adorable outlook and the yoyo loach is a slightly underrated gem of this family. It is active during the day which makes it a great addition to a display tank. If you are building a community tank then definitely consider these fish as they will add tons of personality to the tank without asking a lot in return.

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