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Yo Yo Loach

Botia lohachata


Yo Yo Loach Barbara Brooks
  • Scientific Name: Botia lohachata
  • Other Names: Almorha Loach, Pakistani Loach, Reticulated Loach, Y-Loach
  • Family: Cobitidae
  • Origin: North and NE India, Bangladesh
  • Adult Size: 3-5 inches (7 - 13 cm)
  • Social: Active, generally peaceful
  • Tank Level: Bottom dweller
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallon
  • Diet: Omnivore, eats most foods
  • Breeding: Egglayer
  • Care: Intermediate
  • pH: 6.5 - 7.5
  • Hardenss: to 12 dGH
  • Temperature: 75-86 F (24-30 C)



Ever wonder how the Yo Yo loach got its name? If you haven't already spotted it, you'll slap your forehead when you notice the pattern of Y's and O's adorning the flanks of this lively loach. The letters are most clear when the loach is young, giving way to a more solidly reticulated pattern as the fish matures.

Both sexes are similar. However, males are generally more slender than the females, who become noticeably fat when full of eggs. Males also may show a red color around the barbels.

The mouth of the Yo Yo loach points downward, and sports four pair of barbels. When excited it's coloration can fade out, and it is not unusual for it to play dead, much like it's cousin the Clown loach. The Yo Yo has great character, and has been known to recognize, and become excited, when seeing it's owner.

Another interesting behavior exhibited by the Yo Yo loach, is the clicking sound it makes when feeding on the surface. It does so by swallowing air and forcing it through the gills.


The Yo Yo loach hails from still waters in India and Pakistan, and prefers warm, soft, acidic water. Perform frequent water changes, and keep the lighting subdued.

Keep a shoal of at least three, preferably more. Do not keep them with large or aggressive tankmates. Other small catfish, or small peaceful fish are suitable companions for Yo Yos. Provide them with plenty of places to hide, preferably ones that are not too roomy, as they prefer snug fitting places.

When first introduced to the tank, Yo Yos are nervous and may hide. Once acclimated, they will spend more time in the open. They are most active at night, and enjoy borrowing into the substrate. If you think you are missing one, don't be supervised if you find it hiding in the gravel


Yoyo loaches are easy to feed. They'll eat almost anything they are offered, from flake to frozen to freeze dried foods. A few sinking pellets fed just before turning the lights out, will quickly be devoured.

They are peculiarly fond of live foods, and will gorge themselves on bloodworms and brine shrimp. They also will consume any snails they find in the tank, sucking them right out of their shells. To maintain good health, provide a variety of foods.


Although they have not been bred in captivity, it is not unusual for mature females to fill with eggs.

Readers Respond: Have you kept a Yo Yo Loach?

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