Yo Yo Loach Habitat, Diet, and Care

Botia lohachata

Botia lohachata - Yo Yo Loach
Yo Yo Loach. Fanche

The Yo Yo Loach is sometimes called a scaleless fish, but it actually does have small scales embedded in its skin. It's an active scavenger that is a semi-aggressive fish and lives well with its own species.

Yo Yo Loach: Basics

  • 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
  • Hardness: 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, 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 its coloration can fade out, and it is not unusual for it to play dead, much like its cousin the Clown loach. The Yo Yo has great character and has been known to recognize its owner and become excited to see him.

The Yo Yo loach also makes a clicking sound 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 it 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 burrowing into the substrate. If you think you are missing one, don't be supervised if you find it hiding in the gravel.


Yo Yo 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.


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