Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Botia almorhae

Yo-Yo Loach

YoYo loach, Botia almorhaeYoYo loach, Botia almorhae
Photos by Andy Rapson


Botia: Named for Katsuma Kubota, in appreciation for his help with various projects and for the gift of valuable material, including the first known specimens of this species with locality information.

General Notes:

Yoyo loaches are generally very peaceful and a little shy at first. If kept with large aggressive species they will remain quite shy and they will manage to hide in the tightest of crevices. It isn't unusual for a fish keeper to assume they have been lost because of this. When kept with other peaceful fish they will lose their shyness and become quite bold especially when kept in a group with their own kind. Very occasionally Yoyo loaches (and other similar loaches) become rogues and begin eating the eyes of other fish in the tank during the night. This is quite rare but if you discover one of your fish has lost an eye during the night and you have loaches then it is likely that one of them has become a rogue and it will have to be removed for the safety of the other fish. As mentioned previously, Yoyo loaches are one of the best fish to control a snail problem. They also have a hierarchy when kept in a group and individuals will be seen sparring with each other from time to time, this is to try and raise their status in the pecking order and has nothing to do with breeding.


In the wild yoyo loaches feed mainly on small worms, crustaceans and molluscs and other insects. In captivity they will accept flake food, freeze dried food and both live or frozen food. They are also great for controlling snails including the Malaysian burrowing snail which can become a nuisance if left unchecked. They prefer to be fed just as the tank lights go off because their mainly activity at dusk and dawn.


There is no clear or reliable method of sexing yoyo loaches. But when adult it is said that females are more plump than the males.


Yoyo loaches are bred in captivity using hormones to stimulate spawning activity. Breeding in the home aquaria by a hobbyist is almost unheard of, but it isn't unusual for a mature female to come in to breeding condition and fill with eggs when given good care.

Wild status

Yoyo loaches are still common in the wild and not under any immediate threat.

Information at a glance

pH: 6.5 - 7.5
dGH: 5 - 12
Temperature: 24 - 27°C (75 - 80°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 15cm (6in)
Min tank size: 100 litres
Difficulty level: Easy
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Bottom

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for YoYo loach, Botia almorhae

Origin: Asia: India and Nepal. Young are common in lower reaches and adults appear to migrate to higher elevations in the Himalayas reaching as north as Katmandu in Nepal, Almorha in Kumaon and Srinagar in Garhwal Himalayas

Habitat: Hill streams. Rocky and gravelly areas of river pools.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cobitidae
Genus: Botia
Species: B. almorhae Gray, 1831

Common name:
YoYo loach, Pakistani loach

Synonyms: Botia dayi, Botia grandis, Botia lohachata, Botia rostrata