The Dojo Loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) or Pond Loach, is a type of freshwater fish that hails from parts of Asia. It’s found in streams and ponds of countries like China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. One of the unique traits of this species is its response to barometric pressure changes. It’s known to swim erratically or even take on a vertical swimming position when a storm is near. Because of this behavior, it’s earned the nickname “Weather Loach.”
As a nocturnal, bottom-dwelling fish, the Dojo Loach is most active during the night and tends to rest during the day. Ever seen a fish interact with humans and other fish? That’s a trait this type of loach is known for. It’s a peaceful, active, and social creature that brings a distinct character to any home aquarium.
Dojo Loaches have broad tastes when it comes to their diet. They are omnivores that feed on a variety of foods. This vast dietary range allows them to adapt to multiple feeding regimes, easy for any aquarium owner to manage.
Living between 7 to 10 years, these fish can thrive in diverse temperatures and conditions, making them a favored choice among the aquarium community.
What Are the Physical Characteristics of Dojo Loach?
A Dojo Loach is often mistaken for an eel because of its streamlined, long body. This similarity stems from a rounded upper body that gradually flattens as it reaches the tail. Don’t overlook the little fins and sleek tail too.
Apart from the distinctive shape, they have five pairs of barbels. These whisker-like features around the mouth aren’t just for show, they serve as essential sensory tools. The Dojo Loach uses them to scout out food and sense their surroundings underwater.
The diversity of Dojo Loach colors is another fascinating aspect you will appreciate. Common colors range from light gray and olive-green to the warmer shades of yellow and brown. Some exhibit variances, including lighter bellies or spotted highlights. Then there’s the golden Dojo Loach variant with an eye-catching mix of orange-gold to pink-orange hues.
Sexual dimorphism is prevalent in Dojo Loaches, particularly regarding size. You’ll notice females are larger than males, a trait setting the species apart. On the other hand, male Dojo Loaches flaunt longer, sharper pectoral fins compared to their female counterparts. Females often exhibit fuller bellies, another unique identifying feature.
How to Set up A Tank for Dojo Loach?
When setting up a tank for Dojo Loach, you need to pay attention to tank size, water parameters, and the overall environment. These are important to ensure your fish thrives.
What Is the Ideal Tank Size for Dojo Loach?
Dojo Loaches can reach up to 12 inches in size and prefer a group of at least three. Ideally, a 100-gallon tank is best. But if your budget or space is tight, a 55-gallon tank can also work.
Length and width matter more than the total volume of the tank. A tank of at least 4 feet long gives enough room for these active swimmers. If you aim for a bigger shoal of Dojo Loaches, add 5 to 10 gallons of tank size per extra fish.
What Are the Preferred Water Parameters for Dojo Loach?
Proper water conditions are key for the well-being of your fish.
Dojo Loaches prefer clean and warm water. Aquarists must ensure that water temperature, pH levels, and other water parameters are within optimal levels for their fish.
- Temperature: Dojo Loaches thrive best at temperatures of 65°F to 75°F (18.3°C to 23.9°C) in captivity. However, they can live in a broad range of 50°F to 82°F (10.0°C to 27.8°C). Too warm for too long can make their life shorter.
- pH Level: Dojo Loaches do well in pH levels from 6.0 to 8.0, but a range of 7.4 to 7.6 makes them happiest.
- Ammonia/Nitrite: Keep these at zero. High levels are toxic to all fish.
- Water Hardness: These fish are resilient and can tolerate a wide range of water hardness levels.
Having steady water conditions cuts stress for your fish. Make time for regular water changes and check the water often.
What Kind of Environment Does Dojo Loach Prefer in The Tank?
A tank that closely resembles the natural habitat of a Dojo Loach promotes its well-being and activity. Choosing a smooth, soft substrate lets your fish burrow and move around with ease. Sand or tiny pebbles are great choices.
When it comes to tank decor, less is more. Dojo Loaches don’t need fancy decor, but they love spots to hide. You can use hardy plants like Java Ferns and aquatic mosses, or driftwood and caves for shelter. But keep in mind, they might dig up plants that root in the sand.
Good water flow and oxygen are also key for a Dojo Loach tank. Use a sub-surface filter or air stones to make a moderate flow.
Dojo Loaches has the ability to escape. They are known to climb filter tubes or jump from the top of the tank. So, a tank lid is a smart buy.
What Are the Ideal Tank Mates for Dojo Loach?
Dojo Loaches are sociable and love the company of other peaceful fish. However, they’re not fans of very small or overly big fish that may be aggressive. Curiously, these docile bottom-dwellers exhibit an aggressive side if they go hungry. But there are plenty of fish that could share the tank with your Dojo Loach without you encountering any issues.
White Cloud Minnows are excellent tank mates for Dojo Loaches. Known for their peaceful demeanor, they coexist well with Dojo Loaches. Similarly, Zebra Danios are active swimmers and can comfortably flourish in similar conditions as the Dojo Loach.
Kuhli Loach also makes ideal tank mate. It shares similar behaviors and habitat preferences with Dojo Loaches. Harlequin Rasboras, gentle and pleasing to the eye, can also live comfortably with Dojo Loaches.
Bichirs are yet another good addition. They are bottom dwellers too and peaceful companions for the Dojos. Rosy Barbs are non-aggressive by nature and manage well with Dojo Loaches within the same temperature range. Leopard Danios also don’t pose a threat thanks to their peaceful, non-threatening demeanor.
Even Goldfish can be considered. They are coldwater fish and can live compatibly with Dojo Loaches.
What Should You Feed Dojo Loach?
Taking care of your Dojo Loach means knowing what to feed your fish. This part of the guide will help you understand the feeding patterns of Dojo Loach.
What Is the Natural Diet of Dojo Loach?
Dojo Loaches are not fussy eaters. They eat both plant and animal matter in the wild.
They savor a good meal of algae, dead fish, and small bugs. Fish eggs and tiny water creatures are also a part of their daily diet in their natural environment.
What Are the Recommended Foods for Dojo Loach in Captivity?
Dojo Loaches in a tank enjoy a wide range of foods. You can rely on store-bought fish foods. Flakes, pellets, and sinking wafers should be their main meal. These provide them with key nutrients.
To supplement their diet, give them live or frozen foods. They can enjoy bloodworms, brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and more.
Fresh veggies and fruits are also good additions to their diet. Zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, and green beans can be tossed into the tank. Slice the fruits into bits so they can nibble at them.
Note: Feed Dojo Loaches food that sinks. Veggies and fruit slices should be small enough to sink to the bottom of the tank.
Also, remember that Dojo Loaches are night-time feeders. Take care not to overfeed them. Leftover food can make the water bad.
How Often Should You Feed Dojo Loach?
Ideally, try to feed your Dojo Loaches thrice a day. Mix store-bought fish food with live or frozen foods. You can also add veggies and fruits to ensure your fish stays healthy and active.
Also, remember to clean the tank regularly after feeding. It will ensure the tank remains clean and the Dojo Loaches stay healthy.
How Does Dojo Loach Behave?
Dojo Loaches are known for their peaceful and social ways. They love to play around with their settings and other fish.
What Is the Typical Behavior of Dojo Loach?
Dojo Loaches live at the bottom of the water body in their natural environment. They like to dig into the base, often with just their eyes poking out. They’ve got a special way of reacting to changes in air pressure. They often swim in a funny way or even straight upright when a storm is about to hit. You can see this act even in an enclosed space.
Dojo Loaches loves to play. They may wrap around each other or touch each other lightly. They have a curious streak and might swim up to your hands or eat from your palms once they’re at ease.
These fish are night owls by nature. That means they are more lively during the night. They even swim to the surface of the water to gulp the air if oxygen levels drop.
What Are the Social Behaviors of Dojo Loach?
Dojo Loaches love to be in action. They frequently make gentle contact with each other. This shows their fun-loving nature.
In addition, Dojo Loaches are peaceful and go into hiding when scared but stay out in the open when at ease. These fish are very social and playful when in a large group.
How Does Dojo Loach Interact with Other Fish?
Dojo Loaches are very peaceful fish. They can live alone, but they do best in small groups of three or four fish. They can be rather social with other peaceful fish; you may even see them playfully chase one another around the tank.
They have small mouths so they can’t eat even small tank mates despite their own size. But it’s key to find fish that can live in the same kind of space and not harm the Dojo Loaches.
Any fish that won’t cause much trouble can make good tank mates for Dojo Loaches. Most Dojo Loaches are peaceful and non-aggressive toward other fish. Some fish keepers have seen them nipping fins rarely. This is most likely due to a lack of food or hiding spots.
How to Breed Dojo Loach?
Read on to learn all about the breeding process of Dojo Loaches.
What Are the Signs of A Pregnant Dojo Loach?
Is your Dojo Loach pregnant? This can be hard to tell. They often hide pregnancies with subtle changes. Yet certain hints can clue you in. Look for these signs:
- Swollen belly: This could be a telltale sign your Dojo Loach is ready to breed. Look for a belly as thick as a tree trunk.
- Visible eggs: You can see small, white orbs in the belly of the fish.
- Change in behavior: If your Dojo Loach rests more and breathes heavily, it can be pregnant.
- Color changes: The fish belly may turn a bit pale.
- Male Courting: When the breeding starts, the male courts the female. This could last hours until eggs are released for the male to fertilize.
These signs are not fullproof. They could also mean your fish is sick. If unsure, check with a veterinarian.
How to Set up A Breeding Tank for Dojo Loach?
Want to breed your Dojo loach? Set up the ideal space using these tips:
- Tank size: Choose a tank of 20 gallons or more for room to move.
- Groundwork: Use sand or fine gravel – Dojo likes to dig.
- Plants: Add lots of water plants to hide and lay eggs.
- Water: Slightly increase the water temperature and keep it clean. Dojo Loach does best in temperatures of 50°F to 75°F (10.0°C to 23.9°C) and pH of 6.0 to 8.0.
- Light: Set light exposure to at least 12 hours per day. This helps mimic nature.
- Filtration: Use a sponge filter to spare the fry from being pulled in.
- Food: Feed a balanced diet of fish food, live or frozen food, and veggies.
After a successful breed, move the plants with the eggs to a fry tank. Watch for the eggs to hatch. Once they do, feed them liquid food for a week. Then, bring in small shrimp and crushed food. Remember, breeding Dojo Loach can be a challenge, and success is not a sure thing.
What Is the Breeding Process of Dojo Loach?
Dojo Loaches are ready to breed between 2 to 3 years old. To induce breeding, keep the tank cool, and reduce the light during winter. This maps to their natural spring breeding in the wild.
The female leads the male into the plants, releases the eggs, and then the male wraps her in a loose ring.
Following breeding, the female lays about 50 eggs that hatch within 3 days. For a week following hatching, feed the fry liquid food. It’s worth stating that a cool water change can trigger a spawn session. So if you’re eager for fry, this can be a good trick.
How to Maintain the Health of Dojo Loach?
What Is the Lifespan of Dojo Loach?
The lifespan of a Dojo Loach can vary based on factors such as diet and tank conditions. In the wild, they live up to 10 years. But with good care and cooler tank water, a Dojo Loach can live for 10 to 15 years or even more. Dojo loaches thrive best in cool water.
What Are the Common Health Issues of Dojo Loach?
Dojo Loaches do have a range of health issues you should watch out for. Their reduced body scales make them prone to diseases. Fin rot often affects Dojo Loaches in poor health. Skinny disease is when your fish loses weight despite eating well. Parasitic infections are a common problem too, they can cause bloating in your fish.
Bloating has many causes, so you might need to change your fish’s diet to treat it. Hole in the head disease can be treated with Paraclense. Swim bladder issues cause the fish to float and signal poor health. Worn barbels mean either an infection or damage from a rough substrate. White spots or patches on the skin are signs of a parasite or fungus.
Dojo Loaches are particularly sensitive to various medications used to treat numerous diseases. Therefore, it’s usually necessary to have a separate hospital tank. Regularly checking the water conditions and ensuring good water quality can help avoid these health problems. If you observe any symptoms of these diseases in your Dojo Loach, you should consult a fish health professional or a knowledgeable aquarist.
How to Ensure the Health of Dojo Loach?
To keep your Dojo Loach healthy, follow these steps:
- Monitor Water Quality: Poor water leads to stress and disease in Dojo Loaches. Make sure to test your water and change 30% of it every week.
- Tank Setup: Your tank should have a soft substrate for the loaches to burrow, hiding spots, and a good water flow. Make your tank secure to keep your fish from escaping.
- Temperature: Keep your tank’s water at a cool 50°F to 75°F (10°C to 24°C) to ensure a long life for your Dojo Loaches.
- Diet: Feed your fish a balanced and varied diet. Use commercial fish food, live or frozen food, and veggies. Adjust the amount of your feed based on your fish’s size.
- Tank Mates: Choose peaceful, compatible tank mates that can survive in the same water conditions.
- Health Checks: Monitor your Dojo Loaches for signs of illness like fin rot, bloating, or parasitic infections. If you spot any of these issues, get help from a fish health expert.
Regular checks and the right care can ensure a healthy life for your Dojo Loach.