Dojo Loach Care Guide

A Dojo Loach freshwater species fish is one of the most popular types of aquarium fish. They are also known as a Pond Loach or Weather Loach.

They are exotic-looking fish that are easy to care for.  They are active, friendly, and loved by almost all aquarists.

Even though the newest fish hobbyist can easily care for the Dojo Leach, it is still important to have a solid understanding of the type of environment they need to thrive.

This guide will teach you how to care for your Dojo Loach, including their ideal water conditions, what they eat and how often, their best tank mates, and more.

Species Summary

Dojo Loach Quick Look

Care Level: Beginner

Tank Size: 30-gallon minimum, 55+ gallon recommended

Water Requirement: 6.0 to 8.0 pH level

Water Hardness: 5 to 12 dH (degree hardness)

Water Temperature: 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (68-72 degrees F is ideal)

Adult Size: 6-10 inches

Lifespan: 10 years

Social: Peaceful, community tank acceptable

Tank Mates: Species with cooler water preference

Tank Level: Bottom dweller

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The Dojo Loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) originates from Asia and resides in ponds, lakes, and rivers.

They currently swim in China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Siberia, and many other places in their natural habitat.

Dojo Loaches are known bottom dwellers, making them an excellent choice for help in keeping your tank clean. They act as a vacuum cleaner, sucking up practically everything that has fallen to the bottom of the aquarium.

If they suck up something they don’t like, they simply spit it out and move on.

Dojo Loach is a superb freshwater fish for numerous reasons.

Not only are they undemanding and simple to care for, but they also have a high tolerance to a wide range of water temperatures. However, their preference is colder water.

They typically grow to the size of 6 to 10 inches in length. It is important to house them in a spacious aquarium to allow for full growth.

They earned the secondary name of Weather Loach because their mood changes when the barometric pressure changes. It is not uncommon to see them going into a vertical swim as they erratically move through the water when a weather change is on the way.

Lifespan

The lifespan of the Dojo Loach can be anywhere from 7-10 years, depending on several factors.

Even though they are tolerant of many living conditions, they do provide proper care to fully thrive.

Water temperature and aquarium size are two of the biggest factors that are important in your setup and care routine.

Appearance

The Dojo Loach is not a colorful fish. It resembles an eel with a similar elongated body and olive color. The underbelly is a cream color.

They can have a stripe from the front to the back of their body, or brown spots covering the body.

The color of the Dojo Loach can appear yellow, green, brown, and grey, allowing them to camouflage into their environment making them hard to locate in your tank.

Similar to the Dojo Loach is the Gold Dojo Loach, which has a yellow hue, giving them their name. They are of similar nature and make an acceptable tank mate.

A feature known to the Loach fish species is a pointed appearance in the head.

The mouth points downward and is surrounded by six sensitive barbels that resemble a cleaning dust mop, allowing them to find food and bury themselves under the tank substrate or weaseling their way into your aquarium decor.

They have pectoral fins located behind their gills. Owners have reported them resting on their pectoral fins resembling using them like they have arms.

Aquarium Setup and Habitat

To continue to grow and thrive, Dojo Loaches have specific tank requirements that cannot be overlooked.

They need to have plenty of room to move around. Therefore, the tank should not be less than 30 gallons, with a 55-gallon tank as optimal.

Of course, if you have more than one Dojo Loach in your tank, it needs to be larger to accommodate the number you have, as well as take into account the other species living in the tank.

Even though this fish is known for being a bottom dweller, it visits the mid-water area and sees the top part of the tank often.

Be sure that when you get a tank for your Dojo Loach, there are no open spaces where the fish can jump out.

They have often been called an escape artist by owners with their ability to jump out of the tank.

If this happens, your fish will likely survive if you get them back into the water fairly quickly, as they have the ability to survive outside of water.

A favorite activity for Dojo Loaches is to burrow into the substrate of the tank. Therefore, substrate that is soft and muddy is the best choice.

They like to hide so decor that gives them hiding places is a great choice to help your fish feel more secure and like they are living in their natural habitat.

Excellent options are caves and aquatic plants to keep your tropical misgurnus anguillicaudatus happy and thriving.

Water Conditions

Although Dojo Loaches are capable of surviving in various water temperatures, they are much happier in water that is between 64 degrees to 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

While they can survive in water as cold as 40 degrees Fahrenheit, this is not advisable. They will not thrive in this environment.

Maintaining a consistent water temperature is best for the Dojo Loach to prevent them from developing stress.

The ideal water hardness for the Dojo Loach is 5 degrees to 12 degrees dH, and the pH level is between 6.0 and 8.0.

It is recommended to check your water conditions once or twice a week to ensure that everything is as stable as possible.

Diet and Food

The Dojo Loach is not a picky eater. In fact, as an Omnivore they will eat practically anything.

In the wild, they primarily feed off of algae. This can be emulated with a diet of spirulina-based flake or pellets, in addition to high-quality flake food.

If you prefer to feed them vegetables, this is completely fine as well.

Blanched zucchini medallions, cucumber medallions, and shelled peas are prime vegetables for the Weather Loach.

PRO TIP

Dojo Loach has a strong sense of taste for fish eggs. If you are breeding any tank mates, it is best to remove them from the tank.

Also, because Dojo Loach are bottom-dwellers, they often scoop up eggs just from grazing the bottom of the aquarium.

Diseases

Dojo Loaches are often quicker to get sick than other freshwater animals.

Since their scales are tinier in size, they offer less protection to disease and illness. It is not uncommon for these misgurnus anguillicaudatus to have fungal or bacterial infections.

The most common disease the Dojo Loach can get is a highly contagious disease called Ich.

This causes white spots of infection to form all over the body.

It is recommended that you keep the tank empty and at 80 degrees for 96 hours to eliminate the disease. Dojo loaches can have Ich outbreaks repeatedly and survive.

However, if the parasite gets into the gills, survival is unlikely.

Another fairly common parasitic infection, called skinny disease, is also well-known to the Dojo Loach. This infection causes the fish to lose weight, even when feeding the right foods and sustaining the correct water conditions.

If you see any possible signs of distress in your Dojo Loach, it might be a good idea to quarantine him away from the other fish immediately and consult your veterinarian.

Temperament and Behavior

Dojo loaches are an introverted species.

When they are comfortable, they swim out in the open, but when a Dojo is scared, they will hide away in their caves or bury themselves.

On the other hand, the Weather Loach is a highly social fish species. They get along with other fish well.

They also appear to be intrigued with human interaction. Owners have stated their Dojo Loach locks eyes with them.

Overall, this species is very active and will make it a goal to roam around the aquarium constantly.

Breeding

There is limited information about the breeding interaction of Dojo Loaches, making breeding a difficult task for aquarists.

If you want to give it a try, ensure you have a male and female then make the environment as ideal as possible. Stable water conditions will give you the best chance for eggs to spawn.

Aquarium Mates

Because of the peaceful nature of the Dojo Loach, they can share space with about any other fish species that have the same peaceful demeanor.

The most difficult part of making the decision on which aquarium mates your Dojo Loach should have is finding tropical fish that thrive in a similar water environment.

The majority of tropical fish need warmer water than the Dojo, making it a challenge to create a community of various fish with your Dojo Loach part of the group.

Some of the best tank mates are:’

  • Goldfish
  • Paradise Fish
  • Zebra Danios
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnow
  • Their own species – more Dojo Loach

This fish species prefers to have friends around them at all times. They like groups and tend to show their personality more when they have other Dojo Loaches to play with.

Most research studies share that they are happiest in groups of three.

FAQ: Recap plus Additional Details

The following questions are commonly asked about Dojo Loaches.

What water temperature does a Dojo Loach prefer?

Room temperature, between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, is the perfect water temperature for the Dojo Loach.

However, they can survive in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum of 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

What size tank do they prefer?

Dojo Loaches prefer a large space around them. Also, since they are bottom feeders, they need to have plenty of room to find food.

The recommended aquarium size is at least 55 gallons. However, this depends on various factors, one being the number of total fish residing in the tank.

Generally speaking, a larger tank is much better for this species.

Are Dojo Loaches aggressive?

The Dojo Loach is seldom viewed as an aggressive fish.

They have been known to show aggressive behavior toward fish that are much smaller than them. However, this is not a typical characteristic of the Dojo Loach.

The ideal community for the Dojo is with other species that share the love of a calm and peaceful environment.

What do Dojo Loaches eat?

Dojo Loaches primarily feed off of algae in the wild; therefore, replicating that with spirulina pellets or flakes is an ideal diet for them.

They are also happy eating vegetables. Be sure to peel them for complete safety.

If you prefer to feed your pet a variety of foods, great choices are sinking shrimp pellets, freeze-dried or frozen blood worms, and vitamin-enriched flak foods.

How active are Dojo Loaches?

Dojo Loaches are known for being peaceful fish.

However, they can be seen playing with other Dojo Loaches if you keep your eye on them.

Can a Dojo Loach live alone?

The Dojo Loach is capable of living alone in an aquarium.

However, this would not be the preferred way that they live. This species of fish tends to prefer having at least one to three companions to hang around with in their aquarium.

How can you tell if a Dojo Loach is a male or female?

The external differences between a male and female Dojo Loach are minimal.

However, there are a couple of subtle factors that can be used to guide you.

First, mature male Dojo Loaches have a thicker and longer second ray. This gives them more of a triangular appearance.

On a female, the pectoral fins are smaller and rounder. They usually show a fuller stomach, with the female generally larger in size than the male.

Do Dojo Loaches eat vegetables?

Vegetables are acceptable to feed a Dojo Loach.

Owners report favorites are zucchini, cucumbers, and broccoli. Peas are also an excellent choice. However, it is essential they are shelled prior to feeding.

How much should I feed my Dojo Loach?

The preferred method of feeding is in smaller quantities a couple of times a day.

It is best to feed them an amount of food that they can consume in less than two minutes.

Final Words

Dojo Loaches are excellent freshwater pets.

They are peaceful, simple to care for, and rewarding to own.