Animal Stories - Dojo Loach

Animal-World Information about: Dojo Loach

The Dojo Loach is a true curiosity with their habit of becoming very active when there is a weather change!
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Nethemas - 2009-02-15
Jennie: it sounds as if your loach might be having trouble regulating it's "swim bladder." This can be caused by a few things including infections. This problem while not fatal per-se in and of itself, it can prevent the poor guy from reaching food at the bottom of the tank.

I would recommend paying close attention to feeding, stooling, signs of infections (raised scales, inflamed anus, swelling, etc.), behavior (lights on/off). Mean while cruise around the web looking for information on swim bladder infections, especially pertaining to loaches for which this problem is more common.
Editor's Note: There is a lot of information about swim bladder disease online, and you can also read about the symptoms and treatments here on Animal-World, on the "Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments" page. Good luck with your fish!

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  • Emma - 2010-09-27
    My dojo loach I got about 5 days ago, when I came home from school I found it resting upside-down. At first it looked like it was dead but then I saw that about every 5 seconds it would take a big gulp of water, I tried poking it and it swam around but it settled upside-down again. It has been eating and has been very active. Is this a bladder infection as well? Please help me!
Tom Curtis - 2010-05-24
Can dojo loaches survive in outdoor ponds?

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  • Mermaid - 2010-06-21
    Tom, I've had a loach in my outdoor pond here in the So.Cal area for almost a year. It's doing fine with it's mates, a handful of mosquito fish, a beautiful goldie (looks like koi, but not sure of lineage), and a crusty crawdaddy.
  • Lois Fermin - 2010-08-12
    Yes, as long as the water temperature stays below 30 degrees C. We grow them in outdoor ponds and ricefields.
Amay - 2010-08-05
I inherited my Do Jo Loach. My daughter came to live with me for her 8th grade year and her "step-mom" bought her this fish. When she came to live with me, her Dad told her that the fish had to come with her because he was not going to take care of it for her.

I thought, no big deal, fish die within about 2-3 years tops. She has now since finished high school and the darn fish still is hanging out! Then I read this darn thing, "Billy" is going to most likely live for up to 12 years! What the heck!

All in all, it is a hardly little one. I have gone days without feeding Billy. I don't bother with cleaning the tank. I have yet to get any tank mates because I have not known what kind of fish would live best with the little one. I tried a Beta fish, um, that lasted all but 3 hours before I realized that was a bad match! Then I am reading here that they need mellow fish.

So thank you for the longest living fish on earth! I think it is going to out live me! LOL!

chel-c - 2010-07-23
My loach that I recently purchased has been mauled by a freshwater puffer fish! He is still alive but all its fins have been eaten off and its mouth is severely damaged. I removed the puffer and gave it away, it's been 24hrs and my loach has uprighted himself and the neon tankmates are eating the mauled parts that hang off I believe he will make it but I'm not sure is there anything extra to do to help him? Comments will be greatly appreciated. Oh also can I put a dragonfish in with him?

Joey Bear - 2010-06-19
I was given a "weather" loach about 2 years ago and simply love her! She is in a community tank (90 gal. Bow Front) with a female Frontosa, Veil Tail Oscar, (2) Green Terrors, Livingstonii, Spotted Pleco, (2) Cories, and a baby Total Spotted Pleco. She likes to "nurture" the Smaller and/or fry fish but seems to be VERY aggressive w/all the others, what gives?! If any one wants they can contact me at my email :

Erica - 2010-05-23
I have a dojo loach which is about seven years old. She jumped out of the tank one night and dried out almost on the floor before I found her. I put her back in the tank, she recovered after a few days, losing fin ends and barble ends, but she grew them back. I introduced another loach a few months back, some time later, my large loach, now almost ten inches long, began having shed like spots on her sides and swim bladder issues. I followed the instructions of the aquarium shop people, treating with BiFuran+ with half tank water changes every other day for a week. This worked, my loach was back on the floor of the tank, not floating sideways at the top anymore. When I stop treatment, though, she gets shed spots on her and if stressed floats sideways again. Her face is now whitish, but not fuzzy, and she doesn't seem to be eating. I can't put live plants back in for her to hide in/under, until I rid the tank of medicine (the medicine killed my plants almost overnight) with more water changes, but I'm scared to do that because it seems to be a huge stressor. I don't want to lose this amazing fish, she swims (or did, when healthy) through my fingers and takes food from me. What should I do?

Andy - 2010-04-25
I have an 80gal tank. I did my reserch and have lots of sand and gravel and plenty of hiding places. I got two Dojos about 3 inches each. At first I saw both 2 or 3 times a day. Now 2 weeks in I see one if I am lucky. Also have two six inch comments and two small cwarfish plus 4 water hyacinth. Note the goldfish are very active. This is not at all what I expected from these fish. Any comments? Thanks Andy

laurie - 2010-04-19
We have had a nice dojo in our 55 gallon tank for about 3 years now. He is pretty interesting to watch. Lately he has been swimming upside down and spinning in an upside down circle. Any ideas what might be going on with him? I don't want to lose him, but at the same time if he is just going to continue going down, I would probably euthanize him. Any info is appreciated.

Erin - 2009-12-29
These are one of my favourite fish of all time. They may not be colourful, but with their ugly-cute faces, gentle temperaments, otter-like playful personalities, and their affinity for human contact, they really can grow on you. These fish have become more like pets to me than any of the other fish I have kept, and are reported to be long-lived, from 12-15 years. All of these things are the markers of an ideal pet. Over time, they can become fairly large. I now have 4 Dojo Loaches. Of the four, one is the Gold variety, and the other three are the regular Browns. I have had the original Brown pair for almost two years. My second-largest, Whiskers, is 7 inches long and fairly slender with a distinct lateral line; the upper half being golden with brown spots and the lower being lighter. The tail of Whiskers is spade-shaped. The largest of these, Tickles, is over 8 inches long and probably close to an inch in diameter. I believe this one is female. She is grayish brown with all-over darker spots, and has a rounded tail. I have wondered if these two are slightly different species, though I purchased them at the same time. The final two Loaches are my babies; Jackie and No-Feet. Jackie is the one of gold variety. His body is peach-coloured, and very slender compared to that of No-Feet, who is about the same length at 4", and resembles Tickles most in looks and body type. Jackie is a standout among the bunch. He got this name from Jackie Chan, as he is always moving about the tank and performing curious antics such as draping himself over plants and hanging there in odd positions. Jackie and No-Feet can often be found swimming together throughout all levels of the tank. Tickles and Whiskers used to be more active, but it seems as they have aged, they have become more sedentary, spending their days resting near or under a log. Sometimes I will find all four of my Dojos resting on top of eachother. When I bought the first ones, I knew nothing about them. I was told they could be kept together or alone. I got one, but before even leaving the store, changed my mind and got another on a hunch. I now know these fish are at their best in groups, and each time I introduce a new member, it is immediately accepted and brought into the Loach Clan. The Dojos have been nothing but gentle towards my other fish, and have a special relationship with their nonspecific Loachmates, especially the Kuhli Loaches and the Peppered Loaches (Lepidocephalichthys). Both these other types from time to time will join on the Loach Pile. This is funny and entertaining to watch. I am currently keeping them in a 55 Gallon Community, but am planning to upgrade to a 75 soon so they can have more room. This new tank will take into consideration their requirements for hiding spots, resting spots, and places to explore. In my experience, robust plants are best, as Dojos like to redecorate. Sometimes this is purposeful (that PLANT is in my favourite spot!), and sometimes it is not. Any finer-leaved or stemmed plants are usually knocked around unintentionally. I have found Amazon Swords, larger Cryptocoryne, and Giant Vallisneria are excellent for having extended root systems less likely to be dug up or disturbed. Other good plant choices include ones you can tie down to wood such as Anubias or Java Fern. Ideal tankmates for these fish are larger Barbs and Rainbowfish who, like the Dojo, enjoy cooler temperatures. If you would like something smaller, Danios or Rasboras might fit the bill, but I would stay away from the Giant Danio. I brought a trio of these home once, and though they were not aggressive, their constant racing around the tank was unsettling to my Loaches. They began to burrow and hide until only their eyes were showing. It has been a wonderful experience having these fish, and they are my main concern when designing this new tank. Enjoy your Loaches!

Trish S - 2009-11-23
I've had dojo loaches for several years now. I used to have a pair, but the female died a year or so ago along with several other fish. The male, though, is still going strong. The funniest thing about this pair was their personalities. The female was forever bullying the male. His growth even seemed to be stunted while she was in the tank hen-pecking him. Once she died, though, his growth increased significantly. He'll never be as big as she was, but he filled out quite nicely. Now, though, the chinese algae eater tends to pick on him some. He's just so laid back, that he doesn't really seem to care much.

My dojo is in a 26 gal planted community tank with mollies, neon tetras, upside down catfish, and the algae eater. He's probably six to eight inches long (I haven't bothered to try to measure him). With the exception of the algae eater, he gets along wonderfully with his tank mates. He's one of the most interesting fish in the tank that can be seen regularly (since the upside down cats like to hide during the day), and I can't imagine not having him in my tank! He likes to kick back and relax on the heater (which isn't currently on, because winter has not really hit our area yet). He can also be found darting up to the surface to take a gulp of air now and then - especially when the weather is unsettled. Since I'm in Missouri, that's fairly frequently! He's very friendly with me, and he seems to enjoy being "petted". I don't do it frequently, though, because I worry about messing up his slime coat. I don't let the kids do it, because I worry about their dirty hands in my tank!

He does burrow down in the gravel, and there has been more than once when I thought he'd died because all I saw sticking up out of the gravel was his tail. After a few minutes, though, he'd wiggle his way out and swim up to the top! It's awesome to watch. I don't panic so much now when I can't find him, because it usually just means he's doing what dojos do. I don't let myself get attached to my fish very often, but I can honestly say that I love this fish. I would be heartbroken if something happened to him.