Yoyo loaches are some of the most loved fish species in aquariums. Unfortunately, they do not make the best tank mates, especially if you target adding snails. Yoyo loaches are omnivorous fish types that happily enjoy live foods like snails and shrimp.
Snails are beautiful to keep in the tank, but adding yoyo loaches isn’t a good idea unless you want to control the snail population. Yoyo loaches will eat snails, a great source of proteins, iron, calcium, and other nutrients important to the fish.
Kuhli loaches also feed on snails, just like their Yoyo cousins. As such, unless you’re okay with the loaches feeding on the snails, it’s not a good practice to keep them together.
Why do yoyo loaches eat snails?
Yoyo loaches are excellent snail hunters and can sometimes dig through the substrate in search of burrowed snails. Neither your pet nor those unwanted tiny pest snails in the tank will be spared.
When new in the tank, yoyo loaches might show little interest in eating snails as they probably have not been introduced to them before. However, their instincts often kick in as they continue growing, and no sooner do you realize all the snails will be gone.
It will only take a few weeks for the loaches to start attacking and feeding on their favourite meal. Pregnant yoyo loaches will always stage more attacks on the snails as they crave more nutrients for egg development. Mature male loaches aren’t exempted from this.
If you struggle to control the snails in your aquarium population, yoyo loaches are the ideal option. They will give the best results naturally while maintaining the water quality in the aquarium. Besides, you will not have dull moments with the fish in your tank.
Benefits of feeding snails to yoyo loach
Yoyo loaches are omnivorous, implying that they eat plants and other animals. The fishes derive various nutritional values from the foods they eat. Thus, eating snails supplements yoyo loaches with some nutrients, they may not get from plants.
Snails provide proteins and fat to yoyo loaches and supplement them with calcium and other essential minerals for bone formation and development. For instance, the loaches must develop stronger fins to move in the water as they often do.
Proteins are essential in the growth and maintenance of tissues and are abundant in snails. Loaches require proteins to support their growth, especially if they are still young. Feeding them snails will help them grow bigger and stay healthy.
However, overfeeding with fats and proteins isn’t good for the fish either. You may notice that your yoyo loach belly is getting fat when it keeps eating snails. In the end, the fish may become obese and unfit to survive.
Can baby loaches eat snails?
Like their older counterparts, younger yoyo loaches will eat snails as long as they can hold them in their mouths. However, very young yoyo loaches may be unable to eat full-grown snails due to the size and strength of their jaws. Certainly, they will eventually learn how to eat snails.
In most cases, baby yoyos will eat baby snails and eggs. They can be good at controlling the young snail population in your aquarium as they spare the grown ones who are the chief breeders. This will continue until when the loaches grow big enough to feed on the mature snails.
Will Yoyo loaches eat nerite snails?
Nerite snails are known to hold tight enough in their shells. They may pose a challenge for loaches to hunt and eat them. Nerite snails borrowing in substrate also discourages predators. If well-fed, yoyo loaches might not want to chase after the stubborn nerite snails.
However, yoyo loaches will eat nerite snails if they are hungry enough. They will do their best to get them out of their hideouts. Some yoyo loaches adapt quite well to getting such stubborn snails. They may suck and nibble continuously on the shell until the snail gives up.
Also, younger nerite snails may not be difficult for yoyo loaches to eat. Yoyos will dig into younger nerites, crushing their relatively soft shells and pulling them out for their meals. Unfortunately for younger inexperienced yoyo loaches, nerite snails may not be the best option to quench their appetite for snails.
Can a yoyo loach eat mystery snails?
Despite having a ‘mysterious’ name, mystery snails are part of the usual snail diet for yoyo loaches. Yoyo loaches will search anywhere in the tank for snails; if they come across mystery snails, they will not spare the beautiful snails.
These snails can only be a bit lucky if they are fully grown and the yoyos are relatively smaller. However, the stubborn nature of the loaches will make it difficult for mystery snails to survive in the same tank with them.
Will yoyo loaches eat large snails?
There are no exceptions to size in these snail-eaters. Yoyo loaches will always find a way to eat bigger snails. They often nibble on bigger snails and may start by biting off their flutes and later the other parts once the snail becomes incapacitated.
References: KRISHI: Training manual on Freshwater Ornamental Fish Breeding and Aquascaping Techniques and Tropical Fish Keeping: Botia Almorhae.