It’s challenging to create the natural conditions promoting the breeding of the yoyo loach, only skilled and experienced aquarists may successfully breed the fish in a tank or an aquarium. In some cases, hormone injections may be needed to trigger the reproduction process.

Yoyo loach does not become pregnant. Instead, it becomes swollen with eggs laid at maturity and then fertilized by males to hatch. This migratory fish hardly breed freely in captivity unless replicate conditions of their native home are provided in the tank.

How to make a yoyo loach breed

In their natural habitat, yoyo loaches migrate upstream or midstream during the breeding season to lay eggs, and once done, they get back downstream to their home. A tank or an aquarium won’t offer the same conditions as the natural aquatic environment.

For that reason, it becomes difficult to breed a yoyo loach in captivity. However, you may encourage a yoyo loach to brees as follows:

  1. Provide the right water parameters – The water should be clean with a temperature range of 22 to 25 ℃, optimum pH of 6.5 to 7.5, and hardness of 3 to 9, respectively.
  2. The tank capacity must be huge, enough to hold more than 140 liters of water, and coated on the underside.
  3. Feed your fish the best possible diet, including tiny snails, shrimp, and plant matter. However, avoid overfeeding the fish as it may get too fat and appear pregnant while it’s not.
  4. Try injecting your yoyo loaches with tried and proven hormones to trigger the production and laying of viable eggs.

Both yoyo loach and zebra loach are extremely difficult species to breed in an aquarium. They are usually wild-caught or artificially bred.

After how long do yoyo loaches give birth?

Yoyo loaches do not give birth to young ones but lay eggs which males then fertilize to hatch. Female yoyo loaches do not keep their eggs for long. Once they form, it will only take one to two weeks for the egg-laying process to begin.

If you make a yoyo loach breed in the home setup, then beware that not all of their eggs will get fertilized. Some may go unfertilized, and they need to be removed before they rot and contaminate the water.

How to know if a yoyo loach is pregnant

It is easy to tell that a female yoyo loach is carrying eggs as follows:

  1. A pregnant yoyo loach has a thicker, bloated, and rounder belly that has a faded color as compared to the rest of the body.
  2. Its belly layers appear stretched out and thinner, making it possible to see the eggs through the skin.
  3. A male yoyo loach will always be around the female as it waits to fertilize the eggs once they are laid.
  4. The fish’s appetite increases as it craves more nutrients for a strong body and egg development. The fish may lose appetite when due to lay eggs.

How many eggs do yoyo loaches lay?

Yoyo loaches can lay as many as 500 eggs every time they are heavy with eggs. Nonetheless, most eggs may not be fertilized, especially in the captive environment. The eggs that have not been fertilized have a whitish appearance, while fertilized eggs carry a grayish hue. 

Understanding the color of the eggs is vital as it can help you know which eggs are not fertilized. Unfertilized eggs are notorious for contaminating water and should be removed before they make the aquarium unsafe.

How to take care of a pregnant yoyo loach

An egg-carrying yoyo loach requires more attention. You need to safeguard it against disease-causing parasites or bacteria, strengthen its immune system and provide maximum comfort.

You need to do the following:

1. Provide the right water conditions 

Yoyo loach prefers water temperature of 75 – 82°F (24 to 28°C), pH of 6.5 to 7.5, and hardness of 3 to 12 dGH. Cycling the tank, filtration, and aquarium heater can help minimize the fluctuation of these water parameters. Do not expose your fish to a spike in harmful gasses such as ammonia and nitrates.

2. Replace the aquarium water every day

Change about 5-10% of the aquarium water daily. This helps remove leftovers and decompose organic matter and toxic chemicals from the tank. Do not change much water at a go, as it can be challenging for the fish to adapt to new water conditions.

3. Provide enough food

A pregnant yoyo loach needs to be provided with food regularly. The food should be enough and contain the proper nutrients needed for maintaining a healthy body and the development of eggs. Vegetables and protein sources like snails and shrimps are great examples.

If overfed, yoyo loaches may end up with fat bellies, making them appear pregnant. Overfeeding is dangerous to their health and can significantly reduce their lifespan.

Since yoyo loaches are bottom feeders, the food you give them must be available at the bottom of the tank. So, it is better to give your fish food that can sink. Position the food in different locations across the tank to maintain interest and excitement crucial for healthy eating.

4. Keep pregnant yoyo loach in a separate tank

Transfer your pregnant yoyo loach to a different tank for breeding and egg-laying. Keeping an egg-carrying yoyo loach with other tank mates is not advisable. Aggressive tankmates may bully or hurt the already-stressed fish.

Yoyo loaches love eating, and they can eat almost anything available. Keeping pregnant loaches in different tanks makes eggs laid out of reach as a potential food source. Yoyo loach eating snails is very common, especially when they are hungry.

5. Provide safe hiding places in the tank

Pregnant fish like to sleep and rest by hiding to feel safe and protected against potential stress causes. Add decorations, caves, plants, and other hiding spots in the tank. Protect pregnant yoyo loaches against objects threatening their health and even the eggs.

Final Thoughts

Very few people have succeeded in breeding yoyo loaches and raising their babies in a tank or aquarium environment. To keep yoyo loaches successfully, rely on information from experts or experienced aquarists. Understand when a yoyo loach is carrying eggs and provide the needed care.

Reference: Inland Aquatics: Yoyo Loach Nature and Aquadiction: Yoyo Loach.

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