Dojo Loach – Scientifically known as the Misgurnus anguillicaudatus – is a small, beautiful, aquarium fish species that is loved by a lot of fish keepers from around the world. Dojo Loaches also have multiple trade names and they are known as the Pond Loaches, or Weather Loaches in most regions. It is an Asian freshwater fish species that are found in many East Asian countries. It lives in warm, and soft freshwater streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. The Dojo Loach is one of the most famous fish species that is known for its beautiful and unique appearance.

Gourami Watcher, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This fish species has a longer lifespan, meaning that you can enjoy their presence in your tanks for many years. Also, it is a peaceful species of fish that can get along very well with multiple types of fish species. The Dojo Loach is also known for being one of the easy fish species, that is because they do not require much care from your side. It is not native to the United States but was recently introduced in some parts of the United States.

This is a hardy fish species, meaning that it can live in different areas, and different conditions and can survive harsh climates. For that reason, it is a good choice for the new fish keepers. Keeping the Dojo Loach in new fish keepers aquariums can help them learn about fish keeping. The article below contains a complete care guide about the Dojo Loach fish species.

Basic Facts Table

LifespanUp to 10 years
SizeUp to 12 inches
ColorsMultiple colors, including brown, gray, yellow, white, and olive green.
Freshwater or SaltwaterFreshwater fish species
Care LevelMinimum
CompatibilityPeaceful, community aquariums.

Tank Companions

Here is a list of the possible tank mates or tank companions of the Dojo Loach.

  • Goldfishes
  • Kuhli Loach
  • Bitterling
  • Rosy Barb
  • Danionin
  • Mountain Minnow
  • Bircher
  • Leopard Danios

How To Select Tank Companions?

There are a lot of fish species that can be kept inside the same tank as the Dojo Loaches. But you need to be careful when selecting a potential tank mate or candidate for the tank. You mustn’t make a mistake while doing that. Because it would impact the environment of your tank. For example, pairing the Dojo Loaches with the wrong companions would cause disruptions in your tank. It would also destroy the peaceful environment of your tank as the fish would fight all the time. It can lead to stress, and then the death of your tank companions or Dojo Loaches.

So, when selecting a tank mate, you need to be careful and follow the instructions given by the expert fish keepers. Most fish keepers advise that when you are selecting a tank mate for the Dojo Loaches, you should start with the living conditions. Make sure that the fish species that you are selecting as the tank companion of Dojo Loaches can live in the same type of environment or not. If it can live in the same type of environment then it can be paired with them. Otherwise, you will have to look for different other candidates.

Living conditions are not the only important factor here, other important factors include the size of the fish and the nature or temperament of your tank companion. The Dojo Loach fish is a long and thin fish species. Its body is elongated, and that makes it a target for those fish species that are aggressive. For that reason, you need to select peaceful fish species that do not attack other members of the tank.

Most large fish species are aggressive, so you need to be careful and select only peaceful species. You also cannot put very small fish species in the same tank with the Dojo Loaches as they would eat them. So, you need to make sure that you select a large fish species that are capable of living peacefully in the same tank with long Dojo Loaches. These are a few important factors that should be considered before selecting a potential candidate for the tank of Dojo Loaches.

Species Overview

The Dojo Loach fish, also known as the weather loach fish, or pond loach fish is a member of the Cobitidae family and Misgurnus genus of fish. It is a long, peaceful, thin, and beautiful fish species that is loved by aquarists. This is a freshwater fish species that mainly live in Asian countries, but has also been introduced to several lakes in Australia and the United States. This fish species is known for being hardy in different environments as it can survive different conditions. Unlike most loaches and other fish species, it does not have the typical appearance. It has a unique appearance, as its body is extremely long and it does not have the bump in its middle that most fish species have. It has a streamlined, and straight body shape.

This fish is known as the weather loach (a name commonly used for the members of its genus), the main reason behind this name is that this fish species can sense the changes in the weather. In the wild conditions, and the natural habitat of this fish species, the weather changes are extreme. When weather changes, their bodies are capable of measuring the change in pressure. This sense of change in weather allows them to prepare for the bad weather or storm that is going to hit their habitat.

Varieties: There are multiple varieties of Dojo Loaches, these include Albino, Golden, Brown, Yellow, and Brown Spots Dojo Loaches. Each of these has the same care guidelines, and body shape. The only noticeable difference is in their colors. You can easily identify them from the differences in their colors.


A.england85, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pond Fish or Dojo Loach has multiple colors, sizes, and shapes. It has multiple varieties and each variety has differences that make them unique. It has also been selectively bred to create unique changes such as color, and appearance. This fish can grow up to 12 inches if the conditions are right. It has one of the most unique aquarium fish appearances. Its body is different from most other fish species. It is a very thin species of fish, with multiple body colors including gray, olive green, brown, white, and yellow.

Although it can grow up to 12 inches, most aquarium fishes die before reaching their optimal size. This happens because of the poor care and living conditions. If you provide the optimal growth conditions, there are chances that they will outgrow the average size which is about 7 inches. Also, proper care can keep your fish healthy, and the body of a healthy Dojo Loach looks more beautiful.


The Dojo Loach fish is native to the Eastern parts of Asia. It is found in many regions including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Siberia. This fish lives in those places where there is a lot of vegetation as it needs protection from the predators in the water. According to its history, this fish originated from one of these countries, and eventually spread throughout the region. Due to insufficient data, it has not been determined whether this spread was because of human activity or natural causes.

It was brought to the United States and other parts of the world as a potential candidate for the aquariums. It became a popular fish species as it was a peaceful, easy, and joyous fish species. Its temperament, and ability to predict weather are something that is loved by many fish keepers. Recently, it was introduced to the lakes, and rivers of the United States, and  Australia.

Natural Habitat

This fish species is known for living in shallow, slow-moving, and clean areas. Most of the Dojo Loaches are found on the sides of rivers, or in the bottom of the lakes. They are an omnivore species meaning that they eat everything that they can find in their habitat. Also, this fish species likes warm and soft freshwater habitats. It is also capable of living in different conditions and habitats but it prefers these places. As it is a hardy fish species, it is found in many rivers, lakes, and ponds in Asia, where it is a very common wild fish species.

Dojo Loach Lifespan

The longest living Dojo Loach lasted for more than 15 years. But this is a rare occurrence. The Dojo Loaches live for 6 to 12 years. Their lifespan heavily depends on the care, and their living conditions. If the care level is good, and their living conditions are also good, they can live for more than 7 years. But if you provide them excellent conditions, and care, you can extend the lifespan of your Dojo Loaches to beyond 10 years. Apart from care, the size of the tank also impacts the lifespan of your Dojo Loaches. That is why experts advise selecting a bigger tank as it provides the Dojo Loaches more space that they need to grow. In small containers, they cannot grow properly and that can lead to bad health conditions which lead to premature death.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

If you want to keep the Dojo Loaches in your tank, you need to work on creating a perfect habitat inside the tank and provide them with excellent conditions. If you can do this, you can expect your Dojo Loaches to live longer and stay healthier while they are in your tank. If you want to build a perfect habitat for your dojo, you need to know the type of condition that they live in. This detail will help you create an appropriate habitat inside the tank for them. Here are a few important things that need to be addressed when you are creating a tank for the Dojo Loaches.

Tank Size

It is very important. Most people think that the size of the tank would not matter, but they are wrong it does matter. The overall health and well-being of your Dojo Loaches depend on the size of the tank. For example, if you brought a very small tank and put a single Dojo Loach inside it, you would find that it would be dead within a few weeks even if you are providing it with excellent living conditions. The small size of the tank restricts the fish from growing in size and that can impact the health of the Dojo Loaches.

For that reason, you should select a tank that has enough capacity to hold them and allow them to grow large and stay healthy. There are multiple sizes of tanks available and you need to select a tank based on the size of your fish, the number of fish you will put inside the tank, and the fish per gallon ratio of your species. After that, you need to multiply the number of fish, by fish per gallon. It would give you an idea about what size of the tank would be good for how many Dojo Loaches.

The minimum size of a usable tank for the Dojo Loaches is 55 gallons. Make sure that this tank is four feet long and wide. You do not need a very high tank, instead, you need a long, and wide tank. Also, this 55 gallons size tank is the minimum level tank, the recommended size however is larger than 60 gallons.

Tank Setup

After you are done with the size of the tank, it is time for you to create a perfect environment or habitat inside the tank for your fish. It is easy, you need to start with the bottom layer, you need to scatter fine-grained gravel as a substrate with stones in the bottom. Make sure that everything is clean, and lay a layer of the substrate at the bottom of the tank. After that, you need to put some aquatic plants in your tank.

These aquatic plants are a very important part of the tank as they would make your tank look natural for the fish and would also offer the fish some cover when it needs to hide from the other members of the tank. You can also put some decorations and caves inside your tank so that your fish can play. Once you are done with these, you will need to put a water filtration system in the tank. You will have to select a large water filter. This is because your large tank would need a strong filtration system to function properly.

Also, a larger tank would create more vibrations inside the tank to keep the water moving. Also, the filtration system provides oxygen to the plants and fish inside the tank. Apart from the filtration system, you also need to put a heater, or a temperature controlling and monitoring device in your aquarium. This is important as it allows you to track your tank’s temperature. So, when this temperature moves out of the range, you can correct it and make sure that it stays within the optimal limits. Also, you will need aquarium lights, and a glass lid to cover the top of your fish tank.

Water Conditions/Parameters

After you are done with creating a habitat inside the tank, it will be time for you to start working on creating the perfect living conditions for your Dojo Loach. You can do this by making sure that a few parameters remain within the recommended ranges. These parameters include the temperature, pH levels, and hardness of the water inside the tank of Dojo Loaches. Here are further details about these.

  • Temperature: 65–75°F (18–24°C)
  • pH levels:  6.5–8.0 pH
  • Hardness: Under 12 dGH

These parameters directly impact the health of Dojo Loaches inside your tank. So, if you don’t maintain these parameters, your fish would die sooner. Let’s take the example of pH levels to better understand the importance of these parameters. If the pH of the water goes below 6.5 levels, the water will become acidic. It would alter the chemistry of the internal organs of the fish and would cause severe health issues that would lead to the death of your fish. For these reasons, it is very important to maintain these parameters within the given range.

Water Source

According to experts, you can use water from any source, but you will need to make sure that it is safe and clean. You can do this by testing your water and if there are any contaminants, you should use reverse osmosis to filter your water and then use it. For this purpose, you can use the water of your tap, local river, lake, or pond.

Behavior and Temperament

The Dojo Loach is known for being a peaceful, and joyous fish species. It is a large fish species that can swim fast and is known for being hyperactive. It is also fun to watch as you can enjoy watching them go from one part of the tank to another. The Dojo Loach fish spend much of their time exploring, and playing with one another. As mentioned earlier, it is a peaceful fish species that can get along very well with most of the fish species. It usually does not attack the smaller members of the tank if it is being fed properly.

So, if you are keeping them in a tank with smaller fish species, you need to make sure that your Dojo Loaches are well fed. Also, this fish likes to swim near the bottom of the tank. For that reason, you should not introduce any of the fish species that would invade their territory at the bottom. During the day, you will find the Dojo Loaches swimming and exploring, you will also find them looking for hiding spots. If you have introduced any caves or driftwood in your Dojo Loaches aquarium, you will notice that the Dojo Loaches would find it and would swim around it or try to use it as shelter.

Dojo Loaches do not do well in solitary, hence you should keep them with other Dojo Loaches. Keeping a single Dojo Loach in a tank can cause depression and stress in the fish. This can lead to physical health issues and your fish might die within a few weeks. You can prevent this by introducing other members of their species to the tank.

Breeding Dojo Loach

It is one of those fish species that are comparatively not easy to breed. They spread their eggs throughout the tank. Below is a complete process of breeding a Dojo Loach.

  • You should start with creating a new large tank with enough space for two Dojo Loaches. Make sure that this tank follows the same guidelines that are given above.
  • It is a lengthy process, but you will have to gradually lower the temperature of your tank to the minimal range. You should lower the temperature by one degree every day. This will stimulate the breeding behavior of these fish.
  • You should keep looking for the eggs at the bottom of the tank. If you see any eggs, you should remove the male and female from the breeding tank. This will prevent them from eating their eggs.

Eggs and Fry Care

The eggs of Dojo Loaches take 2 to 3 days after being fertilized to hatch. After that small fry would come out of these eggs. At first, they would munch on the egg sacs and the unfertilized eggs. After that, they would be ready for the food that you can provide them. There are specialized diets for the fry that you can buy and feed them Dojo Loach fry. Once they reach one to two inches in length, you can introduce them to their parents’ tank.

Diet of Dojo Loach

The diet of Dojo Loaches is omnivorous, they eat everything that they can find including vegetables, plants, small fish, snails, shrimps, blood worms, frozen meat, pellets, and food flakes. You should feed them twice a day but make sure that you only put a small amount of food inside the tank. Putting too much food in the tank would cause the food to accumulate in the bottom and it can lead to water pollution.

Diseases of Dojo Loach

Here is a list of the possible diseases that can attack the population of Dojo Loaches.

  • Bacterial/Fungal Infections: It is one of the major problems in Dojo Loaches. Their bodies have thinner scales. These scales can get scratched, and the bacteria and fungi inside the tank can attack the scratched parts. It can lead to infections and the death of your fish. You can avoid this by not using anything too sharp. Also, keep an eye on the scales of your fish. If you see any damage, you should use antibacterial medicine to treat them.
  • Skinny Disease: It is also one of the serious health issues in Dojo Loaches. This is a disease that is characterized by one of its symptoms. It happens because of stomach problems or bad food. This disease causes your fish to lose weight and become skinny. It is treatable using medicines, but you will have to keep the infected fish away.
  • Ich Disease: Ich is one of the most common fish diseases that is also found in the Dojo Loaches. This disease is characterized by the white spots formation on the scales of the fish. If you see anything like that, you should quarantine your fish and replace your water. Also, you should treat your fish with medicine.

Most of these health concerns happen because of unhygienic conditions and bad food. So, make sure that you get the best food for your Dojo Loaches, and provide them with the most hygienic conditions.

What is the Ideal Size For The Tank?

The smallest tank that you can use for Dojo Loaches is the 55 gallons tank. But it is not a recommended or ideal size. The ideal size will be based on the number of fish, and fish per gallon ratio. It is better to select 60 gallons or a larger tank. Make sure that your tank is wide, and long, but not too high.

Is Dojo Loach Saltwater or Freshwater Species?

Dojo Loach is a freshwater fish species. This species of fish is native to Eastern Asia. 

Is Dojo Loach schooling species or not?

No, it is not a schooling species. But it displays the signs of social behavior.

Conclusion – Is Dojo Loach Suitable For Your Aquarium?

The simple answer to this question is Yes, it is suitable for your aquarium. If you are a new fish keeper it is suitable for your aquarium because it’s easy to care for. But if you are a seasoned fish keeper, it is also suitable for your aquarium as it is a beautiful fish species of large size with a very peaceful nature. Also, this fish species has a built-in weather detection system, which makes it a unique and rare fish species to have in your aquarium. Based on these arguments, it can be said that it is suitable for your aquariums.


Question: Are there any varieties of Dojo Loach?

Answer: There are multiple varieties of the Dojo Loaches, these include Brown spots Dojo Loach, Yellow Dojo Loach, Golden Dojo Loach, and Brown Dojo Loach.

Question: What are the suitable tank mates for Dojo Loach?

Answer: The suitable tank mates of Dojo Loaches include Goldfishes, Kuhli Loach, Bitterling, Rosy Barb, Danionin, Mountain Minnow,  Bicher, and  Leopard Danios.

Question: Are Dojo Loaches aggressive?

Answer: No, Dojo Loaches are known as peaceful species of fish. They do not show aggression towards other members of their species or their tank mates.

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