Golden Dojo Loach Care Guide

Golden Dojo Loach Care Guide

Golden Dojo Loach Care Guide7 mins read

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Golden Dojo Loach Care Guide
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The golden dojo loach, or Weather loach is a peaceful and docile bottom-dwelling species, chosen by most aquarists because it is such an exceptional communal fish. Ideally, the species is fascinating in its ability to predict and show signs of weather changes through body language.

Other than that, the gold dojo loach size is perfect for most medium-sized aquariums, and it comes in vibrant and warm color variations. Gold dojo loaches are mostly nocturnal and can be kept in small groups, or with other species as tank mates. Ideally, the gold dojo loach tank size can be between medium to smaller, depending on the group or other species that you keep.

They are the perfect fish species for beginners because they are easy to care for, flourish in most water conditions, and are highly adaptable. Thus, with a few simple guidelines you could easily add these beauties to your communal tank, or start a new aquarium as a beginner, with an easy-to-care-for and highly peaceful social fish.

Breed Overview

OriginEast Asia
Lifespan4-5 Years
Size7.5cm (3 Inches)
ColorsGreen, Orange, Pink, Albino
Water TypeFreshwater
Tank Size55 Gallons for 2 fish
TemperamentPeaceful, Docile
Water Temperature68°F – 72°F (15 ̊ C – 25 ̊ C)
Water pH6.5 – 8.0
Difficulty LevelBeginner Friendly

Species Information

The golden dojo loach, (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus), or as it is also referred to, the Pond Loach is an oriental freshwater loach native to East Asia. It is popular as both an aquarium and pond fish, similarly known as the weather fish because of its innate ability to detect changes in the barometric pressure right before a storm.

Dojo loaches are commonly known for their ability to employ frantic swimming antics. You may even see them standing on end when rain or a storm is about to occur. They are the ideal bottom dwellers for a suitable pond or aquarium and are scavengers. Generally, you will see them feeding on organic materials at the bottom of their pond or aquarium, such as algae.

Golden Dojo loaches are highly resilient to changes in water conditions and are even able to survive for short periods in desiccated conditions. This is because they can produce a layer of mucus around their bodies keeping them damp. In an aquarium, the golden dojo loach will be an exceptional addition as a bottom-feeding scavenger, that is hardy and colorful.


Gold Dojo loaches reach larger sizes in the wild and ponds than in aquariums. Apart from this, they are available in varied color selections and mostly thrive in colder water conditions.

Gold Dojo Loach

In the wild Golden Dojo loaches are dark green to gray with brown spots, and have a yellow to brown body that often boasts a paler and more mottled color belly. Though in captivity they range from a more yellow to orange base color, or even pink undertones. These loaches are generally slender in captivity. They have a long, narrow, and smooth body, lacking prominent scales, and a soft underbelly.

In its wild form, this loach has dark greenish-gray to dark brown spots over a yellowish-brown body (often mottled) with a paler belly. The golden dojo loach variety can range from a yellow to an orange color and they are usually thin-bodied

Other Dojo Loach Color Variations

The Pond loach, or Gold Dojo loach is bred to exhibit more color morphs such as the pink, orange, albino, and gray variations. Though naturally, they are yellow to olive green in color, with lighter brown or greenish undersides.

Gold Dojo Loach Size And Lifespan

As a rule, wild Dojo loaches can grow up to 12 Inches (30 cm), however, according to standard they only reach lengths of around 6 Inches (15 cm) in captivity. This is especially in aquariums where they have more limited space.

Raise your gold dojo loach in optimal conditions with a proper diet. This allows them to live a full life of up to 10 years maximum. However, most of them have a lifespan of between 4 – 5 years.

Their Temperament And Tank Suitability

Temperament and Tank Suitability of Gold Dojo Loaches
In general, Golden Dojo loaches are well known for being peaceful, and placid, hiding themselves if they are solitary, though showing a more social side if kept in groups. Image from Flickr

Being bottom dwellers, most Dojo loaches spend their time burrowing in soft substrates or hiding in provided spaces. They are notorious for digging through substrate, and because of their soft bellies require a soft sandy substrate. In general, Golden Dojo loaches are well known for being peaceful, and placid, hiding themselves if they are solitary, though showing a more social side if kept in groups.

Pick all decorations and tank equipment with care. These guys love swimming through every nook and cranny that they can fit through. Sometimes, they tend to get stuck!

Unlike most other fishes, the pond loach can burrow into and hide in soft substrates. Pond loaches are active, peaceful, and hardy fish that are sometimes used as starter fish in an aquarium.

They become quite friendly and social towards humans, even going as far as eating out of your hand.

Gold Dojo Loach Typical Behavior

Generally the gold dojo loach is docile, peaceful, and minds it’s own business. Thus they are the perfect candidates for communal tanks with less aggressive, and more peaceful fish species. Even though you can keep them alone, they thrive much better when kept in a small group of three to four. This can even be of their own species!

They are social towards other tank mates, playfully chasing them around. As a rule, they will never cause trouble concerning tank mates.

Suitable Tank Mates

Unfortunately, most invertebrates, especially smaller species such as shrimps, will quickly become a snack for any Dojo loach. However, many other peaceful fish species will be exceptional tank mates for a single or group of Dojo loaches.

A few recommendations include:

  • White Cloud Minnows.
  • Kuhli Loaches.
  • Goldfish.
  • Zebra Danios.
  • Harlequin Rasboras.
  • Leopard Danios.
  • Rosy Barbs.
  • Paradise Fish.
  • Dwarf Plecos.

Ideally, dojo loaches do not defend themselves well against aggressive, or predatory fish. Therefore you should avoid these species.

Aquarium And Care Requirements

A rule of thumb is if kept in groups and larger aquariums Dojos will be more playful and active, though in solitary with less space, they become more docile, and tend to hide out.

Dojo loaches are hardy and tolerant in terms of water conditions, though thrive in colder water. Similarly, they prefer a more shaded, and covered aquarium, as they are also well-known jumpers. When you submerse filters, decorations, and tank equipment they must be secure and safe. These fish will try to enter any small opening.

1. Tank Size And Ratio

Ideally, it is best to invest in a longer, rather than wider aquarium for Dojo Loaches. A single, or group of two Gold Dojo Loaches tank size should be around a 55-gallon tank, providing them with ample swimming space, and hiding spots.

2. Water Parameters

In general, the gold dojo loach is more tolerant of acidic water and can easily adapt to pH levels between 6.5 and 8.0. However, more alkaline conditions will allow it to flourish. They are ideal for beginners because of their high tolerance, withstanding a few common mistakes. Tank temperatures are essentially not an issue, as they adapt to fluctuations in temperatures. However this is not ideal as this can cause stress. However, they prefer colder water conditions, and temperatures between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, (15 to 25 degrees Celsius) are accepted.

3. Tank Décor

One fact about the dojo loach is its eagerness to swim through holes and tubes, thus ample tank décor such as driftwood and tunnels is ideal. A soft sandy substrate will provide them with what they need to dig and burrow, as well as scavenge for food. These fish may uproot live plants, thus more resilient rooted plants and floating plants are best.

You may often find your Dojo loaches disappearing for a while. Do not worry about this, they are just hiding in the substrate. However, if you constantly find your loaches hiding, it may be because of stress.

4. Foods And How To Feed

In the wild golden dojo loaches may feed on algae and materials on the bottom. They may also snack on small insects and invertebrates. They are generally known as omnivorous scavengers, and bottom feeders. Thus, you should feed them a diet that accommodates this.

A good quality flaked food or sinking pellets is essential as a staple. You can supplement their diet with shrimps, worms, insects, algae wafers, and blanched green vegetables. The golden dojo loach require several small daily feedings, rather than one or two large meals.

Introducing A New Dojo Loach

Introducing a new dojo loach
Once your tank is set up and properly cycled for your new pets, you can start looking for reliable retailers to source your fish. Image from Flickr

Any new fish, including the more adaptable gold dojo loach, requires a proper introduction to their new home, to reduce stress. Once you have set up and cycled your tank for your new pets, you can start looking for reliable retailers to source your fish.

1. Choosing A Healthy Loach

Generally, you can obtain a golden dojo loach from reliable pet stores, or breeders. Using online resources to track down the closest retailers, breeders, or pet stores may be necessary.

When you have found your Dojo Loaches, it is vital to do the following health checks:

  • They must have clear healthy skin with no discoloration or spots on them.
  • The tail and fins must not be frayed or ragged.
  • The eyes must be clear, with no residue.
  • The loach must be eager to eat, and actively swimming when awake and alert.

2. Acclimation

When you have your Gold Loaches or loaches, it is vital to first get them used to the water conditions. Only then can you add them them to their new home. You can easily achieve this by following these steps:

  1. Float the bag with fish on the surface of the water in the tank for around 20 minutes.
  2. Scoop out around a quarter cup of water from the bag, and replace it with water from the tank.
  3. Repeat step 2 until most of the water in the bag is replaced.
  4. Allow your loaches to swim into their new home, or gently net them one at a time.
  5. Try to avoid too much of the water from the bag entering the clean aquarium, as it contains much waste that could cause ammonia spikes in your aquarium.

Maintaining The Aquarium

An essential part of keeping any aquarium is proper maintenance and housekeeping. This is the best way  to keep the water clean and pristine. In turn, this helps to prevent unnecessary stress on your fish and poor health conditions.

Removing excess food materials, and plant waste daily is essential to prevent ammonia spikes. Always keep equipment and toys clean. Even though these bottom feeders do clean algae, they can only do so much.

Weekly water changes are essential to maintain proper water conditions and can be done by following these steps:

  1. Siphon at least 30% of the aquarium water from the bottom with a siphoning hose, and discard it.
  2. In a separate container add warm clean water.
  3. Use your water conditioners to attain the proper water parameters in the container.
  4. Add your heater and thermometer to achieve suitable water temperatures. (You can use already warmed water or warm the water using the heater.
  5. When all water conditions in the separate container are optimal, the water can be added to the aquarium slowly, and carefully.

Breeding Golden Dojo Loaches

Because Gold Dojo loaches are cold-water fish, and require certain triggers to breed. This makes breeding slightly challenging, though still achievable. Thus, to entice them to breed, you must mimic seasons in their natural habitat. Keep them in an aquarium with low temperatures and low light during spring and winter. During spring and summer you can increase temperatures and light, to get 12 hours of light per day. Adhering to these seasonal changes will help to trigger breeding.

1. Mating

Males will generally court females, and wrap around a single female to fertilize eggs as she releases them.

2. Breeding

Eggs hatch within a few days, and the tiny fry can live with the parents. The fry will be extremely small at first before they become independent.

3. Fry Care

You can supplement the diet of the fry with baby brine shrimp, powdered spirulina, and infusoria.

Health Concerns In Loaches

Health Concerns In Loaches
Ich is a protozoan parasite usually transferred from newly infected fish or plants. It causes white spots on the fins, gills, and body of your fish. Image from Flickr

Golden Dojo loaches are well known to be very hardy fish. However,  they are still susceptible to most general freshwater fish ailments, and diseases.

Common Ailments

  • Ich – Ich is a protozoan parasite that usually comes from newly infected fish or plants. It causes white spots on the fins, gills, and body of your fish. Using proper medication and slightly elevating tank temperatures can help to get rid of Ich.
  • Intestinal Parasites – Also referred to as skinny disease. You may notice your loaches losing weight and becoming more lethargic. A proper diet and water conditions can help to prevent the disease, however, you will have to administer medication for intestinal worms for affected fish.
  • Bacterial Infections – Bacterial infections can affect the fins, skin, eyes, and even abdomen of your loaches. It has symptoms including discoloration, deterioration of the fins, abdominal swelling, and trouble swimming or staying upright. Treat bacterial infections with an antibacterial medication suitable for the specific conditions, and sometimes with antibiotics.
  • Fungal Infections – Most fungal infections cause white or fluffy patches on your fish. Physical injury and poor water conditions are mostly the culprits. Employing anti-fungal medication, and improving water conditions willfortunately cure most fungal infections.

How To Keep Your Loaches Healthy

There are ideally a few steps you can take to keep your loaches healthy and happy:

  • Always ensure that all aquarium fish are in a healthy condition when you purchase them.
  • Quarantine all new fish and plants first before introducing them into your initial aquarium.
  • Never overfeed your Golden Dojo Loaches, and stick to a proper quality diet.
  • Disinfect your hands and nets used when handling sick fish or cleaning the aquarium.
  • Avoid any metals from encountering aquarium water.
  • Employ proper maintenance and weekly water changes to keep water clean.
  • Adhere to proper water parameters and avoid sudden and substantial fluctuations.
  • Keep your fish free from stress and keep handling and physical contact to only a necessary minimum.

To Conclude

Golden Dojo loaches are not only gorgeous in terms of their colors and shape but have a peaceful and fulfilling nature in addition. The Gold Dojo Loach size is ideal for smaller tanks. They are excellent community fish that will get along easily with any other peaceful freshwater fish. Because of their hardy resilience, and adaptability, they are an exceptional pet for beginners. Dojo loaches in turn make interesting social pets and are quite easily attainable from most pet stores.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know whether a Gold Loach is male or female?
Generally, males will have longer and pointier pectoral fins than females. Females tend to be rounder and bulkier. You may also notice that your male Gold Dojos look like they are almost standing upright on their pectoral fins.
What is the average lifespan of a Dojo loach in an Aquarium?
With much debate an average of between 4-5 years is an expected lifespan for these fish, however, fish attaining ages of over 10 years have been documented. Their lifespan will mostly depend on water quality and temperatures, warmer conditions are known to decrease their lifespan.
Do Golden Dojo loaches get along with other Tank mates?
Golden Dojo Loaches are the perfect addition to any communal tank. They are peaceful bottom dwellers who rarely cause any trouble with other fish. You can easily keep them with the most peaceful freshwater fish species that are more suited to cooler water conditions.
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