Dojo Loach Care: Diet, Size, Lifespan & Tank Mates

This guide will show you all you need to know about Dojo Loach care, including tank setup, water parameters, diet, and more!

Dojo Loach – Quick Facts

In a rush? Check out the quick facts about Dojo Loach below.

Fish Info

Scientific NameMisgurnus anguillicaudatus
Common NamesDojo loach, weather loach, Japanese weatherfish, Oriental weatherfish
Appearancelong and skinny, snake-like body; short, close-set fins; fleshy barbels around the mouth
DifficultyDojo loaches are easy to care for, provided a few things are accounted for.
DistributionThe dojo loach can be found in rivers, streams, and ponds in Siberia, Japan, Korea, China, and northern Vietnam. It has also been introduced into the wilds of other countries, such as the United States and Australia.
LifespanThe lifespan of a Dojo Loach is between 7 and 10 years.
ShoalingThe dojo loach is a shoaling fish.
TemperamentDojo loaches are peaceful and social fish that enjoy being in the company of others.
Keep in Groups ofThe dojo loach should be kept in a group of 3.
Tank MatesGoldfish, White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Rosy Barbs, Leopard Danios, Harlequin Rasbora, Kuhli Loach, Zebra Danios, Paradise Fish, Black Moor Goldfish, Fantail Goldfish
DietThe diet of dojo loach is mainly protein from Daphnia, bloodworms, etc., but they are also omnivores and will eat most things provided.
LengthThe typical length of a dojo loach is 8-11 inches
Sexual DimorphismFemales are notably plumper than males, have smaller pectoral fins, and are typically heavier-bodied and a little larger.
Breeding DifficultyBreeding Dojo Loaches can be difficult.

Water/Tank Recommendations

Water TypeDojo loach is a freshwater fish.
Water TemperatureThe ideal water temperature for Dojo Loach is 64–74°F (18–23°C).
Water pHThe ideal water pH for the dojo loach is 6.0-8.0.
Water HardnessThe ideal water hardness for dojo loach is 1-12 dH.
Tank sizeThe minimum tank size for a dojo loach is 30 gallons, and the recommended tank size is 55 gallons.


Dojo Loaches are a small but eye-catching freshwater fish that add a lot to any well-maintained tank. Their bright colors will stand out against almost any background you choose. Plus, they’re easy to care for, which makes them great for new aquarists looking to take on something manageable.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Dojo Loach care. You’ll learn about their diet, ideal tank setup, and other useful stuff!

About Dojo Loach

The Dojo Loach is a unique and highly sought-after freshwater fish that has been captivating aquarists for centuries. Originally, these fish were native to the inland waters of Asia. However, they have since spread throughout the world!

Dojo Loaches are a popular food fish, which is why they have become so widespread. They are generally bred in fish farms for the purpose of selling as food.

In the wild, Dojo Loaches can be found living in many areas across China, Europe, Korea, and Russia. They prefer slow-moving rivers or ponds filled with plants and hiding spaces within rocks or driftwood.


Dojo Loaches are long and skinny fish with a distinctly eel-like appearance. The Dojo Loach has several barbels around its mouth.

Their Length

These fish have an average length of 8 to 11 inches, so you will need a large tank if you want to keep them as pets.

Note: The length of their bodies depends on the quality and size of their environment. In captivity, if they are kept in poor conditions or too small a tank, they wont grow as large.


The lifespan of a Dojo Loach is between 7 and 10 years. This means that as long as you provide them with the proper care, these fish should live for quite some time!

Sexual Dimorphism

The Dojo Loach is sexually dimorphic, meaning that it’s easy to distinguish between males and females.

Females are notably plumper than males, have smaller pectoral fins, and are typically heavier-bodied and a little larger. Conversely, males tend to be longer and slimmer.


The Dojo Loach is a freshwater species that can be found in rivers, streams, and ponds across Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, and Siberia. They are also native to the Amur River Basin and Lake Baikal.

Dojo Loaches prefer water temperatures between 64°F and 74°F with neutral pH levels of 6.0-8.0.

Caring for Dojo Loach

Dojo loach fish are fairly easy to care for. They adapt well to almost any water parameter and live comfortably in temperatures ranging from 64°F to 74°F.

They can tolerate a wide range of pH levels, though the ideal level is between 6.0 and 8.0, which makes them rather hardy! This means that they can be kept with just about any other freshwater species without issues relating to homeostasis or changes in water conditions (as long as everyone stays healthy).


Dojo Loaches are omnivores, which means they will eat almost anything! In the wild, their diet consists of plant and animal material. They’ll munch on plants like algae and other aquarium flora that they can find.

They also enjoy eating dead fish when they get the chance to scavenge! Dojo Loaches love a meal with some protein in it.

In captivity, it’s best to provide them with a varied diet that includes sinking pellets or flakes that contain everything your fish need nutritionally. You can also feed frozen treats such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and any kind of meaty snack you choose.

How Often & How Much to Feed Them

The Dojo Loach is a moderately active fish. In the wild, they are omnivores that feed on plant matter and small animals such as insect larvae.

In captivity, these bottom-dwelling fish will readily accept dry flakes or pellets. They can be fed twice a day with sinking pellets or algae wafers for their main diet (some owners even give them live foods if their tank mates allow it).

Possible Diseases

Dojo Loaches are susceptible to all of the common freshwater aquarium ailments. These fish can suffer from ich, fin rot, and flukes just like any other species.

Tank Setup

Dojo Loaches do well in a wide variety of environments. They’re not so demanding that you have to take the time to make perfect conditions for them, but they still need some distinct features included.

The key is including plenty of hiding places and natural shelter. These fish spend most of their time in the bottom half of tanks. Thus, it’s crucial that you add rocks, caves, or other structures where they can get away from aggressive tank mates and rest.

Another important aspect is including a soft, sandy substrate. This is because Dojo Loaches like to bury themselves in it. Make sure the sand is deep enough for them to hide in!

While creating adequate hiding spaces for the Dojo Loach is essential if you want them to thrive, there’s a fine line between too many options and too few (especially for large aquariums). You don’t want this species getting scared into spending all its time huddled up in one spot! This leads to stress and overall health complications down the road.

Aquarium Size

The minimum tank size for Dojo Loach is 30 gallons, and the recommended tank size is 55 gallons.

These fish are not demanding in terms of aquarium space, but they do require plenty of room to swim. These loaches can exhibit signs of stress if confined in too small a habitat or one that doesn’t offer enough places to hide.

Water Conditions

The Dojo Loach can handle a wide range of water conditions. It is typically found in slow-moving rivers and streams. These waters are usually murky, so the fish has developed some unique adaptations to thrive under these circumstances.

Additionally, they can withstand a wider range of temperatures than other freshwater species. So as long as you don’t expose them to extreme conditions, they should be able to live comfortably in your tank.


Dojo Loaches do best in a pH level of 6.0 to 8.0, which is on the acidic side of the spectrum and mimics their natural environment well. However, this can be tricky to achieve if you have an aquarium with high levels of carbon dioxide or ammonia due to other fish in your tank, so keep that in mind when planning out how many you want.

Note: The Dojo Loach can handle a very wide array of conditions, such as more acidic water than we recommend. This makes them a good beginner fish, but this doesn’t mean you should just leave them and the tank to their own devices.


The ideal water temperature for Dojo Loach is 64–74°F (18–23°C). These fish are hardy and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

However, their hardiness doesn’t mean you should take the temperature levels lightly. If you don’t keep the tank warm enough, your fish may experience stress-related health problems.

Dojo Loaches come from cool waters. Therefore, the fish need to be kept in temperatures below 73 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal health and comfort.


Dojo Loaches are soft water fish that need a low hardness level in their tank. The recommended hardness for this species is 1-12 dH.

If you plan on keeping Dojo Loaches with other freshwater fish, be sure to choose an established aquarium setup with the appropriate water parameters first.

You definitely don’t want to attempt to adjust the water parameters to accommodate this species. It’s better if you can find a tank that was made for them, but still sticks with their preferred water parameter range.


The Dojo Loach does best in tanks with a strong filtration system because of their large bioload. These fish are heavy waste producers and can quickly overload the nitrogen cycle and harm other fish living in the same tank.

It’s also a good idea to use sand or fine gravel with this fish. They can accidentally swallow larger pieces of substrate, so smaller pebbles and sand are safer options for them.

Aquarium Plants

Dojo loaches can do well with plants in the aquarium. These fish tend to uproot plants at the bottom of the tank, so stick with tough varieties.

Sturdy plants are a better choice for this particular fish species. Any standard low-light plant will do fine, but some favorites include Java ferns, hornwort, anubias barteri, or Cryptocoryne.

Note: Some owners have had success using floating aquatic plants as well.

Behavior and Compatibility

Dojo loaches are social fish, both with each other and humans!

As we mentioned earlier, Dojo Loaches enjoy being part of a group. A single fish can become quite vulnerable in an aquarium without others around for company (especially if they’re feeling stressed). When kept with other Dojo Loaches, these fish will feel more confident and happy.

These fish aren’t the most active creatures out there, but they will explore every now and then. You may see them using a cave or seeking some food at the bottom of your tank.

How Many to Keep Together

The recommended number of Dojo Loach fish to keep in one tank is 3. More than that can lead to increased territorial behavior, which can result in fighting and injury.

However, adding more members later on is fine as long as the aquarium has plenty of room for each creature.

As mentioned earlier, this fish can live in groups of 10 or more, provided they have a large enough space. They’re quite social and will spend time together throughout the day.


Dojo Loaches are quite easy-going and peaceful. They’re non-aggressive and will spend their time hiding out in crevices rather than causing any trouble with other fish. This even holds true when you have more than one Dojo Loach together.

However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t pay attention to what others are doing! These fish enjoy socializing with other fish and humans, so it might not be long before your tank becomes a popular hangout spot.

Tank Mates

Dojo loaches are best kept in groups of 3 or more. They do fine as a single fish, but they will not exhibit the same level of health and vigor that they would in a group setting.

The key to choosing tank mates for Dojo Loaches is to find peaceful species; the more social the better. You’ll want to avoid any aggressive freshwater fish.

To give you an idea about some good tank mate options for this species, here are some common choices:

If you plan on keeping your Dojo Loach with other aquarium dwellers, make sure there’s plenty of space available. These fish require a large amount of space even on their own, with more fish comes the need for even more space.


Breeding Dojo Loaches is a tricky thing to do in captivity. This is because they only spawn in the wild under certain conditions. Therefore, this makes it difficult for aquarists who want to breed them and don’t have access to equipment that can provide the right set-up.

Are Dojo Loach Fish a Good Choice For Your Tank?

Dojo Loaches can be a great choice for freshwater tanks. They’re beautiful fish that add color and movement to your aquarium while being relatively low-maintenance!

The biggest issue with this species is their potential size. Dojo Loaches have the ability to reach up to 12 inches in length, which means they require a lot of space.

If you don’t want your tank getting too big then consider smaller alternatives instead.


Dojo Loaches are very low-maintenance, and we love that. These fish don’t require a lot of attention or specific conditions to thrive, making them an ideal freshwater option for aquarists who want something simple.

To put it simply: Dojo Loach care is about food, water quality, and tank size. That doesn’t mean you can be complacent with your care-giving responsibilities (you need to be vigilant), but this species won’t give you any trouble!


There are a handful of things to be wary of when it comes to Dojo Loach care. The main one is that they’re opportunistic scavengers. If left without sufficient food, these fish will begin eating whatever they can get their mouths on!

This includes plants and any substrate you may have in the tank. This means keeping an eye out for snacking behavior and making sure there’s always some sinking or algae-based pellets available to keep them happy and healthy.


As you can see, Dojo Loach is a very rewarding fish to keep in your aquarium. Not only are they beautiful and unique-looking, but they’re also quite easy to care for!

But even though their care requirements are fairly straightforward, it’s important that you understand them before you get one of these fish. The last thing we want is someone getting an animal they aren’t ready for just because the info online was too vague.

If there’s anything else about this species that you still have questions about after reading this guide, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

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