How to Keep Your New Weather Loach                   
Aqualand’s inside info on Misgurnus anguillicaudatus

 
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Japanese Weather Loach Factoids

Origin

Japan, Korea

Common Name

Dojo

New Origin

S. E. Asian fish hatcheries

Size

Four to 12 inches

Sexual Differences

Females chunkier.  Male has longer pectoral fins.

Temperature

Good candidate for cool water tank

Attitude

Good community fish.  Quite active.

Weird Trait

Becomes hyperactive when weather changes

pH

Not picky, 6 to 8 pH just fine

Clean Water

Needs frequent large water changes

Most Prevalent Disease

Skin slime from dirty water

Breeding Comments   Needs a cool period to trigger spawning

LA
Working ends of two weather loaches

LA
Weather loaches get along with each other.  Unlike many loaches, they like to pile a while.

Appeal.  Great scavenger in most tanks.  Inexpensive.  Very active.  Weather loaches are fun to watch wriggling about the tank at all hours.  

The Weather Name.  Changes in barometric pressure make weather loaches wriggle around even more than normal.  Just before a storm, they get more active than ever.  Keep yours covered.  They like to bail during weather changes.

Dojo?  Dojo means house in Japanese.  It also denotes your martial arts school.  If you saw the movie American Challenge, you know how they use weather loaches in Japan.  Tasty.

LA
Pepper loach -- a variant color of the standard dojo

LA
Another variant of the pepper loach.

LA
And they mix just fine with the standard weather loach, which grows larger.

Nocturnal (but Flexible).  In the wild, you’d find weather loaches looking for food at night.  In your aquarium, they quickly adapt to your schedule.  They start looking for food as soon as they smell it.  After they adapt to your schedule, they start swarming their food.

LA
Gold weather loaches work just as hard as the original browns.

Semi-Burrowers.  In small gravel, dojos easily plow thru the substrate – especially in sand.  They seem less likely to dig deeply into larger gravel.  They burrow less than other loaches such as the kuhli and horse face loach but still quite a bit.  And since they grow fairly hefty as they mature, they can uproot live plants quite easily.

LA
Gold weather loach variant -- not as common, but not rare.

LA
Gold dojos disappeared for about three years.  Now they're back (at double the price).

LA
Really back ...

No Switchblades.  Many loaches – the botias, not the long wiggly guys – have very sharp little spines in front of their eyes.  These pop out to protect their eyes when they burrow thru the gravel.  They also use these spines to protect themselves against aggressive tank mates.  Weather loaches lack this protective device.  They depend upon their speed and agility instead.

LA
Most dojos sell at the two or three-inch size.

Size.  Most weather loaches start out in dealer tanks around two to three inches.  Most top out at around six inches because they grow up in 10-gallon tanks.  Those living in larger tanks will attain a foot in length.  Large ones get bigger around than your thumb -- make that a foot-long hot dog.

 

Space.  The more room the better.  Dojos like lots of room.  The more room you give them, the more active they become.  And the bigger they grow.

LA Weather loaches usually ignore other fishes.

Groups.  Weather loaches like to work in packs.  The more the merrier.  As soon as one smells food, the whole pack gets to work. However, when crowded in smaller tanks, they tend to “slime up.”  If you change their water at this time (even with fresh tap water), the slime will fall off – usually overnight.

Water.  Chemical composition makes little difference.  Hardness and pH matter very little as long as you keep their water clean.  Don’t overfeed your weather loaches.

Diseases.  We’ve never seen these guys with ich parasites on them.  They’re more likely to succumb to dirty water problems.  If you see slime on them or red streaks on their body, it’s time to do a massive water change.  They usually recover without the need of medications.  Many medications will kill them.  These are one of the scaleless fishes many medication labels warn you about.

Temperature.  Feel free to put weather loaches in unheated goldfish tanks.  They do not need heaters.  In fact, they require a fairly cool period to trigger their spawning behavior. And, of course, they adapt readily to our tropical tank temperatures.

LA
Weather loaches get along with other fish.

LA
Here's some gold dojos "hiding" at the top of their tank from spawning kribensis below.

Tank Mates.  Dojos mix best with peaceful community fishes.  They ignore fish at least as big as a medium neon tetra.  However, like most fishes, they will eat any fish small enough to fit in their mouths.  We’ve seen these mixed with African cichlids.  At best we consider them temporary scavengers in African cichlid tanks -- and they better be small African cichlids.  As long as they stay hidden during the day, they survive.  Oddly enough, we saw one tank of dojos trying to climb inside the butt of a large fantail goldfish.  Perhaps the fantail was laying eggs?  In any event, they would not leave it alone for a week.  Finally, we moved the goldfish.

Additives.  None needed.  If you put your weather loaches in newly set up tanks, they do appreciate a teaspoon of salt per gallon of water.  In a mature tank, the salt makes little difference.

LA
When they head for the top, better have their tank covered.  Weather loaches can almost fly.

 

Tank Top.  Keep your weather loaches covered.  These guys bail at the slightest provocation – such as turning on the lights.  They like to jump out right at the back corners where your filter makes the current stronger.

LA
Weather loaches work hard and loaf hard.

LA
They spend much time loafing.

LA
Weather loaches are gregarious.

LA
And weather loaches are cute.

LA
And they do strange antics.

LA
Lunchtime at the weather loach corral.LA

Last Words.  You will not breed your weather loaches..  However, if you can provide the cool spell weather loaches need, you may get lucky.  LA
 

Jesse Plourde, August 13, 2008
This is for dojo loaches. A way to breed them is by first telling their gender. Males have triangle fins and the females are round. Second, drop the temperature down for about a week, then raise it back up to normal. Then add Java  moss to the bottom of the tank for the eggs to stay there if they spawn.
PS You may want to have 1 male with 3 to 5 females.

A:  Thanks for the breeding info.  I added it to the bottom of my weather loach page.  LA

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