Pregnant Yoyo Loach- Signs, Behavior and Care

If you want me to prepare a list of different types of aquarium fish, I will put yoyo loach at the top of the list. Among the various causes, their pregnancy or breeding process is the most confusing and interesting one that I never experienced in other fish.

Well, most often I face a question: what does a pregnant Yoyo Loach look like? Also, can yoyo loach be pregnant? However, a yoyo loach can’t be pregnant but their breeding procedure can be compared to pregnancy. That’s why people think that they can be pregnant. 

I think my answer is confusing you. Then let me tell you the facts with a detailed description of them. Here, you will also get the caring procedures and other guidance about their maintenance during the breeding period.

Can Yoyo Loach be Pregnant?

Yoyo Loach reproductive process

Well, this is a controversial fact. No, yoyo loaches cannot become pregnant as the conventional pregnancy procedure that we find in mammals or other animals. This is because yoyo loaches are not livebearers like some other fish species. They are egg-laying fish, meaning that they reproduce through a process called spawning.

During spawning, the female yoyo loach releases eggs into the water and the male fertilizes them externally. The eggs are then left on their own and the parents do not provide any further care for them as the parents are taken to the other tanks for the safety of the eggs.

The eggs typically hatch within a few days and the fry (baby fish) are independent from the beginning. So, while yoyo loaches do reproduce, they do not get pregnant in the way that mammals do. But you can consider their egg-producing period as their pregnancy period too which slightly resembles the general pregnancy procedure.

How to Identify a Pregnant Yoyo Loach

Pregnant Yoyo Loach identification

Observe Changes in Body Shape

Are you in a mess in identifying a pregnant YoYo loach? It seems a bit challenging to me as these fish do not exhibit obvious external signs of pregnancy like some live-bearing species. YoYo loaches are egg layers, meaning they lay eggs rather than giving bmakirth to live fry.

However, there are a few indicators that I have noticed as the signs of their pregnancy. You can also look to determine if your YoYo loach is carrying eggs. In this case, I look at their body shape first.

Pregnant YoYo loaches may appear rounder and fuller in the abdominal region. This change in body shape can be subtle, especially if the fish is well-fed. But you can pick it as a preliminary symptom of their pregnancy. 

Notice Changes in Behavior

During the breeding period, male yoyo loaches may become more active and exhibit chasing or courtship behavior towards females. Females, on the other hand, might display behaviors like digging or searching for suitable spawning sites.

Look for Spawning Behavior

YoYo loaches typically lay their eggs on flat surfaces, such as broad leaves or rocks. If you notice your YoYo loaches repeatedly investigating potential spawning sites and displaying territorial behavior around them, it could be a sign that they are preparing to lay eggs.

Check for Ovipositor

In some cases, female YoYo loaches may have a slightly protruding ovipositor, which is an egg-laying tube located near the vent. However, this feature can be challenging to observe without handling the fish, which should be avoided unless necessary. 

What is the Gestation Period?

Here I want to clear up any confusion about the pregnancy of this fish. The gestation period for yoyo loaches is a common point of confusion. However, it’s important to note that yoyo loaches do not undergo a traditional gestation period. 

Gestation typically refers to the period during which a pregnant female carries and nourishes developing embryos internally before giving birth.

Yoyo loaches are egg-laying fish, meaning they reproduce through external fertilization.

The female yoyo loach will lay eggs, which are then fertilized by the male. These eggs are usually adhesive and will stick to various surfaces such as rocks, plants, or aquarium glass.

After fertilization, the eggs typically hatch within 24 to 48 hours, depending on various factors such as water temperature. Therefore, instead of a gestation period, yoyo loaches have an incubation period for their eggs.

It is important to provide suitable conditions for the eggs, such as maintaining proper water parameters and ensuring a suitable environment for the fry (baby fish) to thrive once they hatch.

Care For the Pregnant Yoyo Loach

If you want successful hatching, you must concentrate on the intensive care of your yoyo loach. Caring for a pregnant yoyo loach requires providing a suitable environment and proper nutrition to ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and her offspring. Here are some guidelines for caring for a pregnant yoyo loach:

Separate the Pregnant Loach

If you suspect that your yoyo loach is pregnant, it’s a good idea to separate her from the other fish in the tank. This will protect the unborn fry from potential harm and give the mother a stress-free environment.

Provide a Suitable Breeding Tank

Set up a separate breeding tank with appropriate conditions. The tank should be adequately sized, preferably with a minimum of 10 gallons of water for a single loach. I will provide a detailed idea of preparing a tank later in this description.

Create Hiding Spots

Yoyo loaches are known for their love of hiding, so ensure the breeding tank has plenty of hiding spots like caves, PVC pipes, or driftwood. These hiding spots will provide a sense of security for the pregnant loach and the fry.

Maintain Good Water Quality

Regularly test and maintain the water parameters in the breeding tank. Keep the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels in check through regular water changes and proper filtration. Clean the tank regularly to prevent any waste buildup.

Provide a Balanced Diet

Feed the pregnant loach a varied diet of high-quality foods to ensure she receives proper nutrition. Offer a combination of dry foods (such as high-quality pellets) and frozen/live foods (such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia) to provide a balanced diet rich in protein and nutrients.

Observe and Monitor the Loach

Pay close attention to the pregnant loach and observe her behavior. Look for any signs of distress, such as loss of appetite, excessive hiding, or abnormal swimming patterns. Monitor her body for any changes or signs of distress.

Preparing for Fry

As the pregnancy progresses, you may notice the female becoming rounder and her belly becoming more pronounced. Ensure there are suitable places for the fry to hide and seek shelter, such as dense vegetation or fine-leaved plants.

Handling the Fry

Once the fry is born, it is best to leave them undisturbed with the mother in the breeding tank. The yoyo loach is not known to actively care for its fry, but providing hiding spots and plenty of small-sized live or powdered foods will increase their chances of survival.

Remember, the process of breeding and caring for yoyo loach fry can be challenging and requires careful attention. Even, success is not guaranteed. Patience and careful observation are key to ensuring the best possible conditions for successful breeding. If you encounter any difficulties or have specific concerns, consider consulting with an experienced aquarium hobbyist or a veterinarian specializing in fish health.

How to Prepare a Breeding Tank for a Yoyo Loach

Preparing a breeding tank for a pregnant yoyo loach requires creating an environment that is safe, comfortable, and conducive to breeding. Here are the steps to prepare a breeding tank:

Tank Selection

Choose a separate tank specifically for breeding purposes. A 20-gallon tank or larger is suitable for yoyo loach breeding.

Set Up the Tank

Clean the breeding tank thoroughly and install a heater and a filter. Use a substrate like fine gravel or sand, and provide hiding places such as caves or PVC pipes for the loaches.

Water Parameters

Yoyo loaches prefer slightly acidic to neutral water conditions. Maintain a pH level of around 6.5 to 7.5 and a temperature of 75-80°F (24-27°C). Use a water test kit to ensure the parameters are within the appropriate range.

Introduce the Pregnant Loach

Transfer the pregnant female yoyo loach to the breeding tank. Ensure the female is visibly pregnant, with a swollen belly and increased size compared to the males.

Ideal Male-to-Female Ratio

It is advisable to have multiple males with a single female in the breeding tank to increase the chances of successful breeding. Aim for a ratio of at least two or three males per female.

What is Fry Care?

Fry is mainly the baby fish of yoyo loach. To continue the process of eggs becoming fry, you have to carefully maintain them. For this, you should maintain the following activities that I do regularly in my hatching tank.

Remove Adult Loaches

Once the female has laid her eggs, it is advisable to remove the adult loaches from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the eggs. Move them back to the main tank or separate holding tanks.

Egg Care

Provide appropriate care for the eggs. Maintain stable water conditions and ensure good water quality. Some breeders prefer to use a gentle air stone to create water movement to prevent fungal growth on the eggs.

Hatching and Fry Care

Yoyo loach eggs typically hatch within 24 to 48 hours. Once the fry hatch, they will initially feed on their yolk sacs. After a few days, you can start feeding them with finely crushed flake food or specialized fry food. Maintain good water quality, and consider performing regular partial water changes to keep the tank clean and healthy for the fry.

Problems in Yoyo Loach Breeding

As yoyo loach doesn’t undergo the normal pregnancy period like mammals or other animals, I want to mention it as breeding. There can be some concerns related to the breeding and egg-laying behaviors of yo-yo loaches that I face still though having immense experience. 

Well, here I want to mention those potential issues that can arise during the breeding process:


Yo-yo loaches can be territorial and aggressive towards each other, especially during breeding. It’s crucial to provide enough space and hiding spots in the aquarium to minimize conflicts.

Proper Conditions for Spawning

Yo-yo loaches require specific environmental conditions, such as appropriate water parameters, temperature, and water quality, to trigger the breeding process. Inadequate conditions may prevent or discourage spawning.

Egg Predation

If yo-yo loaches breed in a community tank with other fish, there is a risk that the eggs may be eaten by tankmates. In such cases, it might be necessary to isolate the breeding pair or provide separate breeding setups to protect the eggs.

Egg Fungus or Mold

Fungal growth on the eggs can be a common issue. If the eggs are not properly cared for, the fungus can develop and harm the developing embryos. Maintaining good water quality and hygiene can help minimize this risk.


How Long Does It Take For Yoyo Loach Eggs To Hatch?

Generally, it takes around 24 to 48 hours for the eggs to hatch. The time it takes for yoyo loach eggs to hatch can vary depending on various factors, such as water temperature and conditions. Once hatched, the fry (baby yoyo loaches) will often stay close to their parents and may seek shelter in plants or other hiding spots.

How Long Does It Take For Yoyo Loach Fry To Reach Maturity?

Around 9 to 12 months of age. During this time, they go through various growth stages and develop their distinct markings and coloration. It’s important to provide them with a balanced diet and proper care to ensure healthy growth and development.

Do Yoyo Loaches Care For Their Fry After They Hatch?

Yes, yoyo loaches are known to exhibit parental care after their fry hatch. Both the male and female may guard the eggs and fry, protecting them from potential threats. They may also help guide the fry to suitable feeding areas and provide some level of protection until the fry becomes more independent.

Final Words

So, these are all about the Yoyo loach pregnancy knowledge that I gained. This breeding and hatching procedure seems much more interesting to me though this is not an easy process. Still, I enjoy this.

If you also want to enjoy it, you can try out my processes and see their breeding process in your yoyo loach. Also, if you want further information about them or any other fish, feel free to ask me. I will share my knowledge about those. Hopefully, those will also help you.

Howard Parker

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