Fish Guide

Weather Loach: Caring For The Perfect Beginner Fish

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If you are looking for freshwater species that are hardy in nature, you have found yourself a gem. Weather loaches are not only beautiful but are a unique addition to your aquarium. The eel-like appearance adds authenticity to the aquarium vibe. To know more about the Weather loach, keep on reading!

Weather loaches are loaches that can live in freshwater and ponds. These fish are traditionally from South Asia and Europe which causes them to react to barometric changes. Hence, to take care of these loaches, you will have to maintain the water quality and also add some soft sand substrate to your aquarium.

To know more about weather loach, keep on reading as you will explore more interesting things about it. 

Weather Loach: Overview

Scientific Name Misgurnus angullicaudatus
Common Names of weather loach Amur Mud Loach, Dojo Loach, Japanese Loach, Japanese Weatherfish, Oriental Weatherfish, Pond Loach, Weather Loach
Origin South Asia: China, Korea, Japan, Northern Vietnam, Siberia, Sakhalin
Family Cobitidae
Size of the fish 12 inches (30 cm)
Behavior and temperament Peaceful, community fish

Shoaling fish

Lifespan 10 years
Level of housing Bottom dweller
Minimum Tank Size 20 gallon
Food Eats almost anything/ Omnivorous
Breeding Level Difficult
Care Easy to Intermediate
the pH of the tank water 6.0 to 8.0
The hardness of the tank water 7 to 12 dGH
The temperature of the tank water 40 F to 77 F (4 C to 25 C)

Weather loaches are freshwater species that are common in Asia. These fishes live for 7 to 10 years and are quite hardy. The life of such fish is affected by various factors. However, they live a healthy life without many diseases. In fact, they can even survive out of water for some time.

Moreover, these beautiful fish are easy to care for. They are a treat to the eyes and even the heart. The owners of the weather loach tend to feel a connection with the fish as they let the owners touch them and feed them. Hence, they are peaceful, friendly, and active species.

Since they look like eels, they are quite the unique ones in appearance. You only have to take care of some of the things to maintain the ideal condition for a weather loach and you are good to go.

Origin and Natural Habitat

Weather Loaches are from Europe and South Asia. The countries like Australia, Canada in Europe have such loaches while the South Asian countries are China, Japan, Korea, etc.

Now that the loaches are infamous in the fishkeeping world, they are found in various locations across the world. The population of such loaches has been extended to Germany, Italy, U.S., Uzbekistan, Spain, the Philippines, and many more countries.

Such diversification is flourished by the farms that raise it as a food source too! Some people even use it for bait while fishing. Thus, it has goodwill in the wild.

As their name suggests, they are even found in ponds as pond loaches. These fish change in response to barometric pressure changes which makes them famous as weather loaches. Hence, you do not have to worry if they swim across vertically when there is a storm.

The Appearance of Weather Loach 

Weather Loach is also known as Dojo Loach looks like eels in simple language. That is why people confuse them as eels as well. It means they have long slender bodies which consist of very small fins.

Body

Similarly, the upper body of the weather loach is also rounded which flattens more towards the tail. Moving towards their fins, they have small fins. Out of these fins, the dorsal fin is on the last third of the body. Similarly, they live in the bottom of the aquarium so you might not be able to see the pectoral fins that are just behind their gills.

With several barbels that surround their mouth, Weather Loaches prey for food. You can see these barbels located below the eyes too. Likewise, their head is pointed like others in its root family name.

Color

Weather loaches add some variation of color in the pond or aquarium. There are three solid different colors ranging from olive green to light brown and gray to yellow. In fact, the yellow ones are called Gold Dojo Loaches. It follows to have a lighter belly and dark brown spots in those bellies. This is a feature to best hide them from danger.

Size

Weather loaches can reach up to 20 inches in length. These are some of the largest freshwater species of loach. However, the average height for a weather loach is only 5 to 8 inches.

Female Weather Loach

The female Weather loach’s pectoral ray is a bit shorter than that of the male pectoral ray.

Male Weather Loach

The male Weather loach has a longer pectoral ray while maintaining a triangular shape. However, the differences between the two are very minimal.

Behavior And Temperament Of Weather Loach

Weather loaches are peaceful fish. Thus, they are not a threat to others in the aquarium. These loaches hide when they are stressed and swim freely when they feel at peace.

Besides, these fish are playful and social pets when they are kept in schools. This is the reason why I recommend you to keep them in a group of 5 to 6.

You will be happy to know that these fish are friendly and will connect with you. Just care about them and they will get attached. Like other pets, you can touch them and also feed them with your own hands once they are familiar to you.

Moreover, weather loaches love to explore. Thus, you need a tank with a lid. Otherwise, they might escape by jumping but due to their hardy nature, they might be able to swim as soon as you put them back in the water.

The reason why they survive up to such a level is they use the atmospheric oxygen to stay alive outside the water. However, you should not put your pet in danger no matter how clever they are.

What Are The Suitable Tankmates for Weather Loach?

Practically, weather loaches are peaceful and community fish. Hence, they can be paired with any other fish in the same category. It will be better if you pair the weather loaches in schools. 

However, you cannot put them in a breeding tank as the weather loaches eat up eggs faster than you know it.

I must warn you that they eat quite well. Thus, you should not pair them with shrimps or invertebrates.

Since they are bottom feeders, you can pair them with upper and middle-level dwellers. You can pair them in a community tank as per their peaceful nature.

 Some of my suggestions are:

How To Care For A Weather Loach?

Caring for a weather loach is an easy task. They are hardy but that does not mean you should test their limits. You only have to understand their water requirements and substrate requirements to keep them alive and happy.

Tank Requirements

Here are some of the tank requirements that create the best living space for your weather loach! 

Tank Size

The minimum tank size for the weather loach is 20 gallons. Since you have to keep them in shoals of 5 to 6, 20 gallons will be best.

Make sure that the tank is at least 4 feet long. The smaller tanks will suffocate the fish as they can get quite long. Appropriate swimming space provides better care for the fish which means they will be healthy and happy.

Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit, Includes LED Lighting and Decor would work well for the weather loaches but if you want a larger tank, it would be even better.

The ph of Tank Water

You can maintain a ph level of 6 to 8 for weather loaches. You can learn how to adjust the ph of freshwater fish from here.

The hardness of Tank Water

For the hardness of the tank water, you can maintain a hardness of 7 to 12 dGH for the weather loaches.

The temperature of Tank Water

Similarly, you should maintain the temperature of water from 40° F to 77° F (4° C to 25° C). For this, you can add a heater to maintain the appropriate temperature. You can also add a thermometer to check the water temperature or find a piece of equipment that can do both.

Substrate

You should use a soft sand substrate for the weather loaches as they are bottom dwellers. They love to dig in and hence can cause body harm if the substrate is harder. 

For soft sand substrate, Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand, 20-Pound, Crystal River would be the best.

Decoration 

For decor, you can use any natural thing that comes into your mind. Make sure you add some hiding spaces for the fish so that they can feel comfortable.

As these hiding spaces are the go-to for weather loaches whenever they are scared, it helps to reduce stress among them. You can use the following:

These fish tend to bury themselves in substrate if there are no hiding places. Thus, hiding space is a must.

Plants

Plants are a good way to keep the weather loaches safe. You can use tall plants like hornwort for weather loaches. Make sure you use plants that can be rooted deep as the weather loaches tend to dig through the substrate.

Filtration

For filtration, you can use a filter that keeps a moderate flow and can be used under the substrate. You can use sponge filters too. Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filter for Betta Fry Aquarium Fish Tank Up to 60 Gal, 3-Pack (L) is quite the new hype in the market. 

Lighting

Lighting is not a problem for the weather loaches as they are bottom dwellers. So, you can use them as you like. However, the thing you need to keep in mind is putting a lid on your tank as well as securing it tightly. The weather loaches might escape from their tanks following their curiosity.

Oxygenation

For oxygenation, you can use air stones. HYDDNice 4″x2″ Air Stone Commercial Air Pump Bubblers Aquaponics Cylinder Airstones Diffuser for Aquarium Fish Tank Hydroponics Pump (8PCS) is a good option for the same. However, you can learn How To Maintain The Oxygen Level In Aquarium from here.

What To Feed Weather Loach: Diet

Weather loaches eat up almost anything. These loaches are bottom feeders and clean up the tank like no other.

Moreover, as I mentioned above, the dojo loach or weather loach loves the fish eggs which is why you should not keep them in a breeding tank. Likewise, you can catch them eating insect larvae, crustaceans in the wild. 

Some of the best live food for weather loach are:

  • insect larvae, 
  • small crustaceans and 
  • mollusks,
  • Invertebrates or shrimp

You can also feed them with vegetables of your choice. I suggest you go for peas after skinning.

Besides, you should worry about the aquatic insects as the weather loaches eat up as much as they want. The population of these loaches is increasing in the wild by the day in cities like Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, California, etc. 

Since the weather loaches are also a source of food, the population of weather loaches rises up. You can find them plated in the United States, Korea, and much more. Koreans believe that the soup of these loaches brings good health.

Weather Loaches also feed on organic matter like algae. Small algae snacks are heartily welcome by these fishes. Besides, you can feed them with:

Suggestions of Some of The Best Food For Weather Loach

I have suggested the best food that you can get online for weather Loaches. Give it a try!

How To Breed A Weather Loach?

The Weather loaches are pretty difficult to breed. Although they are of hardy nature, Weather Loaches are hard to attempt for breeding.

As per home aquarists, you should not attempt to breed them as weather Loaches require cold temperatures for several months to breed properly. If you are lucky, the breeding occurs as an accident in some cases.

When the breeding occurs, females will lay 50 eggs at a time. Weather loaches eat up their own eggs as well. Hence, you need to set up a fry tank.

Besides, after spawning, within 2 to 3 days, eggs will hatch. After that, you can start by feeding infusoria. When they get a little bigger, you can start feeding them baby brine shrimp. 

Common Possible Diseases Of Weather Loach

Weather loaches are hardy but they are still not invincible. These species are vulnerable to diseases unlike the other freshwater species alongside them.

Although their appearance is like that of an eel which looks hardy, they have low protection because they lack the small and thin scales on their body. They might show the following signs of diseases:

Bacterial or Fungal Infections

You can see such cases of bacterial fungal infections when you put them in a community tank. They show signs of white patches in their body, hiding in their spaces, and much more.

Ich

Similarly, Ich is another disease that can catch the Weather loaches in their grip. You can see visible white spots all over their body. So, when you see these spots, immediately quarantine your fish as it is highly communicable. Separate the infected fish from the tank as soon as possible to save other fishes in the tank.

Skinny Disease

This is a parasitic disease. In such a case, the weather loach will lose weight gradually. Even though they are having a perfect proportion of a healthy diet, the weight will suggest otherwise. You can say that it is like a tapeworm infestation in human beings.

How To Keep Weather Loaches Away From Diseases?

The main thing here is to check the water conditions and maintain the parameters that I have mentioned above. Low quality may induce stress among the fish and cause diseases.

Similarly, you can change water from 25 to 30 percent every week to keep the water fresh and regulating.

Likewise, give weather loaches a proper and healthy diet so that they can keep on fighting any diseases. You might also want to maintain proper space for swimming in their tank.

Keeping them in a group of 5 to 6 is also a great way to reduce the stress that might be harming them.    

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Weather Loaches Should I Keep?

Weather loaches live in a group of three to the least. These are the social fishes that hang around in schools. If you decide on keeping them alone, you will find them hiding and inactive during the day. Hence, keep Weather loaches in a group of three at least.

Do Weather Loaches Bury Themselves?

Yes, Weather loaches do bury themselves. This is why you need to acquire a soft substrate. A sand substrate is good to go for the weather loaches to be safe.

Do Loaches Clean Tanks?

Yes, Weather loaches clean up tanks but only the bottom part of it. Majorly, the weather loaches are looking for food when they are going through the substrate. Hence, the weather loaches should be kept in large tanks so that they can have their own space.

Can You Put A Weather Loach In A Pond?

Is the weather loach a good pond fish? Well yes, they are good pond fish. However, you must look out for thunderstorms because the atmospheric pressure plays a great role for these fishes. Thus, its name gives us the clue itself that the weather must be clear to them.

Do Weather Loaches Attack Other Fish?

Weather Loaches are not aggressive fish. Most of the loaches are not except for some special species like sucker mouth ones. However, weather loaches are perfectly peaceful fishes if you keep them in a group of around 5 to 6. They are quite social and you can expect them to be peaceful.

Unless you are referring to the shrimps, snails, and other small mollusks, you can be free of doubts in your mind. However, weather loaches have a high appetite. So, do not keep them in the breeding tank that has eggs or in the tanks of the invertebrates.

Last Words

Thus, in conclusion, you can see that weather loach are very easy to care for. These are interesting creatures that give you the pleasure of having a pet fish that responds and connects to you. The ones that have the superpower to live outside the water for some time and also easy to feed. 

These freshwater species are just the dream fish for many aquarists. Especially because it has so many features that create the best out of aquarium fish. Be it its unique appearance, ease of looking after, or ease of feeding! You have all eggs in your basket and do not need to worry about it too!

So, when are you bringing your Weather loach home? Share your experiences in your comment section down below!

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