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Pet Information: Dojo Loach
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"These are one of my favourite fish of all time. They may not be colourful, but with their ugly-cute faces, gentle temperaments, otter-like playful personalities, and their affinity for human contact, they really can grow on you. These fish have become more like pets to me than any of the other fish I have kept, and are reported to be long-lived, from 12-15 years. All of these things are the markers of an ideal pet. Over time, they can become fairly large. I now have 4 Dojo Loaches. Of the four, one is the Gold variety, and the other three are the regular Browns. I have had the original Brown pair for almost two years. My second-largest, Whiskers, is 7 inches long and fairly slender with a distinct lateral line; the upper half being golden with brown spots and the lower being lighter. The tail of Whiskers is spade-shaped. The largest of these, Tickles, is over 8 inches long and probably close to an inch in diameter. I believe this one is female. She is grayish brown with all-over darker spots, and has a rounded tail. I have wondered if these two are slightly different species, though I purchased them at the same time. The final two Loaches are my babies; Jackie and No-Feet. Jackie is the one of gold variety. His body is peach-coloured, and very slender compared to that of No-Feet, who is about the same length at 4", and resembles Tickles most in looks and body type. Jackie is a standout among the bunch. He got this name from Jackie Chan, as he is always moving about the tank and performing curious antics such as draping himself over plants and hanging there in odd positions. Jackie and No-Feet can often be found swimming together throughout all levels of the tank. Tickles and Whiskers used to be more active, but it seems as they have aged, they have become more sedentary, spending their days resting near or under a log. Sometimes I will find all four of my Dojos resting on top of eachother. When I bought the first ones, I knew nothing about them. I was told they could be kept together or alone. I got one, but before even leaving the store, changed my mind and got another on a hunch. I now know these fish are at their best in groups, and each time I introduce a new member, it is immediately accepted and brought into the Loach Clan. The Dojos have been nothing but gentle towards my other fish, and have a special relationship with their nonspecific Loachmates, especially the Kuhli Loaches and the Peppered Loaches (Lepidocephalichthys). Both these other types from time to time will join on the Loach Pile. This is funny and entertaining to watch. I am currently keeping them in a 55 Gallon Community, but am planning to upgrade to a 75 soon so they can have more room. This new tank will take into consideration their requirements for hiding spots, resting spots, and places to explore. In my experience, robust plants are best, as Dojos like to redecorate. Sometimes this is purposeful (that PLANT is in my favourite spot!), and sometimes it is not. Any finer-leaved or stemmed plants are usually knocked around unintentionally. I have found Amazon Swords, larger Cryptocoryne, and Giant Vallisneria are excellent for having extended root systems less likely to be dug up or disturbed. Other good plant choices include ones you can tie down to wood such as Anubias or Java Fern. Ideal tankmates for these fish are larger Barbs and Rainbowfish who, like the Dojo, enjoy cooler temperatures. If you would like something smaller, Danios or Rasboras might fit the bill, but I would stay away from the Giant Danio. I brought a trio of these home once, and though they were not aggressive, their constant racing around the tank was unsettling to my Loaches. They began to burrow and hide until only their eyes were showing. It has been a wonderful experience having these fish, and they are my main concern when designing this new tank. Enjoy your Loaches!"

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