Fish keeping is a popular hobby, and finding the right fish to populate your aquarium can be tricky.
More likely than not, you’re drawn to the dojo loach as a nice way to add some bottom feeder variety to your fish population, but as any savvy fish keeper knows, you’ve always got to be careful when selecting your tank mates, especially if you already have snails or shrimp.
So with that in mind, do dojo loaches eat snails?
Dojo loaches are a popular bottom feeder due to their placid nature and ability to thrive in a community tank. They love to eat snails and will actively hunt them; however, you should give your dojo loach a varied omnivorous diet for best results.
If you’ve got a tank full of mystery snails, and you want to reduce the population a little, dojo loaches can certainly help you do that, but if you’re trying to maintain a healthy snail population, then you should avoid putting dojo loaches in a tank with snails.
The rest of this article will explore how to care for your dojo loach as well as what foods and tank environments are best for them.
Do Dojo Loaches Eat Large Snails?
Dojo loaches are perfectly capable of eating any size of snail. Unlike other fish that eat snails, dojo loaches don’t have to crack the snail’s shell in order to attack the snail within.
Some puffers, for example, might have a harder time attacking large snails due to the size of their beak and would prefer to target smaller snails whose shells are easier to crack. The dojo loach has no such problem.
It can flip a snail and attack its soft underbelly, sucking it out of its shell entirely. As such, be aware that dojo loaches may try to attack both adult and juvenile snails. In general, however, dojo loaches will target very small snails.
If you’re really looking to thin out your out-of-control snail population, consider getting a Yo Yo Loach instead.
What Do Dojo Loaches Eat?
Dojo loaches are omnivorous, which means that they will eat almost anything you feed them. They will happily eat live foods like daphnia, bloodworms, or brine shrimp, but they’re also suited to eat gel foods, as well as pellets, fish flakes, and frozen foods.
They will also scavenge for foods available in the tank, meaning that they will snack on any tiny fish, shrimp, or snails in the tank. As such, they are very unsuited for breeding tanks.
Are Dojo Loaches Friendly?
Despite a long list of things that they will eat, dojo loaches are friendly and suitable for community tanks. They don’t tend to attack other fish unless they are tiny. Snails, of course, are natural prey for dojo loaches, and these bottom feeders will regularly hunt snails.
Small shrimp like cherry shrimp or ghost shrimp are a no-go in tanks occupied by a dojo loach as well. Their tiny size makes them an ideal target for a hunting dojo loach.
When it comes to anything that isn’t their prey, however, dojo loaches are the perfect community fish and offer a lot of entertainment for aquarists.
What Fish Can Live with Dojo Loaches
Dojo loaches are great with others of their kind. In fact, when buying dojo loaches, it’s a good idea to get at least three so that they can keep company. A group of dojo loaches offers a playful environment that reduces stress for the group and offers a beneficial cleanup service.
While they are social, you shouldn’t have to worry about your group of dojos not schooling since they don’t typically exhibit the behavior. You don’t necessarily have to pair your dojos with other dojos, though.
Kuhli Loaches, for example, are a great tankmate to add some color amidst the bottom dwellers and are peaceful. Goldfish are another good tankmate for dojo loaches since they typically feed at the top of the tank and won’t harass the loaches.
Dojo loaches also get along well with other cleaner fish, like Dwarf Plecos or catfish. Of course, most kinds of non-aggressive schooling or dither fish are perfect company for dojo loaches.
Harlequin Rasboras (make sure you have at least eight) are beautiful and very peaceful dither fish that can add some color to your tank while providing a great tankmate for your loaches.
Do Dojo Loaches Eat Other Fish?
Dojo loaches are non-aggressive and won’t tend to target other fish. Just make sure that they are sufficiently fed with a varied diet, and you won’t have to worry about potentially aggressive behavior.
Dojo loaches will, like most other fish, eat newly hatched fish if they can catch them. In addition, they may target other injured or dying fish, although this isn’t particularly a sign of aggressive.
If a predatory fish, not just a dojo, senses weakness, they may attack the injured fish that is unable to fend off attackers. As such, if you have an injured or sick fish, it’s usually best to quarantine them in a separate tank to avoid them being targeted by other fish.
Dojo loaches are a great addition to many tanks, offering some variety and life in any aquarium. The best part is that they are very low maintenance and compatible with a number of other fish species.
They will, however, actively attack snails, shrimp, and juvenile or tiny fish as part of their natural behavior, so avoid putting this fish in your tank if you want to maintain your snail or shrimp population.
If you want to thin down your snail numbers, make sure that you also give your dojo loaches plenty of other suitable foods as part of a balanced diet. Dojos should be incorporated into a tank in groups of three or more, since, to a degree, they are social fish.
Scavengers at heart, dojo loaches are great fun to watch as they meander around the tank looking for leftover food, and they make for a wonderful and easy fish to care for.