Panda Loach (Yaoshania pachychilus) Species Profile & Care Guide
The Panda Loach is a peaceful fish that is highly sociable; therefore, you should keep them in good-sized groups of at least 5, although more would be far more beneficial. The larger the group, the better the chances are of obtaining both sexes, which may lead to spawning opportunities.
These fish are territorial to an extent with some individuals appearing more protective of their space than others. They can be kept alongside other sub-tropical species such as White Cloud Mountain Minnows and many species from the Danio family, plus other hillstream loach species.
Like other species that inhabit fresh running waters, these loaches will not be able to tolerate a build-up of nitrates within the aquarium and require exceptional water conditions at all times if they are to thrive. Therefore powerful filtration and regular partial water changes are essential.
The Panda Loach Juveniles are strikingly coloured in black-and-white botches, but they lose the boldness as they mature. However, they are still attractive and instead have a mottled brown and cream appearance with a dark band forming along the lateral line.
|Scientific Name||Yaoshania pachychilus|
|Aquarium Level||Bottom - Middle|
|Difficulty||Intermediate - Advanced|
|Best kept as||Groups 5+|
|Lifespan||up to 8 years|
|Temperature||68 - 75 ℉ (20 - 23.9 ℃)|
|PH||6.5 - 7.5|
|GH||5 - 25|
|TDS||36 - 268|
Natural Habitat of the Panda Loach
The Panda Loach is known from the headwater tributary streams draining the Dayao Mountain in Jinxiu County and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. There are also three confirmed localities. Two of these drain into the Liu River and one drains into the Gui River.
They inhabit shallow, seasonal, fast-flowing mountain streams characterised by stretches of riffles and runs broken up by pools or cascades.
Their substrates are typically composed of small rocks, gravel and sand with jumbles of boulders. While riparian vegetation and patches of submerged leaf litter are standard features, aquatic plants probably arenâ€™t present.
Other Loaches of interest
In captivity Panda Loaches will accept high-quality dried foods such as crushed flakes, small sinking pellets and even powdered fry foods as well as meatier items like live or frozen bloodworm, baby brine shrimp and daphnia but may suffer internal problems if the diet contains excessive protein.
You can use home-made foods using a mixture of natural ingredients bound with gelati; these are very useful since they can be tailored to contain a high proportion of fresh vegetables, Spirulina and similar ingredients.
It’s best for long-term success if you provide an established aquarium with a plentiful supply of algae-covered rocks and other surfaces.
Sexing the Panda Loach
Sexing of the Panda Loach is undocumented, but it is believed that the females are heavier bodied than the males.
Breeding the Panda Loach
Unfortunately breeding this species is unrecorded in captivity and little information is known of its natural reproductive cycle. However, a small number of aquarists have managed to produce this species in the home aquarium, with young fry found hiding amongst pebbles in the main tank or the external filter.