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Maximum size : 6 cm

Panda Loach - Yaoshania pachychilus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The charming and social Panda Loach (Yaoshania pachychilus) is an excellent addition to any community aquarium. Keeping them in groups of five or more individuals is highly recommended, as these loaches are incredibly sociable and thrive in the company of their own kind. In larger groups, you will increase your chances of obtaining both sexes, which may lead to breeding opportunities. Panda Loaches are an excellent choice for aquarists looking to add some diversity to their sub-tropical setups. They can coexist with other species, such as the White Cloud Mountain Minnows, many Danio species, and other hillstream loach species. Maintaining exceptional water conditions is critical to keep these loaches happy and healthy. They are sensitive to high levels of nitrates, so regular partial water changes and powerful filtration are essential. The juveniles of the Panda Loach are an absolute sight to behold, boasting striking black-and-white spots. As they mature, they lose their bold colouration, but they still have an alluring mottled brown and cream appearance, with a dark band forming along the lateral line.

Panda Loach Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

There is currently no official documentation regarding the sexing of the Panda Loach. However, based on observations from experienced aquarists, it is widely believed that females tend to have a more robust and heavier body shape compared to males.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameYaoshania pachychilus
Year Described1980
Other NamesNone
Max Size6 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespanup to 8 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH5 - 25
TDS36 - 268
68 - 75
20 - 23.9

Natural Habitat

The Panda Loach (Yaoshania pachychilus) is a fascinating fish endemic to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Jinxiu County in southern China. This loach is most commonly found in the headwater tributary streams of the Dayao Mountain, with three confirmed localities, two of which drain into the Liu River and one into the Gui River. In the wild, Panda Loaches prefer the well-oxygenated, fast-flowing waters of shallow mountain streams. These dynamic habitats are filled with seasonal changes, which these loaches have adapted to, making them a remarkable species to observe and learn about in the aquarium.


Regrettably, the breeding of the Panda Loach in captivity remains poorly documented, and there is limited knowledge of its natural reproductive cycle. Nonetheless, a few accomplished aquarists have successfully bred this species in a home aquarium, with the offspring discovered hiding among pebbles either in the main tank or the external filter.

Diet & feeding

The Panda Loach is an adaptable species in terms of feeding and can readily accept most high-quality commercial dried foods like crushed flakes, small sinking pellets, and powdered fry foods. Occasional servings of frozen bloodworm and daphnia will also provide nutritional variety and enhance their overall health. However, it is essential to note that bloodworms should not be overfed as they are not easily digestible and may cause blockages in fish if consumed too frequently. A well-balanced diet will ensure that your Panda Loach thrives in your aquarium.

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