Why Is My Dojo Loach Floating And What To Do

Last Updated on August 7, 2022 by cmoarz

Seeing your dojo loach that on a normal day is happily slithering around at the bottom of the tank, only to find that it’s now floating at the surface can be concerning.

So when is it normal for a dojo loach to float, and when is it a cause for concern? And what other reasons are there for a dojo to float around?

Sometimes, It’s completely normal for a dojo loach to float

It’s not uncommon to see a dojo loach floating about. Yes, normally they are quite happily swimming around at the bottom of the tank, but once and a while, they do like to have a nice peaceful float.

No one wants to expend energy all the time and loaches are no different. On occasion, they may want to just drift aimlessly around the tank and take in the view from up high.

It’s also a lot of fun to get carried around by the currents in the tank, Or wiggle into some plants and “play dead” for no apparent reasons. Enjoy these times as your loach is just being lazy and having some fun.

As long as your dojo loach is behaving normally in all other respects, there is no need to worry if you see it floating about more often than usual.

However, there are times when floating isn’t normal. Prolonged floating or the inability to swim properly can be a sign of something more serious.

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When is it not normal?

If you notice that your dojo loach is not behaving normally, or it is having trouble swimming, this could be a sign of something more serious going on.

If you see your loach floating around more often than usual and it seems to be having trouble getting back down to the bottom, it’s a good idea to take a closer look.

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Causes of abnormal floating

There are several potential causes of abnormal floating in dojo loaches.

Gas buildup

Loaches can be prone to gas buildup, Especially long boys like dojo loaches. This is relatively easy to spot as their back end may be floating higher than their front end.

This can be caused by the types of food you’re giving them, indigestion from foods that haven’t been properly soaked, and overfeeding.

Constipation is also a common cause of gas buildup and can be diagnosed by the loach’s appearance. A bloated stomach, skinny tail, and lethargy are all signs of constipation.

Normal gas problems are fixed naturally when the loach farts. (Yes, fish can fart!). But prolonged gas buildup might need a helping hand from you as it could be an indicator of bloat.

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Bloat and constipation

Bloat happens for many of the same reasons, constipation, overfeeding, and gas buildup. The main difference is that bloat is a more serious condition.

Bloated fish often look like they are about to burst. You might see their eyes bulging out and their scales standing out more than usual. This condition can be fatal if not treated quickly. Although it’s usually not so serious when you catch it quickly enough.

The good news is that you can help move these gasses along and help remove the blockage by giving them a boiled and shelled pea.

This will help get their digestive system moving again and can be a lifesaver for bloating fish. You can do it around once a week to keep things regular and moving along swimmingly.

You should also be sure you are feeding them a properly balanced diet and hard pellets should be soaked before feeding to help prevent indigestion and potential blockage.

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Swim bladder disease

Swim bladder disease is another potential cause of abnormal floating. This is a condition that affects the swim bladder, which is an organ fish use to help them control their buoyancy.

There are many different causes of swim bladder disease, from genetics to infection. It can be hard to treat swim bladder disease and often, the fish will continue to decline.

There are medications that claim to treat swim bladder, and some work better than others. But often, the best you can do is make sure the fish are comfortable and not in pain.

If your loach is displaying any other abnormal behavior, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or hiding more than usual, it’s a good idea to take them to your local fish shop for a checkup. These experts are usually more inclined to know what to do and what may be causing your loaches swim bladder issues.

Always keep water parameters in check and conduct regular water changes to help prevent any sort of disease.

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Sometimes when a fish gets very old, or sick, it becomes too weak to swim properly.

When a fish gets to this point, it’s usually not long before they pass away. There’s not much you can do to help a fish in this condition other than making sure they are comfortable and have clean water.


Owner of AquariumGravel.com and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!