21st Nov 2019
The Weather Loach (or Pond Loach), is a species dating back many thousands of years and one of the first domesticated ‘pets.’ It was given its Latin name Misgurnus anguillicaudatus in 1842. They are originally from Asia and have been a delicacy since ancient times, in fact their popularity made them the fish most commonly eaten by workers, from the 17th through to the 19th century. At this time there were a few closely guarded recipes that are still used today in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, if you’re in the area this restaurant is a pretty famous one:
he Dojo (as they are called in Japan) are a freshwater fish who enjoy slow moving muddy pools, making the rice fields a perfect place for them to set up home.
So why the name ‘Weather Loach?’ Years ago people kept these fish in small glass jars to detect if a storm was coming. It is proven that Weather Loach can detect changes in barometric pressure, they will swim erratically sometimes standing straight on end when the weather is changing!
These fish are probably not one your standard fish that a pond keeper may have heard of, however the aquarium lovers amongst you will have seen them every time you walk into an aquatic store. One of the things you should know however is that they have been recorded to grow to lengths of 20 inches (50cm) so in a standard aquarium they can become too big for their surroundings. This being said though, it is starting to become increasingly common to see these guys living in British waterways (which shouldn’t really happen as it is illegal to release them) - and they can be seen in many a garden pond also.
Being extremely hardy (they can even secrete a mucous allowing them to spend a significant amount of time on land), allows the weather loach to quickly adapt to their new surroundings. They will live to roughly around 10 years old. The weather loach has a very varied diet - loving vegetation and insects equally. In fact if you have a high number of them in your pond, you’ll probably see a decrease in insect numbers around the pond! These fish will become a firm favourite in any nature pond especially with kids as they are a social fish, they have even been known to be hand fed on one of their favourite snacks, the humble garden pea.