Alternative species (click on the thumbnail to see the card)
Garra rufa crenulata
Garra rufa gymnothorax
Origin: Eurasia (Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Jordan)
During the breeding season, the male has bridal buds on the top of the mouth and cheeks. More generally, they are slightly smaller and thinner than females, and their pectoral fins are longer.
120 L / 26 imp gal / 32 US gal
T°: 16 to 28°C or 61 to 82°F
pH: 5.5 to 7.5
Hardness: 8 to 12°dGH
8 to 9cm (3.1 to 3.6")
6 to 12 years
How to feed the Doctor fish?
This omnivorous species is easy to feed. In nature, it eats mainly phytoplankton and microalgae (biofilm in aquariums). It will not hesitate to graze some algae as well.
To feed your Garra, offer him groundfish pellets with spirulina, zucchini, cucumber, peas... Complete this vegetable food by offering him small live prey (if not frozen) such as mud worms, artemia, tubifex, shrimp pieces...
What kind of behavior does the Doctor fish have?
The garra rufa is lively and very active, always on the move! It spends a lot of time looking for food. It is well equipped for this activity: it has two pairs of barbels with which it searches the ground in search of its next meal. It also likes to hide in stones.
Be careful when cleaning your aquarium as they will gladly stick to your hand! Indeed, they are not at all shy and will bicker to come and stick to you! Needless to say, do not put hand cream or any other chemical product on them before you put them in your aquarium.
Who can live with the Doctor fish?
The Garra rufa is a gregarious fish that should be kept in groups of at least 6.
It is perfectly peaceful and can be installed in a community aquarium without difficulty. Beware, however, of very calm fish that the intense activity of the Garra could hinder.
How to breed the Doctor fish?
The reproduction of the Garra rufa is easy and it is a very prolific fish. Reproductions take place during the warm season, or by simply raising the temperature in captivity. Ideally, the pH should be 7/7.5.
In order to maximize the yield of the fry, you will need to plan an aquarium especially dedicated to breeding because adult Garra eat their own eggs. You will install abundant vegetation (Java moss for example) and mops. The ground will be covered with a fine-mesh grid to protect the brood from the predation of their parents. Isolate a few fish in this aquarium (choose males with bridal buds).
Laying takes place in the morning and includes between 200 and 500 eggs. As soon as the eggs appear, remove the parents. The eggs measure only 1.5/1.8 mm and are completely translucent. Incubation will last from 24 to 30 hours depending on the temperature. After hatching, the fry will consume their yolk sacks for 72 hours and then they can swim freely.
Food of the fry: boiled egg yolks then after 1 week nauplies of artemia. At the age of 15 days, they can start to eat dry food adapted to their size.
Which aquarium for the Doctor fish?
The ground will be composed of sand or gravel not sharp (the barbels of the Garra are fragile). Leave "bare" space for the fish to search the ground. Sprinkle with stones or smooth pebbles of different sizes by arranging hiding places. In nature, it hides under stones and vegetation to rest.
Complete your decor with roots or branches and dense vegetation creating many areas of shade.
Don't skimp on light, which will encourage the growth of the biofilm that the Garra loves so much.
Water parameters are not critical and this species is very tolerant in this respect. In addition, it is not particularly sensitive to variations in these parameters except for the pH, which must remain below 7.5. However, this should not be a pretext for not maintaining your aquarium, which will still undergo the classic maintenance operations such as water changes!
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Good To know
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For about 2 centuries, the Garra Rufa has been used in Asia to treat skin diseases, in the same way leeches (psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, heavy legs, cleaning of wounds ...)! It is also very well known for dermatological care: it perfectly erases your skin from the cortex of aging. It also has a name related to this characteristic: "fish pedicure" or "fish pedicure" in English. Now let's talk about the other side of the coin: it seems that fish can transmit infections from one patient to another. In addition, there are health risks related to the cleanliness of the water. Finally, the Garra throwing themselves on the dead skins to feed themselves are actually starving and they only find this solution to survive. We can really speak of deviant behaviour. We can only make you aware of the living conditions of the fish used in this context and remind you that the Garra is a sensitive living being with specific needs!
Even if it rarely exceeds 9 cm (3.6") in captivity, this fish can measure up to 14 cm (5.5") in its natural environment.
Robust, easy to reproduce and endearing, the Garra has all the assets to seduce aquarists beginners!
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