Garra rufa – a perfect algae eater!

7. April 2009

The doctor fish (Garra rufa) is famous due to the fact that the population of this fish that lives in the Kangal thermes in Turkey can be used to help people with bad skin diseases, like psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis and so on. This fish shows no shyness against humans at all, comes at once and behaves on the skin as it would do with its natural food: aufwuchs (algae and the small animals that live between them). It does remove dead skin and, thus, cleans up inflamed areas, permitting new tissues to grow. Especially juveniles are really mad for cleaning human skin and to eat algae. The self test made by myself to get the photos presented here clearly showed that the fish prefer to clean skin instead of wood, but nevertheless Garra rufa can be recommended as a wonderful algae eater. Which other species of algae eater can be presented to friends and visitors as a trained animal that swims to the hand as soon as you put it in the water?

Garra rufa can be easily kept in the aquarium in a temperature range between 16 and 30°C. It should be kept in a group. Maximum length is approx. 10 cm TL. For our customers: the fish has code 416451 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale market.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer