Algae eaters do not have to be pretty, they should eat algae. This basic motto also applies to Garra lissorhynchus, for which the name “chocolate algae eater” was coined to promote sales, but which is mainly dressed by friendly grey tones. The 1-3 cm long juveniles of this species, which comes from India, or more precisely from the Khasi Hills on the edge of the Himalayas in northeastern India, are among the best algae eaters of all that are available for the aquarium. In this size the fish are very adaptable; in nature the pH-value of the waters fluctuates between pH 4.5 and 9 throughout the year and the water temperature can be 16-28°C, depending on the season. A fish that lives there must be correspondingly adaptable.
Unfortunately only the young are really good algae eaters. Adult specimens of practically all algae eaters need only little energy (young animals need a lot, they want to grow and algae are a low-nutrient food, therefore the diligence) and therefore adult algae eaters usually cover their nutrient requirements with the food of the other aquarium fish.
Our shipments of Garra lissorhynchus almost always contain other species of algae eaters as by-catch, mostly Garra gotyla and Tariqilabeo latius (formerly Crossocheilus latius). We cannot sort them without risking damage to the animals, so we leave that alone. Since all three species are equally excellent algae eaters, it doesn’t matter.
For our customers: Garra lissorhynchus has code 416261 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
After many years we were finally able to import some full-grown (8-10 cm long) specimens of this as rare as beautiful and interesting sucking barb species. Garra sp. Red Tail is still scientifically undescribed, although the collecting site (the Kasat river in the west of Thailand) is well documented. For the history of discovery of this species please see https://www.aqualog.de/blog/garra-sp-rotschwanz-godzilla-kommt-vom-kasat-river/
The article also documents the impressive fighting behaviour of this species, in which the males open their forehead processes (scientifically: proboscis) like horns and then wrestle with each other like bulls.
The next related species in Thailand is Garra fuliginosa Fowler, 1934, from which Garra sp. Red Tail differs clearly in color.
Of course, this Garra species is also a good algae exterminator, but it is more adviced to be kept for its own sake and to promote algae growth for the benefit of the fish than to degrade the animal to a stone cleaner.
For our customers: the animals have code 416484 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers. Available in small numbers only!
Algae are probably the most widespread of all the hazards that can hit an aquarium. However, algae are not a bad thing in themselves, they just do not correspond to our aesthetic ideas. In nature, algae growing on stones, plants and pieces of wood and the microorganisms living in them – together they are called „Aufwuchs“ – are the food basis for many fish species, which are therefore often used in aquariums as algae eaters.
Among the Asian algae eaters, the genus Garra is very species-rich. A species from Burma that is striking due to its spot pattern is Garra spilota, which we are currently able to offer again. Like all Garra species, this species, which grows up to 8 cm long, is an excellent algae exterminator. Among each other and against other fish Garra spilota are completely peaceful.
For our customers: the animals have code 416473 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
We received once more this new, impressive species of Garra from India. The most striking feature of the species is that they have large, shining scales on the flanks. The position and number of these scales differs individually. Depending on the light these scales shine bright blue, orange-red or golden. The fully grown males (the photographed specimen is about 9.5 cm long and the largest individual we have seen so far) have a very impressive horn (scientifically called proboscis) on the forehead and tubercles on the snout. The shape of the proboscis is species-specific.
A great number of species of Garra have been described recently scientifically as new from India. Our fish resemble most to Garra gotyla, but more detailed and time-consuming studies are necessary before one can decide, if this first idea proofs to be right. In any case these algae-eaters are not only valuable, but also attractive and interesting!
For our customers: the fish have code 416442 (4-6 cm) on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
A quite new fish in the hobby is Garra culiciphaga. Initially this species has been described by the French scientist Pellegrin in 1927 under the name of Hemigrammocapoeta culiciphaga. The up to 8 cm long fish was placed in the genus Hemigrammocapoeta since 2015; recently specilaized researchers see it rather in the genus Garra.
The small, peaceful and wonderful golden glossing cyprinid is a Turkey endemic. The climatic conditions in its home country make Garra culiciphaga very tolerant against different temperatures. Most recent scientific research showed that this freshwater fish tolerates even strongly brackish water up to full salt concentration of the sea.
We obtained for the first time ever some sample specimens from one of our breeders; we hope that we will be able to offer them on a regular basis in the near future.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer