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Doctor fish

Scientific Name: Garra rufa
Family: Cyprinidae, Subfamily Labeoninae

About the Doctor fish

Species Type: Freshwater Fish
Category: Cyprinids

Care Level: Moderate. May tolerate only a narrow range of water parameters, have specific dietary requirements including frozen or even live foods, may have behaviors that severely limit potential tankmates or may require a specialized aquarium setup.

Origin: Garra rufa occurs in the river basins of the Northern and Central Middle East, mainly in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran

Compatibility/Temperament: Peaceful, it should be kept in small groups in a species aquarium. A long low tank is bst, as this is a substrate fish. Sand substrate with small pebbles, plants for cover.


Garra rufa occurs in the river basins of the Northern and Central Middle East, mainly in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. It is legally protected from commercial exploitation in Turkey due to concerns of overharvesting for export. Garra rufa can be kept in an aquarium at home; while not strictly a "beginner's fish", it is quite hardy. For treatment of skin diseases, aquarium specimens are not well suited as the skin-feeding behavior fully manifests only under conditions where the food supply is somewhat scarce and unpredictable.
The misleading information perpetrated by those who utilize Garra rufa in profitable ventures is that the Garra rufa actually eat dead skin but this is not strictly true, the filtration systems of tanks that have been analyzed have been shown to capture the skin.
During their activities of foraging they slough off dead skin. They are simply looking for food which in the wild consists of aufwuchs. In both marine and freshwater environments the algae [particularly green algae and diatoms] make up the dominant component of aufwuchs communities. Small crustaceans, rotifers, and protozoans are also commonly found in fresh water and the sea, but insect larvae, oligochaetes and tardigrades are peculiar to freshwater aufwuchs fauna

Doctor fish Diet

The garra rufa eats dead skin in spa treatments to simulate the skin you should get healthy dried fish flakes.
On occasion They will eat algae, if there is not enough algae algae wafers and veggie pellets should do the trick


as a juvenile this fish is about 4" Once it has reached adult they will be 6" It is rare but some fish have become rather "tiny" as adults would stay at 2-"

Minimum Tank Suggestion


Ideal water parameters for Doctor fish

The Garra rufa must be placed in Tropical tempratures and not in cold water

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