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Maximum size : 9 cm

Panda Garra - Garra Flavatra : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Panda Garra (Garra Flavatra) is a fascinating and visually stunning species that has gained popularity in the aquarium hobby. These active and entertaining fish have a distinct appearance, making them easily recognizable and a joy to observe. For optimal health and happiness, it is recommended to keep Panda Garras in groups of five or more in a biotope-style community tank with other species from their natural habitat. The tank should have mixed substrate of gravel, rock, and pebbles, and some hardy plants attached to the decor to provide a more natural environment. Maintaining well-oxygenated, clean water is crucial to keeping these fish healthy and thriving. It is also essential to perform regular water changes to ensure their environment stays pristine. Due to their propensity to climb out of the tank if they are not satisfied with their water conditions, a tight-fitting lid is highly recommended. While there is considerable variation in coloration among individual Panda Garras, they are characterized by vertical bars alternating between light and dark brown to black and red markings on their fins. When feeding, they utilize their modified lower lip, which forms a slightly adhesive disk in turbulent waters, allowing them to cling to the substrate while feeding. Overall, the Panda Garra is an excellent addition to any aquarium and is sure to delight any hobbyist with its unique appearance and behavior.

Panda Garra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Determining the gender of Panda Garras can pose a challenge, as their appearance may not differ significantly until they reach sexual maturity. To discern between the two, a closer examination is required. Adult males exhibit the development of prominent tubercles around the caudal peduncle, head, and lateral line, in addition to a bronze to reddish hue on their tails. They are generally more slender in their physical build, in contrast to the females, who tend to be plumper and do not develop such tubercles.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameGarra Flavatra
Year Described2004
Other NamesPanda Loach, Banded Butterfly Loach, Rainbow Loach
Max Size9 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespanup to 6 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH2 - 12
KH2 - 8
71 - 81
21.7 - 27.2

Natural habitat

Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, the Panda Garra calls the picturesque Arakan and Rakhine Yoma mountain range in Rakhine state, western Myanmar, its home. These fish are often found frolicking in very shallow, slow-flowing, crystal-clear, and oxygen-rich streams, small pools, and rivers. They prefer substrates of mixed sand, gravel, pebbles, and rocks that provide them with the perfect natural habitat to thrive in.

How to breed the Panda Garra

The breeding habits of the Panda Garras are well-documented and fascinating. These fish are seasonal spawners, with spawning occurring from May to July. Adult Panda Garras are placed together in large breeding tanks and conditioned with a specialized diet consisting of live tubifex, chopped earthworms, and algae-rich foods to promote their breeding condition. During the breeding season, male Panda Garras develop prominent tubercules on their head, along the lateral line and around the caudal peduncle, while females become noticeably gravid. Once the fish reach the spawning stage, individual pairs are selected and transferred to smaller, highly oxygenated tanks with moderate water flow. Eggs are laid the following morning and typically hatch within 24 to 30 hours. The fry become free-swimming shortly after and can be fed liquid fry food or a mixture of egg yolk until they are large enough to accept newly hatched brine shrimp, usually after a week or so. Consistent water flow is believed to stimulate feeding and promote the growth rate of the fry.

Diet & feeding

Despite being known to graze on algae, the Panda Garra is an omnivore and requires a varied diet. It is recommended to provide them with a mix of meaty and plant-based foods. Meaty foods such as live or frozen artemia, bloodworm, chopped prawn and tubifex should be included in their diet, along with high-quality sinking wafers and pellets that contain a balance of vegetable matter like Spirulina. In addition to this, fresh fruits and vegetables such as spinach, cucumber and melon can be offered as an occasional treat. A balanced diet is essential to ensure the long-term health and well-being of these fish.

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