Max Size: 14cm

Red Garra (Garra Rufa)

In a standard community aquarium, Red Garras will not do well because they require fast-flowing and highly oxygenated water, which a powerful external canister filter should provide.

Despite being peaceful towards other species, red garras can be territorial towards their kind or similar-looking species. Ideally, these fish should be kept in groups of five or more individuals; if held in fewer numbers, they may quarrel. In addition, it would be better to provide plenty of visual barriers in the aquarium amongst the decor so if any minor territorial disputes occur, the fish can get away from others' lines of sight.

Despite being relatively calm, Red Garras can become boisterous during feeding times.

A crucial point to note is that Red Garras can climb up the aquarium glass easily. They tend to do this when newly imported or have just been moved; therefore, make sure your tank has a tight-fitting lid and that there are no small gaps they can crawl out of.

Unfortunately, Red Garras are exploited in huge numbers within modern beauty spas for pedicures due to their ability to remove dead skin. Under such conditions, they will never thrive and reach their full potential because they are kept in unsuitable conditions with no natural enrichment. They have to undergo constant stressful movement from holding tanks to treatment tanks and are starved, so they will eat the dead skin on people's feet, never experiencing a nutritionally balanced diet.

There is a great deal of variation in the colouration of Red Garras' body and fins. Although most populations possess an iridescent or dark blue spot on the caudal peduncle and the opercle, these tend to be more prominent in young individuals. Moreover, there are usually dark markings on the bottom of the central dorsal fin ray; in many cases, the upper caudal fin lobe is also black. Finally, in some individuals, you may notice reddish pigmentation on the head.


Red Garra
Red Garra on hand
Red Garra in pond
Quick Facts
Scientific NameGarra Rufa
Year Described1843
Other NamesDoctor Fish, Nibble Fish
OriginsIran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Turkey
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan5 - 10 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 8.0
GH8 - 12
TDS18 - 268
60 - 75℉
15.6 - 23.9℃


In the home aquarium, the Red Garra will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is relatively easy to distinguish male from female Red Garras. Males are generally slimmer and slightly smaller than females and have longer pectoral fins. During the breeding season, males get bridal buds on the top of their mouths and cheeks.

Other Garras of interest

False Siamese Algae Eater(Garra cambodgiensis)
Panda Garra(Garra Flavatra)
Date Added: 04/05/2021 15:44:07 - Updated: 06/12/2022 15:23:14