|Discognathus crenulatus, D. obtusus, D. rufus, Garra rufa crenulata, Garra rufa gymnothorax, Garra rufa obtusa
|Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey.
|Will acclimatise to a wide range of conditions. pH: 6.2-8.0, dH: up to 18 degrees.
|Community with no long-finned fish
|In mature fish, the males develop tubercles on the head area, and females are fuller bodied.
|Flake, granules, pellets, algae wafers and frozen foods
The Doctor Fish has a wide area of natural distribution, including the Jordan, Orontes, and Tigris-Euphrates River basins, along with coastal rivers in northern Syria and southern Turkey. Here, it is found in clear, swiftly-flowing, highly-oxygenated waters, with rocky substrates covered in aufwuchs-rich biofilms. The aquarium should be mature, and at least 4ft (120cm) long with vigorous water movement/high O2 level. This species will not thrive in a standard community set-up, so be sure to meet its requirements for highly oxygenated fast-flowing waters - ideally provided by powerful external canister filtration. The Doctor Fish is peaceful towards other fish, but a little territorial with its own kind and similar-looking species. In the wild it has been observed moving around in loose aggregations, so is best maintained in groups of 5 or more in aquaria with plenty of visual barriers amongst the decor. In numbers less than this, they may squabble amongst themselves every so often, so always aim for a good sized group in order that no single fish bears the continual brunt of any aggression. The aquarium should be aquascaped with a soft sand or very fine rounded gravel substrate, and furnished with cobbles, smooth rocks, and bogwood pieces. Lighting can be fairly bright to encourage algae growth, which the fish will enjoy browsing on for the micro-organisms it may contain. Shady areas can be provided with the layout of the rockwork/bogwood, and by growing canopies of hardy plants such as Anubias sp. or Java fern (both tied to the driftwood). Some thought should be given to creating a number of visual barriers within the aquarium at the time of aquascaping, so if any minor territorial disputes do arise, the fish can get away from the other"™s line of sight. An extremely important point to note is that Garra rufa are capable of climbing up the glass with ease, something they tend to do when newly imported or moved; therefore be absolutely sure the tank has tight fitting coverslides and that there are no small gaps that the fish can crawl out of e.g. where equipment power leads feed into the back of the hood. Bottom dwelling tankmates could include many of the peaceful botiid river loaches, the nemacheilid brook loaches, and the more robust members of the balitorid hillstream loach group. For the upper levels, consider some of the Barilius, Danio, Devario, Opsarius, and smaller members of the Puntius genus (research individual species to ensure compatibility before purchase though, as not every species from these genera will be suitable). Although these fish are relatively peaceable, they can be fairly boisterous at feeding times and are not recommended for housing alongside slow-moving laterally-compressed fish such as discus or angelfish (which do not benefit from the same water conditions anyway). Water quality is of utmost importance for the Doctor Fish - be sure to carry out regular partial water changes to ensure that nitrate levels remain at a minimum. May also be seen on sale as the Doctor Garra or Red Garra. Unfortunately, these fish are exploited in large numbers within modern beauty spas for pedicures, due to a very questionable ability to remove dead skin, with their wellbeing an afterthought. Under such circumstances, they will never thrive and reach their full potential, due to being kept in unsuitable conditions with no natural enrichment. They have to undergo stressful constant movement from holding tanks to treatment tanks, and are kept hungry in order to approach the dead skin on the feet, never receiving a nutritionally balanced diet.
Although this species enjoys grazing on the micro-organisms found within algal growths in the aquarium, they should also be offered plenty of small meaty items such as mosquito larvae and Spirulina-enriched brineshrimp etc, along with a variety of sinking catfish pellets/granules/wafers and some greenfoods.
This species has not been bred in the home aquarium. However, it is being bred commercially via hormone injection in the Far East.
For delivery before Christmas, orders must be placed on or before 3pm on Wednesday 20th December. We cannot guarantee delivery of these orders pre-Christmas as we are reliant on our couriers, but will use our best endeavours to get orders placed on this date out to you before Christmas. For full details of our festive delivery and opening times click here
Please note: online orders placed after 3pm on Friday 22nd December will not be dispatched until the New Year. For full details of our festive delivery and opening times click here