G. flavatra occur in fast-flowing streams
but are quite flexible in aquaria—I’ve
successfully maintained them in heavily
planted tanks with minimal flow. However,
they do require high oxygen levels and
clean water. These fish will graze algae
from any surface, including plant leaves
(though they may damage them in the
process). They’ll actively clean glass, but
a word of caution here: they’ll sometimes
climb up and out of open aquariums in
search of more algae.
Panda garra tend to quarrel with each
other, though they don’t seem to mind each
other’s aggression. However, they should
be kept in a group large enough to disperse
this aggression; if kept in pairs or small
groups, one fish will likely get picked on.
A half-dozen or so fish in a fairly large tank
will do fine. Single individuals should not
be kept with other species with a similar
pattern or shape.
Another species of Garra that is
sometimes available in the trade is the
rhino garra, G. bicornuta. Juveniles of this
fish are plain and ugly, but as they mature,
the body becomes a pretty golden green.
Mature males develop a pair of horns on
the snout—they’re the only fish in the
genus that do, making identification easy.
These fish are the most aggressive of the
genus and need a large tank to thrive.
Similarly shaped fish, especially other
members of the genus, should not be kept
Rhino garras will actively graze algae
throughout the aquarium, especially on
the glass. Like the pandas, they may leave
the tank if food is not available, so a tight-fitting lid is a must. Water conditions are
not particularly important, provided the
aquarium is well oxygenated and free of
Many aquarists were first introduced to
the minnow family through freshwater
sharks, the common name “shark” often
being applied to any fish in the trade with
a large dorsal fin, including many catfishes
and cyprinids. Perhaps the most familiar of
the sharklike minnows is the red-tail shark,
Epalzeorhynchos bicolor. This fish was once
widely distributed, though not particularly
common, in Southeast Asia. It is now all
but extinct in the wild, with only a single
population remaining. Captive populations
of this fish are really the only thing keeping
it in existence.
Crossocheilus latius, the stoneroller algae-eater from South Asia.
The panda garra (Garra flavatra ).
Red-tail or bicolor shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor ).