The Fish

The doctor fish (lat: Garra rufa) is a schooling fish from the carp family that can get up to 14 cm long.

Our Garra rufas are about 3 to 5 cm long and are originally from the Tigris-Euphrates region (Turkey, Syria, Jordan). They belong to the family of the carp. The tail fin of the freshwater fish gets a reddish color as it gets older. In our tanks you will find just the smaller pups, as they are less active and once they reach sexual maturity and there’d be a risk that they’d eat their young. That is why we give the fish back to the breeder after about 12 to 18 months, where they live many more years.

With their lips they “nibble” and suck the dead skin shed from your feet once they’ve soaked in the warm water. That is why these small industrious fish are also called “nibble fish”. After a fish treatment, the skin feels wonderfully soft. Unbelievable but true: The skin becomes softer, looks fresher and even younger, without using cosmetic products.

Garr rufa
Pamukkale | FishSpa Karlsruhe Berlin


We don’t consider our fish as “workhorses”, but as independent creatures who receive the habitat and care that fits their character and which they deserve.

In their region of origin, the Garra rufa live in water conditions, which do not permit plant growth. Hence the meager facilities of the tanks.

Due to the lack of hiding places in their natural environment, the “nibblers” don’t know any fear of humans or other animals. In freedom, the fishes feed from dead skin. Therefore, it would be extremely bad if they would show any fear of other living beings.

Since their diet of dead skin is a natural part of their nutrition, the spa treatment enjoyed by humans induces no stress for the fish. In addition to the “self-sufficiency” from nibbling on dead skin, our doctor fish are also fed with top quality, natural fish food.

Regarding size and water ratio, our tanks are built well above the minimum standard. Thus we ensure that not too many animals have to share the available space. On the other hand the Garra rufa is a schooling fish that enjoys being close to its kind.