Garra flavatra

Aquarium fish: Garra flavatra (Garra flavatra)
Size: 7 – 9 cm
Origin: Asia
Water temperature: 19-27 ° C
Aquarium volume: 81 l

Garra flavatra (Garra flavatra ) – attractively colored, small, lively species of aquarium fish of the genus Garra. First discovered in 1998 in Myanmar (Burma) by Dr. Sven Kullander and Dr. Ralf Britz, but not scientifically described until 2004, when Kullander & Fang presented new Garra specimens collected in the Arakan Mountains. Its interesting appearance, bold character, small size and tendency to eat algae made it quickly gain popularity.

Initially, it was sold under several different names, typical of fish with a similar appearance, but eventually the name Garra flavatra was commonly adopted. In Poland, it is also known as Nepalka Myanmar.


Endemic species , limited to the mountain range in the state of Rakhine (Arakan) in western Myanmar, which forms the natural border between the rest of the country. Initially caught from several streams and rivers on the western inner slopes of the Arakan Mountains, but according to Dr. S.

Kullander, it was so abundant that the range was almost certainly wider. The research team only had four days for fieldwork, which may not have been sufficient to fully explore the region. Consequently, commercial collections may also come from elsewhere. One of the harvesting locations listed is a shallow 30 cm deep section of the stream that runs near the village of Leldee through the so-called “low forest”. At the time of harvest, it was about 3 meters wide, and the substrate was a mixture of gravel, pebbles and rock, on which clear, transparent water flowed.

It moved quite slowly, which resulted in the creation of many small pools in which the fish were found. The next catch was the Kamyit Chaung River, which is described as “moderately large” and very shallow, with fish being restricted to a series of shallow pools with clear, slow-flowing to stagnant water. The ground was also a mixture of gravel, pebbles, and rock. Vegetation was not present. The third describes the small river Baw Di Chaung, which flowed through the forested hills, creating a series of ravines and pools with a maximum depth of 1.5 m.

The water in it was clear, in some sections it flowed moderately, and in others very slowly. The ground was mainly rocks and stones, alternating with open sandy spaces. The natural occurrence of the species presented in the scientific description of the environment may slightly mislead aquarium breeders. The fish were harvested during an expedition that took place during the dry season. Basic river bed descriptions are helpful, but pools with shallow, stagnant water can be a false clue.

It is not surprising that in some regions of the world the climatic season can change dramatically and where there is a dry season, it is also a rainy season. Rakhine is located in a tropical monsoon area – from late May to October, the water levels in rivers and streams can rise rapidly, and slow-flowing streams during the dry season can turn into rushing rivers during the rainy season. Despite the climatic changes taking place in the area where it occurs, G. flavatra should rather be considered a fish that likes fast flowing, well-oxygenated waters .

Characteristics and disposition

The species reaches up to 9 cm in length.

It is characterized by an elongated, cylindrical, massive, slightly flattened body. Lower lip transformed into a strong suction cup, thanks to which the fish attach to the rocks. Adult head with shallow forehead furrow and raised front rim of the mouth. There are conical nodules on the frontal lobe and along the front edge of the mouth. There are two pairs of whiskers next to the dog.

In good condition, the body is golden-yellow interspersed with dark – chocolate-brown, vertical stripes. The dorsal, anal and caudal fins may have a light orange or red to brown pattern in many specimens. All fins are yellow edged. In sexually mature males, a series of light-colored germinal nodules appear on the head, along the lateral line and around the tail , similar to goldfish. Females ready for breeding are usually larger and fuller than slender males.

Garra flavatras are attractive, relatively mild-tempered fish that can be a good choice for larger social aquariums along with other Indochina species. They are not skittish and they swim chaotically all over the aquarium. In the natural environment, they occur in large, loose clusters. When kept individually, they can show aggression towards similar-looking fish. In the case of a couple, continuous fights may occur and the dominant individual may stop eating.

So it is recommended to keep 3-4 or more in the aquarium. There are complex relationships within the group, there is also a hierarchy, and sometimes there is competition for position. These usually harmless fights are extremely interesting. Initially, the fighting fish lay side by side, leaning on their pectoral and pelvic fins, and their body takes on a combat olive green color. They then lie in the same direction, as if they wanted to compare their length first.

After a while, they start prodding, flippers, and then chase each other around, faster and faster, until one lunges towards the other, trying to ‘bite’ her with its suction cup. The duel continues until the losing fish retreats and swims away. Interestingly, there are times when another fish that previously watched this fight may want to face the winner or chase the loser. The duels are not related to sex or reproduction, but usually the dominant fish turns out to be the female. Important, when introducing new fish to an existing group, it is recommended that they be smaller.

In this case, they should not be a threat to older animals and will fall straight to the bottom of the herd hierarchy. Thus, they will settle in the new apartment without incident.

Nutrition and feeding

Although it feeds mainly on algae, it is not exclusively herbivore. In the aquarium, you can feed dry plant foods with spirulina in tablets falling to the bottom. The diet should be supplemented with live or frozen foods, e.g.

tubifex, artemia, bloodworm larvae, krill. From time to time, fresh fruit and vegetables such as cucumber, melon, blanched spinach and zucchini can be served. Home-made gelatin-based food mixtures containing dried foods, shellfish puree, fresh fruit and vegetables will also work well.


For a single animal, an aquarium with a length of 60 cm is sufficient, but for a small group of pandas it is recommended that min. 90 cm long, preferably approx.

200 l or more. The reservoir should resemble a flowing river, with sandy and gravel ground and smooth stones and boulders. Additionally, you can place wood, roots and branches, as well as hardy aquatic plants such as Mikrozorium, Bolbiti, Anubias, which can grow attached to the decoration. In their natural place of occurrence, water, depending on the season, has a pH between 5.4-7.1, a hardness of 2-7 ° dGH and a conductivity of 110-185mS / cm. In warmer periods, the water temperature reaches 22-28 ° C, but in the rainy season it can drop to 19 ° C.

Most importantly, the water in the aquarium must be clean and well-oxygenated, filtered at least 10 times an hour. If necessary, additional circulators and air stones can be used to obtain the desired flow and oxygenation. Major weekly water changes required. Bright lighting will encourage the development of biofilm on smooth surfaces, which fish will gladly scrape off. They should never be introduced into a biologically immature aquarium .

A tight cover is also necessary as they can literally climb walls, especially when water conditions deteriorate. Like many other territorial species, care must be taken when mating with other fish of a similar appearance. There can only be territory fights between closely related species of Garra , but larger species such as Garra cambodgiensis will dominate and terrorize smaller pandas. Likewise, South American armors can hurt less heavily armed pandas. Ideally, pandas should be the only species that inhabits the bottom of the aquarium.

In the natural environment, they occur together with the species Rasbora daniconius , R. rasbora , Aplocheilus panchax , Lepidocephalichthys berdmorei , Batasio elongatus , Olyra burmanica , Pterocryptis cf. berdmorei, Sicyopterus fasciatus, Batasio elongatus, Awaous personatus, Sicyopterus punctatus, Xenentodon cancila, as well as unspecified members of the Brachydanio , Devario , Rasbora , Pangio , Channa , Mastacembelus , Anguilla, Parambassis families ,Hara , Schistura.


It is successfully bred commercially by Hein Aquarium in the city of Jangon, Mjanman. The company has been producing this species since 2008 to prevent the potential exploitation of wild specimens and due to the time-consuming nature of harvesting.

G. flavatra is bred seasonally from May to July and wild specimens are collected in these months. They are given dry food enriched with algae, live tubers and the occasional chopped earthworm. The water flow is kept high. When the fish are ready to spawn, pairs are selected and transferred to smaller 80 liter tanks that contain water that is extracted directly from the source through a tubular well.

Water has a conductivity of 80 µS and a pH close to neutral. It enters the spawning tanks through a rain shower suspended above the surface of the water and exits through a drainage pipe secured with gauze to prevent eggs and fry from being sucked in. The eggs are laid early in the morning, fertilized completely transparent and 1.5-1.8mm in diameter. Hatching occurs within 24-30 hours. For the next 72 hours, the fry draw their nourishment from their yolk sacs.

After this time, it is fed with a yolk suspension. After about a week, it is big enough to take on Artemia larvae. When it reaches a size of 15 mm, it can be fed like adults. According to the company’s director, flowing water with high oxygen content stimulates both feeding and growth of young fish.


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