Panda Garras (Garra flavatra): Ultimate Care Guide


Are you looking for a cute, hardy fish that can help you manage the algae in your tank? What about a friendly, small fish that may quickly become a favorite? If that sounds like something you’re interested in, look no further than the Panda Garras. Read on to find out even more about Panda Garras and why they may just be the perfect addition to your tank.

Panda Garras (Garra Flavatra) are endemic to the Rakhine mountain range in Western Myanmar. They’re usually found in the quick-moving streams and rivers on the western slopes. Panda Garras only grow to be around 3 inches, and their bodies are generally just a simple brown or black color. Despite their similar appearance, Panda Garras are not a catfish or a loach – they’re a member of the cyprinid family, same as carps and minnows.

Panda Garras Care

Thanks to their hardy nature, Panda Garras are pretty easy to care for. They can adapt to most pH levels in a tank, and temperature isn’t as important. The most important thing to consider when setting up a tank for Panda Garras is that they like a powerful water flow. They’ll often swim directly against the water flow in their tanks.

Are Panda Garras Hardy?

Panda Garras are very hardy, which makes them easier to care for. But just because they have a hardy nature, that doesn’t mean you should neglect them. Proper care and tank conditions will help them stay healthy and live long lives. Panda Garras prefer the water in their tank to be between 70 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. They like a neutral pH level, so aim for it to be between 6.5 – 7.5.

Panda Garras (Garra flavatra)
Panda Garras (Garra flavatra)

Panda Garras Temperature

Temperature isn’t the most crucial tank parameter for Panda Garras, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect it. Any tank, including a Panda Garras, should aim to have its temperature fall between 70 – 77 Degrees Fahrenheit. That range is recommended by most experts as it is very reminiscent of the native environment of the Panda Garras.

Panda Garras Water pH

For most fish species, pH level is essential. A fluctuation in pH level could cause a fish to get sick and even die. That isn’t as big of an issue with Panda Garras because they are incredibly hardy; they can usually withstand a bit of fluctuation in their tank’s pH levels. But you should aim to keep the pH level steady and between 6.5 – 7.5. That level should help your Panda Garras stay healthy in your tank.

Panda Garras Size

Panda Garras don’t grow very large, which is surprising to some because they look so similar to catfish. Panda Garras only grow to around 3 inches in length, although some have grown a bit longer, upwards of 4 inches. That smaller size means that they can likely fit into a smaller tank, which means they’re a more appealing species for amateur aquarists.

Panda Garras Tank Size

If you plan on buying a Panda Garras, you need to be sure that you have adequate room for them. You will need a minimum of a 20-gallon tank; anything smaller than that is likely to stress them out, which isn’t good for their health. You can keep around four Panda Garras together in the same tank; if you choose to do that, 20 gallons is the perfect size to start at.

Panda Garras Food & Diet

In their native habitat, Panda Garras like to eat biofilm and algae; this is also true of their diet when they’re in captivity. Surprisingly, Panda Garras are omnivores, which means you can feed them nearly anything within reason. But it is imperative that you have algae and biofilm in your tank since that is what they prefer to snack on.

Are Panda Garras good algae eaters?

Panda Garras are some of the best algae eaters you could add to your tank. Their love of algae means that you should always grow some in any tank. Despite their small size, Panda Garras will not hesitate to munch on most of the algae in your tank; they’ve even been known to snack on black beard algae.

Do Panda Garras eat Black Beard Algae?

Black beard algae are extremely common in some tanks, but they can be a severe pain to get rid of. It’s tough to kill, and not many fish will snack on it. Enter Panda Garras. Panda Garras loves to eat micro-organisms on algae and biofilm, including black beard algae. Panda Garras will not hesitate to eat Black beard algae in your tank.

Panda Garras Lifespan

Despite the hardy nature of the Panda Garras, they still need to be well cared for. If you care for them well, make sure both their pH and temperature needs are met, and give them a balanced diet, then your Panda Garras can live up to 5 years. Keep in mind that the number can plummet if you neglect them.

Panda Garras Tank Setup

The most critical part of setting up a tank for Panda Garras is water flow. They’re native to tropical rivers in Mynamar, and they’ll be more relaxed in their tank emulates those conditions. You also need to be sure to include plenty of algae for them to eat. Panda Garras are also known as jumpers, which means you need to have a lid on your tank to ensure they don’t try to escape.

How to set up an ideal habit for Panda Garras

If you’re trying to set up an ideal habitat for your Panda Garras, you need to make sure you have a decent water flow. While they can survive in slow-moving waters, Panda Garras prefer a fast flow in their tank. A sand substrate is recommended since the Panda Garras will likely dig into it. You should also be sure to include plenty of algae for you Panda Garras to munch on since it’s their preferred diet.

Do Panda Garras like high flow?

Panda Garras are native to fast-moving waters and rivers in Western Mynamar, so when setting up a tank for Panda Garras, you should try to emulate it. That means you should try to have high water flow in your tank. Despite the fact they love a fast water flow, it isn’t necessary for their tanks. Panda Garras can survive and thrive in water flow.

Panda Garras Breeding

It is not easy to breed Panda Garras in captivity. They are season breeders, which means they only breed during a certain season. In this case, Panda Garras only reproduce during the rainy season in their natural habitat from May to July. This is because the water is high in oxygen, and the pH is neutral during that time.

How to Breed Panda Garras

If you plan to breed Panda Garras in captivity, there are a few steps you should follow. It is recommended to have a separate tank designated for breeding and have one male and one female in that tank. Ensure that the water is high in oxygen and the pH level is neutral. You can also feed them high in protein foods, which may speed the process up.

Panda Garras Male or Female

Before they reach maturity, it isn’t very easy to tell male and female Panda Garras apart. Once they mature, it becomes a bit easier but still not very straightforward. Female Panda Garras get a bit more plump and rounder once they grow. The tail color of male Panda Garras also tends to change during breeding seasons. It goes from a bronze color to a deep red one.

Panda Garras Disease

Panda Garras are a hardy fish species, which means they aren’t susceptible to many illnesses or diseases. The thing that Panda Garras are most vulnerable to is skin conditions, which are usually the product of poor water quality. These conditions can be easily be avoided by regularly changing the water in your tank

Panda Garras Tank Mates

Panda Garras are pretty friendly, which means you shouldn’t have trouble finding tank mates for them. Their hardy nature and ability to survive in various water conditions expands those options even further. The biggest thing to take into consideration when selecting tank mates for your Panda Garras is their preferred water flow. Panda Garras prefers a quick water flow that might be too intense for some species.

How many Panda Garras should be kept together?

Panda Garras are a special case when it comes to keeping them together. They are perfectly content to be the only one of their species in your tank. They don’t tend to get lonely; they just enjoy the space the freedom to eat all the algae they want. If you’re going to keep more than one Panda Garras in your tank, you should have at least 4 of them, any number smaller than that, and they get more aggressive towards each other.

Are Panda Garras Aggressive?

If you’re looking for a timid and peaceful algae eater, look no further than Panda Garras. Panda Garras are very friendly; the only times they tend to get aggressive is when they’re in a small group of their own kind. That is the main reason why you need to keep either a single Panda Garras in your tank or at least 4.

Compatible Tank Mates for Panda Garras

Due to their peaceful nature, there are plenty of compatible tank mates for Panda Garras. Most shrimps are a great option, such as Vampire and Bamboo shrimp. They’re filter feeders, which means they won’t compete with Panda Garras for the same food source. Bamboo and Vampire also prefer a strong water flow, making them perfect companions for Panda Garras. Another interesting choice is Betta fish. Betta fish can sometimes be territorial, but that shouldn’t be a problem with Panda Garras since they stay in different tank parts.

Incompatible Tank Mates for Panda Garras

Any fish significantly more aggressive than Panda Garras would be an incompatible tank mate. It’s just aggressive fish; any fish calmer than the Panda Garras wouldn’t mesh well either. The Panda Garras is a very active and friendly fish, which means that any relaxed species won’t enjoy their company. A great example of that are Dwarf Shrimps. Dwarf Shrimps are calm and quiet, the opposite of the Panda Garras.

Where Can I Find Panda Garras for Sale?

Panda Garras aren’t the most popular fish species. This means that they may be a bit tough to get a hold of. Your best bet to purchase one is at an online store, most of which have a live delivery guarantee. Most online retailers list Panda Garras for around $10 for one. If you’re worried about buying online, you might be able to find some in-person at specialty aquarium stores.

Panda Garras are fun and fulfilling species to own. They’re especially helpful with controlling the algae in your tank; despite them mainly being used for that, Panda Garras still make great additions to your tank. If you can find one, you should definitely give them a shot; I’m sure they’ll surprise you.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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