Panda Garra Complete Care Guide: Is This Fish Right For Your Tank?

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Panda Garra Fish Hanging on Leaves

Panda Garra also named Garra Flavatra was first introduced to the hobby in 2015 so it’s a relatively new species. A really cool and playful freshwater fish with a ton of personality and energy, Panda Garra is one of the most interesting fish we ever kept. Very peaceful and doesn’t bother any other fish, even so, he likes to explore all over your tank.

It has a great size which makes it fittable at any tank. We recommend it to keep in a community tank with a lot of tank mates. As an algae and biofilm razor, he will help you out and clean up your tank a little bit.

Panda Garra Fish Eating Algae

Panda Garra is the ideal fish for tanks with a lot of plans and algae.

It’s good to have Panda Garra in your aquarium if you have a lot of plants. Plants cause a lot of biofilms, and biofilms become a problem if you let them go for a long time as they consume the oxygen that would otherwise diffuse into the water.  

Sound a good fit for your tank? Keep reading as this fish has more to discover.


Panda Garra it’s very adaptable to any water parameter. Everyone can keep it in their aquarium with almost no additional equipment. Its natural habitats are rivers with high water flow, so it is recommended to have enough water flow into your aquarium to keep this fish.

Panda Garra Fish

You can easily spot a Panda Garra from his yellow spot and darker colors.

A fish that eats mostly algae and biofilm. He is super easy to feed and accepts a wide variety of foods especially Spirulina Flakes. Even if you don’t have enough algae in your aquarium you can still feed it. From our experience, this fish eats quite a lot of protein and has an excellent sense of smell. 

Size3.5 inch (9 cm)
Lifespanup to 5 years
Tank size20 gallons (80 liters)
Temperature72 – 81 F (22 – 27 C)
pH6.0 – 7.5
Hardness2 – 12 dKH
SwimmingAll over the aquarium, mostly bottom

The only thing that these fish don’t tolerate is low oxygen. Make sure to turn off your CO2 system at night if you are using one. We recommend adding an air stone if you are keeping it in a warmen temp.

You should either keep it in a group of 4 to 5 or keep just a single one. Don’t keep two or three.

Some specifications we like about Panda Garra:

  • Extremely active and playful. 
  • A ton of personality.
  • Easy to feed and carry
  • Love to travel around the aquarium.
  • Clean up your tank from algae and biofilm.
  • Fun to watch

This fish is related to Garra Rufa and some local stores may mess up the names, be aware of that.

Origin & Habitat

Panda Garra was first discovered (collected) in 1998 by Sven O. Kullande, Swedish ichthyology. For the origin of this fish, we have to go to Myanmar Asia. More specifically, at rivers of the Rakhine Yoma mountain in the western part of Myanmar. This is an isolated area that’s hasn’t been studied that much until recently. 7 new species were discovered there and one of them is Panda Garra. Odessa Barb is also a freshwater aquarium fish found in similar habitat and location as Panda Garra.


Natural habitat of a Panda Garra. River in Rakhine Yoma mountain – Myanmar.

Another cool fish that has been discovered in the same area is Celestial Pearl Danio, discovered in 2006.

Panda Garra was found in stagnant pools. The natural habitat of Panda Garra are rivers and areas with higher water flows, that’s why we recommend turning the water over 9x 10x per hour. 

Appearance and Typical Behavior

Mostly is found in black color with some yellow spots. Panda Garra has a modified lower lip that forms a disc-like “Appendage”. The reason for that is because they can maintain a position in those fast-flowing water while still feeding with biofilm. He does the same in the aquarium too, he tried to eat the biofilm at the surface of the plants, rock, and other objects.

Panda Garra Fish Swimming on Bottom of Aquarium

He likes to stay at the bottom of the aquarium, as well as explore all of it.

You may see it eating biofilm at the top of the aquarium too. Their mouths are dis-shaped to hang out tight to rock on fast-flowing rivers so they can still graze biofilm or algae on their native habitats. 

Biofilm is a collection of microorganisms caused by aquatic plants.

Let’s talk about his rare personality. With a lot of energy, Panda Garra likes to swims in all areas of the tank even at night. It is extremely active and very peaceful. Be careful with this fish as they are notorious for escaping. While we had it on the bag he could wait to get out.

panda garra fish laying on rock mario aquarium

Most of the time, you will see him hanging on the rocks or plant leaves.

What we found funny about Panda Garra was that he loves hanging out on leaves or rock even so their natural habitat is high-flow rivers. At night you will see it scavenging around, as mention, he is active all the time. Every time you will look at the tank he is doing something.


Panda Garra is a biofilm and alge grazzor. That’s what they eat in their native habitat. In the aquarium, we don’t just rely on the algae and biofilm especially if we don’t have enough. There is a wide variety of food that you can feed this fish, he eats almost anything. Panda Garra mostly likes to eat brine, flaked food, pellets, etc. 

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You can feed Panda Garra also with semi-large foods, like melons, spinach, green beans, etc. Using this type of food at your aquarium may ruin the water quality. Make sure you take it out of your aquarium in a few hours. He can eat different types of worms like bloodworms, tubifex worms, white worms, and brine shrimp and wafers too. 

Panda Garra Fish Eating Algae and Biofilm

A biofilm and algae grazzor.

Tank Conditions

With almost no additional equipment, you can keep Panda Gurra in your tank. Except for the water flow, these fish need no other condition as an essential. We advise following a few parameters to make him happy and low his stress.

Tank Size

It’s recommended to keep it on a 20 gallon tank or bigger. These fish like to swim a lot and a nano aquarium will stress them out.

Water Parameters

Panda Gurra is very adaptable to water parameters.

The temperature of the native habitat for Panda Gurra is between 72 – 81 F (22 – 27 °C) during the summer months. In the aquarium, he can live at almost any temperature but if you have the right gears, trying keeping the temperature at his natural habitat. 

You can keep them on a neutral pH of 6.0-7.5 and at a recommended hardness of soft to medium (2-12 dKH).

Even if this parameter is not followed this fish doesn’t seems to show any effect at all. If you cant meet the neutral pH don’t panic the fish will be fine.


Panda Garra is a seasonal breeder and its a very hard process that need to be done under special condition. 

In native habitat, Panda Garra breed on the rainy season (May to July) when water is high in oxygen and the pH is on its neutral level. Try to keep this condition in a separate tank with only a male and female Panda Garra. To help the process feed them regularly with a high amount of protein.

Panda Garra Baby Fish Small Fish

Panda Garra fish after a few days of hatching.

If breeding is done successfully, the female with lay her eggs which will hatch within 3 days. Remove the couple fish instantly as you see the eggs, as they may eat of all of them. Yes, you heard it right, Panda Garra doesn’t have parental instinct.

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Tip: You can spot a male Panda Garra as their color changes during the breeding season, from bronze to red.

Ideal Tank Mates 

As a peaceful fish, Panda Gurra can be kept in a community tank. Make sure other mates are peaceful too and won’t annoy it.

Some good mates for Panda Garra are 

  • Neon Tetra
  • Guppies, Mollies
  • Albino Bristlenose Pleco
  • Pygmy Cory etc.

You must have a lot of algae and plants in your aquarium so this fish can eat, play or even hang on the plant leaf. You can plant some Subwassertang into your tank as they are easy to care for and grow very fast.

Conclusion: Are Panda Garra Suitable for your Aquarium?

Definitely yes, we kept Panda Garra in our aquarium and we love their behavior. With their unique personality and with no difficulty in carrying and feeding them, Panda Gurra can be considered as one of the must-have freshwater fish.

Panda Garra Fish in Aquarium

We keep it almost at every of our peaceful community.

No additional equipment is needed to keep this fish, except high flow water condition which can easily be created by a filter, air pump, or an air stone. As e peaceful fish it won’t harm other species but instead, he will swim around your aquarium all day and night.

Do you have Panda Garra in your Aquarium? Let us know what you think about this high-energy fish in the comments.

Frequently Asked Questions About Panda Garra

Since Panda Garra is a new spice you may have a lot of questions. We will try to answer some of them.

Q: Is Panda Garra aggressive?

Panda Garra is a very peaceful fish. He won’t harm or annoy other fishes in your tank. You can keep it in a community tank with small and nonaggressive fish.

Q: How big does Panda Garra get?

Panda Garra grows up to 3.5 inches (8cm) to a maximum of 4 inches. We recommend it to keep in 20 gallon fish tank or bigger. These fish stress out on nano aquariums as he likes to swim a lot.

Q: How long do Garra Rufa fish live?

Panda Garra lives for an average of 4-5 years.

Q: Will Panda Garra eat snails?

Yes, he can eat snails. Panda Garra can eat a variety of food, such as worms, algae, biofilm, etc. It’s very easy to feed this fish as he is an Omnivore.

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I am Mario, a expert aquarist who is sharing his knowledge with everyone.

Keeping innocent fish and aquatic plants safe and healthy is my daily routine. With my experience and my passion for aquatic life, I will advise you through the long run of keeping an aquarium.

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