Species group: Barbs
Other common names: Reddish Log Sucker
Scientific name: Garra rufa
The Doctor Fish is a small member of the Cyprinidae family of fish, and is native to streams, lakes and ponds in the Central Middle East - in countries including Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. Garra rufa is a bottom feeder, and feeds on "aufwuchs" - green algae and diatoms which grow on rocks. In places like Turkey, the Doctor Fish has been used for generations to remove dry and flaking skin. Bathers would place their feet or hands in a pool containing a school of Garra rufa, and the fish would nibble on the loose skin, providing the human bather temporary relief from conditions like dermatitis. In 2006, tanks containing Garra rufa started to be used in Asia and Europe as commercial enterprises, and today "fish pedicures" can be found in shopping centers and spas in many countries. Fish pedicures are not allowed in some other nations, such as Canada and the United States, where the practice is seen as unsanitary.
Doctor Fish have a flat body and a large sucking mouth.