Garra spilota, the Spotted Garra, is a handsome fellow that comes to us from the bamboo-covered coastal mountains of Rhakine in Myanmar, where it can be found in streams that form part of the Irrawaddy River drainage. Little is known about it in the wild, and the species was only discovered in 1998 and not named until 2004. To date, nothing else has been written about its ecology or distribution.
At roughly 3 inches in length, this species is nearly identical in size to its more famous cousin, but the patterns couldn’t be more different. G. spilota is named after the series of spots appearing along its sides, and mature specimens develop a lovely amber hue in their fins. This makes for a subtly beautiful aquarium bottom-dweller.
Garra are social creatures and should be kept in small groups. While this genus is often marketed as an “algae eater”, they are more accurately described as omnivores and should be fed a varied diet. They will certainly help clean up algal films from rocks and plants, along with seeking out any other foods that might settle to the bottom.