OK, this is a weird one: getting a “pedicure” by putting your feet in a tub with Garra rufa, a small fish that then industriously nibbles dead skin away. That’s not a pedicure, for one, and two, it probably doesn’t do anything for you, although it does feed the fish, and three…your toenails might fall off, probably due to secondary infections.
- The fish pedicure tubs cannot be sufficiently cleaned between customers when the fish are present.
- The fish themselves cannot be disinfected or sanitized between customers. Due to the cost of the fish, salon owners are likely to use the same fish multiple times with different customers, which increases the risk of spreading infection.
- Chinese Chinchin, another species of fish that is often mislabeled as Garra rufa and used in fish pedicures, grows teeth and can draw blood, increasing the risk of infection.
- According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Garra rufa could pose a threat to native plant and animal life if released into the wild because the fish is not native to the United States.
- Fish pedicures do not meet the legal definition of a pedicure.
- Regulations specifying that fish at a salon must be contained in an aquarium.
- The fish must be starved to eat skin, which might be considered animal cruelty.
Next step up: dunk your toes in a tank full of piranha.