Doctor fish swarm around the feet and nibble away at the dead dry skin

This past Saturday after brunch with Oneika The Traveller and Natalie from Montgomerys in Berlin, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to get a fish pedicure.  I had never had a fish pedicure but heard good things about them from friends who ventured to Turkey and other parts of Asia.  Basically, you put your feet into a fish tank and little carp like fishies make your feet nice and smooth by nibbling away at your dead skin. The skin eaters are called Garra Rufa fish or “doctor fish” because they use their mouths to exfoliate the skin, alleviating various skin ailments.

My fish pedicure was not my first encounter with doctor fish.  The Panda’s children keep them as pets to help treat the skin allergies on their hands. (Although the fish are treated to dead skin on a regular basis they still need to be fed with fish food.) Last Christmas I attempted to get  acquainted with the doctor fish but I squealed and chickened out, startling the fish and deafening my boyfriend’s eldest son in the process. Here is a really short, loud video. I have warned thee.


Recently, fish pedicures are losing popularity and even banned in the US and the United Kingdom due to safety concerns. Health officials are still unable to determine the level of risk involved with the fish treating various feet a day and the spread of diseases. Over here in Germany the pandemonium has not hit yet and a cute little spa called Fussfetifisch has made a name for itself in Prenzlauerberg.


Oddly enough it felt like I was in a fish tank during my fish pedicure - People watching from outside

I was lucky enough to get the last free tank of the afternoon. I went with the 30 minutes fish pedicure for 15 Euro. Before getting started I had to fill out a medical questionnaire, asking me if I had everything from diabetes to open wounds. I then had to sign off with my name and address and say that I had declared the truth. It was pretty intense for the pedicure. After this I was led to a small foot bath where I had to wash my feet with anti-bacterial soap. Once I was all clean it was time to feed the fish…with my feet.

The lovely atmosphere at Fussfetifisch in Prenzlaurberg

The lovely atmosphere at Fussfetifisch in Prenzlaurberg

I slowly lowered my feet into the water and like moths to a flame, the fish attacked. Being the squealer that I am, I put up a bit of a fuss and I totally wanted to yank my feet back out of the water. I was really freaked out! It took a while for my mind to recognize that the sensation I felt was not painful even though little fish were nibbling. That does sound traumatic but it was actually pretty mundane after you got past the creepiness of something non-human sucking on your toes. Once I decided to not look in the tank I could have easily imagined my feet were in a jacuzzi.

The doctor fish were all over, on my heels, in between my toes, they were putting in work. At the end of my 30 minutes my feet were definitely smoother but not as smooth as if I had a traditional pedicure.  I was a bit disapointed because I left feeling like I needed a “real pedicure” in order to get my nails maintained and painted. In my opinion, the “fish pedicure” would be more aptly named, “fish exfoliation”. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable experience, I walked out with all my phalanges and no communicable diseases. SWEET!

Danzingerstr 26
10435 Berlin

Would you ever get a fish pedicure? Why or why not?


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13 Responses to My First Fish Pedicure at Fußfetifisch in Berlin

  1. Trina Roach says:

    I’ve spent more than an hour catching up on your blog archive. Good stuff!

    I would definitely give the fish a try. I live out in the country now (in the Sauerland region of the country), so I don’t often bother with painting my toe nails anymore, but I do like to make sure my feet don’t look like I’m an extra on The Flintstones!

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks for checking out the blog, Trina.
      LOL Flinstone feet are not cute. I am a fan of painted toes especially in the the summer months!

  2. Biki John says:

    Hello, I just stumbled across your blog, I moved to Berlin just under a year ago and being a Nigerian, I wish I discovered your blog a bit sooner- but as the saying goes, better late than never!
    I have been thinking of going to a fish pedicure and even more so now its summer and its time to get those feet out. But I am squemish and after being subjected to a few horror movies, I think- what if I get a killer fish that just keeps on nibbling?!
    Anyhoo, LOVE the picture of you squeeling as that is exactly how I would look as well undergoing this treatment!
    P.s and this place is just down my road, so its rather temptiing!
    Biki John recently posted..My Stylish Tribute To Donna SummerMy Profile

    • Nicole says:

      hey, welcome to berlin!! i used to live in london as well! check out the fish pedicure and let me know what you think. dont worry about killer fish. i did notice a fat fish more than the others. i alway knew where he was. trust me if you dnt look it makes the experience much more enjoyable 🙂

  3. Mandi says:

    Hi, just wanted to say I love your blog! I stumbled across it via a RT on Twitter and immediately added it to my Google Reader. As a fellow American and Berlinerin, I’m looking forward to reading more posts.

    Also, I saw these little fishes once on the island of Tenerife, but had no idea that the concept had made it’s way to Berlin. Crazy!

  4. Vanessa Hopf says:

    Hey Nicole,

    I love the pictures you took, is there any way you could email us the files? I’d really appreciate it!

    Thanks for stopping by, by the way, I remember you being a bit irritated, saying it was so ‘weird’. Hope all is well.


  5. Rachel says:

    I’d get it just to say I did it.
    Typically I get a “real pedicure” every two weeks or so, so if doing this isn’t much of a benefit then I’d only do it every now and then!

    • Nicole says:

      yeah i dont know if i would make it a regular part of my beauty regiment but it was interesting 🙂

  6. Just popped over from Girls Running with Bulls (Love that, btw!) and your fish pedicure caught my eye! I just recently tried Dr. Fish–in Cambodia, then Thailand. There was a lot of squealing! It was also a whole lot less formal and no doubt less hygienic in Southeast Asia than your Berlin experience. But fun!

    • Nicole says:

      haha well in Germany they are not ones to take risk. I had to sign a disclaimer and the fish can only be used a certain amount of times a day. I mean I dont know how they regulate it but it wouldnt be allowed in Germany if it wasnt regulated 🙂 Thanks for checking out GRWB, its all going down in a few weeks and I am scared crapless!! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  7. Debbie says:

    Great post! Would try that for sure. I could see myself a little squeamish and maybe the unknown sanitary issue would make me squirm, but have been wanting to try it for so long!
    Debbie recently posted..What We Love About South AfricaMy Profile

  8. Chuck says:

    Man they don’t waste any time going to work! I wonder if they have to train them somehow or if they’re just naturally attracted? Maybe they munch on buffalo feet legs or something in the wild? 😀

  9. Love this; the expression on your face is priceless. I saw one of these spas when I was in Copenhagen last month. Didn’t do it though, because Copenhagen is already so expensive. Enjoyed reading about your experience.
    Keisha | The Girl Next Door is Black recently posted..Celebrating the New Year in PragueMy Profile

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