Tip: Avoid the Piranha Special

According to CNN, the hottest new spa treatment in the Washington, DC area is fish pedicures, where tiny, toothless carp nibble away all your dead skin, for the nom-nom-nominal fee of $35.  According to customers, the treatment produces just a tingling sensation: "It kind of feels like your foot’s asleep," says one.  It’s all happening at Yvonne Hair and Nails salon, where the elite meet to become a fishy treat.

Fish are friends -- YOU'RE food.

You first, Angelina R.



  1. I would try it.

  2. I’d do it.

  3. My sis is considering going for one of these, as she works in DC. Dunno if I could do it though–I feel bad for the little guys (even though they’re perfectly happy).

  4. poptart says:

    that is right by my house i think i am going to get one!

  5. saw this in the news. would i try it? maybe…

  6. About 15 years ago the fish in the capitol reflecting pool (on the Mall side of the capitol) did this for free. (As soon as I noticed, I pulled my feet out. Ew.)

  7. Zomg the nom-ulence!

  8. Just when you think you’ve heard everything…

  9. W A N T

  10. (the original) Mel says:

    I would not pay $35 to let a fish that had nommed the dead skin off someone else’s feet nom the dead skin off of mine. Just sayin’.

  11. This is not cute or funny. The fish end up dying from the heat of the water and get thrown out like they are scraps. It’s sad.

  12. Christabel says:

    I’d be too scared I’d squish one. And it’s kinda gross, but if the fishees are happy…

  13. Transpogue says:

    That. is. dis. gus. ting.

    And cruel.

    Not cute.

    Hate to be a nuffer, but…NGAH NO DEAR GOD NO.

  14. This gives new perspective on sleeping with the fishes. Nibble Nibble Chomp.

    How do they know they are toothless???? teeny tiny fish dentists?

  15. Michelle says:

    teehee I would totally do this.

  16. Ugh. Not to mention that what goes in, must come out. In the water your feet are in.

  17. Hooray for the obscure “Life in Hell” reference!

  18. ew, what if there were dead ones in there? this doesn’t sound appealing or sanitary.

  19. jenniflower says:

    If anyone watches “I survived a Japanese Game Show,” the winners of a challenged received this as a reward a few weeks ago. That was the first I have ever heard of it! I guess it is fairly common in Asia, though.

  20. not cute. does not belong here!

  21. I remember swimming in the river as a kid. IF you sat very still the minnows would swim over and nibble on you. I always thought they had no time sense and since you had apparently ALWAYS been there, they were checking to see if any yummy algae had grown on you yet. Apparently I was just ahead of my time!

  22. Amy you do realise we are swiming in feces .. They are everywhere…. you probably ingest more every day than get on your feet in this water.

  23. SaDiablo says:

    Woot! Holy “Life in Hell” reference, NTMTOM!

  24. How is this more cruel than keeping fish in a fishtank at home?

    What, did you think the owners held a tiny, fish-size gun to their heads and made them do it?

  25. Hmmm, eeeenteresting. Not sure I would pay $35 for it though. Do the fishies paint your nails too?

  26. scooterpants says:

    so they nom the ucky dead skin off your feet all the time pooping other peoples yukky dead skin that they had previously nommed into the water that your feet are in getting nommed on.
    Nuff said. I’d rather let my dog lick my feet…
    and so on.

  27. kerrymc says:

    For the folks that think that this is cruel… well these fish are doing what they do instinctively. Carp (a.k.a. goldfish) eat the icky scraps of nastiness that other critters leave behind in the water. They are cleaners and bottom feeders, and very hardy animals that can withstand lots of extremes in temperature and habitat. If Yvonne Hair and Nails salon is making money off these little guys, I don’t think that it’s by killing them… why would they want to “strangle their golden carp?”

    They’re also used as bait and feed for larger fishies, so for those who want to make a fuss, you might be better off protesting at your local tackle shop…jeez!

  28. I don’t know what to say about this…Yes I do!

    I wigs me out!

  29. Yeah… I thought this was CuteOverload, not DisgustingOverload. EEWWWW!

  30. MamaLana says:


  31. woofysma says:

    You’ve got to be kidding. No way am I letting little fish nibble on my feet. And I can think of lots of better ways to lose $35.00.

  32. Juniper Jupiter says:

    LOL @ Elsa!!

    I think it’d be a toothpick harpoon!

  33. What the fish do is a bit gross but they are soooo cute! Just look at their beady eyes and pouty little mouths. Adorable. ^_^

  34. This is not a really new idea.

    This is used as a treatment for psoriasis for some years now. The fish nibble away the dead skin, not touching the alive parts near and below the dead psoriasis skin.

  35. Maerlyn99 says:

    Do they give a discount if you come out of the water with only nine digits from overzealous nomming?

  36. I want to see the tiny fish dentists certifying their chomperless little mouths!

  37. The Other One Michelle says:

    How do you know they are in “hot” spa water versus cool water? How do you know they die? Did you research it? What’s the link? Don’t nuff unless you know.

  38. Oohgh… I saw this in “draft” and wondered if it was actually going to get posted, and, well, here it is. Ergkk. What do you SAY to something like this? *IS* there anything else “like” this? Bleen??

  39. I used to stick my feet in our friend’s goldfish pond when i was a kid and the fish would nibble my toes! It feels ticklish in a good way.

  40. Apparently it doesn’t work very well… but I love the thought of each and every fish in that picture having a NOM beside it. <3 Nom nom nom...

    Wonder if it tickles?

  41. Beth (in NC) says:

    Weird shock of recognition… this was on the radio here this morning.

    Ummm maybe I would try this? I don’t really know??

    Theo would you try this??

    [Not in a spa, no. I have, however, experienced this in a stream with minnows. Yes, it tickles a little. Makes the kids giggle, too, which is priceless… – Ed.]

  42. They’ve been doing this for years in Asia. And you thought those koi ponds were just decorative…

  43. Paunchie says:

    Feesh will nibble on you in many lakes and rivers. It does tickle like crazy.

  44. My dad has a pond in his back yard. Bubba the Koi is about a foot long – I do not see putting my feet in there to have him nom on them!!!! YIPE!

  45. Paunchie says:

    Human feet are not cute though. Especially with nasty dead skin.

  46. +1 to all who picked up the “Ackbar and Jeff” homage, but I’m surprised that nobody’s gotten the “Finding Nemo” reference yet.

  47. That would probably tickle a ton! Reminds me of being a kid and hanging my feet off the dock on the lake:)

  48. Other Mike — I caught the Shark Anon bit, but not the Ackbar & Jeff ref.

  49. I immediately got the FISH ARE FRIENDS NOT FOOD!!!!

  50. Oh, and “+1” is Slashdot.

  51. Rosie A. says:

    Not nuffing…just would never do that. Seems gross…Like, it would FEEL gross… ew. Sorry.

  52. Eh, already says:

    The nail polish is utterly disgusting.

  53. Probably why they’re not eating it, Eh Already.

    that was seriously disgusting.

  55. Beth (in NC) says:

    See that’s the thing, I’ve been neebled in lakes and rivers before too. And it’s fun and funny (giggling kids ARE the best!), and it’s in nature. So going to a spa to do this… I think I’d rather just go wading. And it doesn’t cost $75 either!!

  56. I bet there aren’t any broken beer bottles in the water at the spa…

  57. brinnann says:

    In Soviet Russia, fish eats you!

  58. While this isn’t mainstream yet, it has been around for awhile. It was even on Ugly Betty, season 1, when Wilhelmina discovers that Bradford has a foot fetish and decides to seduce him with her feet. However, her feet aren’t exactly in their best condition, so she has her assistant Marc procure these fish so that they can NOM away her dead skin.

  59. Beth (in NC) says:

    See, you never know until you pay the $75!!! Maybe they try to provide an authentic touch? 😉

  60. Gah – to all the nuffers: there is a natural spa in Turkey which is known for this – Doctor fish (as they are known) nibble away at dead skin. It’s apparently good for psoriasis.

    Google says: http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=opera&rls=en&hs=fmj&q=sivas+fish+nibble&btnG=Search&meta=

    The spa pools are near a north Anatolian town called Sivas.

    And it is all of the cute 🙂

  61. Rosie A. says:

    @brinnann: GUFFAW! ROFLMAO!

  62. layla42 says:


    While studying Arabic, I got “Finding Nemo” from Egypt, and the “fish are friends, not food” was one of the first bits I memorized in Arabic.

    I’d do it.. if I wasn’t so ticklish.

  63. colurker says:

    some friends have a salt water tank. it had a little shrimp that would give you a manicure if you put your hand in. this was natural for the shrimp as it coexisted with other fish who also enjoyed that “spa” service. in the wild these animals hang out at their “cleaner stations” and the larger fish have a temporary truce with the shrimp or other cleaner fish—not to nom them away when they get their spa service. the small fish get food of dead skin and parasites. the large fish get a service. everyone is happy. i think the shrimp might do a better job than these fish and he was a lot prettier. much harder to keep a salt water tank for this. over all it would be a better job than a human with a metal tool chopping away at your cuticles. they are not so careful to not get too close to the live skin. i once got an infection from a cut from a cuticle tool and my feet sore from a spa service where they used a razor blade to cut away callouses…cut too close. i disagree that this is not cute. it is very cute! hooray

  64. if the fish are eating, the water prolly isn;t too hot for them at least short term. i’ve seen miserably hot fish (not intentionally caused)- they DON’T want to eat (or anything else except get air and cooler water).

  65. @Theo: The line “Where the elite meet to …” comes up a lot in “Life in Hell” for the various businesses run by Ackbar and Jeff, such as “Ackbar and Jeff’s Tofu Hut.” I’m trying to find an example online, but so far, nuttin.

  66. anomalous4 says:

    fishz noms feets. NOM NOM NOM. iz not teh qt. iz teh ick. pleh. yuck. no hurtz fishz, & no hurtz peeps, but iz still teh ick.

    mai be sum1 shud start n00 blawg: “icky ovrloadz.”

  67. i have a friend who’s going there.

  68. (actually, theo, +1 predates slashdot…it’s a D&D thing! like, “i’ll use my +1 Toothpick of Dqqm to spear any of these lil fishies who try to eat MY feet…”)

    [Context, m’dear. If you want to get THAT picky, let’s talk arithmetic… – Ed.]

  69. binky-mama says:

    As gross as it is there are millions of little bugs and dust mites that feast upon our shed dead skin right in our houses. So whats the harm in having fish do it? They are only doing what is natural to them.

    @brinnann- LOL! Fail blog reference WIN!

    [Actually, that was a Slashdot-ism too. And, well, Yakov Smirnoff… – Ed.]

  70. peachfish says:

    If that $35 includes the rest of the pedicure (toe polish and calf massage) I would so do it! The little fishes wouldn’t nick me with their sharp tools and make me bleed the way some humans have! I’d let them do my hands, too.

  71. My family has a cabin on a pond and there are the little sunfish in there that like to nibble on toes. Kind of a weird feeling to have fish eating your feet, but it’s not bad. We also have little crayfish!

    I immediately got the “Finding Nemo” reference! 🙂

  72. I would do it, since I’m diabetic and the pedicurists always hurt me, I bet the fish don’t hurt. And… I have a little mole on my leg that the fisheses nibble on at the beach and in the river that tickles like the dickens! I just let em nibble away.

    Oh, and I’d let them use leeches on me if need be. 😀

  73. Finally, a solution to get my cat into the bathwater!

    So who’ll eat whom? Cat or fish?

  74. I think so many people are crying ‘cruel’ because the water is kept MUCH higher than these fish should be living in so the people getting the spa treatment are comfy. I think the water should be to the FISH’S liking, not the peoples. After all, the fish have to live there.

    Meanwhile, having wild fish nibble at your toes (mostly bluegill) really tickles! I couldn’t do this!

  75. Well, you had me at nom-nom-nominal, NTMTOM, but Brinann’s Smirnoffism just did me in.

    And while I wouldn’t especially consider this “cute,” I would totally have my feet nommed just to day I did it (provided I believed the fishies in question were well-treated).

  76. Actually, to add another tidbit of info:

    The fish naturally thrive in warm water, hence their love for skin. The waters they live in are often too hot for other aquatic life, so they had to get creative with their choice of food.

    Oh, and the website states that the customers sit in separate pools, and the water is changed between each customer – a lot more often than people change the water in their domestic fishtanks.

  77. Heather in PA says:

    Hmmm….I’m just wondering if they breed these little fishies just for this, then throw them away when they are too big? I’d really have to know how the fishies were treated before I’d consider this. Although…I may need piranha for my feet! 😛

  78. ButtaRumCake says:

    ErmineViolin – I’ve got the ‘beeties too. I so know how you feel! LOL

  79. tracyFlick says:


    I agree with the Ews.

    Gross. Disgusting. Barfo.


  80. Courtney says:

    Yay little feeshies!

    I would let them eat my dead foot skin. It’s not like I’m saving it for something important.

  81. Egads! I already have nightmares about being eaten by fish… not helping!!

    (Apparently it’s a family trait, too. My dad has a recurring nightmare that he’s sitting on the beach and suddenly there’s a hook in his sandwich, and he’s being dragged into the water.)

  82. Not even the smallest creatures are safe from humans using them for their own gain.

  83. thursday says:

    hm…how do they change the water for each customer? i guess it would be like changing my old bettas’ fish tank (r.i.p. sven and tony blair) – you’d always have a little bit of water left over.

    i have no comment on the ethics, but i am WAY too ticklish for this sort of thing.

  84. Actually, to add another tidbit of info:

    The fish naturally thrive in warm water, hence their love for skin. The waters they live in are often too hot for other aquatic life, so they had to get creative with their choice of food.

    Oh, and the website states that the customers sit in separate pools, and the water is changed between each customer – a lot more often than people change the water in their domestic fishtanks.

  85. Kallisto says:

    I put my hand in one of those basins in a Japanese science museum. It is a really tingly sensation. Not at all gross or unpleasant.

  86. Maybe it’s the history geek in me, but I remember a class on the Roman emperors and hearing about Nero who had a group of handsome boys to swim about and “nibble at him like carp” when he chose to take an Imperial dip. I don’t think they were eating the dead skin… So this one gets a bleugh vote from me.

  87. OK, let’s stop with the predilictions of various Roman emperors right *now*.

  88. floppycat says:

    There is a pond just down the road from me with tons of little koi and goldfish in it. hmmmm…..

  89. haha. this happens for free when you go swimming in cherokee sink here.

  90. fishgirl says:


    it is inhumane.


    In the wild, these little guys eat WAY different food than dead feet skin. Here, they are fed only feet skin — to keep them eating. However, it slowly starves them to death because it isn’t a balanced diet. It is basically the equivalent of feeding someone ONLY pork rinds till they die. Not too pleasant.


    Fish are super sensitive little guys! Changing all of the water between each customer? That is a SUPER HUGE SHOCK to the little fishy bodies, and many die because of it.


    But recently a spa offering the service accidentally overheated the water and killed all 50,000 fish that they had. Not really a plesant way to go!

    SO – Starvation due to bad diet, shock due to constant water changes, and unknowledgable people caring for them = a lot of dead and suffering fish.

    Get a pumice stone and let the fishies just be fish!

  91. Pussytoes says:

    At the floral nursery across the street, the large koi will suck on your fingers if you let them. Feels like a gummy baby mouth. Cool.

  92. I’d do this~I mean, 35 bucks is usually what I pay for a pedi, and no WAY does that lady get all the dead skin off my feet.

    And seriously~it can’t be TOO hard to change the water in between customers~just get a little net and an intermediary vessel to put the fish in…

  93. KEWL!!!!!! I’ve heard of a place in Israel (somewhere by the dead sea I think) where they have pools you can sit in and let feesh nibble off scar tissue from psoriasis and stuff. I’ve heard it works like a charm, folks with very severe cases swear by it.

  94. floppycat says:

    sniff…I smell a commentroversy brewing.

  95. Om nom nom says:


    Surely a nyommentroversy?

  96. Let me tell you why this is not right. Yes, the fish are doing what they want – snacking on dead skin. Cool, party on to that. BUT I find it really negligent that they are sujected to chips of nail polish and those types of unnatural chemicals (see picture above). I know most people are unaware or don’t want to know, but the stuff they use for the majority of polishes is not very healthy and often downright toxic. I don’t imagine it’s any better for a fish to ingest. That’s what I find objectionable here.

  97. Suzanne says:

    EW…that’s all I can say…EW. How do the fish know when to stop eating? When the water gets bloody?

  98. zski, we had the same thing at the lake I lived at as a kid. You’d hop in the water and immediately be surrounded by itty bitty fish coming in for a nibble. They were free, though, to swim off at will, so it was cute.

  99. I’m sorry, but this is not cute. It’s disgusting, and I feel bad for these fish, especially if they really DO die from the heat of the water. What’s wrong with a pumice stone???

  100. katiedid says:

    Oh my god… if you people keep throwing the word “cruel” and “torture” around they are going to loose all of their meaning… READ the article first.. then comment.. you would see that they eat the dead skin because they eat anything that floats around in their water.. good grief

  101. Cute Overload: Where feeding fish is cruel and disgusting.

  102. katiedid says:

    Little fishes are so cute.. I love the fact that they can just nom on your toes.. hehe

  103. smokeyJoe says:

    nom me, little fishehs!

  104. DO NOT WANT

  105. platedlizard says:

    Oh geeze guys.

    First of all, how do you know that the fish aren’t getting other feedings? Seriously, fish are hungry all the time, the amount of time your average goldfish remembers that it had eaten is about three seconds– all they’d have to do is give them an early morning feeding, make them wait an hour or two while they set up, then have the first customer stick their feet in. Do that all day, and then a final feeding of other food at night.

    Second of all, frequent water changes ARE NOT INHUMANE! Breeders do FREQUENT water changes for fry, we’re talking 4-6 times a day or more depending on the species and bioload of the tank, because keeping baby fish in small tanks makes it easier for them to find food, but harder to filter. If that was cruel the fry would die very quickly. As long as you match temperature, salinity, and pH the fish won’t even notice. This is easy enough to do when you use the same water supply each time and have a decent testing kit. I used to work at a pet store that had a semi-automated system. It was super easy! They probably flush the system out by running the water, rather then draw down the tanks. The frequent flushing removes the chemicals from the nail polish, too.

    I bet they have to import the fish, too, and I doubt they’re cheap.

    The article states very clearly that the temperature that the fish NATURALLY LIVE IN is too high for other aquatic life. In other words, these fish are adapted to high temperatures! This species also stays small, the fish pictured are full grown.

    TL;DR: the fish aren’t being hurt by this. And they’re so gosh darn cute!

  106. My bf and I first saw this type of spa treatment on the reality show I Survived a Japanese Game Show where this was part of the “reward” of a day at a Japanese spa for the winning team. What was funny was that the Japanese people told the contestants that these are called “Doctah Feesh”. So, now whenever I talk about teeny feeshes my bf and I go “DOCTAH FEESH” to each other.

    Ok, I’m done. X3;

  107. The Cat Pimp says:

    I’m with fishgirl – this is a wrong way to keep fish. They need a natural diet, not skin flakes and nail polish. The water changes are going to stress them, too. As for the human thing – this is very unsanitary.

    Ew and Ew.

  108. fish eye no miko says:

    zski:< "I remember swimming in the river as a kid. IF you sat very still the minnows would swim over and nibble on you."

    Me, too! I seem to remember that it tickled. ^_^

  109. I get ticklish with just a pumice stone, so this would probably send me over the edge!

    These guys certainly have a better life than the lobsters in the tanks at grocery stores. Is it weird I have always wanted to buy one, and then set it free?

  110. HISSSSSSS says:

    NOT cute.

  111. I’m worried about the fishies vectoring the previous pisci [mani, pedi, pisci: pat. pend ;-)]customer’s hepatitis, herpes or other ick (human or fish ick) TO ME!!!

    Everyone should experience wild minnows off the dock of the bay, but not from these guys, until even sushi inspectors and CDC infectious disease types give it the OK.

  112. etcerica says:

    my rabbit does this for free! finger cuticles only, though.

  113. AuntieMame says:

    I wouldn’t do this, because fish give me the heebie-jeebies. But to each her own.

  114. Space Cowgirl says:

    I really hate to start nuffing now, but I really think this is disgusting. It skeeves me out for some reason, and I felt icky for like a week after I first heard about this. Too bad I had no idea it was going to get posted here so I could avoid the site…*gag*

  115. Hon Glad says:

    Pardon me Koi, are you the fish, that do the chew chews.

    [Drop me a line, make my psoriasis fine… – Ed.]

  116. Gah, so conflicted…fishies = cute, feet = the most non-cute of all non-cuties.

  117. Caroline M says:

    I think that this is the grossest thing ever. Just my .02.

  118. Thread over; Hon Glad wins.

  119. Pet rats are great at cleaning under your nails and removing hangnails. They’re so sweet. 🙂 One of my dogs, on the other hand, aspires to be a proctologist… :O

  120. catablob says:

    Not in a tub
    Not in a dish
    I will not feed
    those unfortunate fish.
    The skin upon
    my feet may wither
    But foots of mine
    never shall thither.

  121. The leetle feeshes in our lake love to nom nom your toes. Sunnies and baby perch. I never thought of putting them to work.

  122. gravyboat says:

    Um. EWWWWWWW!!!

  123. I NEED this in California NOW.

  124. I don’t think it’s really that disgusting, it’s just unfamiliar to us here in the west. Beyond this just recently being shown on that “I Survived a Japanese Game Show” thing that others have mentioned already, this treatment has been around for ages in Asia. Centuries even. It’s not like we should be that unfamiliar with other living things feasting off us, it happens all the time microscopically.
    Although every time I think about that, my eyebrows start itching. Damn those photos of those microscopic eyebrow mite thingies… THAT’s disgusting, but tiny little Doctor Fish? Eh, not so much. At least not to me.

  125. Americans are soo persnickity :). I did this in Taiwan. It was fun, and it made my feet nice and soft. The water was cool and I sat with a bunch of strangers getting our feet nibbled. All the fish were alive and thriving, and I didn’t get shingles or hepatitis or anything.
    It cost a lot less than $35, though.

  126. Or is this the gods’ way of telling you you make too much $^&#@’ing money?

    What did you do today, hon? Cure cancer? Compose a symphony? Write hovertext?

    “I paid someone to have their guppies gum my tootsies.”

  127. BeanSidhe says:

    nom nom nom nom

    I teach my two Modern Dance classes barefooted a lot (in winter I wear thick socks with treads, those Peds things totally rock). I have had ONE pedicure in my adult life. **squick warning** She scrubbed (and not very lightly either) all the dead skin and calluses off my feet, effectively removing the nice padding I’d built up for turns.
    I’ll leave the rest to your imaginations. Suffice it to say, fish-nibbles would probably work a LOT better for me.

  128. Wow. I saw the pic on my local paper’s website… But not the explanation.

    Way cool…. I’m in Florida, and you’ll get little fishies nibbling at you in the ocean. Cool feeling really 🙂

    I’d just luv to have a “fishnicure”…

    Hope the patrons aren’t stepping on the cute wee fishies/workers thoug 😦

  129. Okay. EEEWWWWW. I’m not going to get into the whole fish-will-die-fish-will-not-die debate, but I think the fish might be happier, um…elsewhere? Like perhaps their natural habitat? What is with the human race, anyway? I can see Donkey-carry-the-load, Camel-carry-the-Bedouin and even Dog-herd-the-sheep, but….Fish-nom-the-skin? What is wrong with us?!

    That is all. I’m done now.

  130. I smiled when I read about “Bubba the Koi”.

    BUBBA? Kris, your dad named his koi BUBBA? *snerk!*

    Oh and the pictures grossed me out, but only because FEET gross me out lol. I have nothing against little cute fishies.

  131. Then what do they do to get the fish smell off?

  132. Gee, I got this treatment for free while camping above the Muir Woods. The wild fishes were a bit more aggressive though.

  133. I’m still squeeming over the thought of fishies nomming my toesies. Cruelty questions aside… Makes me knees go all flubbity and my tummy do flips.

  134. huh. i first saw this on Ugly Betty, but I thought it was a joke. i must say, i do enjoy having fishes in a pond nibble at my feet…and i also enjoy pedicures…and cuteness…hmmm.

  135. Pretentia says:

    Here in South Korea we call these little guys “Doctor Fish” and its only 5 bucks. The water is cool and you can get it done sometimes in your local grocery mart!

  136. Karen in Toronto says:

    Yep, gross. I’ve had lake carp nip the scabs off my knees. It’s not funny.

  137. Hi! I just wanted to let you know I tagged you for a Premio Award. Go to http://www.agirlsguidetoshoes.blogspot.com for details.

  138. Karen in Toronto says:

    Lizzy, I’m with you. I like “flubbity.”

  139. I always thought fishies were kissing my toes when I dangled my feet in the water! I love that little tickle. But somehow in a manicure shop, eating dead skin… for me, not so appealing. But the fishies in the pictures look awfully sweet.

    Hon Glad and Theo – outstanding!!

  140. WaterWish says:

    I LOVE cuteoverload. I LOVE all the aminals, the captions, and YES I LOVED PASICKIE!! But, I am so sad to say, a bunch of little fishies in a tank/tub/pedicure spa just aren’t CUTE. 😦

  141. maijasservant says:

    Not. Cute. Sick-making. Very dissapointed. I rely on CO for a happy fix not an ick-fix.

  142. chanpon says:

    And we thought the commentroversy over finger nails was bad. Cue disgust at grody toenails! Fishies themselves are ok though.

  143. ashagato says:

    they’re itty bitty little fish, of course they’re cute! and it’s cute to think about how cute it must feel when they’re nibblin on yer toes…

    i live in DC, but that salon is actually in Northern Virginia. which, probably not coincidentally, is an area with a very large Asian population.

  144. ashagato says:

    i’d go, but i make it a policy to cross the river as little as possible…

  145. for all of you that really do want this…. just go to your local creek and wander in barefoot… saves ya 35$ and is just as cute.

  146. Ok, I am not a nuffer. I think everything on this site is awesome. I get so irritated with all the petty complaints. However, this is different.

    It says in the article they don’t feed them anything else so that they have to eat the dead skin. That is sad. I read it, read all about it.

    I would do it, if the salon had a long explanation of how they care for the fish.

    Right now it looks like only this one spa does it and they admitted they over heated it once and killed 50,000 fish. If you’ve had fish, you know you can’t change the water constantly like that and not shock them. I bet the “turnover” rate is huge.

    It looks cute in a picture, not cute in practice.

  147. Annie J says:

    Awesome! I wish they had this in southern California so I could go try it already! Haha. It’s awesome – I imagine that the owner knows what he’s doing and knows how to take care of them if he’s investing(lots of money) in something Asia’s been doing for *ages*. The fish tend to thrive in warmer waters (I think an article I read said they can live comfortably in about 40 degrees or something)and since not much thrives in warmer water, they eat what they can get. If it’s human (dead) skin and they get fed and we get happy, what’s the dealio? I guess it costs $35 because it’s new and probably pretty expensive to import all the fish and get all the right tanks and whatnot, but once it gets popular enough I’m sure it’ll go down in price. Actually, $35 isn’t so bad considering they paint you nails and stuff afterwards anyway….

    I’d be scared to step on one, so I’d probably stick my foot in slowly (lol). And I’m really ticklish,but oh well!

  148. I’ve done it, and it’s great!

  149. marclar says:

    I just went there today! It’s the weirdest sensation and totally fun.

  150. not a nuff says:

    This is barfy. feesh are cute. Fat, stubby, crusty feet are not cute. And the idea of that *crustiness* being eaten is making me wanna hurl into a tiny dixie cup.

  151. EVILFISHKILLA says:

    I live on the coast and have been a fisherman my whole life. I have literally dealt with millions of fish. Little guys like these are basically no different from ants, and they’re not too far from vegetables. They are drones. They all do the exact same thing as every other member of their species. They’re not like dogs or cats or even sharks. To think that they are even capable of being “unhappy” seems quite ridiculous to someone that has spent his entire life dealing with fish.

    I’m not some heartless jerk who hates all little critters or anything–I love most animals and even work with dolphins for a living. But I don’t know if I even think it’s possible to be “cruel” to creatures with a brain half the size of a pinhead.

    Also, there have been several comments about people stepping on the fish. I don’t think you could step on them if you tried–they’re very quick.

  152. Gillian says:

    DC is my home!

    I would do it!!

  153. I totally have a fish phobia. Therefore this is the grossest and creepiest thing I have ever seen. *shudder*

  154. I have to agree with EVILFISHKILLA here – there are BILLIONS of these little guys being spawned every day, they are in no danger of dying out ever, and unless you have a moral objection to squishing ants in your house, this spa shouldn’t bother you. But that’s just my opinion.

  155. O_o

    The things people come up with!

  156. Stephsteph says:

    Dude. People feet are NEVER cute (unless they’re babies). Please, please, never let me see people feet on this site EVAR again. Blechhh.

  157. Stephsteph says:

    Dude. People feet are NEVER cute unless they’re baby people feet). Please, please, never let me see people feet on this site EVAR again. Blechhh.

  158. What’s grosser than the fish eating the dead skin off feet? That womans legs. Seriously, ew. Or worse, it’s a man with nailpolish.

  159. OH – and even if people WERE stepping on them and killing them – at least they’re ugly. :[

  160. But Liz… I DO have a problem squishing ants! I’m a veggie-saurus… The only animals I can harm without guilt is spiders, because they TERRIFY ME. Whaddo they need so many legs for, anyway? I’ll tell you what: 2 to walk on and 6 to FREAK ME OUT.

  161. Would people please stop whining about how it is “not cute”? Cute is subjective. For a lot of us, it IS cute. Let it go. If you don’t think an entry is cute, pass over it and move on to the next one. Seriously.

  162. yes, that “woman’s” feet are truly repulsive. baby fishees nomming on almost anything else, however, would be most delightful.

  163. starling says:

    You think this is disgusting? (I don’t, btw) There’s another treatment where they have maggots eat away dead parts of flesh on infected wounds.

  164. starling says:

    P.S. What’s wrong with the woman’s legs? You can’t see them, they’re blurred.

  165. doomchild says:

    Gross. No wait, it includes nomming.. and petite fishies… but still they eat dead skin, and the skin flakes float around… oh dear, I’m confused. Sounds good tho, my feet are dry and nothing seems to help, so maybe the little fishies could come by one day? 🙂

  166. Loosely Twisted says:

    I do it.. I prefer my own styling of pedicure to anyone touching my feet. (phobia) Don’t touch the tootsies.. However, even if I would giggle to my hearts content, I think I could do this!

  167. This really should be under ‘inter-species snorgling’. 🙂

  168. laineyg6 says:

    I think it’s wicked awesome, but not really so cute. Eh, whatever though. I would totally do it. I saw it on I Survived a Japanese Game Show too! They live to do this, they don’t die because they do this. It’s their “job”! : )

  169. I would do it!
    It’s disgusting!
    The fish like it (and no one put a gun to their heads)!
    (I love that comment!)

    This morning for breakfast we will be having a pudding buffet.!

  170. These fellers are doing what comes naturally, and they’re no worse off than any other working animal. They don’t eat nail polish, because they know the difference between food and not-food.

  171. My sister told me about this.
    We might try it lol.

  172. I’d put another body part in the water

  173. Mazlynn says:

    I think I’d give it a try! Sounds much more effective than a normal pedicure. And $35 isn’t that expensive – a normal pedicure at a good salon usually runs at least $20 around here, so as long as that includes the rest of the services, it’s a pretty standard price!

    For those who were worried about the fishies eating nail polish – I’m pretty sure that’s just because this was a publicity photo. In a normal manicure or pedicure, one of the first things they’d do is take any old polish off, and the last thing they’d do is put new polish on, so the fishies wouldn’t be exposed to any of the nasty chemicals as long as they rinse off the nail polish remover before going to the fish tank, which I’m sure they would do. No sense in killing off the fishies when it wouldn’t take much work to keep them happy and alive!

  174. I just want to know why that dude has painted nails.


  175. Sabrina says:

    Oh that’s naaaastyy.

  176. This is just stupid.

  177. katiedid says:

    you people are worried about dead skin cell “hurtin” fish.. as my moms fish eat their own and the other fishes poop.. *smacks head*

  178. Reblinky says:

    sad and not cute. and probably not effective either. Sad because these fish are used as a novelty to help some salon rack-up sales at $35 a pop, sad because the fish probably do not have a good quality of life according to their real needs and die from the perfumes and things in moisturizers and nailpolish-chemicals and what-have-you that people coat themselves with…. (not to mention water temperature, nutritional needs, etc.) sad and ignorant because if eating algae is what they normally do, they are beneficial to life on earth and they should be left to do that very important job rather than used towards human vanity…. and not cute because people’s big ol’ smelly feet should not be in the water that these poor fish have to live in for their too-short lives.
    aggggh. I love C.O. very much but sometimes….. you get off track. there is nothin’ cute about this.

  179. lauraloo says:

    this is one of those ideas that you get, where eventually it becomes commercial and you say, “what the crap? why didn’t i do that?”
    in my younger days, my friend sarah and i went to the park down the street from her house. we rested our feet in the pond and wriggled our toes a little bit. the little fishies took care of everything else.
    so this definitely brings back memories.

  180. Linda H. says:

    I’ll pass. Thank you.


  182. April Y. says:

    There is also a coffee/tea shop in South Korea that offers this service called “Dr.Fish.” You sit on a comfy couch and put your feet into pools of water while enjoying your beverage.

  183. skyweaver says:

    This is fascinating to see the response to this. A friend sent me the cnn link as a joke, but to me it sounded intriguing. I tried calling the salon, but the line’s been busy for 3 days. One time I got through and was put on hold forever. I’m going to do it because it sounds fascinating.

  184. We need to have a new category for commentroversies.

    [Um, yeeaaahhhhhh, that’s not going to happen. Funny, tho… – Ed.]

  185. Psipsina says:

    Funny to hear all the nuffers. My first thought was almost exactly the opposite: an ecofriendly pedicure! Kewel! Recycle those dead skin bits to nourish some fish, rather than overloading the sewer system with them!

    OK, I realize there’s a bit of a flaw in my argument. I just thought it was funny that my knee-jerk reaction (how efficient and cool!) was so much different than anyone else’s knee-jerk reaction (gross! cruel!)

  186. skippymom says:

    This. Is. GROSS. Not cute! Regardless of the question of whether the fish are happy, or are harmed, etc.: we don’t come to this site to look at some human’s ugly feet. Vomit-inducing! Please, no more!

  187. Khadija says:

    and after that have some sushi or what? plus I’m not sure those guys share the 35 bucks with the fish who do all the work.

    skippymom.. “happy” fish? how can you tell??

  188. Khadija says:

    haha Psipsina – overload the sewer system with dead skin cells. i suspect you might be exaggerating slightly here..

  189. momof2kitties says:

    I could NEVER do this! Too tickly! And $35 sounds like a bargain to me, I pay $50! Granted, it’s an hour and a half long, but still…


  191. My only concern with this is that these spas probably don’t hire special personel to look after the fish, and you’re just asking for problems without an expert there. However, SINCE I DON’T KNOW THAT FOR SURE I am not going to make a stink, because making a stink based on things you maybe think could be is for SISSIES.

    “I think the fish might be happier, um…elsewhere? Like perhaps their natural habitat? What is with the human race, anyway? I can see Donkey-carry-the-load, Camel-carry-the-Bedouin and even Dog-herd-the-sheep, but….Fish-nom-the-skin? What is wrong with us?”

    Are you serious? So training more intelligent animals to do things for us is ok because it benefits you and has been done for a long time, but allowing fish to do what they naturally do is cruel? Yes, that is the wrong part. Ngh. *forehead slap*

    “It says in the article they don’t feed them anything else so that they have to eat the dead skin. That is sad. I read it, read all about it.”

    No, actually it doesn’t say that anywhere. Anyway, overfeeding fish is way, WAY more of a problem than underfeeding. It is actually good to regularly fast your fish briefly.

    You can’t think “Oh they must be sad in the boring tank” or “Oh no food that would make me feel bad!” They are not mammals, and certainly are not human. It doesn’t mean they are thought of as less than humans and not worth caring for, it means simply that they are different, and what is perfectly comfortable for them would be quite uncomfortable for mammals and humans.

    Someone also talked about being nervous that these fish could act as vectors of disease – no more or less so than the tools they usually use. Any blood born diseases can only be spread blood-blood. Fish with no teeth can’t spread diseases like that.

    Being against this procedure because some spa screwed up and killed a bunch is also a stupid reason to say you’re against this. It was an accident! You think accidents don’t happen in zoos or human clinics?

    I am surprised so many people are so completely disgusted. I don’t see what could possibly be that offensive about feet and fish.

    I get minnow pedicures whenever I go up to my cottage. It tickles a great deal.

  192. Katrina says:

    kmw, I’m with you, EALGHYUCKYNOOOO. Thanks for the wonderful new word.

  193. Well, to each his (or her) own, but personally, I’d be shocked, awed, AND disgusted if I were a little fish presented with human feet (especially mine) to eat. Whole Foods, stat!

  194. the POPSICKLE disgrace was strike 1. The “cat in the rack” was strike 2, this is strike 3. Won’t be looking anymore.

  195. Not going to miss you “hate”. Nice name btw, are you a neo-nazi or something?

    [Yeah that was a big ol’ hunk of nothing… Hate departs Cute Overload, and there was much rejoicing (yaaayyy)… but Helene, I’m afraid you still lose this one. Godwin’s Law. – Ed.]

  196. nom-nom-nominal!

    That is comedy gold. I have been very much enjoying NTMTOM’s commentary. I don’t know where they found this dude, but I’m glad they did. Cheers to you, NTMTOM!

    [We found him right here, Katie. He’s been commenting on Cute Overload posts for literally years… – Ed.]


    The feet, I mean. I got nothing against the fishies.

  198. I heard that there might be a second location opening a little further south in Woodbridge, VA soon. I sort of halfway hope so, because that’s close to home and I could check it out. Not sure I’d do it, but I’d definitely walk by. I suspect that since these are rare fish in the U.S., that they’re quite well taken care of. I will go find out first-hand, though, and satisfy my curiosity.

  199. Poor fish!!

  200. There is a reason you’re not supposed to change water too frequently in a healthy fishtank (most of the time, there are some exceptions to this).
    It’s b/c it will cause the fish too much stress.
    I’m assuming that places that do this do a 100% water change, which is also extremely stressful for fish.
    I really hope they at least treat the water with a dechlorinator of some kind b/c chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals in water is bad juju for fish.

    Not against this practice at all. Looks like it would certainly be an experience, but I just hope that they’re treating those fish properly.

  201. Hon Glad says:

    Theo: Can’t you send down a thunder bolt or somthin, ala-Zeus; you know; zap the nuffers.

    [Oh certainly. The CO Dream Office has ultracapacitors the size of grain silos down in the basement. I like to keep an eye on the meters, though, so they’re at full charge when I really need them. Lightning bolts pull MASSIVE amps, y’know; you can’t be using them for every little thing… – Ed.]

  202. This is the truth- water in a fishtank should be changed (PARTIALLY) often. like 30-50% weekly. It takes out the toxins which build up, even with filtration. 100% would indeed be stressful.

    As for the whole thing- I got one word: ICK.

  203. I you stick your head in they will pick the the cudies of for you too.

  204. I’m just still really shocked at the total lack of puddin’ in these comments.

    the time’s they are a’changin’

  205. Fish spas have been in parts of Asia for a while now, and we have a few of them here in Singapore.

    I wouldn’t try it though – I’m waaaay too ticklish!

  206. Psipsina says:

    Yeah, I was exaggerating a little, but I was just stating my initial reaction. It’s still strange to me that the reactions seem to break down so neatly between “Yes it is Socruel” and “No it is NO cruel” (IS SO/IS NOT/IS SO/IS NOT!) and nobody but me thought, “Hey, it’s a kind of recycling!”

    Then again, I’ve always been a weirdo.

  207. Psipsina says:

    Oh, and Meg, Theo, please do NOT stop with the Cats N Racks. I’m still laffing at the Firefox Bra. WANT.

  208. Not That Mike & Theo, I found another older reference to ‘where the elite…”


  209. fishgirl says:

    LOL at the person who said it is a stupid idea to boycott the place because the accidentally killed all the fish they had by overheating them to death–

    you are right, accidents happen, but you can bet your boots that i would not be patronizing a hospital that accidentally killed everyone in the hospital, a vet clinic where they accidentally killed all the animals in one go, or a zoo that mananged to kill all the animals at once.

    and how long till they ‘accidentally’ figure out a way to spread diseases in there?

    and regarding the ‘they are just drones with teeny brains’ — we have smaller brains than many animals, and if you look at a whole crowd of people at once (think at the Taste of Chicago), you can bet we look pretty mindless. doesnt mean we deserve to die for it, though.

  210. I’m gonna try it- it looks too crazy not to try and I live just down the street from the salon, what a coincidence!

  211. no efffffing way JOSE! first of all, you can PAY ME to feed your fish my skin.

  212. BeanSidhe says:

    Why don’t we just equip Meg, Teho,and NTMTOM’s keyboards with SMITE buttons?

    I’ll be happy to help finance the installation.

    [You think we don’t already have these? – Ed.]

  213. Wow, your argument is flawless. How many people die of lung damage in a hospital because you gave them tap water? OBVIOUSLY IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME SCENARIO. SILLY ME.

  214. There’s a spa in asia somewhere that has fish like this (I think the article I read about concerned a heated pool in Japan with naturally-occurring fish). Apparently the pond was blocked off from the main water source so long ago that the fish are now specifically adapted to eating dead human skin (and sometimes live skin hehe). The vacation rush of the summer months actually coincides with the breeding season of these fish so that they get extra food sources right when they are needed most. I read about this in I think Science News a few years ago. Fascinating article.

  215. This story was just featured on the “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me” radio quiz show. One of the panelists, Paul Provenza, even made a “piranha” joke, so I feel good. 🙂

  216. Furbabies says:

    I would LOVE to have fish nibbling on my tootsies! Seems to me that these fish are well cared for (Humane Society will see to that). We need to have something like this in NC. Anybody out there interested in opening a spa?

  217. Furbabies says:

    Oh, I forgot: make my pudding tapioca with whipped cream on top. Thanks.

  218. darkshines says:


    I would LOVE to get this done, I bet it feels amazing!

  219. That’s new to me! I’ve never heard of that before.

    I say get your own tank, get your own fish and get unlimited spa treatments at home and save yourself $35 a session, it will save you tons of money. That’s if people are seriously interested in trying this 🙂

    People will sell anything and this just shows it, 🙂 Spa treatments by fish picking at your feet 🙂 Seen it all now hehehehh


    Jamie Boyle
    The Goldfish Guy