Common Carp ‘Cyprinus Carpio’

common carp

Last updated on July 24th, 2022 at 07:20 pm

Many people do not know the difference between an exotic fish and a common carp. The most important thing to remember is that if it has scales, then it’s not a carp! Common carps are freshwater fish with large mouths and thick bodies. They have two barbels on their upper jaw which they use as feelers when looking for food.

Common carp are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. They also have a dorsal fin that goes from their head to the end of the tail. Common carps come in three different colors; bronze, silver/black, or red-silver scales with black fins. The most common color is bronze but the other colors also exist.

Common carps can live from fresh to brackish water all over the world, but they’re most commonly found around Europe and Asia. They prefer slow-flowing waters with a lot of vegetation because these places are usually good for feeding on plants or algae that grow there.

Origin of name

The common carp has been called by many different names. It is known as the European Carp, German Silver Fish, ichthyophagous (fish eater), and koi in Japanese. The Latin binomial for this fish is Cyprinus carpio.

The common carp is an omnivore, with a diet consisting of both plants and animals. The most commonly eaten plants are algae and plant matter that has sunk to the bottom. They eat small insects and invertebrates as well as plankton when in shallower water.

It was originally found only in Eastern Europe, but it has since spread to the rest of Europe, as well as Asia and North America.

The common carp is the first fish that was domesticated in 1853 by Eugene Schieffelin who introduced it into North America from Eastern Europe. It has been an important food fish for humans because it can be grown on land without taking up more space than the water it lives in.

The common carp reaches an average length of between 40 and 50 cm with a maximum length of about 100 cm but can grow much larger than this. They live to be 20 years old or more.

The female lays eggs that are then fertilized by male sperm either inside her body or on the outside. The eggs then develop into larvae which are sometimes called ‘roes’.

The common carp has a wide distribution and can be found in lowland rivers, lakes, and wetlands across the world. It is also an introduced species in some countries such as Italy, Japan, Australia, and Madagascar where it is considered to be invasive.

What is the common name for common carp?

Common carp are also known as European carp, German white fish, Cyprinus carp,
Cyprinus carpio, and silver bream.

Common carp identification

common carp

The common carp can be identified by its large, scaleless scales and a flexible lower jaw. The fish is typically dark brown with red fins because of the thick layer of protective pigments it produces to help guard against ultraviolet light. These pigment cells are most concentrated on the top half of the body where they form stripes along each side that run all the way from the head to the tail. Common carp can grow up to four feet in length and weigh as much as 66 pounds.

Species profile

Name: common carp

Scientific Name: Cyprinus carpio

Description: This fish is a silver-colored, omnivore, which feeds on either plants or animals. The most commonly eaten plant foods are algae and animal matter that has sunk to the bottom of the water. It also eats small insects or invertebrates as well as plankton when in shallower water.

Range: Originally found only in Eastern Europe, but now spread to the rest of Europe, Asia, and North America

Interesting Facts: The common carp is the most abundant and widely distributed freshwater fish species in China but has been introduced to other parts of Asia as well as Africa, North America, and Europe. It is regarded as a pest by fishermen because it competes with them for food and damages wetland habitats when they move into shallow water during spawning seasons

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Color and appearance

Common carp is a silverish color on the back with yellow-brown sides. The common carp has no scales, but large bony plates instead. They have two dorsal fins and an adipose fin towards the tail. Some of them also have long barbels around their mouths that look like whiskers when they’re fully grown in size.


In the wild, carp are native to large and medium-sized rivers in eastern Asia. A typical river habitat includes a shallow area with sand or silt at the bottom where small fish can hide from predators, followed by deeper water that gradually becomes unsuitable because of low oxygen levels near the bank but is still deep enough for spawning adults.

Carp are able to withstand a wide range of water temperatures and conditions, which makes them particularly successful in invaded waterways. They can live with little or no oxygen for short periods of time, tolerate brackish waters low in dissolved minerals salts such as sodium chloride (salt), and survive out of the water completely by breathing air through their pharyngeal (throat) and branchial chambers.


common carp

Common carp are found in freshwater habitats, such as lakes and rivers. They can be found worldwide except for Antarctica. Some populations of common carp live within specific countries or regions, like the European population living primarily in Italy, France, Germany, and Romania. Common carp generally inhabit shallow waters with low oxygen levels that support a large amount of vegetation.

The distribution and habitat of common carp are largely dependent on the availability of food, oxygen levels in the water, temperature, other fish species sharing their habitats, and overall environmental conditions such as drought or flooding which can drastically affect these factors. This means that even though there are many populations found worldwide, they may not be living in the same type of habitat.

In addition, common carp can live in a variety of habitats within their range including lakes, rivers, ponds, or even slow-moving streams. They are found naturally throughout much of Eurasia and North America but have been introduced to many other parts of the world as well (including Australia). Common carp usually inhabit larger bodies of water such as lakes, reservoirs, and large rivers but can also be found in smaller creeks or streams where they often form dense schools.

Many populations around the world live primarily in freshwaters while others inhabit saltwater habitats like estuaries or mangrove swamps. Some even have amphibious habits with the ability to live in both salt and freshwater.


The common carp can grow to a length of more than two meters and a weight of over 100 kilograms.

Life cycle

The life cycle of the common carp is typical for salmonid species. The most distinguishing characteristic that separates it from other members of its family is its ability to breathe air with gills when out in the water and then use lungs if pulled onto land; all other members of Carp’s family have exclusively fish-like characteristics, such as no breathing lungs.

Carp typically live around 15 years but will continue to spawn for decades. Spawning is heaviest in the spring and at night on shallow stretches of water near plants that provide cover from predators; a typical female can lay up to 40 million eggs in one year, with closer inspection revealing an average of four thousand eggs per pound of fish.

The eggs hatch into fry, which feeds off plankton and insects near the surface of the water for about six months before they are large enough to fend for themselves in open waters, as sockeye salmon do for their first year or so. During this time, carp usually live with other members of its species at much higher densities than they would in the adult stage.

The transition to the adult form is not a sudden process; as with most fish, it happens gradually. Starting around one-year-old (two years for carp raised on farms), they develop scales that are hard and shiny like other members of Carp’s family at around two-thirds their final size.

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This process is called “smoltification” and marks the point at which they would be considered a salmonid, rather than a cyprinid. Like other fish that undergo this transformation, it takes time for them to develop their adult characteristics such as breeding colors.

Are they peaceful or aggressive?

The common carp can be both a peaceful and aggressive fish. The first factor to consider is the habitat that they are living in, as it will dictate how many contacts they have with other species of animals.

If the carp live in isolated bodies of water then there won’t be any predation from another animal which means their behavior is mainly dictated by their surroundings. For example, the carp may be more aggressive if they live in a tank with no other fish because of the lack of competition for food and space.

If there are other species living alongside them then they will not have as much cause to fight each other or prey on one another which can lead to peaceful coexistence.

The other factor is the temperament of each individual carp. Some may have a more aggressive personality and others may be quite passive which can change how they behave in their environment.

If two carp are put together, then it depends on their personalities as to what will happen, but if one is much larger than the other for example, then there might be a more aggressive interaction.

General care information

common carp

Common carp feeding habits

Common carp are omnivores and feed on plants, insects, invertebrates, amphibians, and small fish. They will also eat organic debris from the bottom of a lake such as algae or decomposing remains.

The common carp is often found in rivers where they use their natural ability to filter water for food sources including phytoplankton, zooplankton, and suspended particulate matter.

Common carp are considered a benthic species because they feed on the bottom of a body of water where food is collected.

What do common carp eat? (Common carp diet)

Carp primarily eat plants and seeds found in the water or on land. It is believed that carp were originally vegetarian, but have evolved to be omnivores because they need animal protein to supplement their diets with nutrients like calcium for healthy eggs and other essential minerals. They will also consume prey items such as small fish, invertebrates, and zooplankton.

Carp can be found across the globe, but they are primarily distributed in Europe and Asia. They live in lakes or large streams and don’t like moving very much because of their heavy bodies. When they do move to find food, it’s usually at night when there is less risk from predators.


If you’re looking for an affordable, easy to care for fish that will give your tank a nice variety of colors and sizes, then common carp is the way to go!

Common Carp Tank Mates:


Goldfish typically live for the same lifespan as common carp (around one year). They are freshwater fish that can grow to be around an inch and a half long. Goldfish are herbivorous but will also eat plants, algae, insects, invertebrates, and small crustaceans.


Mollies are another great option for common carp tank mates! These guys typically live between six and twelve months, and they’re freshwater fish that grows to be around three inches long. They are omnivorous scavengers who will eat both meaty foods like shrimp or algae wafers as well as plants!


Guppies are another great option for common carp tank mates, they typically live between two and three years and grow to be around an inch long. Guppies are freshwater fish that is carnivorous, meaning they need more meat in their diet than plant-based foods like lettuce or algae wafers.

If you’re looking for another type of tank mate for your common carp, but don’t want to buy any other animals, then plants are a great option!

Plant Tank Mates:

Java Moss

Java moss is another freshwater plant that common carp can enjoy as tank mates. Java moss typically lives for around one year and grows to be about six inches long, so it will need extra care and maintenance while living in your aquarium with the other fish.

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Anacharis is another freshwater plant that can be used as tank mates for your common carp. This type of aquatic plant typically lives for about six to nine months, and it grows to be around two inches long. Anacharis has a high need for light, so you’ll want to make sure there’s enough light in your tank for this plant to grow.

Water Sprite

Water sprite plant is another type of freshwater aquatic plant that can be used as a tank mate with common carp, they typically live for about two years and grow an inch or so tall, depending on how much light they get. Water sprites like being attached to rocks and other plants, so make sure there are plenty of those in the tank as well!

Water condition

Water condition is the most important factor for healthy, strong fish. Some fish are not only sensitive to water temperature but also pH and dissolved oxygen levels. For instance, tropical aquariums have a much different set of water conditions than goldfish do – while goldfish can survive in hard or soft water with low temperatures, they prefer warmer waters that are higher in oxygen levels.

Breeding and Reproduction

Common carp are polygamous species, meaning that they can mate with more than one partner. They typically will migrate upstream to spawn during the spring and early summer months when water levels are high enough for them to move freely upriver. Once there, male common carp establish territories where females enter to lay their eggs in submerged vegetation. The male then fertilizes the eggs, and they hatch about two weeks later.

In general, breeding for common carp is not a difficult task. In fact, it can be as simple as providing them with enough food to grow in size (i.e., small fish) and clean water that does not have high levels of algae or other plant life. The most difficult part of breeding for common carp is keeping them alive long enough to spawn: many will die during their first spawning season due to water temperature or disease, two of the most common causes of death in this species.

Common Carp are hardy fish that can withstand pollution and low oxygen levels which make these fish undesirable in other areas. This makes common carp an excellent species for aquaculture and farming, with the potential to produce up to two million pounds of fish per hectare annually.


It is not known how long carp can live. They are a very hardy species and some consider them to be nearly immortal because they grow so quickly, but their lifespan in the wild cannot be determined by science as it has never been studied. In captivity, carp have lived up to 50 years old.

Parasites and diseases

Plague outbreaks in the 15th century caused mass die-offs, and fish populations never recovered. A new disease called columnaris spread from European (and American) carp stocks to Asian species of silver carps at approximately the same time as recent imports into South America. It is unclear whether this was a coincidence or an act by fishers who knew the fish would be worth more if they were infected.

In addition to parasites and disease, common carp are often killed by anglers because of their large size (they can grow up to a length of nearly two meters) ­- at which point fishermen usually cut them apart for easier handling or sale as food.


common carp

Does it make good pets?

Yes. Common Carp are beautiful fish that make good pets for beginners and experts alike. They can be used to teach children how to take care of an aquarium, or as peaceful companions in the family room.

How to feed common carp fish

Common carp fish are omnivores. This means that they will eat both meat and plants. They need to be fed a good diet with live food as well as commercial foods. The common carp’s natural habitat is the shallow waters of ponds, lakes, or rivers where it feeds on plant life in the shallows near the shoreline.

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In an aquarium, they can be fed with earthworms, blood worms, tubifex worms, and other small live foods. You may also feed them commercial food such as shrimp pellets or fish flakes. These should only make up a very small part of the diet in order to maintain their natural instincts for hunting prey themselves.

Are common carp invasive?

The common carp is invasive in much of the United States because they have been sold as food fish and used for stocking ponds. Carp can live in many different types of water sources, including high-quality streams with no apparent problems from pollution or other human disturbance. They are generally considered to be nuisance species when found outside their native range because of their large size and ability to outcompete native species.

Are common carp good for ponds?

Yes. Common carp are good for ponds because they eat algae and pesky aquatic plants. They also provide food for other fish in the pond, such as catfish or trout.

They can be a problem if there is not enough oxygen at the bottom of your pond to support their population size. Also, they will spawn prolifically during warm, summer months.

You will need to install a screen or netting at the bottom of your pond so that they cannot escape and overpopulate your surroundings, which could make fishing difficult for anglers in the area.

Are common carp good to eat?

Yes, common carp are good to eat. They can be cooked in a variety of ways like steaming, baking, or sauteeing. One popular way is the “Belgian Beerbatter” which combines beer and flour batter with spices before frying it until crispy brown on both sides.

Common carp have been highly recognized as a sustainable food source because they’re bottom feeders and mainly consume vegetation rather than other fish.

They are also high in omega-three fatty acids which can help to maintain heart health through the reduction of inflammation. They contain about 100 milligrams per kilogram (or 0.0022 lb) of polyunsaturated fats, which are a good kind of fat.

Why is the common carp bad?

“Common carp are bad because they make many people sick, destroy aquatic habitats with their waste, and can cause damage to water quality.

A common carp has a mouth that is big enough for it to swallow another fish whole. This means the carp could also eat smaller animals like frogs or baby ducks causing them to die from either suffocation or from being eaten alive.

They have been tied to the destruction of aquatic habitats because they eat plants and muddy up their surroundings making it difficult for other species to survive there, while at the same time reducing oxygen levels in the water.

People also use common carp as food which can cause a person’s illness if they are not prepared properly.

What are common carp characteristics?

Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) are native to the Eurasian continent and are an invasive species in North America. They can thrive anywhere that has a freshwater ecosystem, including rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, and marshes. Adult common carps typically grow up to 20 inches long but can grow as big as 60 inches with weights of over 40 pounds. They are opportunistic feeders, eating anything that they can find in the water including insects, other fish, and plants.