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Carp Fish Species

Last updated date: 23rd May 2024
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What is Carp?

More than 70 % of India’s population live in rural areas, where the primary occupation is agriculture, but inland aquaculture accounts for significant contributions to their livelihoods. About 85 % of this aquaculture is contributed by carp polyculture. That being said, Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae, a huge, huge group of fish inhabitants to Asia and Europe. While carp is eaten in many parts of the world, they are usually regarded as an invasive species in parts of Australia, Africa, and most of the United States.

Over the last two decades, a roughly sevenfold rise in the output from freshwater aquaculture was obtained by the application of appropriate methodologies, financial investments, and the enthusiasm exhibited by private entrepreneurs.

In colloquial use, carp generally refers to only to some bigger cyprinid species such as Cyprinus carpio (common carp), Carassius carassius (Crucian carp), Ctenopharyngodon idella (grass carp), Hypophthalmichthys nobilis (bighead)carp), and Hypophthalmichthys molitrix (silver carp). 

Carp have long been a significant food fish to humans. Some species such as the several goldfish breeds and the domesticated common carp variety referred to as koi have been amongst the highly popular ornamental fishes. As an outcome, carp have been introduced to different locations, though with mixed results.

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Common Carp Scientific Name

The scientific name of common carp fish is Cyprinus carpio.

Types of Carp Fish

The below table delineates the types of carp with some prominent carp in the family Cyprinidae and their significant information.

Common Name

Scientific Name

Max. Length



Max. Age(Years)

Silver Carp

Hypophthalmichthys molitrix (Valenciennes, 1844)




Common Carp (european Carp)

Cyprinus carpio (Linnaeus, 1758)




Crucian Carp

Carassius carassius (Linnaeus, 1758)




Grass Carp

Ctenopharyngodon idella (Valenciennes, 1844) 




Bighead Carp       

Hypophthalmichthys nobilis (Richardson, 1845)




Catla Carp

Cyprinus catla (Hamilton, 1822)




Black Carp

Mylopharyngodon piceus (Richardson, 1846)




Mrigal Carp

Cirrhinus cirrhosus (Bloch, 1795)




Mud Carp

Cirrhinus molitorella (Valenciennes, 1844)





Sacra Turri carpio




Varied Carp Species

In India, polyculture has traditionally been dependent on three native carp species possessing complementary feeding habits: the surface feeder catla (Catla catla); the bottom feeder mrigal (Cirrhinus Cirrhosus), and the column feeder rohu (Labeo Rohita). In 2005, these three species accounted for 26 % of the country’s complete fish production and 64 % of freshwater aquaculture production. Most peasants in India culture catla and rohu for their impeccable market prices and quick growth profile.

Three Exotic Species – common carp (Cyprinus carpio), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix); and the grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon Idella); – were introduced to the polyculture system in the late 1950s, but are less prominent and priced in the Indian market.

Carp Physical Description

With a yellow-coloured abdomen and the reddish-orange, lower wings are the display of carp fish. The two features that differentiate ordinary carp from the grass carp are the articular joints known as barbells close to the corners of the mouth and the long dorsal fin stretching out into the back half of their body.

Identify an Asian Carp

Small carps are commercially significant fisheries from the family Cyprinidae. The commercially crucial barbs are the Olive Barb (Systomus Sarana) and the Silver Barb (Barbonymus Gonionotus) and these also include the family Cyprinidae. Other than the Cave Carp, the small carp and barbs are generally distributed in India.

History of Carp Fishing

It is believed that the common carp fish was initially introduced into UK freshwaters in the 12th century. They were traditionally kept in stew ponds, ready to be consumed by monastic monks up until the 16th century. It was at this point in time that the most prominent fishing industry in the UK was materialized.

Carp are indigenous to Asia and Europe and are from the family Cyprinidae. They have been introduced, with mixed outcomes, to different other locations around the world.

Izaak Walton said, "The carp is the queen of rivers; a dignified, ceremonious and a very subtle fish; that was not initially first bred, nor hath been long in England, but is now naturalized. 

Extensive Carp Culture In India

Modern carp polyculture in India started during the mid-1980s in the Kolleru Lake basin of Andhra Pradesh. The region sported 2- to 4-m-deep rearing ponds spanning 1-40 ha in areas that were built by digging swampy paddy fields. Carp culture had been introduced on an extensive level at that time, though current carp polyculture is based on modified and widespread farming techniques.

In West Bengal, polyculture is now mostly classic and widespread and majorly influenced by small and medium-sized farms. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh consists of the most specialized carp polyculture practices in India. Although the available region and productivity scale from polyculture systems are higher in Andhra Pradesh, official approximations exhibit higher production from West Bengal. 

Pond Preparation

Aquafarming is most commonly a continuous process in Andhra Pradesh, where ponds are instantly restocked after a crop period of 8 to 12 months. Complete drying of the pond is done once every two years, subsequent to application of agriculture lime at 500 kg/ha.

In India, Carp polyculture ponds are enormously enriched using organic products like cow dung or poultry droppings. The former is usually mixed with an inorganic fertilizer such as single superphosphate (SSP). Sometimes urea and SSP are amalgamated with the manure and made to rest overnight before being applied to ponds. One half is applied at first and the remaining in equal monthly doses during the rest of the cycle. Additional monthly doses of inorganic fertilizers are also generally applied as required to maintain pond productivity.

Carp and Culture Combinations

Many native freshwater fish, including various minor and medium carps, enjoy better-trading markets and prices in India than major carp. The execution of these fish with major carp in polyculture must make the former one’s more economical than major carp polyculture alone, though the product concepts and characteristics of competition among these species are required to be more comprehensively understood.

As Indian aquafarmers experiment with new species, the polyculture of carp and (Pangasius Hypophthalmus) catfish is becoming quite prominent in low-salinity shrimp ponds cast aside after the White Spot Syndrome Virus eruptions in Andhra Pradesh. Catla and Rohu grow in salinities up to 8 ppt, while Pangasius grow wonderfully in 12 ppt and can bear up to 23 ppt. but, grow-out under higher salinities can present with a darker coloration to carp, which is not prudent in the market.

Pangasius-carp polyculture occupies about 20,000 ha in the West Godavari district, at a stocking density of 10,000 Pangasius and 1,250 catla or rohu per hectare. Overall production accounts for 10-15 mt/ha, with Pangasius weighing 1.5-3.0 kg and carps 1.5-2.0 kg. Polyculture of pacu established in India by the aquarium trade with carp, particularly rohu, is another cropping up aquaculture practice in Andhra Pradesh.

Carp Fish and Diseases

Carp polyculture in India is comparatively trouble-free, especially with respect to diseases. The “red disease” in carp, which can be a consequence of total mortality in some days if not treated, is the major disease documented. Some forms of parasitic infections are also often encountered in carp ponds during nursery and grow-out periods.

Carp Feeding

Carp fingerlings are at first fed groundnut/mustard oil cake for a period of up to one month, in addition to a mixture of deoiled rice bran and oil cake for the following month, and after that singular rice bran. Other feedstuffs for carps include cotton seeds, broken rice, pearl millet, maize, and soybeans. 

FAQs on Carp Fish Species

Q1. What are the Harvesting Techniques Associated With Carp Fish?

Answer: Drainable ponds or undrainable ponds having a long harvesting ditch, or ponds with inner or outer harvesting potholes are used for carp rearing. The fish are generally harvested by seine nets. The length of nets must be 1.5 times the width of ponds, but no longer than 120-150 m.

In undrainable ponds, selective harvesting could be performed. The maximum weight of carp which can get through different mesh size nets are as below:

20 gram fish = 20 mm mesh size

40 gram fish= 25 mm mesh size

100 gram fish= 30 mm mesh size

170 gram fish=35 mm mesh size

270 gram fish=40 mm mesh size

400 gram fish=50 mm mesh size

Partial harvesting (irrespective of whether the ponds are drainable or undrainable) increases the overall production of the ponds by enhancing the conditions for the leftover population.

Q2. What is Carp as an Ornamental Fish?

Answer: Goldfish and other carp of their cyprinid relatives and from Fish Swimming in the middle of Falling Flowers are popular ornamental aquarium and pond fish. Goldfish (Carassius auratus) had been initially domesticated from the Prussian carp (Carassius Gibelio), a dark greyish-brown carp inhabitant to Asia. They were originally bred for color in China, thousands of years ago. Owing to selective breeding, goldfish have been advanced into many different breeds, and are discovered in different sizes, forms, colors, color patterns far different from those of the original carp. Goldfish were kept in possession as ornamental fish in China for thousands of years ahead of being introduced to Japan in 1603, and to Europe in 1611.

Koi are a cultivated subspecies of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that have been particularly bred for color. The common carp had been launched from China to Japan, where selective breeding in the Niigata area in the 1820s resulted in koi. In Japanese culture, koi are dealt with love and observed as good luck.

The majority of carps is traded and transferred live to markets, and is sold either live or dressed afresh. Successful trials have been performed on a huge scale filleting of carp in France. Besides value-added products, roughly 15 different products can be prepared from carp, depicting different levels of processing.

Q3. How is Carp Used as Food?

Answer: Bighead carp is popular in many parts of the world, but it has not become a well-favored food fish in North America. Acceptance in North America has been obstructed in part by the name "carp", and its linkage with the common carp which is not a usually preferred food fish in North America. The flesh of the bighead carp is solid and white, different from that of the common carp, which is richer and darker. However, Bighead carp flesh does share one miserable similarity with common carp flesh – both of intramuscular bones within the filet. However, bighead carp seized from the wild in the United States are disposed to be much bigger than common carp, so the intramuscular bones are also bigger and hence less problematic.

Q4. How are Different Carp Species Used as Food?

Answer: Common carp, fried and breaded, is a crucial part of traditional Christmas Eve dinner in Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, and in the eastern part of Croatia. It is considered as most prominent food fish in pond based water agriculture.

Crucian Carp— known as karaś is treated as the best-tasting panfish in Poland. It is served traditionally with sour cream.

Mud carp, because of its low-cost production, is chiefly consumed by the poor, locally. The carp is primarily sold alive but can be dried and salted. The fish is also often canned or processed as fish balls, fish cakes, or dumplings. They can be seen for retail sales within China.

Chinese mud carp are a crucial food fish in Guangdong Province. It is also domesticated in this region and Taiwan. Cantonese and Shunde cuisines most commonly use this fish to prepare fish balls and dumplings. It can be incorporated with douchi or Chinese fermented black beans in a dish known as fried dace with salted black beans. It can be served cooked with vegetables like the Chinese cabbage.