How to take care of a carp fish?

We will talk about carp fish care in this blog post.We will also discuss important factors such as their habitat, types,lifespan,tank set-up, water parameters and healthcare,etc.Everything you need to know about carp fish care will be briefly discussed.


In this blog

  • Why is carp fish care important?
  • Key specifications of carp fish
  • How many carp fish should you start with as a newcomer?
  • Habitat of carp fish
  • Types of carp fish
  • Different strains or colors of carp fish
  • General and physical attributes of carp fish
  • Carp fish lifespan
  • Carp fish tank set-up
  • Carp fish diet and feeding requirements
  • Carp fish healthcare and health conditions
  • Carp fish daily care and Bi-weekly care
  • Summary

How to take care of a carp fish?

Daily care tips for carps

  • Feed them once a day.
  • They can’t tolerate loud noise,so keep them in a quiet area.
  • They don’t require direct sunlight,so keep them away from direct sunlight.
  • Use a net to transfer the carps, to avoid mixing old water with the new water.
  • Never clean the tank and other decorative items with soap and detergents,since they are toxic to fish.
  • Monitor the pond water regularly for checking the quality of water.
  • Maintain all the vital parameters daily.
  • Make sure all the tank and pond equipment are in working conditions.
  • Never keep sharp decorative items in the tank or in the ponds.It can hurt your pets.
  • Always observe their swimming patterns and feeding habits to know about their health conditions.
  • If they are not eating or hiding themselves or their swimming patterns are irregular then kindly shift them to a hospital tank for them to recover,if they are going through any kind of health issues.Put them back when they fully recover.
  • Never let the leftovers settle down in the tank.This can interfere with the water parameters.

Bi-weekly care tips for carps

  • If you are introducing carps to an existing school in an indoor aquarium or outdoor pond settings,then kindly quarantine the new fish in a separate quarantine tank for at least two weeks to be sure they are healthy and not carrying any kind of infections.
  • Pond should be cleaned every 2-4 weeks.
  • Filters should be cleaned every 2-4 weeks. 
  • 10% of pond water should be changed monthly to prevent organic pollutants and toxins from building up in the tank.
  • Use water quality testing kits once a week to check the quality of water.
  • Live food should be quarantined at least for some weeks before feeding them,because they can be infectious.

Why is carp fish care important?

Carps are the most popular fish in aquarium culture.They are hardy fish and can survive in both freshwater and brackish water conditions.

They are easy to care for but are sensitive to pH fluctuations.So,it’s very important to maintain all the vital parameters for their survival.

Key specifications of Carp fish

Scientific name Cyprinus carpio(major carp)
HabitatConservation statusAsia and Europe Common carps are vulnerable
Lifespan20 years 
Body size
Body shapeColorSpecial traitSexual dimorphism
14 inches in length and 49 pounds in weightHuge round bodyVivid colorsBarbels (But some carps lack them)Prominent when they get matured
Another namesCommon carpEuropean carp
Optimum temperatureOptimum pHWater hardness60F-75F7.0-7.510-15 dGH
TemperamentBeginner or experienced Peaceful Very good beginner fish
Care levelEasy to care for
Tank size and set-upTank type (Prefered)Large sized tank or outdoor pondsPlanted aquarium or planted ponds
Preferred plants/decorationsFloating plants
CompatibilityTheir own kind and other peaceful fish.
Number of carp fish species found Koi, mirror and butterfly carpsEstimated population is not known
BreedingNo of eggs (average litters size)Egg laying fish300,000/spawning 

How many carp fish should you start with as a newcomer?

Carps are schooling fish and usually prefer to live in groups of six or more.It is advised to house them in bigger and spacious tanks because they grow rapidly.They can be even kept in outdoor ponds.

Whenever you are transferring a new carp to the tank,kindly float them in water inside their coverbags for about 5-10 minutes to acclimatize them to the new water parameters.

Habitat of carp fish

  • Native-Asia and Europe 
  • Water type in natural habitat- Oily freshwater
  • Water streams- lakes, ponds and rivers

Types of carp fish

Type of carp species around the world:

  • Koi carp (100 varieties)
  • Mirror carp – A common carp variety
  • Butterfly milky carp

Type of carp fish popular in aquariums:

  • Black carp
  • Grass carp
  • Silver carp
  • Bighead carp

Different strains or colors of carp fish

Common carp colors-Golden and dark brown.

Koi carp colors-Orange, black,yellow ,red,white and blue.

General and physical attributes of carp fish

  • Size-Carps are 14 inches in length and may grow up to 39 inches, depending upon the amount of care they are getting. 
  • Carps grow rapidly except milky koi carp.
  • Carp skin pattern- scales type.
  • They have barbels or whiskers on either side of their mouth.
  • Some of the carps can survive even on low oxygen levels too.

Carp fish lifespan

Carp fish can live upto 20 years if cared for properly by feeding my high quality food,especially meant for them, maintaining the consistent temperature and pristine water conditions.

  • Common carps can live upto 20 years
  • Mirror carps can live upto 20 years

Carp fish tank set-up

Tank sizeLight intensitySubstrateWater parametersTemperatureTank plantsTank mates

Tank size for carp fish

  • Carps need a huge and spacious tank for their survival in aquariums settings.
  • Carps can live in tanks as well as in outdoor pond settings,but grass carps,a type of common carp, cannot be kept in outdoor ponds.
  • A 100 gallons tank(indoor aquarium) is the ideal tank size for carps.
  • A top cover or lid is required to cover the tank because of their jumping behavior.
  • Whether they live in home aquariums or ponds,add not more than 3 new carps at a time.
  • Don’t overcrowd the tank as it can hinder their survival.

Tank size for carps:

  • Koi carp fish tank or pond size – 30-50 gallons tank
  • Young koi – 29 gallons tank (indoor aquarium)
  • Mature koi- 50 gallons of water per koi (outdoor pon settings) and 3 feet deep.

Pond equipments for carps:

  • Effective filtration system
  • Pond skimmers to eliminate debris
  • Water pumps
  • Good aeration system
  • Uv clarifier to remove algal growth

Light intensity for carp fish

  • Subdued lighting.
  • Indirect sunlight.
  • Milky carps are sensitive to direct sunlight and it can affect their health.
  • Artificial lights- 8-12 hours a day.

Substrate/decoration for carp fish

  • Carps are not so particular about their substrates, anything will work for them.
  • Mixtures of gravels and rocks can be used as substrates.
  • Gravels will promote growth of beneficial bacteria,so you can add gravels as their substrates.
  • Use artificial plants for decoration, if you want your aquarium to look good, totally up to you.

Water parameters for carp fish

  • Carp tanks or outdoor ponds require large volumes of water.
  • Tank cycling is a must for carps.
  • Water hardness- 10 to 15 dGH
  • Ideal pH condition- 7.0-7.5 (pH fluctuations can hurt them)
  • Ammonia and nitrite levels should be checked from time to time, because rise in organic pollutants can make them sick.
  • Filter type-An external filter like eheim filters can be used to maintain large volumes of water.
  • Filter for ponds- Bio clean pond filter.
  • The indoor aquarium filters should be able to process all the tank water four to five times an hour.
  • Addition of beneficial bacteria supplements will help to break down the biological waste in the tank.
  • Good water circulation is important for their health.
  • Add aquarium heaters if it’s required.
  • Ammonia levels – zero
  • Nitrite levels – zero
  • Nitrate levels- Between 20-60ppm
  • Chlorine levels -zero
  • Mineral contents- high

Temperature for carp fish

  • Temperature plays a vital role in fish metabolism.
  • Ideal temperature for carps- 60F-75F
  • Some carps are temperature resistant like koi carps.
  • Carps will stop eating if they are not kept in stable temperature conditions.
  • Maintaining the ideal temperature will keep your carp healthy.
  • Use a thermometer to maintain the ideal temperature.

Tank plants for carp fish

Plants play an important role in aquarium and pond settings.They acts as natural aeration and filtration system for your fish and provides them shelter when they feel threatened and anxious.

They sometimes provide nutritions too to your aquatic pets.They prefer free floating and rooted plants.If you are adding artificial plants kindly wash them once in 15 days to avoid tank or pond pollution.

Best plants for your carps pond and aquarium:

  • Vallisneria
  • Water lettuce
  • Water lily
  • Water lotus
  • Water hyacinth
  • Water smartweed

Tank mates for carp fish

Carps get along well with almost everyone.

Suitable mates:

  • Other carps
  • Golden orfe
  • Comets 
  • Common goldfish
  • Apple snails
  • Shubunkins
  • Cichlids (small size) 

Carp fish diet and feeding requirements

Carps are omnivores and accept both plant based diets and commercial food.They grow quickly so feed once a day for 2-3 minutes.

You can also use automatic fish feeders to feed your carps.Avoid overfeeding your carps.

  • Feed them vitamin,protein and carbohydrates enriched diet
  • Low protein diet in winters
  • High protein diet in summers
  • Pellets and flakes
  • Shrimps 
  • Worms 
  • Plant matter and aquatic plants
  • Color enhancing carp food available in pet shops.

Carp fish healthcare and health conditions

They are prone to freshwater diseases:

  • Spring viremia of carp,a viral infection,caused due to lower water temperatures.
  • Koi herpesvirus disease,a viral infection,caused due to higher water temperatures.
  • Carp erythrodermatitis- Skin condition in common carps.


  • Carps are the most famous pond fish in the world because of their unlimited varieties.They are also famous in commercial fishing ,aquaculture and recreational fishing.
  • Carps were produced through selective breeding for different varieties of colors and for their disease resistance traits.
  • Carps can survive in lower temperatures and even in freezing ponds.
  • Always keep them in groups of 6 or more in a spacious tank or pond.
  • Feed them good quality food to maintain their colouration.
  • Carps thrive well in a pond or tank with an effective filtration system that provides clean and oxygenated water.
  • Carps are recommended for both beginners and experienced hobbyists.

Frequently asked questions

Are carps easy to keep?

Yes, carp are easy to care for.They are peaceful fish and adjust with almost every fish.Just maintain the vital parameters, keep the water clean,feed them a healthy diet and do water changes either weekly or monthly.

Can we add gravel in carp ponds?

Yes,gravels will enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria in the outdoor pond settings.