The Common carp or European carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a widespread
freshwater fish distantly related to the common goldfish, with which it
is capable of interbreeding. It gives its name to the carp family
Cyprinidae. Originating in Asia, the fish has been introduced into
environments worldwide. It can grow to a maximum length of 5 feet (1.5
meters), a maximum weight of over 80lb (37.3 kg), and an oldest
recorded age of at least 65 years. The wild, non-domesticated, forms
tend to be much less stocky at around 20% - 33% the maximum size. Koi
(錦鯉 (nishikigoi) in Japanese, 鯉魚 (pinyin: lĭ yú) in Chinese) is a
domesticated ornamental variety that originated in China but became
known to the Western world through Japan.
Although they are very tolerant of most conditions, the common carp
prefer large bodies of slow or standing water and soft, vegetative
sediments. A schooling fish, they prefer to be in groups of 5 or more.
They natively live in a temperate climate in fresh or brackish water
with a 7.0 - 7.5 pH, a water hardness of 10.0 - 15.0 dGH, and an ideal
temperature range of 37.4 - 75.2 °F (3 - 24 °C).
The common carp, as well as its variants, mirror carp, with large
mirror like scales (linear mirror - scaleless except for a row of large
scales that run along the lateral line; originating in Germany),
leather carp (virtually unscaled except near dorsal fin) and fully
scaled carp, is omnivorous and will eat almost anything that it comes
across. The common carp is happy to eat a vegetarian diet of water
plants, but also insects, crustaceans (including zooplankton), or even
dead fish if the opportunity arises.
Carp have been introduced, often illegally, into many countries. In
some countries, due to their habit of grubbing through bottom sediments
for food and alteration of their environment, they destroy, uproot and
disturb submerged vegetation causing serious damage to native duck and
fish populations. In Australia there is enormous anecdotal and mounting
scientific evidence that introduced carp are the cause of permanent
turbidity and loss of submergent vegetation in the Murray-Darling river
system, with severe consequences for river ecosystems, water quality
and native fish species.
Efforts to eradicate a small colony from a Tasmania's Lake Crescent
without chemicals have been successful, however the long-term,
expensive and intensive undertaking is an example of the both the
possibility and difficulty of safely removing the species once it is
Carp have attributes that allow them to be an invasive species - a
species that invades and dominates new ecosystems with serious negative
effects to the ecosystem and native fauna. The movement and
introduction of carp for frivolous reasons such as sport fishing should
not be tolerated.
An egg-layer, a typical adult fish can lay 300,000 eggs in a single
spawning. Research shows that carp can spawn multiple times in a season
in some areas. The young are preyed upon by other predatorial fish such
as the northern pike and largemouth bass.
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