Types of Carp – Your Ultimate Guide

Carp are incredible fish and each type is unique. For instance, did you know the Common carp can live up to 20 years?

types of carp

If you’re a dedicated angler or a fishing enthusiast, you’re probably interested to learn more about the different types of carp. So, we’ve put together this list to enlighten you on the diverse types and some of their characteristics.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

13 Types of Carp You Should Know About

There are numerous types of carp worldwide today, but you probably know only a few. Below are the various carp types you may find anywhere around the world.

1. Common Carp

The Common carp are a unique kind that came from the Asian continent to other parts of the globe. While in Asia, they were domesticated for some centuries. Afterwards, in the 12th century, people took them to Europe.

common carp

This type of carp is among the top 10 invasive fish species globally. This status has made it look like a pest because of its ability to outperform native fish species.


The Common carp are a gorgeous and well-patterned fish with scales as body armour. Nonetheless, Common carp don’t have the same distinct features as most carp species popular among carp anglers.

This type of carp has an orange or, sometimes, a reddish tail fin. This carp species was initially peculiar to rivers, and it often has a slim and torpedo-shaped body. 

In addition, the domesticated Common carp have managed to retain their untamed nature, and that’s why they’re formidable fighters and won’t give up to the rod easily.


The Common carp weighing 15 to 25 pounds are considered average-sized in most countries. For a Common carp, fish under 10 pounds are pretty tiny.

The carp weighing more than 25 pounds are considered good-sized. In comparison, those weighing more than 30 pounds, like the first 100 pounds of Common carp ever caught, are considered giant carp.

Notable Record

A 64lb 6oz carp taken from The Avenue in 2018 holds the British record. The official United States world record common carp is a 54lb 8oz fish captured in a New Jersey river system.

Also, a 101-pound 6-ounce common carp holds the largest carp world record. In 2019, anglers captured it in Lake Serene, France.

2. Ghost Carp

The Ghost carp is a variation of the Common carp bred artificially. They’re pretty similar to the Common carp and usually found in small still water bodies with vegetative sediments.


The Ghost carp usually have several colour variations due to the various colours of the carp they were bred from.

ghost carp

These colours and their other distinguishing trait — the black markings all over their bodies, explain the moniker “Ghost carp.”

A dark ring around the eyes of the yellow Ghost carp is common, giving them a ghostly appearance underneath the water. See what a Ghost carp looks like underneath water here.

The fish’s body colour is frequently faded or washed out, making it simple to distinguish them from actual Koi carp, which have more robust and brighter colours.


The Ghost carp’s average weight ranges from 10 to 20 pounds. They grow more than the smaller Koi because of the similar genetic makeup to the Common carp.

Notable Record

A Ghost carp weighing 65 lb 14oz holds the British record (venue unknown). However, a 94 pounds record in Europe (location unknown) wasn’t made official, and it seems likely.

3. Mirror Carp

This type of carp is one of the main carp species in the Cyprinidae carp family, alongside the common carp. The Mirror arose because European monks bred and domesticated them.


Mirror carp tend to have scale patches strewn across their bodies. These scales are found around various regions of the Mirror carp fish body and can be of varying sizes.

mirror carp

Mirror carp don’t have the same appearance, and anglers can quickly identify an individual carp in a water body.

Unlike Common carp, Mirror carp usually breed in standing water like small lakes and ponds. Hence, the shape of their body isn’t suitable for flowing water.

They’re generally deep, spherical fish with a large portion of fat. Despite this, they’re capable of growing into attractive brown fish and can put up a good battle for an angler.


A Mirror carp’s average size is relatively similar to a Common carp. On the other hand, Mirrors tend to weigh a little more than Common carp due to their rounder body form, with more flesh and fat.

As a result, the Mirror carp is estimated to have an average weight of between 15 and 30 pounds. A genuinely massive Mirror begins at around 50 pounds.

Notable Record

A Mirror carp caught in The Avenue in 2016 holds the record in the UK and weighed 71lb 4oz.

Anglers took a world record at the Euro Aqua, a carp venue in Hungary, in 2018. This massive Mirror carp weighed 112 pounds 14 ounces.

4. Bighead Carp

Bighead carp are among the many Asian carp species in the world. They’re found in many parts of the world, including South America, North America, Europe, and India. The Bighead carp are famous for their use in commercial fisheries and have a reputation as being the 5th most farmed fish worldwide.


A Bighead carp has a more profound body (from back to belly) than it is wide. Its colouration is dark grey above and cream-coloured below with dark grey to black irregular blotches on the back and sides.

See our post here for the british record carp.

bighead carp


Bighead carp mature about 2-3 years after hatching and are frequently seen in weight ranges of around 40 pounds. However, they can grow to over 80 pounds in length in rare cases.

Because Bighead carp are filter feeders, they’re extremely difficult to capture on a rod and reel since they don’t eat large prey. Here’s a video of a Bighead carp filter-feeding.

Notable Record

On July 24, 2021, Matt Neuling caught a world record-sized 125-pound, 5-ounce, Bighead carp. This giant is Missouri’s heaviest bighead, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has recognized it as an official state record in the alternate methods category.

5. Fully-Scaled Mirror Carp

This carp type is a variant of Mirror carp. They have scales that completely or partially cover the body. This feature makes it easy to mistake this carp for a Common.


The fish scales’ size and pattern are the primary differences between a Fully-Scaled Mirror carp and a Common. Unlike what you’d find on the Common, the wholly scaled has large scales that aren’t fully aligned.


Moreover, the Fully-Scaled carp’s body colour and shape are similar to what you’d find on a Mirror carp.


The typical weight of a Fully-Scaled carp is slightly less than what you’d find on a traditional Mirror carp. However, the Fully-Scaled Mirror carp don’t seem to develop or grow fast like the Mirror carp.

Their weight is between 10 and 20 pounds on average. A Fully-Scaled Mirror carp weighing more than 20 pounds is unquestionably a giant fish.

6. F1 Carp

The F1 is a unique hybrid fish type created explicitly for commercial purposes. It’s a crossbreed between the Common and Crucian carp.


F1 Carp has grown in popularity among anglers in the United Kingdom due to their ability to grow slowly while still being a powerful fish. Also, they’re known to be quite crafty! Here are some crafty F1s feeding on pellets.


For this reason, many fisheries around the United Kingdom have acquired the F1 for their facilities.

The F1 is similar in appearance to the Crucian and Common carp. For instance, the F1 has more of the brown colouration of the Common carp and shares the trait of having no barbels with the Crucian.


The average weight of F1 carp is around 2 to 4 pounds, and they’re known to feed all year. Therefore, stocking F1 carp is a significant advantage for fishery owners who want to sell the fact that their water can yield fish throughout the colder months.

Notable Record

An F1 carp weighing 7lb 14oz, which anglers obtained in 2016 in the Manor Farm Leisure, holds the UK record.

The biggest recorded F1 carp catch was from a Lancashire club water by David Williams, a carp angler. The weight of the F1 carp was 13lb 8oz.

7. Linear Carp

This isn’t a distinct carp species but rather a variety of Mirror carp. It can, nonetheless, be considered a gorgeous type of carp, in our opinion.


The Linear carp’s lovely name has derived from the scale lines that span along the fish body’s lateral line, which is generally quite noticeable. This line may be the only scale on the carp, but they usually have other scales spread across their body.

Linear Carp

In addition, the Linear carp are mainly referred to as the Zip carp. Before now, people called them the Line carp.


The Linear carp have a typical weight approximately identical to the Mirror carp’s weight, usually between 12 and 25 pounds.

Because they’re less typically captured, any Linear carp weighing 30 pounds or more is considered big.

8. Leather Carp

Leather carp are genetically distinct from the Common and Mirror carp. This distinction results from changed genetic sequencing for sourcing food in several Asian countries, where this species of carp fish is a pretty popular food fish.


Leather carp have a small number of scales near the tail fin and scale lines running along the back of the fish towards the dorsal fin.

leather carp

Their skin seems leathery due to a lack of scales, hence the name “Leather carp.” This is also a unique feature, making it pretty difficult to confuse the Leather with other carp species.

Their body structure is highly similar to a Mirror carp. However, unlike the Mirror carp, their colour is usually grey.


The Leather grows to weigh between 10 to 20 pounds on average. Therefore, leather carp weighing more than 20 pounds are considered moderate-sized carp, whereas fish weighing more than 30 pounds are considered large specimens.

Notable Record

Britain’s most renowned Leather carp named “Heather the Leather“, a 54 lb 8 oz record-breaker, was taken in the Yateley Complex in 2006. She was a legendary carp of over 50 years old and deserved to hold the British record.

Heather died in 2010 of old age, and her body was discovered near her lake’s shore. Heather’s grave had a gravestone with rosebush marked by a local carp fisherman who gave her a dignified burial.

9. Silver Carp

This type of carp has the scientific name, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, and it’s often referred to as the Asian carp. It’s related to the Common carp family and is a relatively large one.


The Silver carp are most prevalent in Asia, although they’ve also been spotted in North America and some European countries. They were intended primarily for aquaculture or wild fisheries development wherever they were introduced.

silver carp

The Silver carp have a striking silver colour, and their disproportionately big colossal head is some of their most noticeable characteristics. Their eyes are located forward and low on the head, well below the body’s midline.

In addition, they have an extraordinarily huge, upturned toothless mouth, which differentiates them from other carp species. Learn how to identify a Silver carp in this video.


The weight of this carp species varies significantly from one geographical location to another. However, in the United States and Europe, the typical weight is around 20 to 60 pounds. However, Silver carp as large as 100 pounds have been recorded.

Notable Record

A Silver carp, 51 inches long and weighing 106 pounds 15 ounces, holds the world record. In 2004, anglers captured this big carp in Germany.

10. Grass Carp

The Grass carp are also known as the White Amur. They’re a distinct carp species that aren’t only slightly related to the Common carp but are classified as a member of the Cyprinidae family.


Grass carp were introduced into many North American and European water bodies for weed control while being cultivated in Asia for food. This type of carp enjoys eating a wide variety of aquatic vegetation, which is why it has its unusual name.

Grass Carp

The young Grass carp can develop to enormous sizes and have incredible strength, usually unleashed when anglers try to capture them. In addition, they’re abruptly explosive, one of their most distinguishing characteristics.

Although the Grass carp’s body is shaped like a torpedo and has a scale pattern similar to that of a Common carp, they resemble a massive chub more than a carp. Also, they don’t have the regular barbels found around the mouth of carps.


This carp’s average size is around 15 to 30 pounds. The fish weighing 40 pounds and above is usually termed a massive Grass carp. However, the fish weighing more than 60 pounds is a true monster Grass carp.

Although the Grassies are relatively small compared to other carp in the United Kingdom, they’re considered massive in most European countries and the United States.

Notable Record

The record for a Grass carp in the world is an incredible 87lb 10oz Grass carp captured in Bulgaria’s Piasuchnik Dam in 2009.

Fishers also captured a Grass carp weighing 53 pounds and 12 ounces in 2018 at Yateley.

11. Crucian Carp

This is a group of small carp species found throughout Europe. It’s a fish notorious for being difficult to catch because it’s a careful feeder.


The scale pattern of the Crucian carp is quite similar to the Common’s, despite their modest size. However, unlike Common carp, the Crucian carp lack barbels.

Crucian Carp

Furthermore, the Crucian carp are cryptic fish that expose themselves only by the numerous bubbles that form on the water surface when they’re feeding. They have tiny mouth holes, making them even more challenging to catch and land.

The Crucian is unique because it can flourish in harsh temperatures and water with pretty low oxygen levels. Very few fish species can survive in such conditions.

Also, during freezing winters, Crucian carp can dig their way through the lake bed and make ethanol to maintain their body warmth and respiration.

Crucian carp are primarily dark brown and come with a sleek body shape. Here’s what a Crucian carp looks like underneath water.


Crucians seem to be slightly smaller in the UK than in most parts of Europe, weighing roughly 2 pounds on average. However, Crucians in these parts of Europe have a somewhat greater average weight, ranging from 2 to 4 pounds.

Notable Record

A 4lb 10oz crucian carp taken in 2015 at Milford holds the UK record. Meanwhile, a 9lb 8oz Large crucian carp has the record for the world’s largest Crucian, and in 2009, Fishermen caught it in a Dutch lake.

12. Koi Carp

The coloured varieties of Common carp are informally referred to as the Koi. And the Japanese word, Koi, is translated as “brocaded carp” in English. They’ve been bred by the Japanese for quite a long time and are commonly kept as ornamental fish in water gardens and small ponds.


There are many colours and patterns of Koi carp because of the selective breeding done by the Japanese.

koi Carp

The keeping of Koi carp as aesthetic pets increased and became prevalent worldwide. But do Koi carp make a good pet? Check this to find out.

Furthermore, you can find this type of carp in about a hundred distinct varieties and every colour of the white spectrum, making it an entertaining and exotic fish to catch.

Mirror and Common Koi exist because they’re pretty related to Common carp. Another form of Koi commonly captured in the United Kingdom is the Ghost koi and Koi Mirror carp.

The Koi carp have all of the significant characteristics of the Common carp, including their barbels and vigour.


The Kois are relatively small compared to the Common. Hence, they don’t reach the precise record weights.

The Koi weighs around 10 to 20 pounds on average, while the Koi carp weighing more than 25 pounds are considered huge specimens. However, there’s been instances where a Koi weighing over ninety pounds has been documented.

Notable Record

Although there’s little information or record of a Koi caught with the rod, a Ghost koi weighing 47lb 14oz holds the record in the UK. In 2017, anglers caught this Koi at a lake in Thetford.

13. Black Carp

The Black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus), also known as the Black Chinese roach, are fish of Chinese origin raised there for consumption and the manufacture of some medicines in the country. They’re one of the most expensive fish on the market and a delicacy that few people have access to.


The Black carp are very resistant animals and have good longevity, reaching up to 15 years. As a result, these carp are considered one of the kings of freshwater. They can live in lakes and rivers or be raised in captivity as ornamental fish or for fishing and consumption of their meat.

black carp

Furthermore, the Black carp have elongated brown and black bodies, grey fins, and pretty large scales. Their heads are pointed, and they have a mouth in a bow shape. You can also find a fin on their backs that’s pointed and short.

An adult Black carp inhabits large lakes and lowland rivers, with a preference for clean waters with a high oxygen concentration. Initially, the species was brought to the US and other parts of the world for snail control in aquaculture and later used as food. However, it now poses a threat to the snail and mussels population.


The Black carp can measure between 60 centimetres and 1.2 meters. Some Black carp can measure up to 1.8 meters in length, and their average weight is 77 pounds. However, an individual that weighed 154 pounds was found in 2004.

See our post here on carp fishing day tickets so you can plan your next carp fishing tour.


So, these are the different types of carp. Did you enjoy reading the list? We hope you’d be able to recognize any carp you come across the next time you go carp fishing!

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