Types of Carp in the UK: The Full List



If you’re a fan of carp fishing, or simply looking to broaden your knowledge about these intriguing creatures, then this post is perfect for you. We’ll be exploring seven different types of carp that can be found in the UK: Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Leather Carp, Grass Carp, Crucian Carp, Ghost Carp, and Koi Carp.

Types of Carp Found in the UK

Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

The common carp is one of the most widespread and recognizable types of carp. It has distinct scale patterns and a robust body shape, making it a favourite among carp anglers worldwide.

Common carp are found in freshwater bodies such as lakes, rivers, and canals. This species is highly adaptable and can thrive in various environments. It is known for its strength and endurance, putting up a fierce fight when hooked, which adds to the excitement when your bite alarm goes off.

In addition to its physical traits, the common carp is also known for its feeding habits. It is an opportunistic omnivore, eating both plant matter and small aquatic organisms. This adaptability allows it to survive in diverse habitats and grow to extreme sizes. Typically, they range from 50cm to 75cm in length and weigh between 10 lbs and 30 lbs, although specimens over 45 lbs are not unheard of in the UK.

types of carp - mirror carp

Mirror Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Mirror carp are a genetic variation of the common carp species. What sets them apart is their unique scale pattern, with irregularly shaped scales covering their body. These scales can vary in colour and size, adding to their uniqueness.

These fish can reach impressive sizes in the UK, with the larger ones frequently weighing in at over 40 lbs and are known for their strength and fighting ability when caught. Their beauty combined with their challenging nature makes them highly desirable captures, as anglers target specific named fish. Personally, they are my favourite type of carp as they look stunning and they also put up one heck of a fight!

types of carp - mirror carp

Leather Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

The leather carp is a unique and fascinating variant of the common carp that stands out among other types of carp. Its distinguishing feature is its smooth and scaleless skin, which gives it a distinctive leather-like texture.

Leather carp are known for their impressive size and strength, often growing to be larger than other types of carp. Despite being less common, Leather Carp can reach the same impressive sizes as Mirror Carp and specimens over 50 lbs have been caught in the UK.

types of carp - leather carp

Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)

Grass carp, also known as Ctenopharyngodon idella, are greedy eaters and can consume large amounts of food in a short period of time. These fish have a slender torpedo-shaped body and can grow up to 4 feet long, making them one of the largest species of carp. Their lack of barbels is a distinctive characteristic of a grass carp, along with their violent and powerful behaviour when hooked. They are not native to the UK and were introduced for aquatic weed control. Full-grown Grass Carp in the UK can reach up to 120cm in length and weigh as much as 50 lbs.

types of carp - grass carp

Crucian Carp (Carassius carassius)

The crucian carp, scientifically known as Carassius Carassius, is a hybrid species between the common carp and a goldfish which gives them their smaller frame. This small freshwater fish boasts an array of stunning colours, ranging from golden reds to deep oranges. These hardy fish typically reach sizes of 15cm to 30cm and rarely exceed 3 lbs in the UK.

types of carp - crucian

Ghost Carp

Ghost Carp, a hybrid of the Common Carp and Koi Carp, boasts a distinctive silvery-white colouration. They can grow quite large in the UK, with specimens often exceeding 30 pounds. They are also extremely uncommon and are commonly bred as fish for ponds.

types of carp - ghost carp

Koi Carp (Cyprinus rubrofuscus)

Koi carp are a captivating species that have captivated fish enthusiasts for centuries. Originating from Japan, these stunning creatures come in variety of breathtaking colours such as red, orange, yellow, white, and black. Koi Carp are the ornamental varieties of carp that you often see in decorative ponds and can typically grow to around 30cm to 50cm long in the UK and can weigh up to 35 pounds.

Koi carp are highly adaptable and can thrive in various environments. They require ample space to swim freely and require well-maintained ponds to be healthy. With proper care and attention to water quality and nutrition, these stunning creatures can make your garden pond look amazing.

types of carp - koi carp

F1 Carp

F1 carp, with their vibrant colours and energetic behaviour, bring a lively and captivating presence to any water feature. These fish are a crossbreed between common carp and koi carp, resulting in an appearance that showcases a mixture of patterns and colours.

When it comes to breeding F1 carp, experienced fish breeders create optimal conditions in the water by maintaining suitable pH levels and providing adequate space for them to swim freely. These fish are also immune to the KHV virus (Koi Herpes Virus) a highly contagious and deadly virus that affects common carp, including koi and other ornamental fish species.

Types of Carp Around the World

While these are the seven main types of carp you’re likely to encounter in the UK, there are numerous other carp species found worldwide. Bighead Carp, Silver Carp, and Black Carp are prevalent in Asia and invasive in parts of the US. The Catla and Rohu are major aquaculture species in South Asia. Each species has unique traits and habits, broadening the scope of carp fishing globally.

giant asian carp


The world of carp fishing is as diverse as it is challenging. Knowing your carp types can make the difference between a good fishing day and a great one. So the next time you set up your fishing gear, remember these different types of carp and what each brings to your fishing experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can different types of carp interbreed with each other?

Yes, different types of carp can interbreed with each other.

What are some common diseases that affect carp?

Some common diseases that affect carp include koi herpesvirus, bacterial infections, parasites like Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (ich), and fungal infections. Regular health checks, proper nutrition, and maintaining clean water can help prevent these illnesses.

What is the average lifespan of carp?

Carp have average lifespan of 20-30 years, given the ideal environment.

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