Common name: Carps


Cite this page as:
Carps, CYPRINIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024,

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Family Taxonomy

This large, freshwater family includes such forms as carp, barbs and goldfish. It does not occur naturally in Australia. Introduced species were treated by McDowall (1980), Cadwallader & Backhouse (1983) and Allen et al (2002).

Family Distribution

The worldwide distribution of this family includes all major tropical and temperate regions except Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar and South America. These fishes have been deliberately introduced to virtually all of these places. In Australia there are five introduced species belonging to five genera. Cold water species confined mainly to southern Australia include the goldfish (Carassius), carp (Cyprinus), tench (Tinca) and roach (Rutilus) which were first introduced via Europe between 1860 and 1880.  There is potential for further introductions as a result of aquarium releases of tropical species, particularly in Queensland. Only one such introduction, the rosy barb (Puntius), has been successful thus far. Breeding populations are present in streams of South Brisbane. Cyprinids generally frequent soft bottom areas, often where vegetation is abundant. 

Family Size

The maximum total length of the Australian introductions range from about 140 mm for the rosy barb to approximately 1.2 in for the carp.

Family Feeding

Cyprinids feed on a variety of items including algae, insect larvae and aquatic invertebrates.


Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. (2002). Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Cadwallader, P.L. & Backhouse, G.N. (1983). A Guide to the Freshwater Fish of Victoria.  Melbourne : F.D. Atkinson Government Printer 249 pp. figs

McDowall, R.M. (ed.) (1980). Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia.  Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed 208 pp. figs