What Is A Ghost Carp? The Complete Guide

Geoff Stadnyk in Fishing Guides on

You’re not alone if you’re wondering “What the heck is a ghost carp?”. Since Ghost Carp are so new on the scene, many anglers don’t know what they’re dealing with. They are freshwater fish that have been mistaken for other species, like catfish or carp or even buffalo fish. Here’s all you need to know about this unusual fish!

Table of Contents

What is a ghost carp?

Albino European carp or Cyprinus carpio, a species of freshwater fish

A ghost carp is a freshwater fish that was artificially bred in Germany in the early 2000s. They are a cross between a common carp and a wels catfish, which is why they sometimes get mistaken for other species. Ghost carp’s official name is Cyprinus Carpio Albino and their coloring can vary depending on their breeding stock. They are a pale, almost translucent white and can have gray markings.

What does ghost carp look like?

Ghost carp are very pale, almost translucent white. They can have gray markings around their eyes and mouth. Their scales are much smaller than other types of carp which makes them look different from common carps or catfish.

Adult female ghost carp typically grow to about 29 inches long while male ghost carp tend to be a little smaller, growing to about 25 inches long.

How long does a ghost carp live?

Ghost carp can live up to 40 years but will generally only live to be about 20 years old on average. If you want to know how long a catfish lives, here’s an article aout that.

What’s the difference between ghost carp and ghost koi?

The difference between ghost carp and ghost koi is nothing – they’re the same thing! Ghost carp are also sometimes called white koi, but they’re the same fish.

What do ghost carp eat?

Ghost carp are omnivorous and will eat a variety of things, including plants, insects, and other small fish. You can also buy fish food for your pet ghost carp.

Ghost Carp Food

One way to keep your ghost carp healthy is to feed them the correct food.

TetraPond Koi Vibrance 4.94 Ounces

This best-selling ghost carp meal will help your ghost carp maintain its vigor and overall health.

Kaytee Koi's Choice Koi Floating Fish Food

This ghost carp food is extremely digestible, resulting in less waste and pond clarity.

Recommended Ghost Carp Food

Are ghost carp invasive?

No – while they have been introduced into some parts of the world, they have not become invasive. Since they are not native to North America, it would be difficult for them to establish a population.

What kind of habitat do ghost carp prefer?

Ghost carp prefer to live in slow-moving fresh water such as ponds, lakes, and swamps. They can also be found in rivers that have a slow current or are very still because they don’t like fast moving waters.

Ghost carp tend to prefer warmer climates but can survive in both temperate and subtropical areas of the world.

Will ghost carp kill other fish?

Ghost carp will sometimes eat other fish, but they pose no serious threat to native species. They are known to sometimes bully other fish, however, so they may not be ideal for a community tank.

Are ghost carp good to eat?

I’m not really sure if other types of carp are good to eat but YES, ghost carp is good to eat. They’re not as popular as other types of carp but they are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world.

Can ghost carp breed?

Yes – although they’re not native to North America, ghost carp can still breed in this part of the world. They generally won’t do well if they become invasive since their natural habitat is in warmer climates and slow-moving waters.

What’s a good way to catch ghost carp?

Since ghost carp prefer calm water environments, try fishing in a pond or lake. They will sometimes feed on insects and plants so try using worms as bait. Try fishing for them at dusk since they tend to come out during the evening hours, especially if it’s warmer outside.

How much do ghost carp cost for a pond or aquarium?

Ghost carp typically cost around $15 to $20 for one fish, but that will vary depending on the breeder. You can also find them for sale online.

If you are planning to have an aquarium and you are thinking of putting fishing weights, read this article first about fishing weights in an aquarium.

Aquariums for Ghost Carp

If you want to raise ghost carps as pets at home, the first step is to find the right aquarium. Remember that one ghost carp requires 25 liters of water to survive.

Pennington Aquagarden

This aquarium is perfect for smaller spaces. This can home up to 3 ghost carps.

Lily Clear View Garden Aquarium

Suitable for 6 carps in a patio, garden, or decking.

Clear View Garden Aquarium

Garden aquarium that can hold up to 6 carps and is simple to assemble.

Recommended Aquariums for Ghost Carp

Are ghost carp illegal?

No – it’s not against the law to have a ghost carp in an aquarium or pond as long as they were bred domestically and you have a permit from your local government if you live in the United States.

How do you take care of ghost carp?

Photo showing a girl hand feeding some large common carp / mirror carp / ghost koi and koi in a pond / small lake. These friendly and very hungry brown fish are pictured eating wholemeal bread and splashing around in a frenzy, jumping out of the water as they compete for the food that she is holding in her fingers.

Ghost carp are fairly easy to care for as long as they’re in a tank that’s large enough, particularly if it contains other fish or plants. They prefer warmer waters with slow-moving currents and will need space to move around since their natural habitat is open bodies of water. Here are some more things to consider about taking care of ghost carp.

Feed Them Well

Ghost carp are omnivorous and will eat a variety of things, so make sure to give them a balanced diet. This includes both plant and meat-based food items. If you want to know what carp eat, read this article.

Don’t Overcrowd Them

Since ghost carp need room to move around, it’s important not to overcrowd them in your tank. Give them at least 25 gallons of water per fish.

Keep the Temperature Warm

Ghost carp prefer warm temperatures, so try to keep your tank at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Aquarium Heaters for Ghost Carp

Keep your aquarium’s water temperature warm using these aquarium heaters.

Bnzaq Fish Tank Aquarium Heater

This aquarium heater is a great choice for aquariums with no more than three ghost carps.

HiTauing Aquarium Heater

Ideal for aquariums with up to four ghost carp.

AQQA Submersible Aquarium Heater

This can warm up water up to 220 gallons of water for your ghost carps.

Recommended Aquarium Heaters for Ghost Carp

Monitor pH Levels and Water Quality

Since ghost carp are sensitive to changes in pH levels and water quality, it’s important to monitor these things closely. Make sure to use a good-quality aquarium filter.


In summary, ghost carp are a great choice for an aquarium or pond. They’re easy to care for and will eat a variety of food items. Just make sure to keep the temperature warm, monitor pH levels and water quality, and don’t overcrowd them in your tank. Thanks for reading!

We also have an article here about why carp jumps that you might be interested in.

Geoff Stadnyk

Geoff started fishing as a child in the gorgeous lakes of Mammoth, while on family vacations. His fishing experience includes the use of fly rod and reel. Guided trips along the Madison and Gallatin rivers in Montana, the Frying Pan and Animus in Colorado, and the Deschutes river in Oregon have all paid off and helped make Geoff the angler and writer that he is today.

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