Pet Education Fish
Pet Education Fish Pet Education Fish Pet Education Fish
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Pond Fish
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Rhodeus sp.


Quick Stats:   Bitterling

Family: Cyprinidae
Range: U.S.A.
Size: Up to 4 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Pond Set-up: Freshwater: Hearty plants, rocks, gravel or sand substrate
Pond Conditions: 65-78°F; pH 7.0-8.0; dH 8-15
Minimum Pond/Aquarium Capacity: 30 gallon
Light: Natural
Temperament: Peaceful
Swimming Level: No specific level
Care Level: Easy
Reproduction: Egg Layer

The Bitterling is carp-like in appearance, and is a great addition to either a backyard pond or aquarium. The body is generally silver to gold in color, and the dorsal and anal fins are highlighted in white. When mature, the Bitterling will develop either a pink or blue hue at the base of its caudal fin. Tank raised specimens are currently available for purchase.

The ideal aquarium for the Bitterling should be at least 30 gallons with many plants (either real or plastic), rocks to provide plenty of hiding places, and a gravel or sand substrate.

Provide a number of Bitterlings in the same aquarium to allow them to pair off. Bitterlings will spawn into the mantle of a freshwater clam, where they will incubate. After the fry become waterborne, feed them newly hatched brine shrimp until they are large enough to accept other foods.

The Bitterling needs to be fed a variety of foods including vegetables, as well as meaty foods. Feed a quality flake food as well as freeze-dried, live, and frozen foods, such as brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Ideal aquarium mates include:

  • Barbs
  • Catfish
  • Goldfish
  • Plecos
  • Tetras (large)

Ideal pond mates include:

  • Comets
  • Koi
  • Mosquitofish
  • Shubunkins

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