What Is A Ghost Carp Fish? (Koi) Ultimate Fishing Guide



What Is A Ghost Carp Fish

In my ultimate guide to understanding what is a ghost carp fish. We see what they eat, where they live, and how to catch these illusive ghostly fish. And what carp baits work best.

Whether a seasoned angler or a curious novice. This guide will provide all the knowledge you need to understand and appreciate these spooky-looking species of carp fish. So read on and embark on an adventure to discover the enigmatic world of ghost carp.

What Is A Ghost Carp Fish?

Ghost carp, scientifically known as Cyprinus Carpio, is a unique subspecies of the common carp, koi and mirror carp. They are named “ghosts” due to their distinctive appearance, which resembles a phantom gliding beneath the water’s surface. These ethereal creatures have a captivating beauty that is admired by anglers.

Ghost carp fish are unique with almost translucent scales, giving them an ethereal appearance. While they may look like a separate species from the common carp. Ghost carp are actually just a variation that can occur either naturally. Or through selective breeding.

Ghost carp can be found in both wild and captive populations. And are often prized for their beauty in koi ponds and ornamental fish tanks. Sometimes referred to as “ogon koi,” which means “golden koi” in Japanese. Despite their popularity, ghost carp aren’t considered true koi carp. Because they lack the distinctive patterns of the koi fish.

Ghost Carp Key Points

  • In the wild, ghost carp can grow to impressive sizes, with average weight 15 to 20 lbs. Some have been caught over 30 lb in weight.
  • These ethereal-looking fish have a mysterious allure that captivates anglers, making them a sought-after target for fishing enthusiasts.
  • Ghost carp are a unique subspecies of the common and mirror carp, known for their distinct characteristics and appearance.
  • The name “ghost” is attributed to their distinctive appearance, which includes a pale, almost white, body color and translucent scales.

So what do ghost carp eat?

Like conventional carp and koi carp, the ghost carp population are omnivores. And they will eat almost anything, including both plants and animals. In the wild, a ghost carps’ diet mainly consists of other fish, insects, crustaceans, fish eggs, algae, and aquatic plants. In captivity, ghost carp can be fed on foods, including pellets, vegetables, and fruit.

Ghost Carp
Ghost Carp Caught In UK Waters

Origins and Habitat of Ghost Carp

Ghost carp have a fascinating evolutionary history that traces back hundreds of years, originated in Japan in the 1800’s. It is believed that this carp species originated from selective breeding and genetic mutations within the Common carp population.

Over time, certain genetic traits became more pronounced, resulting in the distinct characteristics we see in ghost carp today. These traits include their pale coloration and translucent scales. And this is what gives the ghost carp fish their ghostly appearance.

The ghost carp species can thrive in different bodies of water, including ponds and lakes. They prefer environments with clean water that provides adequate oxygen levels for their survival. They are also sensitive to temperature changes; therefore, water that is not too cold or warm is preferred.

Appearance of Ghost Carp

Ghost carp is a unique fish species that has gained popularity in recent years. Also known as ghost koi, these fish are a hybrid of the common, mirror carp and koi fish. Their appearance is what sets them apart from other carp fish species.

The translucent scales of ghost carp give them a distinct look. When light passes through their scales, they appear to be glowing, hence the name “ghost” carp. And they have a white or silver coloration that adds to their ethereal appearance.

White Ghost Carp
Image Credit: Pinterest

Hybrid Characteristics

Ghost carp are a combination of mirror carp and koi fish, which contributes to their unique appearance. They have the body shape and size of mirror carp but possess the color patterns of koi fish and the scales that look similar to those found on the common carp species.

Identifying ghost carp is easy due to their distinctive appearance. Their translucent scales and white/silver color make them stand out from other fish species. If you’re looking for an interesting addition to your aquarium or pond, consider adding a few ghost koi into the mix.

Smaller Size

Compared to other carp species, ghost carp are relatively small in size. They typically weigh around 10-15 pounds. However, ghost carp in UK waters are known to reach 30 lbs.

Note; one of my biggest fish happens to be the illusive ghost carp fish. Which I caught using the method feeder approach with cat food as the bait choice. I have also caught many other big carp species with this method like Grass carp, Mirror and the Common carp.

How Long Do Ghost Carp Live?

Ghost carp can live on average, for around 15 to 20 years. This is a decent amount of time for a specimen fish, but it’s important to note that this is just an average. Some ghost carp may live shorter lives, while others may live much longer, up to 40 years.

Ghost carp can live on average, for around 15 to 20 years. This is a decent amount of time for a specimen fish, but it’s important to note that this is just an average. Some ghost carp may live shorter lives, while others may live much longer, up to 40 years.

Proper Care

One factor that can affect the lifespan of a ghost carp fish is the level of care you provide them with. With proper care and attention, some ghost carp can live for many years.

To ensure your ghost carp are living their best life. Ensure their environment is clean and well-maintained. This includes testing the water quality and performing necessary water changes. It’s also important to feed the fish a healthy diet and track their health.

Growth Rate

Another factor that can impact the lifespan of your ghost carp is their growth rate. Generally speaking, ghost carp fish (ghost koi) grow at a moderate pace, and reach full maturity within a few years. But, it’s worth noting that rapid growth due to overfeeding or other factors can actually shorten their lifespan.

How to Catch Ghost Carp

Learning how to catch a ghost carp can be a thrilling experience. These elusive fish are known for their translucent scales and shy behaviour, making them a challenge to catch.

But with the right methods, fishing tackle, and using the right baits, you can increase your chances of landing one of these ghostly-looking carp species.

Chopped Up Fishing Bait
Chopped Baits Work Well For Ghost Carp

Recommended Methods for Catching Ghost Carp

There are several popular carp fishing methods that you can use to catch more carp. One popular method is surface fishing. This involves using floating baits such as bread or even dog biscuits can work well. These baits can help entice the fish to the surface.

Another technique to help catch these illusive ghost carp species is float fishing. Which involves suspending your bait at a certain depth using a float. Use fishing baits such as corn, tiger nuts, or even cat food has came up trumps for me in the past.

Lastly, another fishing technique you can try is the method feeder approach. I have caught some of my best fish using the method feeder. And using baits like boilies on a bed of particles. With the method feeder approach you can spread the feed around the swim. This may help to entice these fish out of their hiding spots.

Although, the best bait to use for catching ghost carp does depend on the environment you’re fishing in. This will determine which approach is best to use.

Tackle to Use When Fishing for Ghost Carp

To embark on a successful ghost carp fishing expedition, choosing the right gear is crucial. This includes a sturdy fishing rod, a reliable reel, strong fishing line, and appropriate hooks.

It’s also essential to have a landing net and unhooking mat to handle the fish with care and ensure their safe release. For surface fishing, a light rod and reel setup with 10-15 lb fishing line is ideal. For float fishing, a slightly heavier setup with a longer rod may be needed.

Bait Options for Ghost Carp Fishing

Like other carp species, ghost carp can be effectively targeted using a range of baits. These include bread, dog biscuits, sweetcorn, pellets, tiger nuts, and boilies. It’s important to experiment with different carp fishing baits to determine which ones yield the best results.

Personally, I have successfully caught numerous ghost carp using various bait combinations. One particular approach involved using worms and maggots, along with a particle mix consisting of hemp and pellets to attract the fish to the swim. As for the hook bait, I opted for cat food, which proved to be enticing to the ghost carp. The largest ghost carp I ever caught weighed in at an impressive 27 pounds.

Breeding Ghost Carp: Can They Reproduce?

Breeding ghost carp can be a challenging task, but it is possible with the right conditions and careful selection of parent fish. Ghost carp are a hybrid of true koi and wild-type Cyprinus Carpio, which makes their breeding process different from other types of koi.

Parent Fish Selection

The first step in breeding ghost carp is selecting the right parent fish. It is essential to choose healthy, mature fish that have desirable traits such as good body shape, coloration, and pattern. The chosen parent fish should also be free from any genetic disorders or diseases that could be passed on to their offspring.

Ideal Breeding Conditions

Ghost carp require specific conditions for successful breeding. They need clean water with optimal pH levels between 7-8 and water temperature around 20-25°C (68-77°F). The breeding tank should also have enough space for the parent fish to swim freely and lay eggs.

Reproduction Age

Ghost carp reach sexual maturity at around three years old, which is when they can reproduce. However, it’s important not to rush into breeding them too early as it could result in weak or deformed offspring.

Feeding and Caring for Ghost Carp: Tips for Keeping Them Healthy

Feeding and caring for ghost carp is crucial to ensure their well-being. These freshwater fish can eat a variety of food sources, including pellets, flakes, and live or frozen foods. Here are some tips on how to take care of ghost carp:

Food Sources

it’s important to provide them with a balanced diet. Pellets and flakes that are specifically formulated for carp can be used as the main source of food. However, feeder fish such as guppies or goldfish can also be used to supplement their diet.

Feeding Schedule

Ghost carp should be fed two to three times a day in small portions. Overfeeding can lead to health problems such as obesity and poor water quality. It’s best to feed them at the same time every day so they can establish a routine.

Water Quality

Maintaining good water quality is essential for the health of your ghost carp. Regular water changes should be done weekly or bi-weekly depending on the size of your aquarium or pond. The ideal pH level for ghost carp is between 7-8.

Tank Size

Ghost carp require ample space to swim around and grow comfortably. A minimum tank size of 100 gallons is recommended per fish if kept in an aquarium setting. If kept in an outdoor pond, make sure it’s at least 3 feet deep with plenty of hiding places.

Temperature Control

Ghost carp prefer water temperatures between 68-77°F (20-25°C). Make sure you have a reliable heater installed if you live in an area with fluctuating temperatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Ghost Carp An Invasive Species?

Ghost carp, also known as koi or Japanese carp, were originally brought to different parts of the world as ornamental pets. However, their escape from captivity has caused the fish to spread rapidly in some ecosystems. Some experts argue that this makes them an invasive species, as they can disrupt native plants and animals.

Are Ghost Carp Bad For Lakes and Ponds?

Yes, ghost carp can have a negative impact on lakes and ponds if they are allowed to get out of control. Ghost carp fish were originally introduced as pets. But can cause trouble as they can rapidly spread and disrupt the delicate balance of plants and animals in the body of water, harming native species.

How Fast Do Ghost Carp Grow?

Ghost carp, can grow at different speeds depending on various factors. On average, they can grow about 4 to 6 inches per year. However, with optimal conditions and plenty of food, some ghost carp have been known to grow even faster, reaching lengths of over 20 inches within just a few years.

How Big Do Ghost Carp Grow?

Ghost carp can grow to impressive sizes. On average, they can reach 2 to 3 feet in length and weigh anywhere from 10 to 30 pounds. However, some ghost carp grow even bigger, and measure over 4 feet long and exceed 50 pounds in weight. These impressive sizes make ghost carp a true marvel of nature.

How Long Do Ghost Carp Live?

Ghost carp, can live on average for around 25 to 30 years. However, with good care and if they are kept in a healthy environment, some ghost carp have been known to live even longer, reaching ages of 70 years or more. It’s amazing to think that these elegant creatures can grace our waters for several decades.

Ghost Carp Vs Common Carp?

Ghost carp and common carp may appear similar, but there are some key differences between them. Ghost carp have a mesmerizing appearance with their translucent scales, while common carp have more typical colors. Ghost carp are also generally larger in size and can grow up to 4 feet long, whereas common carp usually reach about 2 feet.

Ghost Carp Vs Mirror Carp?

When it comes to ghost carp and mirror carp, there are distinct differences to look out for. Ghost carp have those fascinating see-through scales that make them stand out, while mirror carp have shiny, reflective scales. Ghost carp tend to have a more translucent appearance, whereas mirror carp have a pattern of scales that resembles a mirror. So, their scales are the key factor that sets these two carp varieties apart.

Ghost Carp Vs Asian Carp?

There are some distinctions between ghost carp and Asian carp. Ghost carp have translucent scales and are often kept as ornamental pets. While Asian carp are known for being more of an invasive species. Ghost carp have been introduced intentionally, whereas Asian carp have invaded waterways unintentionally. And are known to pose a threat to native ecosystems due to their ability to outcompete other fish species for food.


In conclusion, ghost carp are fascinating fish with unique characteristics that make them a popular choice among anglers and pet owners alike. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying these beautiful creatures for years to come.

So get out there and start fishing for those illusive translucent carp fish species. If you have enjoyed reading this guide, about “what is a ghost carp” let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for Reading, Tight Lines.

More Helpful Content: Do Carp Eat Other Fish? Everything You need To Know!

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *