what do Carp eat you ask? Well they eat too much no matter the kind!
Okay, okay, I hear it already, 'Thats not an answer to what do carp eat! what do you mean they eat too much? What exactly are you trying to say??'
Well hold your horses carp fans. It just seems to be a good answer to the question 'what do carp eat?'. It does not in any way strive to step on anybodys toes, especially you Japanese Carp or Koi lovers out there. I know you guys tend to your fish maybe even closer than your own kids and all. (and spend huge sums of money, not just on their care but buying so-called 'prize fishes' for thousands of dollars.. I understand.. but I dont understand as well.. but more power to you anyway!) Having said that, you and I know, left on their own, the Japanese Carp would eat every food pellet you give it and continue to do so until it literally eats itself to death. So my point still holds then :)
So having cleared that up, the true point is that it really depends on what carp we are talking about.
If we are talking about the Silver and Bighead carps that have invaded the riverine systems of the US, well they definitely eat too much.
What do carp eat in this context? Well these guys are filter feeders so they are eating the plankton in the rivers. This makes it really hard to get rid of them because they cannot be fished by rod and reel so the only real way is to catch them using nets (some enterprising folks have made a sport out of it as well by using modified bows and arrows to shoot them jumping out of the water!). With no natural predators in the US and the slow take to eating it by people in the US (due to having a lot of bones I understand), these carps have grown not only in large numbers and spreading like wildfire but have also become quite huge in individual size. As big as a man even, and counting. Being filter feeders, they are also out competing the local filter feeding fishes as well which is not a good thing.
So the question 'what do carp eat' can also be answered by the statement, well it depends on what kind of carp!
The humble Gold Fish is also characterized as a carp. These slow creatures, are fine with fish flakes and sure the occasional floating pellets (not too much though! Gold Fish are quite delicate creatures).
Still other carps will dine on the live food you give them, such as live freshwater shrimp, larvae or red worms (tubifex dried worms too).
Various other carps tend to be more inclined to a vegetarian diet. If you are trying to do carp fishing, well again, it depends on the kind of carp but the huge common carp found in English Fish ponds seem to prefer a vegetarian mix with the occasional maggot or so.
So its really a large gamut of food possibilities. The ones in the wild (I mean in their natural surroundings, and not the invasives) tend to be able to regulate their food consumption pretty ok, but for those in aquariums, whether you feed them with live food or floating pellets, the order of the day is 'less is more' lest you start seeing less carp. (Tongue twister challenge I know!).
What do carp eat? Too much if you let them :)
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