Cyprinus carpio

Koi carp

Family: Cyprinidae

Origin: Asia

A large koi carp with mottled black and orange scales swimming through shallow water.
Koi carp destroy native habitat by stirring up mud at the bottom of ponds, lakes and rivers when they feed.

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Aotea — Exclusion
  • Priority Lakes Tomarata and Rototoa

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Ornamental strain of common carp, up to 70 cm long. Has variable colouring and often a blotchy pattern which can include black, red, orange, white and gold. Distinguished by pair of barbels.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:


Benthic habitats, still or slow-moving waterbodies.

Impact on environment

Uproots plants, increases turbidity, modifies habitats, eats invertebrates. Can compete with native waterfowl, fish and kōura for resources. Can cause lakes to flip to alternative state devoid of vegetation, with turbid water dominated by phytoplankton.



Check equipment and vessels for freshwater pests, clean everything that has been in contact with the water and dry everything thoroughly.

For more information about koi carp and how to manage them, please contact Auckland Council at

A koi carp swimming between vegetation.
Koi carp resemble goldfish but they grow to a much larger size.
An albino carp and a normal koi carp swimming side by side.
Koi carp vary in colour.
Photo credit: Stephen Moore
A flat koi carp in an aquarium.
Koi carp are highly tolerable of poor water conditions.
Photo credit: Stephen Moore
Two kois swimming towards the camera.
They have two pairs of whisker-like feelers at the corners of their mouth.
Photo credit: Stephen Moore