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Tench is a member of the carp family. Photo credit: Steffen Zienert, USGS.

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Common Name: Tench
Scientific Name: Tinca tinca
Origin: Asia and Europe


Tench is a member of the carp family. They have dark olive to pale golden coloring, a white-bronze belly, bright red-orange eyes and a small barbel at the corners of the mouth. The fins are dark in color, rounded and lack spines. Tench have a deep, but thin body and grow up to 18 inches long.


Tench invade slow-moving, fresh-water habitats including lakes and lowland rivers that have muddy substrate and high levels of vegetation.


Tench are generalist predators that provide direct competition with native species for food such as benthic invertebrates, snails and fish eggs. Their feeding behaviors increase water turbidity that can have consequences for spawning sites and gill function of native fish.


The best management practice to help stop the spread of tench is prevention. To do so, we recommend never releasing live fish, including bait and aquarium fish, into streams or lakes and learning to recognize this species.

Regional Distribution

Not Present

WNY PRISM Priority 

Tier 1 – Raise Awareness

Invasive Species Priorities – Tier Chart


This species was originally introduced as a food and sport fish. Tench is largely spread by the release of live fish that were previously used as bait or in an aquarium into streams and lakes. Populations in contained ponds may also spread in flooding events.

Tench is a prohibited species in New York State – for more information on Prohibited and Regulated Species, visit

Additional Resources

Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program

This map shows confirmed observations (green points) submitted to the NYS Invasive Species Database. Absence of data does not necessarily mean absence of the species at that site, but that it has not been reported there. For more information, please visit iMapInvasives.