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Introduction to Gudgeon Fish

Gudgeon fish is a member of the Cyprinidae family, a type of freshwater fish native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. It is an attractive species with a streamlined shape and bright, vibrant colors. This makes them an attractive species for aquariums, where they are very popular among freshwater fanatics. Gudgeon is a highly adaptable species, they can be found in various habitat types, from slow-flowing rivers to swamps, ponds, lakes and wetlands.


Gudgeonfish are typically small-bodied fish, with a deep, slender body and long fins. Their coloration can vary between individuals, but males are generally light olive to yellowish-green in color with darker leopard-like spots along their body and numerous dark bands radiating from their eyes. Females tend to be much less colorful, having a paler yellowish-brown coloration. Both sexes have a pair of barbels on the lower jaw, used for seeking out food in sandy substrates.

Habitats and Ecology

Gudgeon inhabits will usually live in slow-moving waters with a soft muddy or sandy bottom, anoxic waters are avoided. Environmental factors like substrate type and water temperature can greatly influence the abundance of Gudgeon in a given socio-ecological system. A diverse habitat offers a Gudgeon more opportunities to find food and avoid predation, this is probably why the species has successfully colonized large parts of Europe, Asia, and North Africa.

Gudgeon species feed on a variety of insect larvae and aquatic invertebrates like shrimps and mollusks. The species is both an ambush and floor feeder, they take refuge among submerged plants and rocks to wait for food, but also actively hunt in the sand and mud substrate at the bottom of the water body. Gudgeon is an omnivore, they will mostly feed on plant matter and any type of aquatic insect larvae they can find.


Spawning is the main means of reproduction for Gudgeon. Spawning season starts in late spring and can last up to early summer. During this period, the female can produce up to 4000 eggs that are then deposited in the substrate and fertilized by the male. The eggs are relatively large and will remain in the sediment until they hatch several days later. After hatching, juveniles stay near the substrate and feed on detritus and any small insect larvae they can find.

Gudgeon two

Conservation Status

Gudgeon is a plentiful species and is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN due to its wide distribution and diverse habitats in Europe. However, some populations have been evaluated and found to be very low, due to anthropogenic activities such as water pollution and habitat degradation. Conservation measures have been put into place in certain countries to protect important waterbodies and their dependent Gudgeon populations.

Gudgeon Fish as Pets

Gudgeon are popular among aquarium owners because of their attractive coloration and peaceful behavior. They do best in tanks with a warm water environment (Temperature: 18-22 °C) and some soft sandy substrate at the bottom. Gudgeon should be kept in small groups and prefer a heavily-planted aquarium with driftwood, rocks, and some surface plants to provide more hiding places. It’s also important to maintain a regular water change schedule to ensure that the tank water stays clean and healthy for the fish. Gudgeon do not require much food, but frozen or live shrimp and brine shrimp can be readily accepted by them if offered.


Gudgeon is a highly adaptable species that can be found in rivers, swamps, ponds, lakes and wetlands. The attractive appearance and peaceful behavior of Gudgeon make them a popular fish for the aquarium industry. Their habitat requirements can easily be met with some soft substrate and plenty of hiding places. Their diet is not difficult to provide and they do not require much food. With proper care, Gudgeon can be an excellent and attractive addition to any aquarium.

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