Fun Bitterling Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 20, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Read these bitterling facts about the fish that needs freshwater mussels to reproduce.

A bitterling (Rhodeus) is native to the clear, stony streams of Europe. The bitterling, a small fish of the carp family, belongs to one of the existing 23 species of fish of its kind.

These fish are very well known for living in freshwater ponds, rivers, lakes, and aquariums. They have also been seen co-existing with the other small fish like the goldfish.

The breeding method of a bitterling is fascinating – the eggs are laid by the female between the gills of the freshwater mussels or a bivalve. These mussels protect the eggs from their predators.

Also, the range of these fish is restricted because they are dependent on mussels to reproduce. During the breeding season, the belly of male bitterlings changes its color to orange.

These fish are seen spawning in clear, slow-running, or still water, often with a muddy bottom. These fish are mainly seen feeding upon plants and insect larvae, worms, crustaceans, and small fish.

A lot of content is available about these very famous aquarium fish worldwide, which can give a clear picture of their existence and description. The length of these fish varies between 2-3 in (5-7.5 cm).

They are considered to be small in size. Amur bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus), Japanese bitterling (Tanakia tanago), and European bitterling (Rhodeus amarus) are a few types of bitterlings.

Here on our page, we have lots of interesting facts on bitterlings that everyone will enjoy. So let's have a look at these interesting facts, and if you like these, then read our articles on the immortal jellyfish and the milkfish too.


Bitterling Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a bitterling?

The bitterling (Rhodeus) is a species of fish found breeding in the freshwater. These are very well-known European fish. They are cold-water fish that could be kept in rivers, ponds, lakes, and tanks.

What class of animal does a bitterling belong to?

The class of animal that an Amur bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus) and other bitterlings belong to is Actinopterygii.

How many bitterlings are there in the world?

Estimating the bitterling population is difficult, but there exist about 21 species of bitterlings. They are free from the threats of becoming Extinct because they are found to exist in quite an abundance.

Where does a bitterling live?

The essential habitat of the bitterling fish is the cold waters of the various regions of western Asia and Europe. Bitterlings are also found in the various areas of China and also in Taiwan.

What is a bitterling's habitat?

The bitterling fish is found living in rivers, marshes, lakes, ponds, muddy or sandy pools, and backwaters of rivers. Bitterlings are also known as cold-water fish and are found co-existing with the different species of aquatic animals. These are the native fish of the regions of Europe and Asia.

Who do bitterlings live with?

A bitterling is a native fish of Europe and Asia and is seen living with the species of its own kind and the other aquatic types in the river. In addition, they are seen living with other subspecies such as the Amur bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus), Japanese bitterling (Tanakia tanago), and European bitterling (Rhodeus amarus).

How long does a bitterling live?

The lifespan of the European bitterling is three years. The lifespan of the other subspecies is also very similar.

How do they reproduce?

The females lay their eggs into the freshwater mussel with the help of an ovipositor tube. The female lays its eggs between the gills of the freshwater bivalve.

This native fish of Europe spawns between March and June. The male bitterling fish develops an orange belly during this time, while the female bitterling develops a long and tubular ovipositor.

The laying of eggs inside the gills of the freshwater mussel saves the help from their predators. Also, the eggs will stay inside the mussel's gills for about four weeks, and after that, the egg will hatch, and a young bitterling, also known as fry, would fully emerge.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN, the conservation status of a bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus) fish is declared as Least Concern unless otherwise noted. This means that they are free from the threat of becoming Endangered or even Extinct.

Therefore, giving a rough estimation of the bitterling population is difficult. Still, keeping in mind that they are free from the threats of becoming extinct, they are found to exist in abundance. These small fish are found in different European and Asian regions.

Bitterling Fun Facts

What does a bitterling look like?

A bitterling can be located in lakes, ponds, and aquarium tanks worldwide. They are very small in size. They have deep, laterally compressed bodies with pointed noses.

They have a very beautiful bluish silvery-green iridescent sheen and rose-colored fins. The males during the breeding season acquire a very bright reddish sheen to their fins. Both the males and females are similar in size and are not too small.

The length of small bitterling fish varies between 2-3 in (5-7.5 cm).

How cute are they?

Bitterlings are cute fish, according to most people, but they intimidate a few.

How do they communicate?

A bitterling communicates with the help of gestures and motions. They can also communicate with the help of noises like grunts, chirps, and pops.

How big is a bitterling?

The length of bitterlings is about 2-3 in (5-7.5 cm). Also, they are almost the same size as mice.

How fast can a bitterling swim?

It isn't easy to estimate how fast a bitterling fish can swim, but they do swim at a moderate speed like most aquatic fish.

How much does a bitterling weigh?

A bitterling fish weighs about 0.002-0.37 oz (0.06 g-10.65 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of the species do not have any separate names. They are referred to as males and females fish in general.

What would you call a baby bitterling?

A baby or young bitterling is called a fry.

What do they eat?

A bitterling (Rhodeus amarus), also known as the native of Europe, feeds upon insect larvae, plant material, worms, small fish, and crustaceans like krill, and shrimps.

Are they poisonous?

No, they are not poisonous. They are fairly safe to keep.

Would they make a good pet?

A bitterling fish will make a good pet if provided with their basic habitual conditions and food.

Did you know...

This species of fish once proved useful for human pregnancy tests.

Bitterlings need fresh-water mussels to reproduce, and the female lays its eggs between the gills of the freshwater bivalve.

These small freshwater fish have pale orange fins with gray shading.

The range of these fish is restricted because they are dependent on the mussels to reproduce.

The Amur bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus), Japanese bitterling (Tanakia tanago), and European bitterling (Rhodeus amarus) are a few types of bitterlings.

A bitterling can cost even up to $900-1200!

In Animal Crossing, bitterlings are considered to be invasive species and cost $900. The coelacanth is the rarest fish in Animal Crossing.

Can other fishes survive with bitterlings?

Yes, other fish can also live with a bitterling, since these are very famous aquarium, pond, and lake fish. Goldfish and coldwater natives such as the Murray River rainbowfish are seen co-existing with these fish.

Is the bitterling an invasive species?

A bitterling is considered to be an invasive and harmful species of fish.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our sucker fish facts and silky shark facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bitterling coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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