Fun Tench Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 17, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Tehil David
Tench facts for kids are educational.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.4 Min

Tench (Tinca tinca), also known as doctor fish, is native to Eurasia and is a game fish of the sub-family Tincinae. Tench are olive green in color and have small scales, similar to a stout fish, with a barrel on each side of the mouth, and slimy, thick skin.

These fish can be found in both freshwater and brackish waters and they can survive in low oxygen conditions.

One famous tench is the golden tench. The golden tench is an artificially bred fish that is famous as an ornamental fish in ponds.

This fish is pale gold to dark red with black spots on its fins and flanks. Tench can be a great addition to an aquarist's community tank setup as they are docile and go around minding their own business, unknowingly making sure the water in the aquarium remains clean!

If you liked these facts about tench fish, then you'll surely like these facts about bony fish and danio fish too.

Tench Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tench?

The tench (Tinca tinca) belongs to the genus Tinca. This fish has 19 rays, four dorsal spines, six to eight anal soft rays, three to four anal spines, and eight to nine dorsal spines.

The tench has a heavy, muscular, and sideward body with a short and deep tail. Tench are slippery and thick with small scales similar to a goldfish and are olive green in color. A tench's head is trilateral, with red or orange eyes and a barrel on each side of the mouth.

What class of animal does a tench belong to?

Tench belong to the class of Actinopterygii, they are ray-finned fish. Actinopterygii is divided into two different classes, Cladistia and Actinopteri. Actinopterygians comprise almost 30,000 species of fish including piranha and other fishes.

How many tench are there in the world?

It is difficult to obtain exact data on their population as these fish are bottom dwellers and live deep underwater. Additionally, the golden tench is an artificially bred species that does not exist in the wild which makes it tough to keep a count of them.

Where does a tench live?

The tench (Tinca tinca) is native to Eurasia, and it is an invasive species in its natural habitats. Tench fish can be found distributed across the entirety of Europe, except for in the natural marine ecosystem of northern Scandinavia, the western Balkan Peninsula, and Scotland.

These fish were introduced in many parts of the world as sport fish and are a popular catch among anglers who know lots of tench fishing methods.

What is a tench's habitat?

The typical tench habitat can be found in a wide range of environments and they can tolerate conditions with low oxygen levels. These species prefer warm and slow-moving water, such as ponds and lakes with dense vegetation. These areas are favorable for this species to breed and lay eggs as the plants provide shelter for the larvae.

Who do Tench live with?

Tench fish can be found in both freshwater and brackish water. Tench are shoaling fish who live peacefully with other species.

How long does a tench live?

A fully grown Tench can live for almost 15 years in the wild, but with proper care and a healthy diet, these species of fish can live for more than 25 years in captivity!

How do they reproduce?

A male tench reaches sexual maturity at the age of two to three years old, whereas, females reach sexual maturity at the age of four years old.

Breeding happens during late spring and summer, and during this period females will release eggs every 15 days, creating a total litter size of more than 300,000 eggs!

Once this is done males release sperm on the eggs and fertilize them, and for several days the larvae stay attached to the plants that their eggs are laid on, before swimming away.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN, tench fish are listed as a species of Least Concern due to the vast availability of these fish. Tench are native to Eurasia and have also been introduced to many parts of Asia, the United States, and Australia as sport fish and aquarium fish.

Tench can survive at a low oxygen level in habitats with dense vegetation

Tench Fun Facts

What do tench look like?

Tench have olive-green skin which is golden below their fins and a darker top body, with a sturdy carp-like shape. Their tail fin is square, and their other fins are circular.

Tench have a barbel (a mustache-like organ) on each corner of their narrow mouth. Tench also have small red-orange eyes, with males possessing a flattened and thick outer ray on their ventral fins. These species have minute scales immersed in their skin making them extremely slippery, similar to an eel.

Illustration of a Tench fish.

How cute are they?

The golden tench is probably the cutest fish, thanks to its color and its hardy-built appearance. These species are bottom feeders and they spend most of their time in the bottom of water bodies with mud, so they are not particularly cute animals.  

How do they communicate?

All tench fish have a sensory epithelium made up of calcareous otoliths and hair cells that they used to communicate with each other.

How big is a tench?

An adult tench can grow up to 7-27.5 in (17-70 cm) long, which is larger than a fully grown Chihuahua! Females are slightly larger than males.

How fast can a tench swim?

The exact speed of these species is not yet known.

How much does a tench weigh?

An adult tench weighs around 16.5 lb (7.5 kg) and these species have a sturdy and bulky appearance.

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific name has been given to either gender of tench fish. Despite this, it is relatively easy to tell the difference between male and female tench fish.

Males are slightly smaller compared to females, and males are easily recognizable due to their curved lower fins and muscular build, whereas females do not have circular fins and are less robust.

What would you call a baby tench?

A juvenile tench is known as fry, just like all other species of baby fish.

What do they eat?

Tench feeding habits allow them to eat a wide range of food as these species are omnivorous. Their diet consists of plants and small insects.

A juvenile tench feeds on small prey such as microscopic organisms and algae, and as these species grow larger they start hunting aquatic insects such as snails, clams, dragonflies, mayflies, amphipods, caddisflies, and aquatic vegetation.

Are they eaten by humans?

Tench is eaten by human beings and can be included in lots of different recipes similar. These species are popular among anglers who fish for sports in either a river, canal, or lake. On the other hand, the golden tench is an artificially bred species and are famous as ornamental fish in ponds.

Would they make a good pet?

Tench can be a very useful species if kept in a large aquarium. These species are bottom dwellers and feed on vegetation and small insects keeping the water clean for other fish.

These species are also known as doctor fish thanks to the role they play in helping other species to survive in muddy water.

To keep Tench as a pet you should have a large aquarium with a muddy bottom that is full of plants. Be careful to make sure you have a large enough tank for all your fish as tench are an invasive species and can make it difficult for other fishes to survive if not provided with enough space.

Did you know...

Tench are known as doctor fish and they spend their whole winter buried in mud!

Tench can live with goldfish in a tank, and even with koi in a pond.

Tench search for food with the help of short sensory organs known as barbel on each side of their mouths. These species hunt for their food at the bottom of the water body such as a river, lakes, or ponds.

Some tench are threatened in Europe due to modifications in waterways and river engineering.

Carp and minnows along with tench also belong to the same family of Cyprinidae.

Tench can survive easily in most water conditions, which makes them an invasive species and they are relatively easily able to increase their population by breeding.

Tench spawning usually occurs between late spring and summer, so that the water temperature is bearable for the fry.

Tench are bottom dwellers, meaning that these species spend most of their time at the bottom of a river, canal, lake, or pond. Therefore, to catch tench fish, most fishermen use 'carpet bait'.

Why are tench called doctor fish?

As mentioned above, tench fish are also referred to as doctor fish. It was thought that tench take care of the different fish in their surroundings, making sure that they do not fall ill. Tench are extremely slippery and their skin contains an antibiotic that protects other fish.

Tench also take care of the water in ponds, rivers, and lakes, making sure it is clear and bearable for other fish.

Are Tench slimy?

Tench have minute scales that are submerged in their thick skins, making them extremely slippery and difficult to catch in the muddy waters of lakes and ponds. Their slipperiness can be compared to other marine animals like eels.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including neon tetra or cherry barb fish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Tench coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Tehil David

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David picture

Tehil DavidBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David Singh is a fact checker with a Bachelor's degree in English literature from St.Xavier's College, Palayamkottai, and a Master's degree in Philosophy, and Religion from Madurai Kamaraj University. He has a passion for writing and hopes to become a story writer in the future. Tehil has previously interned in content writing and has been a content creator for the last three years. In his personal life, he enjoys singing, songwriting, performing, and writing stories.

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