Tench 101: Care, Diet, Tank Size, Tank Mates & More

Have you ever wanted to keep a Tench but didn’t know how to care for one? Well, you’re in luck! This guide will teach you everything you need to know about keeping a Tench healthy and happy.

The Tench (Tinca tinca) is hardy fish suitable for all types of ponds and large tanks for both experienced and beginner keepers. With their large size and beautiful appearance, these fish are sure to make a statement in any tank. 

And although they’re not as common as some other fish out there, they’re still relatively easy to find for sale online. There are even some color variations of fish, like albino and golden sported, that are considered rare and are highly desired by many aquarium enthusiasts.

Species Summary


If you’re a fan of freshwater fish, then you’ve probably heard of the Tench. 

This species of fish is found in Eurasia and is a member of the Cyprinidae family. The tench is believed to be native to much of Europe and is found in the east to west of the Yenisei drainage in Asia. This fish has been introduced in different Northern Hemisphere countries and is known to migrate between other bodies of water.

The Tench can be found at depths starting at 3 feet and can occur in both vegetated margins and open waters with a mud bottom.

Tench Care Guide

Tench are relatively easy to care for, but there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Tank Size

When it comes to choosing an aquarium for your Tench, size is important. These fish can grow to be quite large, so they need plenty of space to swim and explore. They need a minimum tank size of 132 gallons, with dimensions starting at 80″ x 20″ x 20″.

And if you have the space, a large pond is the ideal home for Tench. 

Tank Mates

Tench are peaceful fish and make great tank mates for other animals. They can live with countless other fish species in a community aquarium. However, aggressive tankmates can cause problems. Koi carp, goldfish, mollies, platy, neon tetra, and clown loach make excellent tankmates for Tench. 

Same Species Tanks

The Tench is often kept as a single species in large aquariums, ponds, or biotope-type tanks where the species’ original location is mimicked.

Water Parameters

Tench are very tough fish and can handle a wide range of water conditions that tend to be on the alkaline side. They’re not very tolerant of very soft or acidic water, though.

The perfect temperature for keeping tench in an aquarium is between 39 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal pH range is between 6.0 and 8.0.

What to Put in Their Tank

If you’re considering getting a Tench, you’ll need to ensure you have the right set-up for them in their tank. Here’s a quick guide on what you’ll need.

As with any other aquatic animal, an aquarium heater and a filtering system are essential to keep the tank with Tench healthy. Add a lid to the aquarium as they habitually jump and will likely do so if given a chance.

Although the aquarium’s decoration is not critical to guaranteeing success in maintaining the species, still, it is incredibly beneficial to have a tank that mimics the conditions of the biotope. 

Fine sand or small pebbles as substrates and some decoration is an excellent way to go. Make sure that the tank is well decorated and forms hiding places and territories.

Common Diseases

Tench are one of the most disease-resistant fish you can find. With the proper care and maintenance of both the water quality and the tank, your fish should have no problems. However, as with all new fish, be sure to quarantine them before adding them to the main aquarium.

Food and Diet

The Tench is an omnivore, which means that it will eat just about anything. Tench will feed on plant matter, micro-crustaceans, and biofilm in the wild. They will also consume detritus ( decaying plant and animal matter). Ultimately, the Tench’s diet will depend on what is available in its natural habitat.

In an aquarium, Tench will readily accept all types of food. A good diet for a Tench includes a combination of commercial feed and live, fresh, or frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, or daphnia. 

When feeding Tench, it’s important to set a time and stick to it. Try to feed it several times a day, in small quantities.


Tench are a hardy species that can adapt to a wide range of conditions, and with proper care, they can live for 15-18 years in captivity. However, their lifespan in the wild is typically shorter due to predation, disease, and other environmental factors.


The Tench is a robust fish with small scales and a small barbell on each side of the mouth. It has a rustic, viscous appearance, with the body in the classic carp shape.

The Tench is greenish, with a silvery or golden iridescence. The colors vary according to physiological and environmental factors and are more intense when the fish is healthy.


They can grow to be quite large, up to 27 inches in length, though the average size is around 12 inches.

Behavior and Temperament

Tench are a species of freshwater fish with a peaceful demeanour that makes them ideal for community aquariums and ponds. They are bottom-dwellers who are medium active, meaning they will spend some time swimming around the tank but mostly stay towards the bottom.

To emphasize, Tench are social creatures and do best when kept in groups of at least four fish. If they don’t feel comfortable in their surroundings, their behavior can change, and they may enter a state of depression. 

To keep your tench happy and healthy, provide them with plenty of hiding places among vegetation, rocks, and driftwood. Of course, they will appreciate a substrate that they can turn over in search of food.


The tench is an oviparous species that do not exhibit parental care. Males reach sexual maturity at around 2-3 years and females at 3-7 years. The spawning period is relative to the place of occurrence but generally occurs from May to October.

The female tench releases numerous sticky eggs on the plants or along the substrate in shallow water, and the males will release their sperm on top. Then, the reproductive cycle lasts two months.

A female can produce up to 300,000 eggs – fry hatch in 3 days (at 68 F). The larvae remain attached to the egg site for several days until they become free-swimming.

Tench are easily reproduced fish. In any case, spontaneous reproduction can occur in any domestic aquarium, as long as it is well-taken care of.

Gender Differences: Male vs Female

Experts say there is a weak or absent sexual dimorphism in adult Tench fish. This means that there are no clear physical differences between male and female Tench fish. However, some experts point to certain sex characteristics of male and female Tench fish that may be used to distinguish between the two sexes. 

For example, adult male Tench fish are said to have a thicker second dorsal ray and a longer pelvic fin than female Tench fish. In addition, male Tench fish are also said to be smaller than female Tench fish. 

Another physical difference between male and female Tench fish is the ventral profile. Adult females are said to have a different convex ventral profile compared to males.

Tench Fun facts

● Tench is known as the doctor fish; it was believed that this fish’s epithelial mucus helps heal and improve skin conditions.

● It is much appreciated as a fish game, and its meat is considered a delicacy.

● In winter, Tench can bury themselves in the mud bottoms of rivers and lakes.

● This fish could also be present in gravel pits or deep, slow-moving waters with a clayey or silty backside and copious aquatic vegetation.


Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2012, September 14). Tench. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/animal/tench

Kasumyan, A. O., & Prokopova, O. M. (2001). Taste preferences and the dynamics of behavioral taste response in the tench Tinca tinca (Cyprinidae). Journal of Ichthyology, 41(8), 640-653.

Kottelat, M. and J. Freyhof, 2007. Handbook of European freshwater fishes. Publications Kottelat, Cornol and Freyhof, Berlin. 646 pp.

Les Poissons d’eau douce de France – Eric Feunteun – Henri Persat – Jean Allardi – Philippe Keith – Biotope Edition – 2011. Collection Inventaires & Biodiversité, publication scientifique du Muséum.

Wolnicki, J., Myszkowski, L., & Kamiński, R. (2003). Effect of supplementation of a dry feed with natural food on growth, condition and size distribution of juvenile tench Tinca tinca (L.). Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 19(3), 157-160.

Wolnicki, J., Myszkowski, L., Korwin-kossakowski, M., Kamiński, R., & Stanny, L. A. (2006). Effects of different diets on juvenile tench, Tinca tinca (L.) reared under controlled conditions. Aquaculture International, 14(1), 89-98.