Tench Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The tench is a freshwater fish that is often overlooked by fishkeepers. But we think they’re a great option for any aquarium!

They’re peaceful, hardy, and relatively easy to care for. Plus, they have a cool appearance that will make them stand out in your tank.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about tench care. You’ll learn about their diet, tank mates, lifespan, and more.

Species overview

Tench (Tinca tinca) are a freshwater fish that are native to Europe and Asia. In Europe, they are found in countries such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. In Asia, their range extends from Iran all the way to China.

They prefer slow-moving waters with a lot of vegetation. This could be rivers, lakes, or ponds. Tench are bottom-feeders and use their sensitive barbels to find food in the mud and sediment.

Tench are a popular game fish and have been introduced to many countries outside of their natural range. In fact, they are now considered an invasive species in some areas.

Despite their popularity, tench are actually quite a difficult fish to keep in an aquarium. They require a very specific environment and diet, and even then they are still prone to disease and health problems.



The Tench is a freshwater fish that’s easily recognizable due to its unique appearance. These fish have a slim body that’s olive green in color. This color can range from a light olive to a dark greenish-brown.

The sides of the Tench are covered in dark spots that are a bit larger near the tail and get smaller as they approach the head. The belly area is a light yellowish-white.

One of the most distinctive features of the Tench is the row of small, sharp spikes that run along the center of their backs. These spikes are actually modified scales and they’re very sharp to the touch.

The dorsal fin of the Tench is rather tall and starts about two-thirds of the way back on the body. The anal fin is a bit shorter and starts closer to the tail. Both of these fins have a dark black margin.

The caudal fin of the Tench is forked and symmetrical. Their pectoral fins are small and their ventral fins are rather long and thin.


The average lifespan of a tench is around 15 years. This is one of the longest lifespans you’ll find among freshwater fish.

Of course, there are a number of factors that will impact how long your tench lives. If you don’t provide them with optimum conditions, their lifespan will be shorter.

The good news is that tench are very hardy fish and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. As long as you provide them with a good diet and keep their tank clean, they should have a long and healthy life.


The average size of a Tench is between 10-12 inches, with some fish reaching up to 18 inches in length. Females are typically larger than males and can reach up to 2 pounds in weight.


Tank Size

The recommended minimum tank size for a single Tench is 55 gallons. If you’re looking to keep more than one fish, you’ll need to increase the size of your tank appropriately. For every additional fish you add, you’ll need an extra 5 to 10 gallons.

Tenches are bottom-dwelling fish, so you’ll want to make sure your tank is at least 24 inches tall. This will give them enough room to swim around and stay active.

Water Parameters

The Tench is a freshwater fish that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the carp family and is closely related to the common carp. The Tench is a bottom-dwelling fish and is typically found in slow-moving waters such as ponds, lakes, and canals.

The Tench is a hardy fish and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. However, it is important to maintain consistent water parameters to ensure the health and wellbeing of your fish.

Here are a few basic water parameters to help create a healthy environment for your Tench.

  • Water temperature: 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 4 to 20 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

The inside of a Tench’s tank can be pretty basic. They don’t need a lot of decoration or specific substrates to be happy and healthy.

That being said, we still recommend that you take the time to set up their habitat in a way that’s visually appealing.

Gravel or sand are both perfectly acceptable substrates for these fish. If you have other species in the tank that prefer one over the other then definitely go with that (Tench are very adaptable).

Plants are always a nice addition to any freshwater aquarium. Tench don’t tend to uproot them or eat them, so you have a pretty wide selection to choose from.

We recommend either floating plants or plants that can be anchored to the bottom or sides of the tank. This will give them some places to hide and make the tank look a lot more natural.

Rocks, driftwood, and caves are all great additions to a Tench tank as well. These fish like to have a lot of places to explore and hide, so the more the merrier.

Common Diseases

Tench are actually quite hardy fish and don’t often get sick. However, there are a few diseases that they are prone to.

The most common one is infections from cuts or scratches. This can happen if the fish bumps into something sharp in the tank or if the water quality is poor.

Infections can also happen if the fish is kept with aggressive tank mates that like to pick on them.

The best way to prevent these infections is to make sure the water quality in the tank is good and to provide plenty of hiding places for the tench.

Another disease that tench are prone to is ich. This is a parasitic infection that is quite common in freshwater fish.

The most obvious symptom of ich is the presence of white spots on the body of the fish. If left untreated, ich can be fatal.

The best way to prevent ich is to maintain good water quality in the tank and to quarantine new fish before adding them to the tank.

Behavior & Temperament

The tench is a freshwater fish that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the carp family and can grow to be quite large, reaching up to four feet in length and weighing up to 35 pounds.

Tench are bottom-dwellers and are typically found in lakes and ponds. They are not very active fish and tend to spend most of their time hiding amongst the plants and debris at the bottom of their environment.

Tench are not very social creatures and usually only interact with others of their own kind when they are spawning. Other than that, they prefer to be left alone. They are not aggressive fish, but they can be territorial.


Tank Mates

Given their size and behavior, the best tank mates for Tench are other large, peaceful fish. These fish are gentle giants that prefer to spend their time at the bottom of the tank.

They’re not aggressive and won’t bother other fish. In fact, they’re more likely to be the ones getting bullied!

That’s why it’s important to choose tank mates carefully. You don’t want to put them in with anything that’s too small or aggressive.

Some good Tench tank mates include:


Tench are fairly easy to breed in captivity, making them a great choice for beginner fish breeders. All you need is a tench-specific breeding tank and some live food, and you should be good to go.

As with most fish, you’ll need to start by sexing your tench. Males are usually smaller than females and have smaller dorsal fins. The best way to be sure, however, is to look for the gonopodium. This is a modified anal fin that males use to fertilize eggs.

Once you’ve determined the sex of your fish, you can start to set up the breeding tank. It should be at least 50 gallons and filled with soft, acidic water. Make sure to add plenty of plants and hiding places. Tench like to hide, and plants will help to keep the water quality high.

You can also add a spawning mop or a piece of nylon netting for the female to lay her eggs on.

When everything is ready, it’s time to add the fish. Start with two males for every female. This will help to ensure that the female gets plenty of attention and her eggs are fertilized.

Tenchi are egg-scatterers, so you don’t have to worry about the male eating the eggs. The female will lay her eggs in the plants and on the spawning mop. Once she’s done, the male will fertilize them.

Eggs will hatch in about a week. When they do, you can remove the adults and start feeding the fry live food. Baby brine shrimp are a good option. You can also grind up flake food and add it to the water.

As the fry grow, you can start to introduce them to pellets and other larger foods. They should be ready to move to a regular tank in about two months.


The bottom line is that Tench are a great addition to any freshwater tank. They’re hardy, peaceful, and relatively easy to care for.

They’re also a lot of fun to watch, as they’re constantly on the move and exploring their surroundings.

If you’re looking for a fish that will add a little bit of excitement to your tank, the Tench is a great choice!