Max Size: 10cm

European Bitterling (Rhodeus amarus)

European Bitterlings are a prevalent, peaceful, active and hardy coldwater fish that you can keep in both ponds and aquariums. This species can quickly adapt when it comes to water requirements and can handle various temperatures, pH, and general hardiness.

You can keep these fish with various species, including Goldfish and coldwater natives such as Murray River Rainbows. European Bitterlings are not aggressive fish, and they will not nip the fins of other fish.

European Bitterlings have a wide laterally compressed body that displays a beautiful bluish-green iridescent sheen and long rose coloured dorsal and anal fins. The pelvic and pectoral fins are usually white. Their eyes are gold and red and relatively large, and their mouths are slightly up-turned. These fish also display a blue-green stripe along their middle, and their belly is whitish to somewhat reddish.

However, when the males are in the breeding season, they will get a bright orange shine to their bellies, and the fish's fins will change to a bright red colour.


European Bitterling
European Bitterlings
European Bitterling
European Bitterling
European Bitterling
Quick Facts
Scientific NameRhodeus amarus
Other NamesNone
Origins Europe), France, Russia
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.0 - 7.5
GH0 - 6
TDS100 - 200
55 - 71℉
12.8 - 21.7℃


In the home aquarium, the European Bitterling will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is very challenging to differentiate between male and female European Bitterlings unless they are in breeding condition where the differences are apparent. For example, males will become much more colourful, and their behaviour will change, whereas the females colour will stay the same, but they will develop an ovipositor.

Frequently asked questions

How big do European Bitterlings grow?

European Bitterlings can grow to anything from 6 cm up to 10 cm in size.

What are suitable tankmates for European Bitterlings?

European Bitterlings are hardy, adaptable fish that you can keep in ponds and aquariums; therefore, you can keep these fish with various species, including Goldfish, Danios and Minnows, as well as coldwater natives such as Murray River Rainbows.

What should I feed my European Bitterlings?

European Bitterlings are unfussy and will pretty much eat anything you give them. A mixture of dried food such as flakes and pellets as well as live and frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp or bloodworm are all suitable for your fish.

What sort of fish is a European Bitterling?

European Bitterlings are peaceful freshwater carplike fish belonging to the Family Cyprinidae and the Genus Rhodeus. They are known as Bitterlings for their distinct bitter taste.

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Date Added: 03/06/2021 15:49:25 - Updated: 19/01/2022 16:39:21