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What Do Grass Carp Eat?

By Nancy Wagner ; Updated September 21, 2017
Grass carp eat a variety of aquatic plants.
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Freshwater ponds, lakes and rivers often see an influx of aquatic plants that may negatively affect the quality of the water. Grass carp, who eat just about anything green growing in the water, offer a natural method of controlling plants.

Invasive Weeds

Grass carp feast on invasive weeds, including hydrilla, duckweed and Eurasian milfoil. The greenery-loving fish also eat water hyacinth, a noxious spreading weed that often takes over warm water ponds, choking out all other vegetation.

Other Plants

Since grass carp aren’t fussy eaters, they also eat plants gardeners and landowners may prefer they leave alone. Cattails and water lilies are two of the plants grass carp enjoy eating. When food becomes scarce, carp will even reach up to nibble on vegetation alongside the shore.


Some aquatic plants become so well-established in ponds, lakes and rivers that they keep other native plants from flourishing. Grass carp offer a biological way to control the problem since they continuously feed on the weeds and help to restore oxygen to the water.


About the Author


Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.