Although small carp can be mistaken for goldfish, carp can be distinguished by having a pair of barbels at each corner of their mouth. They have small eyes, thick lips, a forked tail and a single dorsal (top) fin with strongly serrated spines. The scales are large and thick.
The colour of carp varies. In the wild they are usually olive green to bronze or silvery in colour with a paler underside. carp are domesticated ornamental varieties of common carp and show a much broader range of colours and colour patterns, with various combinations of white, black, red, yellow, blue and orange markings.