This fish spends much of its life browsing through weeds, mud and silt. Its body is thick-set with tiny flat body scales and these are covered with a thick layer of a protective slime. They are very much prized as a food fish and are farmed in Europe and Asia, but there is no market for this fish in England. This fish has very tiny red eyes but it seems that this fish has very good eye sight. A lot of their food consists of midge larvae, pond snails, worms and freshwater mussels. The shellfish are taken whole, with the shell being crushed by the powerful throat teeth. What is left of the shell is then blown out through the mouth and gills.
The pelvic fins of the male tench are a lot bigger and are more rounded than those of the female. The spawning of the tench takes place in the early summer, with the eggs being shed in weed beds or on protecting tree roots. Once the eggs are shed, the eggs and resulting fry have to fend for themselves. The female tench can lay up to a million eggs in a year. When they live in food rich waters the tench will grow rapidly. In a less favored area the fish become stunted.
The tench is bronze green on the back and golden green on the sides. There is a variety known as golden tench which is a banana yellow and has an overlaid with a few black specks. The tench has tiny orange-red eyes and a tiny barbule at each corner of the mouth.