Common bleak

The bleak is a small freshwater coarse fish of the cyprinid family. The body of the bleak is elongated and flat. The head is pointed and the relatively small mouth is turned upwards. The anal fin is long and has 18 to 23 fin rays.

Common bleak

Foto:Piet Spaans  [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

In Europe the bleak can easily be confused with many other species. In England, young common bream and silver bream can be confused with young bleak, though the pointed upward turned mouth of the bleak is already distinctive at young stages. Young roach and ruffe have a wider body and a short anal fin. The bleak lives in great schools and feeds upon small molluscs, insects that fall in the water, insect larvae, worms, small shellfish and plant detritus. It is found in streams and lakes. The bleak prefers open waters and is found in large numbers where there is an inflow of food from pumping stations or behind weirs.