As an ornamental fish orfe are produced in 2 distinct colours, gold and blue. They belong to the family Leuciscus which includes the Dace and the Chub, both being indigenous species found in British freshwater rivers. The orfe is a colour variation of the Ide ( Leuciscus idus), which are not indigenous to Britain, but common to Europe.
Another common colour mutation found in many species of fish is a blue colour. This is actually a black melanin pigment but is it is found deeper in the skin which when viewed with the naked eye it appears blue.
‘Blue’ orfe are a relatively new species fort the ornamental trade. They are exactly the same as a golden orfe in terms of hardiness and growth, but they do not possess the gold colour mutation. Like the gold orfe they tend not to breed successfully in garden ponds
When blue orfe are bred, the fry hatch out with a rather speckled appearance, with very obvious splashes of dark pigment against a pinkish skin colour. As the fish ages it takes on a more even colouration with a distinctive dark blue/grey colouration along the back with a natural silver belly. Again this species can look very spectacular in a shoal.
An interesting fact regarding the breeding of this colour variation is that they are quite varied in the time taken to attain the ‘blue colour’. Some almost immediately, wheras others may only turn in their second year. We sell these fish from 2 to 8 inches in length which represents the sizes reached in their first two years. They are generally a little more expensive than the golden orfe which is representative of the fact that do not breed as true.