The body has a typical cyprinid shape and generally silvery appearance, while all the fins are red in varying degrees, particular in the "golden ide" or "golden orfe" variety.
Ides are predators, eating insects, crustaceans, molluscs, and small fish. In the spring, they move into rivers to spawn over gravel or vegetation; the eggs may be found sticking to stones or weeds in shallow water.
Orfe eggs, derived from ornamental pond stocks, were illegally imported to New Zealand by mail sometime in the 1980s. Subsequent releases occurred between 1985–86 in at least 8 and possibly 5 more sites north of Auckland. The current status of these populations is in doubt, and at least one release site remains unknown. It seems likely orfe persist in the wild in New Zealand. Whether they become a nuisance species in New Zealand or will be successfully eradicated remains to be seen.