Captive populations of silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), a major aquaculture species in Asia, would undoubtedly benefit from genetic monitoring and improvement programs. We report the isolation and preliminary characterization of 16 microsatellite loci derived from both conventional and microsatellite-enriched libraries. Inheritance studies confirmed the allelic nature of observed polymorphisms at all loci, while identifying null alleles at two loci. These loci, having varying degrees of polymorphism, should provide useful markers for applied genetic studies. A high degree of cross-amplification among 10 other cyprinid species suggests that these loci may have more widespread utility.