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Black Moor Goldfish

Brooke Billingsley

For many people, getting a fancy goldfish feels more fun and interesting than a common goldfish from the feeder tank. What many people are not aware of is how delicate many varieties of fancy goldfish are, which leads to unexpected challenges and heartbreak. Luckily, there are a couple of varieties of fancies that are hardy, beautiful, and easy to find. One of these is the adorable, big-eyed Black Moor goldfish, but they do have specific care needs. Loved for their beautiful, dark color and cute, wiggly tails, you will not be disappointed if you bring home a Black Moor.divider-fish

Quick Facts about Black Moor Goldfish

Species Name: Carassius auratus
Family: Cyprinidae
Care Level: Easy
Temperature: 65-75˚F
Temperament: Peaceful, social
Color Form: Black or bronze, sometimes with orange patches
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Size: 4-8 inches
Diet: Omnivorous
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Planted or bare bottom freshwater tank
Compatibility: Other fancy goldfish, peaceful fish too large for goldfish to eat

Black Moor Goldfish Overview

black moor goldfish
Image Credit: cherukuri rohith, Shutterstock

Black Moor goldfish are fancy goldfish, meaning that they have a double tail fin and a less streamlined body than common goldfish. Their bodies are almost egg-shaped, and their fins are flowy and showy. These gentle fish have all of the personality and intelligence of common goldfish varieties, which makes them great pets. Black Moors have telescope eyes, which means their eyes are bulbous and jut out from either side of the face. These eyes are prone to injury and it isn’t unusual for Black Moor goldfish to lose an eye at some point in their life, so this is a major thing to consider when deciding on whether or not you bring home a Black Moor.

Black Moors were originally bred in China in the 1700s and, along with other telescopes, were known as Dragon Fish or Dragon eyes. These fish made their way to Japan later in the century, where they became known as Demekin. Like other goldfish, Black Moors are descendants of Prussian carp, a hardy wild fish with a long lifespan. They were bred to be ornamental additions to ponds but today, they are mostly known as aquarium pets.

divider-fishHow Much Do Black Moor Goldfish Cost?

Since Black Moors are widely bred and easy to find, you can find them for $5-10 at pet store chains. For high quality Black Moors from healthy stock and breeding environments, breeders and smaller, privately owned shops will likely be your best bet. If purchasing from a breeder or smaller shop, expect to spend anywhere from $10-30 for a Black Moor. If you buy from an online seller, you will potentially pay up to $35 in shipping, but this will vary from seller to seller.

divider-fishTypical Behavior & Temperament

Like most goldfish, Black Moors are jolly and peaceful fish, although they can be a little on the naughty side and may chase or nip at each other. They make great tank mates to other fancy goldfish and while they enjoy having company, they can also live very happily without any tank mates. They are social fish, though, and will learn to identify people by both sight and sound. They can differentiate between different people and will often approach or beg to the person who feeds them or spends the most time with them.

Appearance & Varieties

Black Moors fall under the umbrella of telescope goldfish, but they are unique from the other varieties because of their dark coloration. They can be solid black or bronze, black that fades to bronze on the belly, or black or bronze with orange patches. Their scales are metallic and shimmery. Like other telescopes, they have rounded eyes that stick out from the head and long, elegant double fins that flow gently behind them in the water.

divider-fishHow to Take Care of Black Moor Goldfish

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

Tank/Aquarium Size

Aim for a tank that is 10 gallons at minimum, but if you are keeping multiple Black Moors, it may be better to invest in a tank that is 20 gallons or above. They can be kept in tanks smaller than 10 gallons with pristine water quality and an otherwise safe, healthy environment.

Water Temperature & pH

Black Moors usually do not require a tank heater and can be kept in water between 65-75˚F. They can survive in freezing water by entering a state of torpor in cold weather. Warm water, especially after a period of cool water, will often spark breeding behavior. They prefer slightly acidic to neutral pH and it is best to keep it between 6.5-7.5.

Substrate

Substrate is not necessary for Black Moor goldfish. If you choose to use a substrate, make sure to pick something that does not have sharp edges that may damage their fins or eyes.

Plants

Any plants that thrive in the cool water environment will do well with Black Moors. However, they can be hard on plants and may uproot or eat just about anything you put in the tank. Hornwort, water sprite, water wisteria, Java fern, and Anubias are unlikely to be eaten.

Lighting

There are no specific lighting needs for Black Moors outside of providing lighting that mimics a natural day/night cycle. Some of them seem to prefer low to moderate lighting, but others do well in bright light tanks.

Filtration

Black Moors, although cute, are still goldfish. This means they create a heavy bioload and require adequate filtration for the size tank they are living in. The more goldfish in a tank, the higher the filtration needs to be. Black Moors are not powerful swimmers, so a baffle that blocks some of the current produced by water entering the tank may be necessary.

Décor

Since Black Moor goldfish have telescope eyes, it’s important that their environment is safe for them and limits the ways they can injure their eyes or fins. Anything with sharp or rough edges should be avoided, including ornaments, driftwood, and rough-edged rocks.

divider-fishAre Black Moor Goldfish Good Tank Mates?

These fish are social and peaceful, making them great tank mates. They can be kept in community tanks, but they should not be kept with common goldfish or other fish that can outmaneuver and outcompete them for food. They also should not be kept with fish that are small enough to fit into the goldfish’s mouth. Goldfish are opportunistic omnivores and will eat just about anything that fits in their mouth. This means that livebearers, like guppies and mollies, some tetras, and dwarf shrimp should be avoided.

Quarantine your new Black Moor for 1-2 weeks before introducing to the main tank. This allows you to monitor for signs of illness. After quarantining, slowly acclimate your Black Moor to the water temperature of the main tank. It’s a good idea to float them in a bag, and then slowly add holes in the bag that allow water transfer between the bag and the tank. Once they’re introduced to the tank, your Black Moor should settle in quickly and get along with any tank mates.

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What to Feed Your Black Moor Goldfish

As omnivores, Black Moors require a diet of both plant matter and animal protein. It’s important to feed a high-quality pellet or flake to your Black Moor as the primary food in their diet. These foods are formulated to meet their basic nutritional needs. For health and longevity, a varied diet is necessary. In addition to a rotation of pellets or flakes, you can offer gel foods. Give your Black Moor access to leafy greens or herbs all the time and feed other fruits and veggies as a treat a couple of times per week. You can also offer thawed frozen foods, like bloodworms and brine shrimp, as a treat. High protein foods like these should be limited to a treat no more than twice weekly.

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Keeping Your Black Moor Goldfish Healthy

black moor goldfish swimming
Imager Credit: Darren Eldridge

Black Moors are prone to eye and fin injury, so providing a safe environment without sharp edges is the first step to maintaining your fish’s health. Due to genetics and breeding, some Black Moors have a slightly depressed immune system, which leads to an increased risk of infections. A stressful environment can exacerbate this issue, so maintain high water quality and keep a watchful eye out for bullies in the tank.

Goldfish in general are subject to diseases like ich, velvet, and dropsy. These diseases all have different symptoms and treatments, so it is important to thoroughly check your fish over if you’ve noticed signs of illness. This will give you the best chance of choosing an appropriate treatment. Black Moors and other fancies are also prone to swim bladder disease, which cannot always be prevented, but feeding sinking foods, preventing constipation, and not overfeeding all seem to decrease the occurrence of swim bladder disease.

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Breeding

To create the most successful breeding environment, give the tank a period of cool temperatures, as low as 50˚F. After this, when the water is slowly warmed back up to about 75˚F, your Black Moors are likely to begin attempting to breed. You may notice white specks on the cheeks and front fins of the male that look like grains of salt. These are breeding stars and are often confused for ich. Males can sense when females have eggs to lay, so you may notice your male chasing your female around the tank and nosing or nipping at her back end. This helps stimulate egg release, and then the male can fertilize the eggs.

For successful breeding, you need to have some type of spawning mop that will catch the eggs once they’ve been fertilized. Goldfish will eat their own eggs if they have access to them. If you can move the eggs to a tank or breeding box away from the adults, this will give you the most fry. The adults will also eat the fry when they are small, so plenty of hiding places is necessary for survival.

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Are Black Moor Goldfish Suitable For Your Aquarium?

These adorable, wiggly fish can make a perfect addition to your aquarium. It is important to consider their care needs before bringing one home, though. They require a healthy environment that keeps their delicate features safe from injury and boosts their immune system. A nutritious diet and happy tank can ensure your Black Moor goldfish is with you for as long as possible. With proper care, you can be sure your Black Moor will be with you for upwards of 5-10 years. Some have even exceeded 20 years in age, so be prepared for the potential of a long commitment to your new friend.


Featured Image Credit: Black Moor Goldfish (Nevin Shrom, Pixabay, Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Brooke Billingsley

Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping has become a hobby of Brooke’s and she is continually learning how to give her aquarium pets the best life possible. Brooke enjoys plants and gardening and keeps a vegetable garden during the summer months. She stays active with yoga and obtained her 200-hour yoga teacher certification in 2020. She hosts a podcast focusing on folklore and myth and loves spending her free time researching and writing. Brooke believes that every day is an opportunity for learning and growth and she spends time daily working toward new skills and knowledge.