Black Moor goldfish are easy to identify, being coal-black with protruding eyes and attractive, floating finnage. This goldfish variety can live in a large tank or garden pond, and they will even naturally spawn if you provide them with a high-quality diet and the correct conditions.
Although they are often sold to beginners as ideal starter fish, Black Moors are not the best choice for a novice to goldfish keeping since these fish are somewhat delicate and vulnerable to injury. But if you would like to have a go at keeping Black Moor goldfish, you definitely need to read this guide!
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about caring for the unusual and beautiful Black Moor goldfish.
Origins Of The Black Moor Goldfish
You will never see a Black Moor goldfish living in the wild environment because, like all goldfish, this variety of Fancy goldfish is an artificial creation.
Goldfish are closely related to a species of wild Silver Prussian carp found in Central Asia, especially Siberia. These fish live in lakes, rivers, and ponds where the current is slow, feeding on small crustaceans, insect larvae, algae, plant matter, and general detritus.
Way back in the 1500s, these fish were kept in ponds by Chinese Buddhist monks who raised the carp as food fish. However, a genetic quirk produced a few brightly colored individuals that the monks kept as ornamental specimens. Through many years of selective breeding, more varieties of colored carp were produced, and the ancestors of the modern goldfish, or Carassius auratus auratus, were born.
By the 1600s, goldfish were being traded with Europe and with the US in the late 1800s as popular ornamental pond fish. Most of the egg-shaped Fancy goldfish varieties that you see today were created by Asian breeders, and today, there are roughly 125 breeds of Fancy fantail goldfish.
What is a Black Moor Goldfish?
The Black Moor goldfish is also known by several other common names, including the Black Peony goldfish and Dragon Eye goldfish. These are Fancy goldfish, having a round or egg-shaped body and long, flowing fins. The variety is easily recognizable because of its large, protruding eyes and deep black, velvety metallic scales.
Black Moors are very similar to the Telescope goldfish, although their eyes are more bulbous than protruding, and they come in only one color, black. You can find Black Moors with veil tails, butterfly tails, ribbon tails, or, more usually, a broad tail.
Black Moor Goldfish Lifespan
Black Moor goldfish are pretty hardy creatures that can live for between 10 and 15 years on average, provided they are fed a varied, high-quality diet and kept in a well-maintained aquarium.
What Size Are Black Moor Goldfish?
Black Moor goldfish grow to measure up to 7 or 8 inches in length.
When you buy your Black Moor from a fish store, the fish will most likely be a juvenile. As youngsters, Black Moors have flat eyes and are a dark bronze color, rather than black.
As the fish start to mature, their eyes begin to telescope, and their coloration turns a deep, velvet black. Old Black Moors often gradually fade to gray, and some fish can take on a metallic orange color if kept in very warm water.
Price And Availability
Black Moor goldfish are readily available in your local fish store. Generally, these specimens have a broad tail configuration. However, you can usually find the more unusual tail types for sale online through specialist breeders.
The specimens for sale in your fish store usually cost around $8 or more, depending on the size, quality, and tail shape of the fish.
Is The Black Moor Goldfish Suitable For Beginners?
Goldfish are generally considered to be a suitable pet for a beginner. However, there are a few things to be aware of before you take on a Black Moor.
Like all Fancy goldfish types, the Black Moor is a dirty fish that produces a lot of waste. Goldfish are unusual in that they do not have a stomach. Instead, everything the fish eats continually passes through the creature’s digestive system, where the food’s nutrients are extracted. That effectively turns the fish into a swimming waste disposal unit that eliminates waste constantly as it swims around your aquarium.
As previously mentioned, Black Moors are large fish, and they eat constantly. So, the quantity of waste that the fish produce every day is considerable. That means you’ll need a powerful, efficient filtration system that contains both mechanical and biological media to keep the water clean and safe for your fish. You’ll also need to pay close attention to keeping your fish tank clean, performing weekly water changes to remove harmful nitrates from the water.
Black Moors have protruding, telescope eyes that can be vulnerable to injury. These fish don’t have good eyesight, so they can easily miss out during feeding times, leading to stress and even starvation in extreme cases. All Fancy goldfish varieties tend to suffer from digestive problems because of their egg-shaped bodies, so you need to feed them a somewhat specialist diet.
Black Moor Goldfish Care Guide
In this part of our guide, you will learn how to take care of these unusual Fancy goldfish.
Black Moor goldfish can grow to reach around 7 inches in length or even more. Juveniles grow very quickly throughout their first two years of life, so that cute little black fish you brought home from the fish store will rapidly outgrow a tiny tank.
We recommend that you invest in a large tank of around 20 gallons if you want to keep Black Moors and other varieties of Fancies. Starting out with a large tank will mean that you won’t need to upsize in the future, and your fish are more likely to thrive and grow properly. However, you can use a 10-gallon aquarium to get started if you prefer.
Black Moor goldfish are poor swimmers, so choose a rectangular tank that offers plenty of open swimming space. Goldfish use a lot of oxygen, and that tank shape also provides a greater surface area for better gaseous exchange than a tall tank. Avoid deep tanks that might cause the fish to struggle to swim up to the surface to feed. If the fish can’t feed easily, they will become stressed, leading to health problems.
We recommend a tank that has a lid or a cover slide. A cover helps to prevent evaporation, stops dust from settling on the water, and keeps the fish safely in the tank in the event of unlikely acrobatics!
Avoid Goldfish Bowls!
Never keep any species of goldfish in a bowl!
Fishbowls are far too small for goldfish, and the surface area they provide is inadequate for the fish’s oxygen requirements. Although fish bowls were traditionally used to house goldfish, today’s modern view is that it’s inhumane to use a goldfish bowl for fishkeeping.
How Many Black Moor Goldfish Can You Keep?
Goldfish are gregarious creatures that thrive when kept in groups with other conspecifics.
Fancy goldfish, including Black Moors, need plenty of swimming space. If the tank is overcrowded, the fish will be stressed, and health problems will most likely result, including poor growth.
You should allow 1 gallon of water per 1 inch of fish in your aquarium as a general rule.
Although Black Moor goldfish are hardy enough to cope with life in an outdoor pond, its telescopic eyes cause the fish to see quite poorly. For that reason, the Black Moor doesn’t compete well for food, and its eyes are also prone to infection and injury.
Black Moors prefer cooler water conditions of between 65o and 72o Fahrenheit. The water hardness should be in the range of 5 to 19 dGH, with a pH of between 6.0 and 8.0.
You must check the water parameters in your aquarium every week using a digital aquarium thermometer and an aquarium water testing kit. Ideally, nitrate levels should be 20ppm or lower, and the water should contain zero ammonia and nitrite.
Goldfish, in general, are filthy creatures that produce vast quantities of waste every day. That means you’ll need a highly efficient filtration system to keep the water clean and safe for the fish.
The filter must circulate the water around the aquarium at least four times every hour. The system should contain both biological and mechanical filter media to extract solid waste and toxins from the water. A chemical filter is not essential but can be helpful in removing heavy metals and chemicals. However, if you ever need to treat the water with fish medication, you must remove the chemical filter media first.
When choosing your filter, remember that Black Moors are clumsy swimmers that will struggle to cope in a strong current. So, go for a system with an adjustable outflow valve feature or use plants or decorations to buffer the flow.
If your fish are to thrive, you must keep their tank clean and properly maintained.
Carry out a 30% water change every week. Use an aquarium vacuum cleaner to remove organic waste matter and uneaten food from around plant bases, underneath decorations, and beneath internal filter outflow boxes.
If you grow plants in your aquarium, use a pair of aquascaping scissors to remove damaged or dead leaves and stems. Finally, use an algae scraper to remove excessive algae from your viewing panes. You might want to leave some algae on the rear glass for the fish to graze on.
As we mentioned earlier, Black Moor goldfish were created through selective captive breeding, and they don’t exist in the wild environment. That means you can use whatever décor scheme you fancy for your aquarium. However, there are several important factors to bear in mind when setting up a fish tank for Black Moors.
Black Moors have bulbous, protruding eyes, and their eyesight is poor. That makes the fish vulnerable to injury if the tank is too cluttered.
So, leave plenty of open water swimming space in the mid-range area of the water column, and place any solid decorations around the perimeter of the tank or on the substrate.
If you want to achieve a natural look in your setup, try using smooth driftwood, pebbles, or rocks. We recommend that you avoid anything with sharp edges, such as twisted roots.
Since the fish love to spend time rummaging through the substrate for scraps of food, the best choice for the tank bottom is large-gauge, smooth gravel.
Living plants are an excellent choice for your fish tank. The plants produce oxygen and take up CO2 and nitrates, making the environment healthier for your fish.
However, Black Moor goldfish are omnivores that like to nibble on young plant leaves. The fishes’ constant foraging in the substrate can uproot plants that aren’t well-anchored, too. However, there are a few attractive plant species that you can use in a goldfish tank without too much risk of damage, including Marimo Moss Balls, Java Fern, and Anubias.
Although fish don’t strictly need light in their environment, lighting can help the poorly sighted Black Moors to find their way around, and lighting also replicates the day/night cycle.
Knowing when it’s daytime and nighttime is crucial for your fish’s wellbeing. When the sun rises, the fish know that it’s time to eat, and when darkness falls, the fish sleep. That clear cycle is critical for the fish’s health and helps to reduce stress.
Of course, well-chosen aquarium lighting means that you can enjoy your beautiful fish in all their glory. Choose a lighting unit that features an inbuilt auto-timer so that you don’t have to worry about switching the lights on and off in your tank when you’re not around. A cheaper, equally effective alternative is a simple timer plug that you’ll find in your local DIY store.
Nutrition and Feeding
Black Moor goldfish are omnivorous animals that will eat a wide range of foods.
A well-balanced diet for your goldfish should include high-quality fish flakes or Fancy goldfish pellets, as well as a good portion of meaty protein, such as frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and krill. Goldfish also enjoy blanched zucchini and lettuce as a treat.
Round-bodied goldfish are very susceptible to conditions such as constipation and bloating that can affect the fish’s swim bladder. These conditions usually occur when the fish is fed too much-dried food and can be quickly remedied by offering a portion of a meaty protein or fresh veggies.
How Much Should I Feed My Black Moor Goldfish?
Black Moor goldfish need two to three small meals every day. Feed the goldfish only what they will eat in two or three minutes to prevent overfeeding.
What About Live Food?
Wild carp and goldfish living in ponds feed on small crustaceans, insects, and insect larvae. However, we don’t recommend that you put live food into your aquarium.
Often, live food contains parasites and bacteria that can be extremely harmful to your fish and other livestock. So, unless you can find a reputable supplier or you have the time to keep a home brine shrimp hatchery, use frozen meaty foods instead.
Never take live food from the natural environment! Your local pond could contain harmful pollutants and parasites that you really don’t want in your fish tank.
What Are Good Tank Mates For Black Moor Goldfish?
Goldfish are peaceful fish that do best when living in groups.
That said, we recommend that you keep your Black Moors with other Fancy goldfish species. The faster-swimming, slim-bodied goldfish varieties will outcompete the Fancies for food, and the Black Moor’s telescope eyes are very vulnerable to injury during a feeding frenzy. Fin nippers and tiny fish and shrimp species that could be eaten by the larger Black Moors are also best avoided.
If you want to add interest and variety to your setup, consider adding larger shrimp species and snails that are not known plant-munchers.
Health and Diseases
Goldfish are generally pretty hardy animals. However, Black Moors can be less robust than other varieties.
Black Moor goldfish are very prone to eye injuries, caused either by trauma during feeding times or through impacts with sharp objects in the tank.
Cloudy Eye is caused by several factors, including poor water quality, trauma, unsuitable nutrition, and bacterial infections.
Swim Bladder Disease
Swim Bladder Disease is a condition that’s usually caused by digestive issues and particularly affects round-bodied fish, including Black Moors.
The swim bladder is an organ that enables the fish to remain on an even keel as it swims. When the swim bladder is compromised, the fish struggles to swim upright or maintain its position in the water, often becoming stuck at the surface or on the substrate or swimming on one side.
Conditions such as constipation are a frequent cause of swim bladder problems and can usually be prevented and remedied by correct feeding, as described earlier in this guide.
White Spot Disease
White Spot Disease is also referred to as Ich or Ick.
This disease is caused by a parasite that’s found in many aquariums, only attacking fish that are already sick or weak. Infected fish “flash” or flick against the substrate or solid objects in the tank in response to the skin irritation caused by the parasites. As the disease progresses, the fish develops a rash of tiny white spots across the gill covers, body, and fins.
White Spot isn’t usually fatal, provided that you treat the disease right away with an over-the-counter treatment that you’ll find in your local fish store.
Bacterial infections present in different ways, but all typically attack fish that are already weakened or injured. Symptoms can vary, depending on the species of bacteria affecting the fish, but signs can include:
- Reddened skin patches
- Torn or ragged fins and tail
- Missing scales
- Poor appetite
- Breathing difficulties
Most minor bacterial infections can be treated with fish medication that you’ll find in your local fish store or online.
Fluke is the generic term that’s commonly used to describe external parasites that can attack freshwater fish, including goldfish. Common fluke species include:
- Anchor worms
- Fish lice
- Skin flukes
Flukes usually arrive in your aquarium or pond as hitchhikers attached to new fish, plants, or live food.
To prevent flukes from getting into your aquarium, we recommend that you always place any new fish, invertebrates, or plants in a quarantine tank for a couple of weeks before you introduce them to your display tank.
Breeding Black Moor Goldfish
Black Moors are egg-layers, and they will readily breed in your aquarium if the conditions are suitable.
Ideally, you need a group of at least five fish to stand a chance of getting a mixture of males and females. Outside of the breeding season, it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference between the two sexes. However, females are usually rounder-bodied than males when they are carrying eggs. Males in prime spawning condition develop a sprinkling of white prickles called tubercles over their head and gill covers.
You’ll need to set up a spawning tank of at least 20 gallons. Equip the tank with large, flat rocks or spawning mops on which the female fish can lay their eggs and include lush planting.
To bring the fish into breeding condition, feed them a protein-heavy diet before introducing them to the spawning tank. Once spawning commences, you’ll need to continue feeding the fish a high-quality, high-protein diet, including lots of brine shrimp, bloodworms, and similar.
Goldfish spawn seasonally when the water warms up in the spring. So, to replicate that in your fish tank, gradually increase the tank temperature by a few degrees every day up to a maximum of 68o to 74o Fahrenheit.
You must keep the water clean, so you need to change around 20% of the water every day until spawning begins and remove any fish waste and uneaten food daily.
Black Moors generally deposit up to 10,000 eggs over a few hours. Once the eggs are deposited by the female, the male fish fertilize them. At that point, you must remove both parent fish before they have a chance to eat the eggs.
After a week or so, the eggs will hatch, and the free-swimming fry emerges. You can feed the fry on fry food from your fish store until they can cope with finely crushed flakes and baby Artemis.
At first, Black Moor juveniles are dark bronze and lack the telescope eyes that make them so distinctive. When the baby fish reach around an inch long, you can include them in the tank or pond with the adults.
Black Moor goldfish are an unusual, beautiful species of goldfish that can make a good addition to a community Fancy goldfish tank.
These large fish need a tank of at least 10 gallons or larger, with an extremely efficient filter system. Black Moors do best when kept with a group of other similar round-bodied goldfish types. These fish need a spacious aquarium that’s free from too much clutter and sharp objects that could injure the Black Moor’s protruding eyes. Given the right conditions, Black Moor goldfish can breed in captivity.
Do you keep Black Moor goldfish? Did you successfully breed your Black Moors? Tell us about your fish in the comments box below!