An extensive FAQ, and buying guide, on Black Moor Goldfish addressing the proper way to care for a Black Moor Goldfish (generally applies to all fancy goldfish), including information on adequate tank size, feeding, acceptable water temperatures, pH levels, best and appropriate tankmates, signs and symptoms of illness, and breeding and sexing.
Black Moor, Blackmoor, Broadtail Moor, Black Dragon Eye, Telescope Moor, Black Peony (Hong Kong), Demekin (Japan)
Easy / Beginner
Size at Maturity
Generally, Black Moors will average about 8" (20 cm) as adults
The Black Moor is a fancy goldfish that is velvet black. They can have a bronze hue to them, especially seen as they age. It has been said that the fading of the velvety metallic black color is due to prolonged exposure to cold water and/or water quality factors. Their eyes are telescopic ("bug eyes"), protruding from the sides of their heads, which reach full development around three to four years. Their tails are veiled and they have a double caudal fin.
Black Moors, and other fancy goldfish, can live up to twenty-some years with proper care
A healthy fish should have skin that is smooth and shiny with no growths or obvious signs of infections or parasites. Fins should be erect and not damaged. Eyes should be clear and bright, not cloudy or dull. The fish should be active and alert. Quarantine any new fish for three to four weeks before adding to a tank with existing fish. (See Illness Signs for more information.)
Black Moors are omnivorous (plant and animals). Give these omnivores some variety, but limit protein to 30% of the diet. Pellets and flakes (presoaked) formulated for goldfish are perfect to ensure a properly balanced diet, with occasional treats of zucchini, peeled peas, spinach, and lettuce. (I generally caution fish keepers to stay away from live food (frozen and freeze-dried included) like frozen brine shrimp, plankton, blood worms, daphnia, beef heart, or freeze dried tubifex worms due to the possible introduction of harmful bacteria and parasites.) Sinking pellets are more appropriate with Black Moors and their telescope eyed friends than floating food due to eyesight challenges and their scavenger behavior. Feed once a day and no more than they can consume in two to three minutes. (It's critical that you resist the temptation to overfeed. Goldfish will "act" hungry almost all of the time.)
Although Black Moors, as with some of the other fancy goldfish, can survive in some ponds, the vast majority are kept in aquariums. Due to their poor eyesight, tanks usually work better for the Black Moors than ponds.
A general rule regarding tank size for goldfish, including the Black Moor variety, is a minimum of 10 gallons per fish. The more space, the better, and I tend to advise a minimum of 20 gallons for one fish plus 10 gallons for each additional fish. A 29/30 gallon tank is good for a pair. A tank that is long versus tall is recommended as it makes for better gas exchange. (Please don't keep them in fish bowls. Although they can technically "survive", they will not live long as it is inadequate.)
Well water should be tested for fertilizers, pesticides, and heavy metals. City / public water concerns are primarily chlorine and chloramines, which need to be removed before the water is added to the tank (there are water conditioners available that will remove both chemicals).
Ideal temperature range is 72°-74° Fahrenheit (22°-23° Celsius). Although goldfish are adaptable to a high range of temperatures, especially vital is consistency and avoiding any major fluctuations in temperature. A tank heater is a good idea to keep water temperature consistent.
6.5 – 7.5 (ideal pH range is 7.2 to 7.4)
Full-spectrum lighting and/or natural sunlight is important. For their health, they will need to be on a "sleep" cycle, providing 8 to 12 hours of darkness with 12 to 16 hours of light at regular intervals.
While not mandatory, ultraviolet sterilization can be very beneficial to the health of your fish by killing harmful bacteria.
Plants and Ornaments
Because of the Black Moor's protruding eyes, you will want to avoid any plants and ornaments with sharp edges or points that may cause damage. Black Moors have been known to lose eyes as a result of injury. We choose to provide Anacharis (aka Brazilian Waterweed) to our goldies as, along with its benefit of oxygenating the water, it does not need to be potted, propagates easily, and they seem to think it tastes good.
Filtration and Water Movement
Filtration is important with goldfish as they are "dirty" fish, however your weekly water changes are the most important "filtering" you can do (see Tank Maintenance below). The size of filter needed will depend on the number of fish you have and if your tank is overstocked (please resist this urge). A filter should assist you in keeping the water quality high for your fish and, as a bonus, can provide much needed water movement. Water movement is important as it oxygenates the water. Air stones and diffusers can also help in this effort. Aerating the water is vital; just be careful not to create too much of a current to keep from unnecessary stressing your Black Moors when they try to swim and navigate the tank.
Goldfish are known to be dirty fish with their large waste production and Black Moors are no exception. Maintaining a good filtering system is a necessity. (Make sure the filter doesn't create too much of a current, however, as noted above.) Regular weekly water changes of 20% to 25% are extremely important. If you choose to use a substrate, a gravel vacuum will be especially important. Also make sure it is at least 1/2 inch in diameter to prevent your fish from choking on it. Monitor the water-quality parameters regularly (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH) — there are dipping test strips that make this very easy to do.
Choose tankmates carefully. Black Moors are social little fish and seem to enjoy schooling with "their own kind" (ie other fancy goldfish). As mentioned, the Black Moors have sight challenges due to the angle of their eyes, so it is recommended that any tankmates be of the variety that also have visual challenges such as the Bubble Eye Goldfish, Telescope Goldfish, and Panda Moors. That way, the competition for any food will be more equally balanced. Make sure that the tank size is adequate for the number of fish (see Tank Size), and remember to quarantine any new fish for three to four weeks before adding to a tank with existing fish.
Typical symptoms of illnesses include spots, red streaks, ulcers, frayed fins, clamped fins and changes in behavior such as lethargy, flashing, darting, scratching, gasping at the surface, and sitting on the bottom of the tank. Check water quality. If your parameters are out of whack, you may need to do a more drastic water change. Health issues affecting your goldfish can be caused by parasites, bacterial or viral problems. In an effort to prevent any swimbladder disorders, dried floating food should be pre-moistened with tank water right before feeding. Properly maintaining your tank and monitoring the water quality will go a long way towards ensuring healthy fish. Keep first aid items on hand, including aquarium salt, medicated food, parasite and bacterial treatments. A sick goldfish should be quarantined and treated in a separate tank.
Breeding and Sexing
Goldfish sexually mature at about one year. During spawning season, the male will develop tiny white specks known as breeding tubercles on his head, pectoral fins, and gill covers (easily confused with Ich). A male will chase and bump into a female to try to get her to release her eggs. Eggs must be separated from the parents or they will eat them. Generally speaking, male goldfish are smaller and more slender than females.
For those looking for one of the easier freshwater fish to maintain, which is lively and entertaining, the Black Moor is a great choice. You should be able to find a Black Moor in most aquarium shops.
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