Black Moor Goldfish 101: Care, Tank Size, Food and More…

The Black Moor Goldfish is not your typical Goldfish.

This twin tailed Telescope variety is jet black in color.

Black Moors are prized for their beautiful alluring black color and graceful swimming.

However, if you want to add this black beauty to your aquarium then you must remember that caring for one is a little different than caring for other Goldfish.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about Black Moor Goldfish…

Black Moor Goldfish Close Up

Black Moor Goldfish 101

Black Moor Goldfish With Gold

The Goldfish (Carassius auratus) is a relative of the Common Carp and originated in China.

Over 30 different breeds and varieties now exist and the Black Moor (Chinese Moor) is one of these varieties.

Black Moor Goldfish are created by crossing a Red Telescope and a Veiltail or Fringetail Fancy Goldfish. They can not be found in the wild.

They first became popular in Korea and Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries at Goldfish competitions – many fancy breeds came about as a direct result of these shows.

While it may be very tempting to choose this breed as a first pet, they are not a very good choice for beginners. They requires a higher level of care than a typical Common Goldfish.

When kept in an aquarium you should expect them to grow up to 8 inches long and live for up to 15 years.

Black Moors typically sell for $5 to $10 per fish.

Key Facts:

  • Experience Required: Fancy Goldfish keeping.
  • Nicknames: Chinese Moor and Black Telescope.
  • Color Forms: Black.
  • Size: 6-8 inches.
  • Tank Size: Minimum 20+ gallon.
  • Tank Temperature: 60°F to 75°F.
Pros

  • Beautiful and alluring appearance
  • Draws attention to your aquarium
  • Can live in a wide range of water conditions
  • Only a black Telescope can be considered a Moor
Cons

  • Susceptible to vision and swim bladder issues
  • Need frequent water changes
  • Can be subject to ethically questionable breeding
  • Sensitive and fragile

Black Moor Goldfish Care Guide

Black Moor Goldfish With Mouth Open

If you are a first time fish keeper then you are better off picking out a different breed.

Black Moor Goldfish have special care requirements that common Goldfish varieties do not have.

Telescopes in particular are susceptible to eyes problems.

Pop-Eye can be the result of a bacterial infection, or a buildup of pressure or fluid behind the eyes. It is common in Telescopes, Bubble Eyes and other Goldfish with eye deformities. If left untreated, the eyes will rupture and the fish will go blind.

Since Pop-Eye is the result of an infection, you should quarantine them immediately.

Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics.

This breed is also susceptible to other more common diseases, such as ich. Its compressed body also leaves it vulnerable to swim bladder disease.

To keep your Black Moor healthy you should keep the tank clean and the water parameters stable. Perform a partial water change every 2 weeks and clean or change your filters whenever it is needed.

How Long Do Black Moor Goldfish Live?

Black Moor Goldfish can live for 10 to 15 years.

Diet

Black Moor Goldfish love munching on aquatic plants, algae, shrimp, snails and worms.

You will need to give them a mix of high protein foods, live prey and green vegetables.

The fish flakes you give them should have protein sources as the first ingredient. Avoid low quality brands that are full of unnecessary additives. Flake foods should be slow sinking so that your Moors have a chance to get first pick.

In addition to flakes and pellets they also enjoy gel based foods. Your best bet is to purchase a formula that is made especially for fancy Goldfish.

When it comes to natural prey, worms are their favorite. Bloodworms, Tubifex and other feeder worms can be fed both live and frozen. Water fleas, insects and small snails can all be offered as live prey. To satisfy their craving for shrimp, you can give them live Brine Shrimp or frozen Grass/Ghost Shrimp.

Never give your fish wild caught worms, insects, or snails as they could carry parasites.

Greenery is important too and can be given in the form of algae flakes or cuttings from your aquarium plants.

Your fish must be fed at least twice a day.

You should give them enough food to be eating for around 2 minutes each session.

What Food Can They Eat?

  • Fish flakes and pellets
  • Algae flakes
  • Gel foods
  • Bloodworms
  • Tubifex worms
  • Daphnia
  • Grass Shrimp
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Snails
  • Insects
  • Plants
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas
  • Lettuce

Behavior

Black Moor Goldfish Swimming

This breed is much more docile than other Goldfish.

They swim very slowly and gracefully and spend most of their time in the middle levels of the tank.

Black Moor Goldfish are most active during the day and although they are very peaceful, they are also much more anxious than most. Rambunctious tank mates or sudden movements may startle or distress it.

Because of this they have difficulty eating alongside other fish. They move so slowly that the others may gobble up all of their food before they even get a chance. Using an automatic fish feeder set to certain feeding times can help make sure that your fish can get enough to eat.

If you keep a group of them together then they will usually stay close to one another. They will interact with other similar breeds of Goldfish, but may not get along with single-tailed breeds.

Habitat and Aquarium Set Up

Goldfish are extremely hardy and can survive in a wide range of conditions.

However the Black Moor is a bit more sensitive than other Goldfish. They also need a slightly different tank setup.

First, you will need at least a 20 gallon tank for this fish.

A good filter is also extremely important because these fish produce a lot of waste. You can use an internal or external filter in a regular sized tank, but you will need a canister filter if you are keeping them in a pond.

As for water parameters:

  • Temperature: 60-75°F
  • pH: 7.0-7.5
  • Water Hardness: 5-15 dGH

Extra oxygen is recommended and you can provide this with either an air pump or a bubble generating filter.

Your fish will prefer to remain in the shade but will still need a moderate light intensity. A basic aquarium light bulb will do just fine.

Now for the decorations.

The best decorations are always those that are made from natural materials.

Floating plants like Hornwort and Cabomba are the best choices. If you want to include rooted plants then try Tapegrass and Dwarf Rotala. These cool water friendly plants are able to stand up to a bit of nibbling.

Just remember not to add too many decorations as it will make it difficult for your fish to move around.

You can use a light colored gravel that is not small enough for the fish to accidentally swallow. Do not use colored novelty gravel as it can be contaminated with toxic chemicals.

Tank Parameter Requirement
Minimum Tank Size 20 Gallons
Tank Type Freshwater planted
Temperature 60-75°F
pH 7.0-7.5
Hardness 5-15 dGH
Flow Medium
Substrate Gravel

What Size Aquarium Do They Need?

A single Black Moor Goldfish will need at least a 20 gallon aquarium.

For each addition Black Moor you keep, you will need an additional 10 gallons.

Can Black Moor Goldfish Live In A Pond?

Yes they can live in a pond, just remember though your garden pond should maintain a basic pH, moderate flow, and a temperature between 60-75°F. A heater will be needed during the winter months.

Black Moor Goldfish Appearance

Black Moor Goldfish

A Goldfish must have jet black scales and telescope eyes to be considered a Black Moor. Other black varieties exist but these are not true Black Moors.

Their body is short and compressed with a slight hump.

Just like other fancy breeds they have a pair of caudal fins instead of just one. The anal, pectoral, and pelvic fins are also paired, making for a total of 9 fins including the dorsal fin.

The telescope eyes take 8 to 24 months to develop and come in 3 different shapes: circular, conical, or tubular. Circular is the most desirable shape and leads to the least amount of problems for the fish. Tubular is particularly rare and severely limits the fish’s vision and coordination.

You will notice their eyes usually project outwards to the side which can make it difficult for the fish to see anything head-on. In some cases, their eyes will face forward and limit the peripheral vision.

It is not possible to tell the two genders apart until your fish is at least a year old.

Similar to most fish, the females are slightly rounder than the males. They have wide, distended abdomens for carrying their eggs.

Mature males have tiny white bumps near their gill plates, these are called breeding tubercles.

Common Color Varieties

Black is the only possible color however they can sometimes have a reddish gold sheen on their scales or on the underside.

There are two different varieties based on their tail shape:

  • Veiltail: Veiltail have long, trailing fins that resemble a bride’s wedding veil. Their bodies are shorter and rounder to compensate for their long tails.
  • Fringetail: Fringetails have thinner bodies and shorter V-shaped tails.

Why Is My Black Moor Goldfish Turning Gold?

Do not be alarmed if your fish’s colors are reverting to their original gold. This is simply something that happens to many Black Moors as they get older. Their final color will be a deep reddish gold on the ventral side, while the dorsal side will stay jet black.

History and First Sighting

The Common Goldfish was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758.

By the early 1800s they had already made their way into home aquariums in China.

Selective breeding began as their popularity rose in East Asia. The Black Moor breed is thought to have originated in China in the mid-1800s.

These fancy fish were shown off in competitions around their native country and this attracted attention from visitors from other countries.

Black Moors were soon introduced to aquariums all over the world and in the early 20th century the breed made their way to the United States.

Crossbreeding between other fancy breeds, such as the Veiltail and Fringetail, produced different varieties that made this variety even more popular.

By the 2000s however, they fell under the scrutiny of animal welfare groups. While the criticism has raised awareness, it has not decreased the Black Moor’s popularity. They are now one of the most well-loved fancy Goldfish breeds around.

Tank Mates

Black Moor Goldfish With Common Goldfish

When considering tank mates for your Black Moor Goldfish you need to remember they have difficulty navigating due to their poor eyesight so you need to avoid overcrowding or overstocking your tank.

The best tank mates are other medium sized peaceful fish.

You can keep them with any other breed of fancy Goldfish that you like, including: Telescopes, Veiltails, Fringetails, Orandas and Shubunkins.

Outside of Goldfish you can also keep them alongside Mollies. Pleco Catfish are often kept as algae cleaners in Goldfish tanks too. Bristlenose Plecos are great for smaller sized tanks but a Common Pleco will fit in to a larger setup.

If a Pleco is not quite right for your aquarium, the Glass Catfish and Otocinclus make good substitutes. The Weather Loach is another beneficial bottom dweller that fits into a cool water tank.

With an outdoor pond you can keep this fish with their most famous pond mate, the Koi.

Aquarium invertebrates like shrimp and snails are very likely to become dinner.

Larger Apple Snails or Mystery Snails are your safest option if you do want to include invertebrates, but any smaller species should be avoided.

You should avoid any purely tropical fish that cannot survive temperatures below the mid 70°F.

While fancy breeds are fine to keep together, single-tailed Goldfish are too active to be placed with this more docile variety. Fin nippers, such as Barbs and Guppies, will not be able to stop themselves from picking at your Moor’s long fins. White Cloud Mountain Minnows are not a good fit for the same reason.

Finally, you should keep away any aggressive fish. These include all freshwater sharks, Bettas, and Cichlids.

Keeping Black Moor Goldfish Together

Black Moors should be kept together.

They group together in small shoals of 4-6 and will engage in communal feeding, group swimming, and sharing resources.

Black Moors can also live with other Telescope Goldfish such as Red and Panda Telescopes.

They are usually willing to share with one another so there is no risk of competition within the group.

Breeding Black Moor Goldfish

Group of Black Moor Goldfish

To breed Black Moor Goldfish the first thing you will need to do is isolate a pair into their own breeding tank.

This breeding tank should have a basic pH, a water temperature above 60°F, and a leafy plant to act as a breeding surface. You should slowly and gradually raise the water temperature to get your fish into breeding condition. Start out at 60°F and raise the temperature by 3 degrees every day. You should also increase your light intensity.

The male will chase the female around the tank during courting. Once they are paired off he will swim in circles around the female for a few days until she is ready to spawn.

Pregnant females are visibly rounder while carrying eggs.

Your female can lay up to 10 thousand eggs but only a fraction of these will survive.

As soon as the eggs are laid you should remove the parents.

The surviving eggs will hatch in about a week and the larvae will survive off of their yolk sacs for the next 10 days. After that you can feed them fry foods that are rich in iron.

As the fry grow up they will also pick off any algae or micro-prey that they find in your aquarium.

Their famous black colors will develop once your fish leave the fry stage, but their telescope eyes will not form until they are at least 8 months old. After 2 months the juvenile fish can be added to the main tank.

Species Summary Table

Black Moor Goldfish
Other Common Names: Black Telescope, Chinese Moor
Scientific Name: Carassius auratus
Family Name: Cyprinidae
Distribution: Captivity only
Size: 6-8 inches
Color: Black
Care Level: Intermediate
Temperament: Peaceful
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Tank Mate Compatibility: Medium sized peaceful fish

Should You Keep The Black Moor Goldfish? (Summary)

A Black Moor Goldfish is wonderful as a standalone or as an addition to a community.

You should look for a different breed if you are a first time keeper.

While they are often marketed as beginner friendly, they do not actually make very good picks for beginners. Their special care requirements make them just a bit more challenging. Their sensitivities is better managed by keepers who have spent some time raising other varieties.

However, these challenges do not take away from the rewarding experience of caring for this fish.

Proper diet, clean water, and stable water parameters are the most important factors in keeping them healthy.

What is your favorite thing about them?

Let us know in the comments section below…

David Thomas Author Bio Picture
David Thomas leads the team at Everything Fishkeeping as the Editor-in-Chief. David has been keeping fish since he was a child. In his first tank he kept goldfish and since then he has kept over 30 different species. Now he has 4 separate tanks and his favorite is a 100 gallon freshwater tank with a school of Rasboras, Tetras and Loaches.

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