black moor goldfish

Black Moor Goldfish Care: Tank Setup, Diet, And More

The Black Moor Goldfish is a unique and beautiful fish with a personality to match. With proper care, this black goldfish will thrive well in your tank. This guide covers everything from tank set-up to ideal water parameters to feeding and breeding.

If you have questions about black moor care like what should I do before getting a black moor? How do I set up the tank? What type of food should be given? You have found the right guide. Let’s dive in!

Black Moor Goldfish Overview

Like all goldfish species, Black moors are part of the Cyprinidae family. Black moors fall under a sub-group of goldfish known as fancy goldfish. Fancy goldfish each have unique and glamorous characteristics, such as fluid-filled sacs (Bubble Eye Goldfish) to a quadruple tail fin. For the black moor, their large telescopic eyes are their fancy differentiator.

Because of their eyes, they are sometimes referred to as Telescopes. Other names you might see include Moors, Demekin, Blackamoors, or Dragon Eyes.

Black moors are descendants of a Carp species in China. They’re an old species and have been bred since the 1700s. Outside of China, they first were traded to Japan and then have subsequently spread all over the world.

Overall, goldfish are commonly sold in most pet shops. However, this is a particular sub-species of fancy goldfish so you might want to call around to a few stores to see who has stock and who could order some stock for you.

Black Moor Goldfish Appearance

Being fancy goldfish, Moors are known for their most distinguishing feature – telescope eyes. They have large eyes that tend to protrude more as they get older. Sadly though, these large eyes are not great for vision, so Black Moors have poor eyesight.

Additionally, as you might guess, these black goldfish are black in color. No surprises there. Most are solid black but some have orange patches. Over time, they will become deeper in color so expect a fully mature adult to be much darker than a juvenile.

black moor goldfish against white background

Their spherical, egg-like body shape is another of their most appealing characteristics. They have this body shape in common with a lot of other fancy goldfish species. It looks beautiful and dramatic, but it also makes them quite hefty and therefore slow swimmers. This is an important consideration when picking tank mates.

Along with unusual eyes, black moors have lovely fins that are often the motivation for people to choose this species. Their dorsal and pectoral fins are large, and their tail fins are longer and flowing, making them elegantly glide through the water.

How long do Black Moor Goldfish live?

This species can live for a long time if cared for properly. On average, Moors tend to live between 10-15 years. You might reach 20 years with exceptional fishkeeping.

How big do Black Moor Goldfish get?

When completely grown, this species can reach 6-8 inches in length. They tend to be rather blocky though so they may look bigger than their actual size. Based on their final adult size, they can easily live in a 20 gallon or 30 gallon aquarium.

Black Moor Goldfish Temperament

Black Moors are peaceful fish. If anything, they tend more to the timid side of the scale, so super active and energetic fish are not the best match for them.

They’re also slow swimmers, so extremely active species might rough them up a bit. They tend to stay in the middle third of the aquarium. If they get super stressed, they will hide near the substrate so keep an eye on their behavior.

They’re social fish and enjoy hanging out with other black moors. They can also do well in community settings, given their tank mates are good matches. They do best with calm and peaceful fish.

Black Moor Goldfish Care

Black Moor goldfish are pretty easy to care for. However, you need to know what you’re doing. Our guide covers their ideal habitat, including tank, lighting, filtration, substrate, and more.

Black Moor Habitat

When planning the ideal black moor tank, it is recommended to try to recreate their natural environment. This principle works well when designing tanks and making sure your fish are eating correctly. Maintain the natural environment of your pets for optimum results.

What is the best tank for a Black Moor Goldfish??

One thing to know about goldfish – they produce a lot of waste, otherwise known as a high bioload. This means they need a larger tank than you might assume.

The best tank for a single Black Moor Goldfish is an established 20-gallon aquarium. If you have the space, a 30-gallon option is better. If you’re planning on keeping more than one black moor, we recommend 10 more gallons for each additional fish. Therefore, if you want a group of three, plan on a 50 or 55-gallon tank for best results. Check out our goldfish tank guide for more details. Also, if you get a large tank, plan on investing in an aquarium stand as well. We also recommend thinking about using a natural tank background to keep stress levels low.

Long tanks are also recommended over tall tanks. This species is a poor swimmer which means they might have difficultly getting to the surface to feed in a tall tank.

Also, it is recommended to keep their tanks sparsely decorated. They can struggle to navigate tall plants so if you want to keep them in a planted tank, try to keep the plants towards the back so they have a clear swim lane.

Ideal Black Moor Goldfish Water Conditions

Maintaining water conditions is critical to fish health. Use an aquarium testing kit to test your water and stay on top of any changes.

Goldfish are coldwater fish, meaning that an aquarium heater is not usually needed. Water temperature should stay in the range of 60-72° F. Generally, this doesn’t require a heater but it might require a chiller, depending on your specific environment. with pH roughly neutral between 6.5-7.5. Ammonia must be kept at 0 ppm which can be difficult given the high bioload of this species. Ammonia is toxic and will stress and eventually kill your fish if left unchecked. Consistency in water parameters is more important than perfection.

In order to stay on top of water conditions, make sure you’re testing the water frequently to get ahead of any changes. Additionally, we recommend weekly water changes of 25-30% of the water and replace it with new RODI/distilled water. You should also clean the gravel regularly with a gravel vacuum to remove any excess waste or food.

The ideal Black Moor Goldfish tank

When thinking about how to decorate your tank, you will want to recreate the black moor’s natural habitat as much as possible. However, this species was created domestically, so it doesn’t really have a natural environment.

Therefore, consider the habitat of its closest wild relative, the Asian Carp. Asian Carps live in murky freshwater. They inhabit rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. They tend to thrive in slow-moving water with sand or dirt on the floor. pH would be more or less neutral and the temperature range would be pretty wide.

What is the Best Type of Substrate for Black Moor Goldfish?

As mentioned before, this species tends to hang out in the middle third of the tank. Therefore, the substrate selection can be crafted around any other species in the tank. We recommend a gravel or sand bottom.

How Much and What Kind of Lighting do Black Moor Goldfish need?

Most standard aquarium lights will do for your fish. In their natural environments, they can thrive in murky water so high light situations are not needed for this species. If you have a planted tank, you will need lights that can support plant growth.

What Kind of Filtration do Black Moor Goldfish Need?

Goldfish are high-bioload creatures meaning you will need a good filtration system for their tank. However, you will also need to make sure your filter doesn’t create too much of a current in your tank because black moors are poor swimmers. We recommend either a canister filter or HOB filter.

Make sure that you have a filter that can hold enough beneficial bacteria to keep up with processing waste put off by your goldfish. Get a filter that can hold a lot of biomedia to house the beneficial bacteria.

Black Moor Goldfish Decorations

Ideally, you keep your goldfish tank pretty clean. This species struggles to swim so adding any decorations that extend into the middle third of the tank will create obstacles for them. Something like driftwood on the floor of the tank is a good choice for this reason.

Black Moor Goldfish Plants

We love a beautiful planted tank. Plants make your aquarium natural-looking and have lots of benefits for healthy water parameters. 

We recommend plants like the Java Fern, Amazon Swords, or Java Moss. If you do choose to include some bigger plants, but them in the back of the tank so the main swimming lanes stay clear. You could also consider free-floating varieties, such as hornwort, which are common in areas with Asian Carp. If you go the planted tank route, make sure you have the right plant fertilizers to keep your environment lush.

Your fish might snack on your plants, but they are unlikely to do enough damage to hurt your plant.

Black Moor Goldfish Potential diseases

First, we are not veterinarians at Aquarium Friend. The information below is intended for general awareness only. If you are concerned about the health of your fish, consult a fish health professional or veterinarian immediately.

Because of their egg-shaped bodies, their internal organs can be tightly packed inside. This can cause issues with constipation and other diseases.

They’re also prone to swim bladder issues. This is generally pretty easy to recognize, as they will struggle to control their buoyancy, meaning you will often find them floating on the surface or sitting at the bottom of the tank. If you see this behavior, stop feeding for 24 hours, then slowly introduce heavy-fiber foods like vegetables such as zucchini.

Other diseases, such as velvet disease, are also common in fancy goldfish. They can be caused by either parasites or bacteria. The best way to recognize these issues are typically spots or color changes. Ich can also be a problem. It is most easily recognized by the presence of little white spots on your fish.

To avoid spreading disease in your tank, we recommend quarantining all new fish separately for two weeks after purchase before adding to an established tank. If you discover one of your tank members is sick, move them to a quarantine tank as soon as possible. Be gentle with them in the move as black moors aren’t the toughest fish.

The best way to avoid disease is keeping a clean tank. We recommend weekly water parameter testing and water changes.

Black Moor Goldfish Feeding 

Black moors are omnivorous, meaning they eat both meat and plant matter. In the wild, you would find them eating a variety of things from small insects to algae. Although they might snack on algae on your tank, you shouldn’t depend on them for algae cleaning services.

Make sure you feed them high-quality fish flakes designed for fancy goldfish. Egg-shaped goldfish struggle with swimbladder issues and digestive issues so they need to be fed properly. We also recommend adding frozen and freeze-dried foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and tubifex worms. You can try live foods but they might be a bit too slow, with poor eyesight due to their protruding eyes, to actually catch live food.

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We also recommend feeding high-fiber green vegetables a few times a week such as spinach, lettuce, or zucchini.

How often should I feed my fish?

It is important not to overfeed your fish as this species is prone to constipation. Feed your Black Moor twice a day. Only feed small amounts of food that they can easily finish in a couple of minutes. Remove any uneaten food promptly to avoid ammonia spikes.

Black Moor Goldfish Tank Mates

Black Moors are peaceful and slow-swimmers. They do best with other tank mates who share the same characteristics. Other varieties of Fancy Goldfish such as Orandas, Fantails, Telescope Goldfish, and Lionhead Goldfish are good matches.

You could also go the route of small shoaling fish in a community tank. Examples include:

You could also include fish that tend to hang out in the lower levels of your tank and won’t cross paths too much with your goldfish, like:

Avoid aggressive or territorial species. Tankmates to avoid include:

Species with a tendency to nip fins (Black Skirt Tetras) should be avoided too because of the Black Moor’s long, slow-moving fins that are easy targets.

Most small invertebrates are peaceful and can also be good tank mates. Some options include:

Breeding Guide

If you’re interested in breeding your goldfish, Black moors are pretty straightforward to breed. Like all goldfish varieties, black moors lay eggs and will start to spawn when the water temperature rises.

How to Sex Black Moor Goldfish

The easiest and most accurate way to sex your black moor goldfish is by venting. Venting requires taking your fish out of the water and looking at its genitals. Females have a protruding vent whereas males have a flatter or even concave vent. We recommend looking up images to confirm what you’re looking for.

You can also sex them by waiting until spawning season (April to August). During this time, males will develop small white bumps (breeding tubercles) on their pectoral fins.

How to Breed Black Moor Goldfish

We recommend moving your breeding pair into a separate tank. If you provide lots of plants, they will use these surfaces to lay their eggs. You will use temperature to trigger breeding cycles. Gradually reduce the temperature to 60° F. Once the low temperature is achieved, warm the tank again 3° every day until mating starts around 68-74° F. During this time, we also recommend frequent (daily or every other day) water changes.

Spawning (where the female lays eggs and the male fertilizes them) can take several hours. The female can lay up to 10,000 eggs! That’s a lot of little babies!

As soon as you see the eggs, move the parents back to the main tank. Black moors are not protective parents and will snack on the eggs if left alone with them.

It will take about a week for the eggs will to hatch. Once hatched, the fry will swim freely through the tank. Feed small protein-dense foods until they are large enough to return to the main tank (about two months).

In their natural environment, black moors breed from May to June. In a tank, they will spawn any time of the year as long as there is plant matter available for the eggs to be attached to and good water quality conditions.


Are black moor goldfish hard to take care of?

Black moors are pretty easy overall. They max out at about 6-8 inches and can live 10-15 years in good conditions. They are slow swimmers and don’t have great eyesight so you have to be careful about their tank mates. Additionally, they produce a lot of waste, so they will require frequent water changes.

Do black moor goldfish need a heater?

Generally speaking, this species doesn’t require an aquarium heater. They are cold-water fish and can oftentimes live happily without a heater.

Can black moor fish live with goldfish?

Black moors can live with other goldfish varieties, especially other fancy goldfish. They are very slow-moving and won’t hurt their tank mates in any way. They’re best paired with tank mates who are similar. However, they are very messy fish (as are other goldfish) which means their tank will require regular cleaning.

Can Black Moors see?

Black moors are considered partially-blind. They have bad eyesight and their other senses compensate for this. This species is actually quite sensitive to light, especially direct light, so keep the lighting dim in their tank.

Can Black Moors mate with Orandas?

Yes, black moors can mate with orandas, assuming the conditions are right and both partners are sexually mature. It is a similar question to two different breeds of dog mating – for example, a poodle and a golden retriever.


Black Moor Goldfish are a variety of fancy goldfish that have been around for many years. They’re popular because of their striking black color and telescope eyes. Knowing the basics of how to care for them, such as tank requirements, filtration, and feeding, will help you keep yours happy and healthy! We would love to hear from our readers about their Black Moors. What’s your favorite thing about having one as a pet?

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