The Black Moor Goldfish is basically a black version of the Telescope Goldfish, though the eyes usually don’t protrude as far as they do on the Telescope!

The Black Moor Goldfish is one of the more rounded or egg-shaped fancy goldfish. This rounded shape is enhanced by large bulbous eyes protruding from the sides of its head and its long, flowing finnage. Its metallic scales are a deep, velvety black.

The Black Moor is basically a black version of the Telescope Goldfish though its eyes don’t protrude quite as far. The dark color and distinctive, bulging eyes have given rise to some descriptive names, such as the Dragon Eye Goldfish and Black Peony Goldfish. Black Moor juveniles are a dark bronze with flat eyes. As they mature, they become black, and their eyes begin to telescope.

While most Black Moors stay black in all sorts of environments, some may change color with age, fading to gray. They can also revert to a metallic orange when kept in warmer water. Though these fish once were available with a beautiful veil tail, the specimens available today have a broad tail, a ribbon tail, or a butterfly tail.

Black Moors are very popular gold fish and can be found in collectors’ tanks around the world. Their hardiness and ability to live in cold temperatures make them ideal pets. Along with the Fantail Goldfish, Ryukin Goldfish, Common Goldfish, Comet Goldfish, and Shubunkin Goldfish, the Black Moor are considered good beginner goldfish. However, unlike the similarly egg-shaped Fantail Goldfish and Ryukin Goldfish, the Black Moor must not be kept with highly competitive tankmates.

Additionally, most of these goldfish are hardy enough to live at colder temperatures (as long as the cooling drops only a few degrees a day), which makes them ideal for outdoor ponds. The Black Moor is the only exception. While the Black Moor is hardy enough to withstand colder temperatures, its telescopic eyes cause it to see poorly. Because of this, the Black Moor does not compete well for food and is also subject to injury and infection. The other hardy goldfish mentioned above make unsuitable companions for the Black Moor because they are all too competitive during feeding time. Better tankmates would be the similarly handicapped but less hardy Telescope Goldfish, Celestial Goldfish, and Water Bubble-Eye Goldfish.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Cypriniformes
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Genus: Carassius
  • Species: auratus auratus

Black Moor Goldfish – Quick Aquarium Care

  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
  • Size of fish – inches: 4.0 inches (10.16 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
  • Temperature: 65.0 to 72.0° F (18.3 to 22.2&deg C)
Aquarist Experience Level:Intermediate
Aquarium Hardiness:Moderately hardy
Minimum Tank Size:20 gal (76 L)
Size of fish – inches3.9 inches (10.01 cm)
Temperature:74.0 to 81.0° F (23.3 to 27.2&deg C)

Habitat: Distribution / Background

The goldfish of today are descendants of a species of wild carp known as the Prussian Carp, Silver Prussian carp, or Gibel Carp Carassius gibelio (syn: Carassius auratus gibelio), which was described by Bloch in 1782. These wild carp originated in Asia; Central Asia (Siberia). They inhabit the slow moving and stagnant waters of rivers, lakes, ponds, and ditches feeding on plants, detritus, small crustaceans, and insects.

For many years, it was believed that goldfish had originated from the Crucian Carp Carassius carassius described by Linnaeus in 1758. This fish has a wide range across the waters of the European continent, running west to east from England to Russia, north to Scandinavian countries in the Arctic Circle and as far south as the central France and the Black Sea. However, recent genetic research points to C. gibelio as a more likely ancestor.

Goldfish were originally developed in China. By the 1500s, goldfish were traded to Japan, arriving in Europe in the 1600s and America in the 1800s. The majority of the fancy goldfish were developed by Asian breeders. We can see the results of this centuries-long endeavor in the wonderful colors and shapes of goldfish today. Domesticated goldfish are now distributed world-wide.

The Black Moor Goldfish is a black version of the Telescope Goldfish, which is believed to have been developed in China in the early 1700s. It was known as the Dragon Eyes or the Dragon Fish. In the later part of the 1700s, in Japan, it became known as the Demekin. The Black Moor is also referred to as the Dragon Eye Goldfish, the Black Peony Goldfish, and the Black Demekin. It is one of more than 125 captive-bred fancy gold fish varieties.

  • Scientific Name: Carassius auratus auratus
  • Social Grouping: Groups – Can be kept singly or in groups.
  • IUCN Red List: NE – Not Evaluated or not listed – This species is not listed on the IUCN Red List. Presumably, there are no wild populations of the captive-bred Black Moor Goldfish.
pair of black moor goldfish
Image Credit: JuanCarlosPalauDiaz, Shutterstock


The Black Moor Goldfish is egg-shaped with a short, stubby body and large eyes protruding from either side of its head. It has deep, velvety black metallic scales and long, flowing finnage. Though these fish once were available with a beautiful veil tail, the specimens available today have a broad tail, a ribbon tail, or a butterfly tail.

Black Moor Goldfish will generally reach about 4 inches (10 cm), though some hobbyists report their Black Moors growing to a whopping 10″ (25 cm)! The average goldfish lifespan is 10 – 15 years, though it is not uncommon for them to live 20 years or more in well-maintained goldfish aquariums and ponds.

While most Black Moors stay black in all sorts of environments, some may change color with age, fading to gray. They can also revert to a metallic orange when kept in warmer water. Juveniles are a dark bronze and without the protruding eyes, but as they mature they become black and their eyes begin to telescope.

  • Size of fish – inches: 4.0 inches (10.16 cm) – Average size is 4″ (10.16 cm), but they have been reported to reach up to 10″ (25 cm).
  • Lifespan: 15 years – The average goldfish lifespan is 10 – 15 years, but they have been known to live 20 years or more in well-maintained environments.

Fish Keeping Difficulty

Black Moor Goldfish are among the hardier species of goldfish. They are very undemanding of water quality and temperature. They can do well in a goldfish aquarium or a pond as long as the environment is safe and their tankmates are not competitive.

Many people will keep goldfish in an aquarium with no heater or filtration, but they do best when provided with the same filtration, especially biological filtration, that other aquarium residents enjoy. Extra care must be taken when netting these fish as their eyes are easily damaged. Because they are not fast or efficient feeders, they should not be kept with highly competitive tankmates.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner –

Foods and Feeding

Since they are omnivorous, the Black Moor Goldfish will generally eat all kinds of fresh, frozen, and flake foods. To keep a good balance, give them a high quality flake food every day. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen), blood worms, Daphnia, or tubifex worms as a treat. Freeze-dried foods are usually preferred to avoid the parasites and bacterial infections that could be present in live foods. The Black Moors’ protruding eyes give them poor vision, so they need extra time to feed.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet / Pellet: Yes
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
  • Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
  • Meaty Food: Some of Diet
  • Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day – This fish has poor eyesight and is somewhat sluggish, so aquarists need to be sure that their Black Moor Goldfish are not being out-competed for food during feeding time.

Aquarium Care

These goldfish are hardy and easy to keep in a well maintained tank. Minimum tank size is 10 gallons, so make sure water changes are frequent in such as small tank. Regular weekly water changes of 1/4 to 1/3 is strongly recommended to keep these fish healthy. Snails can be added as they reduce the algae in the tank, helping to keep it clean.

  • Water Changes: Weekly – Goldfish produce more waste than most other freshwater fish and benefit greatly from more frequent water changes.
Black moor goldfish
Image Credit: Cherukuri rohith, Shutterstock

Aquarium Setup

Setting up a goldfish aquarium in a manner that will keep your fish happy and healthy is the first step to success. The shape and size of the aquarium is important and depends upon the number of goldfish you are going to keep. These fish need a lot of oxygen and produce a lot of waste. Good filtration, especially biological filtration, is very helpful in maintaining the water quality of the aquarium. A filtration system will remove much of the detritus, excess foods, and waste, which keeps the tank clean and maintains the general health of the goldfish.

  • Tank parameters to consider when choosing a goldfish aquarium:
    • Tank size
      Ten gallons is the absolute minimum required to house a Black Moor. It’s best to start with a 20 – 30 gallon tank for your first goldfish and then increase the size of the tank by 10 gallons for each additional goldfish. Providing a large amount of water per fish will help dilute the amount of waste and reduce the number of water changes needed.
    • Tank Shape
      Always provide the maximum amount of surface area. A large surface area minimizes the possibility that the goldfish will suffer from an oxygen shortage. Surface area is determined by the shape of the tank. For example an elongated tank offers more surface area (and oxygen) than a tall tank. Oval or round tanks that are wide in the middle and narrower toward the top might be filled less than full to maximize the surface area.
    • Number of fish
      For juveniles a general rule of thumb is 1 inch of fish (2.54 cm) per 1 gallon of water. However, this rule only applies to young fish. Larger gold fish consume much more oxygen than young fish so maintaining this formula for growing fish will stunt them and could contribute to disease and even death.
    • Fish size and growth
      To allow for proper growth, either buy fewer fish than the maximum number or be prepared to get a larger tank. To prevent stunted growth and other health problems, don’t overstock the aquarium.

Goldfish are a cold water fish and will do best at temperatures between 65 – 72° F (18°- 22° C). The Black Moor Goldfish are one of the hardiest varieties of goldfish and can tolerate temperatures a few degrees above freezing as long as the temperature drops only a few degrees a day. A quick temperature drop can kill them, so heaters are strongly advised for goldfish in very cold climates.

Provide a gravel substrate to help create a natural and comfortable environment for your fish. You can add some decor, but keep in mind that the Black Moor has very poor vision because of its eyes. All ornamentation should be smooth with no protruding points or sharp edges. Smooth rocks or driftwood should be used sparingly, if at all. Aquarium plants would normally be the best choice of decor for goldfish, but unfortunately, Black Moors are diggers and may uproot live plants. Artificial plants make a good substitute, and silk plants are safer than plastic ones.

Most aquariums come with a cover that includes lighting. A cover for the tank is desirable as it reduces evaporation and prevents fish from jumping out, though the Black Moor are not prone to jumping. Lighting is not essential for goldfish in general, but it can help the Black Moor find their way around. Lighting also makes the aquarium a nice showpiece and is necessary if you have live plants.

Goldfish are freshwater fish but have some tolerance for slightly brackish water. The salinity level for C. auratus must be kept low, below 10% with a specific gravity of less than 1.002.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gal (38 L) – Ten gallons is the absolute minimum required to house this fish. It has high oxygen requirements and produces a lot of waste. A smaller aquarium will stunt the Black Moor’s growth and potentially lead to health problems.
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: Yes – A Nano tank is fine as long as it is 10 gallons or more.
  • Substrate Type: Any – A medium-sized gravel works best.
  • Lighting Needs: High – Strong lighting – Strong lighting will help this fish make the best of what little eyesight it has.
  • Temperature: 65.0 to 72.0° F (18.3 to 22.2&deg C) – This fish will tolerate much colder temperatures, but this range is optimum for both activity and longevity.
  • Breeding Temperature: – In the wild, goldfish spawn in the spring when water temperatures reach about 68° F (20° C).
  • Range ph: 6.0-8.0
  • Hardness Range: 5 – 19 dGH
  • Brackish: Sometimes – The salinity for C. auratus must be kept below 10%, a specific gravity of less than 1.002.
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: All – These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.

Social Behaviors

Goldfish are very social animals and thrive in a community. The Black Moor Goldfish is a great community fish. It also does very well with the Telescope Goldfish and the Celestial Goldfish because they all have such poor eyesight.

These goldfish cannot readily compete for food with other sharp-eyed and fast moving types of goldfish, so they may not fare well with such tankmates. Because goldfish are great scavengers, it is really not necessary to add other scavengers or bottom feeders to their aquarium.

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species – conspecifics: Yes
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe – not aggressive
    • Plants: Threat – Goldfish will eat many kinds of aquatic plants. In their constant search for food, they may end up uprooting plants that they don’t eat.

Sexual differences

During the breeding season the male has white prickles, called breeding tubercles, on its gill covers and head. Seen from above a female will have a fatter appearance when she is carrying eggs. It is impossible to sex Goldfish when they are young and not in breeding season, but generally the male is smaller and more slender than the female.

Breeding / Reproduction

Black Moor Goldfish are egg layers that spawn readily in the right conditions. They can be bred in a group as small as five individuals, but as they are very social animals they are likely to breed in larger groups as well. The only time Goldfish will spawn in the wild is when spring arrives. To spawn them in the aquarium you will need to mimic the conditions found in nature.

Provide an aquarium that is at least 20 gallons and make sure the fish are healthy and disease free. Some breeders suggest you treat them for parasites. Many breeders will also separate the males and females for a few weeks prior to breeding to help increase their interest in spawning. Introduce the fish into the breeding tank at the same time. The tank will need a lush environment with solid surfaces for the spawning process and for the eggs to adhere to. Bushy, oxygenating plants, such as Anacharis, work well for this, though artificial plants or fibrous spawning mops can also be used.

To induce spawning, the temperature can be slowly dropped to around 60° F (11° C) and then slowly warmed, at a rate of 3° F (2° C) per day, until they spawn. Spawning generally begins when the temperatures are between 68° – 74° F (20°-23° C). Feeding lots of high protein food such live brine shrimp and worms during this time will also induce spawning. Feed small amounts three times a day, but don’t overfeed because any uneaten scraps will sink to the bottom and foul the water. Maintain the breeding tank with partial water changes of up to about 20% a day.

Before spawning, as the temperature increases, the male will chase the female around the aquarium in a non-aggressive way. This can go on for several days and the fish will intensify in color. During the spawn, the fish will gyrate from side to side and the male will push the female against the plants. This stimulates the female to drop tiny eggs which the male will then fertilize. The eggs will adhere by sticky threads to the plants or spawn mop. Spawning can last two or three hours and can produce up to 10,000 eggs.

At this point the parents will start to eat as many eggs as they can find. For this reason it is best to remove the parents after spawning is complete. The fertilized eggs will hatch in 4 to 7 days, depending on the temperature. You can feed the newly hatched goldfish specialty fry foods until they become big enough to eat flake or brine shrimp, or you can offer the same food as you feed the parents as long as it is crushed very small. At first the fry are a dark brown or black color in order to better hide and not be eaten by larger fish. They gain their adult color after several months and can be put in with larger fish once they reach about 1 inch long. See Breeding Freshwater Fish – Goldfish for more information on breeding Goldfish.

  • Ease of Breeding: Moderate

Fish Diseases

In properly maintained goldfish aquariums or ponds, goldfish illness is largely preventable. Even so goldfish illnesses can occur and if left untreated they may prove fatal. Goldfish are hardy, though, and if treated in a timely manner most will make a full recovery.

When treating it is best to move the afflicted fish into a separate tank with no gravel or plants, and do regular partial water changes. However if the disease is apparent throughout the main tank it may be best to do the treatments there. Whether treating a hospital tank or your main tank, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any medication. Some medications can adversely affect the water quality by destroying beneficial bacteria. You may also need to remove the carbon from the filtration system, as carbon will absorb many medications making the treatment ineffective.

Goldfish diseases are mostly the same as those that afflict other freshwater fish, and the symptoms and treatment of goldfish is also similar. The main types of fish diseases include bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasites, and protozoa. There are also other ailments caused by injury, poor nutrition, or bad water conditions.

One of the more common problems is Ich, which is a protozoan disease. Ich is easy to identify because your fish looks like it is sprinkled with salt. Though Ich is easily treated, like other protozoan diseases it can be fatal if not caught quickly. Some other protozoan diseases are Costia, which causes a cloudiness of the skin, and Chilodonella, which will cause a blue white cloudiness on the skin.

External parasites are fairly common, too, but pretty easy to treat and are usually not fatal when treated. These include flukes which are flatworms about 1 mm long with hooks around their mouth. They infest the gills or body of the fish. Another is fish lice (Argulus) which are flattened mite-like crustaceans about 5 mm long that attach themselves to the body of the goldfish. Then there are anchor worms which look like threads coming out of the fish.

Some bacterial infections include Dropsy, an infection in the kidneys which can be fatal if not treated quickly. Fish Tuberculosis is another, indicated by the fish becoming emaciated (having a hollow belly). For this illness there is no absolute treatment and it can be fatal. Tail/Fin Rot may also be bacterial, though the reduced tail or fins can be caused by a number of factors as well. There is also fungus, a fungal infection, and Black Spot or Black Ich which is a parasitic infection.

Swim Bladder Disease is an ailment indicated by fish swimming in abnormal patterns and having difficulty maintaining their balance. This can be caused by a number of things: constipation, poor nutrition, a physical deformity, or a parasitic infection. Feeding frozen peas (defrosted) has been noted to help alleviate the symptoms and correct the problem in some cases.

Other miscellaneous ailments include Cloudy Eye, which can be caused by a variety of things ranging from poor nutrition, bad water quality, and rough handling. It can also be the result of other illnesses, such as bacterial infections. Constipation is another, indicated by a loss of appetite and swelling of the body, and the cause is almost always diet. Then there are wounds and ulcers. Wounds can become infected, creating ulcers. Wounds can develop either bacterial or fungal infections, or both, and must be treated. There are treatments for each of these diseases individually, and treatments that handle both. For more in-depth information about goldfish diseases and illnesses, see: Goldfish Care; Fancy Goldfish and Goldfish Diseases.


The Black Moor Goldfish is readily available and fairly inexpensive. They can be foundin fish stores and online.



Featured Image Credit: Vlad Siaber, Shutterstock