Black Moor Goldfish: History, Details, Care Tips and More

Of all the many types of goldfish, the Black Moor is one of the more unusual looking fancy varieties that can also go by the name of Broadtail Moor.

It’s very hardy, so is suitable for beginner fish-keepers and is, essentially, a black-colored variant of the Telescope Goldfish, so named for its protruding eyeballs.

Black Moor Goldfish description, facts and care written beside a front view of such a fish
By ﻯναოթ€ռ; edited by jjron [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
In this article, we take a deep dive look at the black moor goldfish, starting with a table that summarizes their breed profile before going into more detail into their care, ideal tank setup and conditions, and compatible tank mates.

Profile, Care Overview and Statistics

CharacteristicDetails
Common name(s):Black moor, broadtail moor, Black Demekin, Black Peony Goldfish
Scientific Name(s):Carassius auratus
Family:Cyprinidae
Origin:China, Japan and Asia
Care Level:Easy
Temperament:Peaceful and social
Adult Size:10 Inches
Color Form:Black, sometimes areas that are clear or orange
Lifespan:10 to 15 years commonly, 25 if expertly cared for
Minimum Tank Size:30 gallons
Typical Tank Setup:Smooth substrate they can dig in without harming eyes, plants that can stand up to digging and nipping. Strong filtration required.
Tank Level:All over
Diet:Omnivore
Water Conditions:Freshwater, 65-75 degress fahrenheit, KH 4 to 20, pH 6.5 to 7.5
Tank mates / Compatibility:Peaceful community fish, get on well with own kind, other fancy goldfish, shrimp, snails and cory catfish. Avoid mixing with single tail goldfish.

Description

Their most distinguishing feature is these protuberant eyeballs that can be segmented, conical or simply rounded in shape. However they’re shaped, the eyes should be symmetrical in size and shape on the head, ideally protruding from the sides.

They have a rounded egg body shape, similar in appearance to the Oranda, with long, flowing fins and either a broad tail, ribbon tail or butterfly tail.

In Black Moors with especially long fins, there is very little forking in the tail, resulting in a square-cut shape, occasionally referred to as a petticoat tail. There are reports of some older variants with veil tails although these are no longer bred.

The scales of these fish are metallic.

Although they aren’t particularly common in the UK, they are in the US and are easily found at both fish shops and online retailers where they can be bought relatively inexpensively.

Color Variations

In accordance with their name, they are velvety black in color when they reach adulthood, starting life as a dark bronze color.

Like many goldfish, their colors can fade with age, with some morphing to a washier grey color.

There have been reports of some transforming to a metallic orange when they’re kept in warm conditions.

How Big is a Fully Grown Adult Black Moor Goldfish?

Black moor goldfish side view isolated on white

Black Moors are relatively small goldfish, reaching an average length of around 6 to 7 inches, minus the tail.

However, some have been reported to reach up to ten inches at the upper extreme.

How Long can Black Moor Goldfish Live?

They are hardy goldfish and healthy specimens can expect to live for around 25 years in a well-maintained environment.

It’s not unheard of for them to live for over 35 years if they are kept and cared for in optimum conditions.

History, Origins and Development

The Black Moor originated in China as a version of the fancy telescope eye goldfish, one of the oldest goldfish variants first seen in the early 1700s.

One theory goes that Telescopes are the result of a natural mutation of the Ryukin fish, and the Black Moor was one of subsequent further mutation.

They are known as the Black Demekin in Japan and, imaginatively, as the Dragon Eye or Black Peony Goldfish in China.

Easy to Keep at Home?

Aside from their delicate eyes, they are relatively easy to keep thanks to their hardy disposition and tolerance of lower water quality and temperatures.

They are suitable for the beginner fish keeper and a good first foray into the world of fancy goldfish.

Black Moor Goldfish Care Considerations

​Caring for a black moor is relatively easy and even total beginners will be able to have them thrive with just a little planning.

You should protect their eyes by ensuring your aquarium has no sharp objects or ornaments that they could damage themselves on.

Its long, flowing fins combined with the fact they are slow swimmers also mean you should ensure there is no strong current in the tank.

Black Moor Food and Feeding

Being omnivorous, it is easy to provide a varied and balanced diet for your Black Moors as they are able to eat a host of fresh, frozen and flake produce.

Animal World recommends you should feed them a quality flake food a few times every day and occasional treats in the form of brine shrimp, Daphnia, tubifex worms or blood worms. Vegetable food should also form a small portion of their diet.

Freeze dried foods are preferable to live food as they will not be affected by any parasites or bacteria.

Their unusual eyes make for poor vision so they may need more time than other fish to find their food. If you have other goldfish variants in the aquarium, ensure that they are not out-competing the Black Moor for food.

Tank Requirements

Front view of black moor goldfish on white background

A properly set-up aquarium is the first step in ensuring that your Black Moors live long, healthy and happy lives. Here’s what you should be considering:

Size and Shape of Tank?

The absolute minimum tank size you can get away with for a Black Moor is ten gallons but to ensure that their environment is as safe as possible, we recommend 20 gallons for the first fish with a subsequent 10 gallons for every fish thereafter.

It’s important not to overcrowd the tank as that can lead to stunted growth and other health problems.

Like all goldfish, they produce plenty of bioload (waste), so the more water there is, the more diluted that waste will be.

The best tank shapes are long, wide and shallow as they have the most surface area allowing for maximum oxygen penetration, which is necessary for survival.

To maximise the surface area of a smaller, round tank, simply ensure you don’t fill it right to the brim with water.

Filtration

You definitely need a filter in order to combat all the waste these goldfish will produce.

A good one will filter at least six times every hour the volume of water in the tank and keep the environment safe and healthy.

Preferred Substrate

You don’t have to buy gravel substrate but it will be beneficial in making your tank a natural and welcoming environment.

Goldfish are natural foragers and the substrate will allow them to show these natural behaviors. It’s also a nice way to personalize the tank.

Should you add Lights to the Tank?

As discussed in our article, do goldfish need light? They aren’t lights aren’t an essential purchase but they will go some way to helping instill a day / night cycle, thus helping them regulate their bodies, and in maintaining their velvety black color.

Temperature Requirements

Optimum temperatures are between 65 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although you may wish to purchase a heater if you live in a particularly cold climate, they are noteworthy for being particularly hardy when it comes to withstanding cold temperatures – even just a few degrees above freezing!

Just make sure that the temperature is relatively consistent as swift and low drops in temperature can prove fatal.

Preferred Tank Mates for Black Moor Goldfish

Black Moors can be kept alone although they thrive best when part of a group community.

Some sources believe they are well matched with other fancy types like Fantails and Orandas in a tank, although you should be very careful that they are able to compete effectively for food as their eyesight is so poor.

Other experts believe they’re better suited to sharing with Telescope and Celestial Eye Goldfish as they all have similar sight impairment – in this case though, you will need to ensure they aren’t out-competing the others for food as they can swim a little faster.

They definitely shouldn’t be kept with any single-tailed Goldfish – the latter swim faster and have better eyesight so will out-compete them for food.

Shrimps, crabs, and snails are good to include in a Black Moor tank – and the snails will even help clear up algae – but the only frogs you should keep them with are African Dwarf Frogs, as they’re small, docile and fully aquatic.

Black Moors are known for being diggers and are at risk of uprooting any aquatic plants you keep in the tank so if you’re a beginner it may be best to opt for artificial silk plants instead, though deep rooting and highly anchored plants can be added is you wish.

Video: Black Moor Goldfish in Action

A look at ‘giant black moor’ Rambo.

Not the best specimen if we were aiming for breed standard, but a beautiful fish that catches the eye most against the backdrop of his tank mates. I love him!

 

Final Thoughts

Black moors are fantastic looking fish and a good first foray into ‘fancy’ goldfish keeping if you’re looking to go that route.

With their mostly black bodies and big, bulging eyes, they look fantastic and are a break from the norm if single tails and eegg-shaped goldfish with normal eye types have been your thing.

They are a hardy breed that can endure the odd fish keeping mistake, so they are good for beginners if they swot up on the basics and cater to the fishes specific needs.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our little essay on black moors and if you have anything to add or questions to ask, please do so in the comments below!

Happy fish keeping!

Wendy Kathryn

Hi, I'm Wendy, the owner and creator of this website, an experienced fish keeper and avid student of the art since 2010. My aim is to help beginners avoid the many possible mistakes when getting started in this wonderful hobby.

2 thoughts on “Black Moor Goldfish: History, Details, Care Tips and More”

  1. Hey Wendy, my black moor goldfish has a white like gel over the body.. I thought it would just pass but it seems like it’s getting pretty sick.. I need some help. What could I do to help the fish?

    • Hi Megan,

      I’m afraid I cannot give ‘medical / veterinarian advice’ because I am not a qualified professional. So I’m afraid I have to take the stance that I cannot advise on such things, because if my advice is incorrect, it can lead to a fish dying and I might be held responsible.

      In the interest of discussion – and this is NOT to be taken as professional advice in any way:

      It really is impossible to tell from just the description, but ‘a white like gel over the body’ sounds like a fungal infection to me. There are many different fungi live naturally in a tanks water without causing any harm, but if a fishes health is somewhat compromised, they can infect and begin to take hold. Has your fish got any other signs of illness, or high levels of stress? Are the water paramaters correct – have you double checked them? Is the tank perhaps overcrowded?

      If it is a fungal infection, there are many remedies available at your local fish store. However, there’s no guarantee that it is. The only way to really know is to see a professional, a vet with a high level of knowledge on fish.

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