The Black Moor goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus) is unique among all the other varieties of fancy goldfish.
Here is a complete guide that will give you a bit of history and dwell on all you need to know to take care of your Black Moor.
Most people think of the brightly colored fancy varieties but the Black Moor is an all black, even the fins and eyes.
The Black Moor is a type of telescope eye goldfish but with black coloration.
Take a close look and you’ll see the egg shaped body and bulging eyes. The fins are long and graceful.
The Black Moor was selectively bred to obtain its present form. The Black Moor’s ancestors were very plain with drab olive colors.
The fact is today’s fancy goldfish originated from wild carp. It is believed that today’s goldfish varieties are derived from selective breeding of Prussian carp (Carassius gibelio) or Crucian Carp (Carassius carassius).
Carp were used for food and are one of the earliest forms of fish farming.
Every so often genetic abnormalities would cause some fish to have little yellow, orange or red in them.
The telescope eyes also appeared, leading to names such as Dragon Fish and Dragon Eyes. Legend states that these fish were isolated in their own ponds as interesting oddities.
What this did was start to lock in the color patterns as the fish interbed. Eventually the fish caught the attention of Chinese fish breeders.
Historical writings and art suggests the Chinese began selective breeding of goldfish before 1000 AD!
Early forms of goldfish were introduced to Japan in the 1500s. Once in Japan, fish breeders further developed the long tail fins and bright color patterns.
Fancy goldfish are now found throughout the world.
- Types of Black Moors
- Color development in Black Moor goldfish
- How to feed Black Moors
- Tank mates for Black Moors
- Set up the aquarium for Black Moors
- Water conditions for Black Moor goldfish
- Aquascaping the goldfish aquarium
- Final thoughts on Black Moor care
Types of Black Moors
Since the Black Moor is a variety of fancy goldfish, it is no surprise it shares many features of its more colorful cousins.
The Black Moor has the traditional short, egg shaped body. The eyes protrude from the side of the head like other telescope varieties.
Collectors like to classify individual fish by the style of the eyes. Some fish’s eyes stick out like smooth cones. A close look may reveal a less telescoping form that looks like concentric ridges.
The other eye form is more balloon like and may even have a tiny inflated sac near the cheek.
These “ocular features” simply appear as the fish ages.
The original Black Moors had a fantail but more recent varieties have longer, flowing fins.
You’ll be able find Moors with wide tails, butterfly tails and even ribbon like tails.
It was originally thought that the black coloration was linked to the telescoping eye traits.
But Black Moors sometimes produce offspring that are black but have normal eyes.
More recent breeding projects has produced a variety of black fancy goldfish including black orandas, fully black lionheads, black orandas, ranchus and ryukins.
Breeders have also introduced black pearlscales, black comets, and even black bubble eye fancy goldfish!
Color development in Black Moor goldfish
When the fish are young, up to a month old, they often have a brownish bronze appearance.
They young fish have the traditional egg shaped body but lack the telescoping eyes.
Not very exciting to look at, to be truly honest.
But as they mature over the next six to eight weeks, juvenile Black Moors gradually develop the characteristic velvety black color and protruding eyes.
Some goldfish experts warn that warm water will minimize the formation of the black pigment, causing the fish to have a bronze coloration.
Some aquarists believe that even mature Black Moors can be forced to lose their black coloration if kept in warm aquarium or pond water.
More on water quality later!
Genetics and age can play a role in loss of black color in older fish.
Some Black Moors remain black their entire life, while other gradually lose some color in old age.
How to feed Black Moors
In nature, carp and goldfish have an omnivorous diet.
They will forage through the mud and leaf litter, eating insects, worms, bits of plants and algae.
Many goldfish and koi breeders claim that the muddy bottom and algae rich diet stimulates strong pigment formation.
It is obvious that a poor diet causes loss of health and color, but most of us don’t want our aquariums to look like a murky, green pond.
Fortunately, commercial specialty goldfish foods are available. High quality goldfish food products have been specially formulated to meet the specific nutritional needs of fancy goldfish kept in aquariums and ponds.
A basic goldfish pellet will contain a high percentage of plant-based ingredients like alfalfa and kale.
However, corn is a low cost ingredient and should not be one of the top ingredients.
Starch is what makes fish food pellets puff up and take up space in the food container.
It can also increase the floating properties.
Denser food pellets have less starch and more nutritional diversity.
Floating pellets, in a variety of sizes, make it easy to see how much food your fish are eating.
Sinking pellets are also available. Sinking pellets are less “puffed” with less air space, so they sink.
The pellets will fall to the bottom of the aquarium, where the goldfish can pick them off the gravel bed.
When using sinking pellet food, be careful not to add too much food at one time.
If the pellets end up buried in between rocks and gravel, they’ll rot and foul the water.
Too much floating pellets will be ignored by the fish.
Within an hour, nutrients from the pellets dissolve and reduce the aquarium’s water quality.
Cloudy water from a bacteria bloom is usually caused by over feeding.
Goldfish naturally forage at the bottom of the tank but will learn to take food from just about anywhere, even your hand!
But pellets are not the only food your Black Moors will love. Goldfish flakes are also a favorite.
There is some disagreement among fancy goldfish enthusiasts about feeding flake foods.
Some feel the flakes cause constipation and gut troubles.
Others say sinking pellets are the only way to go.
One thing everyone agrees on is that over feeding fancy goldfish causes nothing but problems.
The “unnatural” egg shape of Black Moors and other fancies places their stomach and intestinal tract in a compact position.
Too much food at one time seems to cause problems.
The best advice is to feed small amounts of food several times a day.
Black Moors will always act like they are hungry.
Don’t fall for their tricks!
If you would like to supplement a commercial diet with fresh vegetables, its easy!
Just chop up small bits of zucchini or peas and soften them in a microwave.
Small pieces of banana are also a favorite.
Be sure to remove any uneaten food after 30 minutes.
If you want fin out more on feeding goldfish, we have a an article on goldfish food you can check out.
What about color enhancing and high protein foods?
The natural color enhancing food ingredients used to boost red, orange and yellow coloration in goldfish are of no value to Black Moors.
Black Moor skin tissue contain specialized cells called chromatophores that store pigments.
The black coloration is caused by “melanophores”: that contain the black pigment melanin.
This causes the Black Moor to have a velvety black appearance.
Goldfish color-enhancing foods normally cannot boost the melanin and may cause the fish to lose their desirable black coloration.
We suggest to avoid feeding Black Moors color-enhancing foods.
Goldfish are built to digest mostly plant matter. A high protein food is unnecessary and generally considered bad for goldfish as a daily food.
Tank mates for Black Moors
While Black Moors are quite hardy, not all fancy goldfish make for good roommates.
Black Moors, with their elongated eyes, move slowly and can’t “zero in” on food as quickly as other goldfish varieties.
This means they can miss out at feeding time.
Some types of goldfish can be somewhat aggressive and “butt heads” while competing for food. It is best to keep goldfish with similar temperaments together in the same aquarium.
Suggested companions include other telescope eye and bubble eye varieties.
Most aquarists like to keep two or more Black Moors together as a single variety fancy goldfish tank.
Set up the aquarium for Black Moors
Goldfish, with proper care, can live for over 10 years.
Although you can purchase small Black Moors, they will grow to ten inches in length in a short time.
A good power filter will go a long way in keeping the water clean and clear.
Look for a filter that has mechanical filtration to remove floating particles plus activated carbon.
Activated carbon adsorbs dissolved organic compounds that build up in all aquariums.
Many of these organics will gradually discolor the aquarium water, giving it a tea-like tint.
Change the cartridge or filter media at least once every month.
After about 30 days the filter media becomes clogged and won’t purify the aquarium water.
Changing about 20% of the water once a month will dilute algae-promoting nutrients like nitrate and phosphate.
Use a gravel siphon to vacuum out sludge and organic debris that clog the gravel bed.
Dirty aquariums are a breeding ground for fish disease pathogens.
Maintaining a maintenance regimen will ensure your tank stays clear and clean and the Black Moors remain healthy.
Dirty aquariums are a breeding ground for fish disease pathogens.
While goldfish don’t need tropical water temperatures, the aquarium water should not undergo dramatic temperature changes.
An aquarium heater, set to about 70°F, protects the fish from an accidental drop in water temperature.
Water conditions for Black Moor goldfish
Maintaining good water quality is important for all fish. Goldfish are no exception.
Fortunately, Black Moors don’t require any special conditions, compared to other goldfish.
Below is a list of water parameters suitable for keeping a Black Moor aquarium.
There is one important thing to keep in mind when keeping Black Moors:
With this in mind, try to avoid setting up the aquarium in a warm room or where the tank would be subject to heat, like next to a fireplace.
Aquascaping the goldfish aquarium
All goldfish are notorious diggers.
If the sand or gravel is small enough, they’ll sift through it looking for bits of live foods.
But don’t allow any food to work its way into the gravel bed. It will simply decay and cause water quality problems like cloudy water, algae growth and nitrite spikes.
You can use any aquarium safe gravel or sand but if you’re using plastic, silk or even cool water live plants, goldfish will try to dig them out.
Larger smooth pebbles, placed around the base of plants, will discourage digging.
Resin caves and other ornaments will be explored by the fish.
Telescope and bubble eye goldfish don’t see as well as other fish. It is easy for them to scratch or poke themselves on sharp sticks and rocks.
Keep this in mind when selecting items to decorate the aquarium.
Final thoughts on Black Moor care
Fancy goldfish are a fun and fascinating segment of the aquarium hobby.
Black Moors are a favorite fancy variety with their friendly personality and playful behavior. Black Moors are easy to care for and will provide years on companionship and enjoyment.
The key to keeping Black Moors happy and healthy lies in giving them good water quality and a proper diet.
Just follow our simple steps and your Black Moor aquarium will be an aquatic showpiece for years to come.