Black Moor Goldfish Care & Breed Facts

A goldfish that’s BLACK?

Meet the black moor goldfish!

It’s unusual beauty will captivate your attention (and your heart).

And I think you’ll agree after you keep reading that they are extremely interesting.

So, what are you waiting for?

I want to learn about:

So, What Exactly is a Black Moor Goldfish?

Black Moors are one of the most popular types of pet fish.

You can find them at nearly any fish store that carries goldfish… they are almost as common as fantail goldfish!

Though they aren’t quite as hardy, rumor has it that they are able to withstand the rigors of outdoor pond life (unlike most other fancy goldfish).

Quick Facts

  • Temperature: 75 – 80 degrees F
  • Species name: Carassius auratus auratus
  • Hardiness: Relatively hardy
  • Lifespan: 5-10 years on average
  • Size: 6 to 8 inches on average
  • Temperament: Docile, Clumsy
  • Tank Size: 10-20 gallons

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Breed Identification

There are two traits that define the classic black moor from other egg-shaped goldies:

A deep black coloring…

… And huge telescope eyes.

(You can’t miss ’em on most ones).

The black coloring isn’t shiny like the scales of most metallic fish.


Because the scales of black moors are matte, meaning they have no reflectivity.  (Actually, that’s due to the absence of a substance called “guanine” which makes the scales metallic or not.)

That’s what gives the fish a dark, velvety-soft appearance.

(That also means it is easy to spot when one has a case of ich.)

Higher quality black moors will have a deep, rich black color that some like to compare to “Chinese ink.”

You may occasionally see a black moor that has an orange belly and sides, but the black is still on top by the dorsal fin.

This is because the fish is going through a process called demelanization.

That means it is in the process of turning orange gradually – most of the time the fish will lose all of the black and turn completely orange!

What causes THAT?

Well, there are a couple of theories.

1) It happens due to exposure to warmer temperatures

2) It happens because the fish’s genetics are predisposed to do that because of poorly maintained breeding lines, regardless of environment

They will still keep their telescopic eyes though, which brings me back to the most striking characteristic of the black moor…

Where’d You Get Those Peepers?!

Black moors, like other telescopes, are known for their huge, protruding eyes.

(You either love ’em or hate ’em if you’re a goldfish person).

They are usually round and stand out a good bit from their bodies.

Actually their eyes can take up to 3 months before they fully develop, but it usually starts at 6-8 weeks.

How big the eyes get depends on the individual fish (though the bigger the better, in the mind of the breeder)… Some have eyes that hardly protrude at all, while others seem to barely be able to lift their head because of their giant eyes!

Despite having much larger eyes than normal, black moors actually don’t have very good eyesight.

This can lead to them having a harder time finding food and competing with goldies who have better vision.

In fact:

Their poor eyesight is what causes a lot of people to think their black moor is actually quite dumb.

Their large eyes are also delicate.

If you have pointy objects the fish bumps into (or a much larger fish with a big mouth) in the tank, their eyes can get damaged easily and even actually come off the stalk altogether! :O

But that’s not all:

Cloudy eyes are more common on moors because of how prone they are to injury and caustic burning from contaminants in the water.  (This is often seen on fish that have recently been through transit.

They are also prone to getting scar tissue damage to their eye lenses as they age.


Black moors may start out small…

But they usually end up growing 6-8 inches total in length.

Here’s what they look like when they get big:

This means they need a tank size of at least 10 gallons, preferably more, so they have enough room to swim around comfortably!

How to Breed Black Moors

It’s easy to see those little white speckles called breeding tubercles on a male black moor’s gill plates and front fin rays.

These are only apparent while the fish is in prime breeding condition.

Like other breeds of goldfish, moors will be more likely to breed after a period of cold weather followed by spring-like conditions.

And when they do…

They can lay over a thousand eggs!


How to Properly Take Care of Your Black Moor

While not considered the most tricky variety of goldfish to keep…

Black moors DO require proper living conditions.

Due to being bred selectively, their shorter bodies (which compact the organs closer together) are more prone to issues such as Swim Bladder Disorder.

For that reason they have to have a very perfect diet and environment.

How long do black moor goldfish live anyway?

With the right care, they can live out their full lifespan of 5-10 or more years!


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Rating 4.5 90%

1. Picking out the Correctly Sized Aquarium

fancy-goldfish-tank copy

As we’ve already covered:

Black moors have very delicate eyes.

That’s why it’s really important to make sure there is nothing in the tank that could potentially lead to injury, such as pointy objects on tank decorations or areas they could get stuck in.

Can you keep your black moor in a bowl?

Many people will tell you an instant “no.”

But after taking a closer look at keeping goldfish in bowls, I’ve come to the personal conclusion that they aren’t always evil.

Especially for young fish.

If your fish is already pretty big (black moors can actually get pretty large!) then a full-size goldfish tank would be a better option.


Its a good idea to shoot for one that’s 10-20 gallons large for each fish for optimal success.

Keep in mind:

Bigger is always better.

2. Making Sure Your Fish has the Correct Water Temperature

It just so happens that, (unlike lots of other species) goldfish adapt to their environment pretty well.


Chilly water is more likely to cause health problems as the fish’s immune system is weaker.

Of course, too hot is stressful also.


What is the best temperature for your finned friend?

For nearly all types of fancy goldfish, it’s actually in the 75-80 degrees F range (read why here).


3. Providing your Black Moor with the Right Kind of Diet

Diet plays a critical role in the well-being of your goldfish – and also its growth.

Goldies are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter for their food.


A balanced diet is really important to them, because with their rounder body shape they are prone to swim bladder trouble.

That’s why it’s really important to have a solid feeding plan.

Choosing a quality staple food is the biggest step to take when you are figuring out how to feed a balanced meal to your aquatic pets.

You can read more about goldfish diet requirements in our feeding article.

4. Selecting the Best Tank Mates

Could it be that your pet is longing for a fishy friend?

If so, you’ll want to find out what other fish you can safely keep with your black moor.

Because of their friendly personalities, they tend to do great with most other fancy types of goldfish, with maybe the best being other moors or fish that are vision impaired, such as other telescopes or celestial eye goldfish.

But here’s an important tip:

Only keep other goldfish in with goldfish.

They do best that way… TRUST ME.

Interesting to look at doesn’t matter nearly as much as having a peaceful tank.

The bottom line?

Please don’t make the mistake of putting other kinds of fish in there too, like tropical fish, as they don’t mix well and can hurt your goldfish.


5. Diagnosing & Treating Diseases

Fancy goldfish are prone to several kinds of diseases.

The good news is many of them are not very difficult to treat if you correctly identify the symptoms and analyze possible causes for problems.

Conditions like white spot disease (ich) show up pretty quickly, or the fish may already have it by the time you bring it home.

They can also get secondary infections from eye trauma.

Check out our article on diseases for the most common ones.

Everything Else You Need to Know


We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to caring for your Black Moor.

There just isn’t enough time to go into all the detail!

But don’t worry – I wrote a complete care guide called “The Truth About Goldfish.”

It contains ALL the information you will ever need to make sure your fish doesn’t just survive, but THRIVES.

I’m sure you want yours to reach its full potential, right? ?

You can take a peek at it here:

4.5 90% from 27 ratings
Rating 4.5 90%

Should the Black Moor be its own Breed?

I admit it, I’ve struggled with this concept:

“Black moor” is considered its own breed of goldfish, but aren’t they really just a telescope with black coloring? Why should they be considered their own breed and not another coloring, such as white, blue, calico or chocolate?

What’s more…

The same velvety black coloring can be found on Ranchus, Orandas and other types of goldfish!

Why does a matte black telescope deserve a different classification altogether, with the label of “moor?” (Admittedly, some do refer to other colors of telescopic goldfish as moors, but they aren’t considered their own variety.)

What do you think?

Am I missing something here?

4.5 90% from 27 ratings
Rating 4.5 90%


  1. Pure Goldfish March 15, 2017 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Visitor Rating: 3 Stars

  2. Anonymous March 15, 2017 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Visitor Rating: 5 Stars

  3. Anonymous March 15, 2017 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Visitor Rating: 5 Stars

  4. sonia rasul May 20, 2017 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    oh dear! i just bought a baby black moor for my daughter … in a glass vase\bowl!!! what do i do??

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish May 23, 2017 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      My advice is to get a tank for your black moor that is at least 10 gallons, preferably 20 🙂 It will do much better in there with regular water changes. Be sure to read about cycling too.

    • Anonyomous December 29, 2018 at 12:21 am - Reply

      I would say that 20 L is an ok size for a baby black moor I have 2 adults that live quite happily in a 20 L tank

      Rating: 5
  5. Pure Goldfish
    Pure Goldfish June 17, 2017 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Morris, what a great name! He sounds like quite the handful. Thanks for sharing!

  6. P June 27, 2017 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Help! I\\\\\\\’ve done a ton of research on black moors and your tank mates article.
    I asked my parents and they said yes to me getting a black moor; however, they refuse to allow me even a 10 gallon tank, I offered to pay for it. Still no.
    We have 2 other tanks; a 46 gallon with a bunch of tiny tropical fish, and a 10 gallon with more little tropical fish. All these little fish swim fast and black moors are slow. I\\\\\\\’ve tried to explain to them that if we get the black moor in there they will make it starve from them getting food first. And they will probably only let me get flakes. For tropical fish. Which goldfish are not.
    How am I supposed to convince them that my goldfish needs its own tank?
    Thanks for the awesome website.

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish June 28, 2017 at 4:18 pm - Reply

      Hey P! Maybe you could show your parents the article we have on tank size for goldfish, as well as tank mates. Our feeding article might also provide some helpful insights 🙂

    • Anonymous December 29, 2018 at 12:23 am - Reply

      If I were you I would buy a 20 L tank , I have two black moors which live happily in mine

      Rating: 2.5
  7. Rain September 2, 2017 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    I just got three Black Moor Goldfish, but I only have a two and a half gallon tank. They are only babies, and seem to be happy for now, sometimes they play with me and follow my finger, but i want to make sure that they live as long as they can, what do i do? i love the little things!

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish September 4, 2017 at 7:20 pm - Reply

      Definitely a bigger tank would be the best place to start! At least 30 gallons would be what they need to live a long and healthy life.

  8. Avery September 4, 2017 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    Hi! I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on my goldfish setup? I have a baby black moor in a 29 gallon tank, hes about 2 inches long including tail, im using a HOB filter made for up to 45 gallons with 240 GPH flow rate. and a small bubble wall. I just upgraded him from a 10 gallon tank.

    Is this a good set up for him? I’m going to need to do weekly water changes, correct?

    I also have one main problem with him, ive had him for 2 months now and he’s doing great but he struggles eating, he seems to never see the food when I put it in the tank but I see him nibble on the ground so i assume he gets the food eventually from the ground. I started with flakes but then tried floating granules, that didnt work, they were way too big and then heard about swim bladder disease, so stopped using those. Then yesterday i bought small sinking granules, hopeing that will work best.

    One last question.. i’m sorry.. lol.. Would i ever be able to add another goldfish to this tank? or is it too small?

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish September 4, 2017 at 7:16 pm - Reply

      The tank is just the right size for two fancy goldfish. But it is very normal for moors to have trouble finding food because they have horrible eyesight :/ Weekly water changes are good. The HOB filter might be cause too much current, so make sure the fish aren’t being blown around.

  9. Tiffany October 1, 2017 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    I just got a black moor goldfish added into my tank (i have three other fish in there as well) and it disappeared for a day and a half well when i found it it was floating sideways and has almost no tail fins left and no scales on the side and i have a bigger white fish who kept attacking him! i put the black moor in a separate thing and im trying to nurse him back to health so he doesnt pass away what can i do?

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish October 1, 2017 at 11:06 pm - Reply

      Aww I’m sorry 🙁 Just keep the water clean, as much as you can… if the issue was brought on by bad water quality, the damage could be done and it might be too late. Keep changing the water and don’t overfeed and he might pull through!

      • Tiffany October 1, 2017 at 11:11 pm - Reply

        okay im gonna hand feed him and its a 75 gallon tank can i do partial changes?

        Rating: 5
        • Pure Goldfish
          Pure Goldfish October 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm - Reply

          Sure, go for at least 50%

      • Tiffany October 1, 2017 at 11:12 pm - Reply

        i am getting a water test kit and everything to be sure what exactly happened

        Rating: 5
        • Pure Goldfish
          Pure Goldfish October 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm - Reply

          I think that’s a good idea. 🙂

  10. Ashley October 25, 2017 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    I have a problem with my blackmoor goldfish not getting enough food when I feed my other goldfish.. It’s almost like he/she isn’t fast enough to get to the food like the other goldfish do…. what should I do?

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish October 29, 2017 at 4:21 pm - Reply

      Hey Ashley 🙂 I’d recommend trying to hand-train your fish to eat out of your fingers. That way they know to come up to the surface and where to eat. It can take a bit of work, but it will be worth it 🙂

  11. Bailey boo December 3, 2017 at 7:04 am - Reply

    hi, I have been looking to get a pet Black Moor Goldfish. How many Black Moor Goldfish could I get in a 65L tank?


    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish December 31, 2017 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      I’d only do one.

  12. Akib khan December 10, 2017 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Hay can any one share the exact tank required to keep the 2 black moor in liters ie. 2 ltr 3 ltr

    Rating: 5
  13. Sydni Hale January 19, 2018 at 3:53 am - Reply

    Do black moors have to have tank mates? And do they need something to produce oxygen? Because right now I have a temporary fish bowl until I can get everything regulated in my 20 gal tank and he keeps going up for air so I’m very conserved I also just got him two days ago and hope he’s not stressed

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish January 22, 2018 at 12:34 am - Reply

      No, they don’t have to have tank mates but well-oxygenated water is a must. A properly sized aquarium and filter will make sure there is enough oxygen, please see our article for bowls information. 🙂

  14. patt love January 29, 2018 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    why do I see a string that look like it’s on the tail of the black moor.Looks like the fish is trying to shake it off.

    Rating: 3
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish February 4, 2018 at 11:13 pm - Reply


  15. Aimee February 16, 2018 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    How many fancy goldfish could I have in a 250ltr tank? At the moment I have a baby black moor a baby pearlscale and a Calico ryukin.

    Rating: 4
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish February 17, 2018 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      6 fancies would be good 🙂

  16. Breeonna Sheedy March 1, 2018 at 6:14 am - Reply

    I’m kinda new to this whole fish thing so please bear with me and don’t judge me to harshly. The only reason i really got fish is because I went off to college and i was lonely. I started off with a betta and a plecko in a three gallon tank. I cracked my tank and had to buy a new one so i upgraded to a five gallon tank. Leonard and Fritz seemed to be thriving. My betta fritz always comes and talks to me when i walk by his tank and say his name. a death in my family threw me for a loop and I went to the pet store to cheer myself up. Well I bought a black moore goldfish in a whim because the lady at the store said they would do well with my fish I had. When i got back to my dorm I realized it was not the case. They are doing really well together actually. But, I did research and found out that thy really shouldn’t be housed together. I can’t afford a new tank and i don’t have anyone I can give freckles to. What are your recommendations?

    Rating: 4
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish March 4, 2018 at 11:05 pm - Reply

      Goldfish do best in at least 10 gallons, but if you could find a tupperware bin to house him in until you can find a new home (try Craigslist) then that would be best.

  17. Mel March 5, 2018 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    We have a black moore and a sucker fish living along with him/her. it is a 10 gal tank. Is this fine? We are wanting to get him another friend, but another Moor friend. Is this recommended?

    Rating: 3.5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish March 11, 2018 at 10:23 pm - Reply

      Hey, Mel 🙂 It isn’t recommended to have another fish in that tank. 10 gallons is just barely enough for 1 fancy goldfish.

  18. Claire April 15, 2018 at 12:26 am - Reply

    Hi I’ve just got 2 black moors and the water 24 hours later has gone all foggy, any ideas? It has a filter etc so unsure why it’s happened.

    Rating: 3.5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish April 15, 2018 at 10:18 pm - Reply

      Likely the tank isn’t cycled. Is it new?

  19. Finnigan Moran April 27, 2018 at 1:00 am - Reply

    Hello, Pure Goldfish . I have two question for you. 1. My black moor goldfish is scared of me is there any way to make it like me. 2 like you said for other types of goldfish for friends. would a butterfly tail goldfish be go for a friend. I have also bought the book I have learn so much about my little babies. Thank you

    All advice is wonderful

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish April 29, 2018 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      Hey Finnigan! To answer your questions: 1. Food. 2. A butterfly tail would be a great companion for a black moor. I hope this helps 🙂

  20. Finnigan Moran May 3, 2018 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Hello, Pure Goldfish . I have two question for you. 1. My black moor goldfish is scared of me is there any way to make it like me. 2 like you said for other types of goldfish for friends. would a butterfly tail goldfish be go for a friend. I have also bought the book I have learn so much about my little babies. Thank you

    All advice is wonderful ….

    Rating: 5
  21. Finnigan Moran May 3, 2018 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Sorry that I posted twice I did bye accident but thank you Pure Goldfish for all your advice

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish May 6, 2018 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      You are very welcome 🙂

  22. darren May 16, 2018 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    hi Pure Goldfish i got a couple of blackmoors last week but one is not looking to good it had gone a bit silver last couple of days but today going gold and swimming into plants and staying still then after a while it will come out swim a bit wobbly and go into plants again any suggestions

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish May 27, 2018 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      Hey Darren, did you try testing the water?

  23. Steven May 30, 2018 at 2:34 am - Reply

    Hey Pure Goldfish! Quick question. I have a 16 gallon tank and am wondering if there’s any possibility that two black moors could comfortably fit in together? I’d be willing to go the extra mile and do more frequent water changes if that’s the limiting factor. Otherwise I’d be equally happy with just one. Also, is it ok to have a small carp bottom algae feeder in the same tank? Thanks for your input!

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish June 3, 2018 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      Nix on the algae feeder, but with enough water changes, two black moors will be fine.

  24. Jen & Mark June 12, 2018 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    Hey Pure Goldfish. We built a pond last year and put in one blackmoor and one shubukin. They have been doing fine all this time together, but we decided we wanted to give them some new friends about three weeks ago, so we added another shubukin and a small koi, along with four very small algee eaters. Everyone seams to be getting along fine, but I noticed today that my moor has what looks like a white spot with a cut in it on one side, another white spot on the other side, and one of her eyes is cloudy. Do you think one of the new fish attacked her? Or does this sound like she might be sick? All the other fish look fine, so if she is sick I want to get her into her own tank quickly so she doesn’t infect the others. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish June 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm - Reply

      Sounds like ich. If you didn’t quarantine the new fish they probably transferred something. Treat for ich would be my advice.

  25. Peton June 20, 2018 at 5:57 am - Reply

    How can I tell if my black moor is a boy or a girl.

    Rating: 4.5
  26. mia July 28, 2018 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    hi i have had a black moor now for a little over a month now still tiny and isnt to keen on makeing freinds we tryed with another black moor but he ended up killing it with bullying what should i do

    Rating: 4.5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish July 29, 2018 at 1:27 am - Reply

      Some fish seem to like to live alone. Yours might just be one of those, Mia 🙂

  27. Elizabeth Keefner August 31, 2018 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    I am curious if black moors get head heavy and have a hard time swimming normal. We have one that is pretty good size now at 4 to 5 inches. Lately he has been floating head down every so often. I thought that as our fish have grown there were just to many in the tank so we split the group up and now we have only 2 goldfish and a pleco in a 20 gallon tank. After splitting them up and with fewer fish in the tank he seemed to perk up. Now after about a week now he has started the same behavior but not as often. I can’t see any other physical sign of sickness and no one else in either tank seems sick either. I change out 4 to 5 gallons every week or 2 and change the filter every week. We have had him for close 2 years now and we are pretty fond of him and all our fish. Also we have him in a hexagon tank and our other tanks is a traditional rectangular tank. Both are 20 gallons.

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish September 3, 2018 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      I would suggest ruling out other possible problems before assuming the issue is genetic, starting with a water test.

  28. Spooky December 5, 2018 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    How to know the age of the blackmoor

    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish December 5, 2018 at 4:28 pm - Reply

      Only way to know for sure is rings on the scales viewed with a microscope. If you see breeding stars then likely the fish is around at least year old.

  29. Miss b January 3, 2019 at 6:39 am - Reply

    Hi I have four black moors and I have falling in love with them to the point they all have names and I can tell them about. And I love learning about them… Anyway I just bought two more,but they are calico and their eyes arnt popped out other then that they look like a black moor. They young lady at the pet shop said they were black moors.. What kind of fish did I get…thank u

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish January 3, 2019 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      Sounds like calico fantails to me 🙂

  30. Brit January 30, 2019 at 1:24 am - Reply

    Hey there,
    I just got a black moor 2 days ago. He’s in a 3 gal filtered tank temporarily until I get my 20 gal tomorrow or Friday. He seems to have a white film on his eyes and his fins are starting to become transluscent on the edges. He hasn’t really eaten anything that I can tell and I’m doing a 4 cup water change (conditioned) 2-3 times a day to keep the murkiness at bay. He’s acting fine, swimming around, coming to the glass when I talk to him and such but I’m worried about the physical issues. Im worried he was ill when I got him or just very stressed. Any ideas?

    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish February 1, 2019 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      Excess slime could be fungus, I’d treat with MinnFinn.

  31. Paloma March 7, 2019 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    So I am getting 2 black moor goldfish but my parents are vary concerned about the water bill if doing a 15-50 present water change every week { I have a 55 gallon}. Any tips on how to save some water but also keep the fish heathy?


    Rating: 5
    • Pure Goldfish
      Pure Goldfish March 7, 2019 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      Lots of plants, feed sparingly, you should be fine in that lightly of a stocked system even going every 2 weeks maybe longer. It depends on your nitrates.

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