Black Moor Goldfish Care Guide: The Fancy Fish With Telescopic Eyes

Goldfish are the most famous ornamental fish. There are many varieties, but Fancy Goldfish are becoming some of the most popular because of their unique appearances.

One of the most distinctive is the Black Moor Goldfish. They have a bold coloration and interesting anatomy which make them desirable for home aquariums.

They make peaceful additions that won’t cause any problems for the rest of your fish. They are easy to keep healthy if the tank is clean and they are fed a good diet, making them suitable for beginners.

Once you read one, you will understand why they are so popular.

This article will teach you how to look after your very own Black Moor Goldfish, covering their ideal setups, what to feed them, how to breed them and much more…

Black Moor Goldfish Facts & Overview

Black Moor Goldfish

Care Level:Easy
Color Form: Black
Lifespan:10-15 years
Size:6-8 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Family: Cyprinidae
Minimum Tank Size:20 gallons
Tank Set-Up:Freshwater: Plants and Swimming Space
Compatibility: Other Peaceful Community Fish

As Goldfish, Black Moors are from the Cyprinidae family. However, these are no ordinary Goldfish, they belong in a group known as Fancy Goldfish.

Each variety of Fancy Goldfish has their own distinctive features and for Black Moors, it’s their large telescopic eyes. You may see these fish called Telescopes because of this. Other names include Moors, Demekin, or Dragon Eyes.

They originated in China as a descendent from Carp. They have been bred there since the 1700s, at which point they were traded in Japan and later the rest of the world.

Today Goldfish are sold in most pet stores, but you may have to look around to find a stock of this particular variety. They should not cost more than $5.

Expect them to live for around 10-15 years, but this could stretch to 20 years for a healthy individual in their ideal aquarium.

Typical Behavior

Black Moor Goldfish are peaceful fish that should not cause a problem for any of their tank mates. They are more on the timid side, so they don’t get along well with boisterous fish.

Their swimming speed is fairly slow, which is another reason why they need other peaceful species in the aquarium.

Most of their time is spent in the mid-levels of the water and sometimes they will hide away when stressed.

They enjoy being with their own kind and will often shoal when kept in groups.


Black Moor Goldfish Appearance
Black Moor Goldfish Appearance by KDBlackmore (Wiki)

As their name suggests, Black Moor Goldfish are typically black in color. Most are solid black, but some have orange patches across their body.

Young fish start pale and gradually get darker as they mature.

Their eyes are the most noticeable part of their body. They gradually get bigger as they age and seem to ‘pop’ out of their head. The large lenses give them the alternative name of Telescope Goldfish.

Ironically their eyesight is poor, even with such large eyes.

Another distinctive feature is their round, egg-like body. This is a common trait of many fancy Goldfish varieties, but it makes them slow swimmers.

Black Moor Goldfish have some beautiful fins which are often the reason that people want this variety, along with the unique eyes. Their dorsal and pectoral fins are fairly large, but their anal and tail fins are longer and flowing.

Sexing individuals can be difficult, which might be a problem when trying to mate them. Males are slightly smaller but it’s hard to notice.

The easiest way to sex them is to wait until spawning season which is between April and August. During this time, males will have small white bumps known as breeding tubercles on their pectoral fins.

They can reach 6-8 inches in length, but they can grow larger if kept healthy.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Black Moor Goldfish Care

Goldfish are domesticated and selectively bred, so they don’t really have their own natural habitat anymore.

So when thinking about a Black Moor’s natural environment, it’s easier to consider the habitat of Asian Carps (which are their close relatives).

Asian Carps live in murky freshwater. They can be found in many different bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, canals and reservoirs.

The water tends to be slow-moving with sand or dirt lining the bottom. pH would be relatively neutral and the temperature range could be broad. Black Moors enjoy similar conditions to Asian Carp, so creating this environment at home should keep them happy and healthy.

Tank Setup

The water’s pH should be in the range of 6.5-7.5. A heater isn’t necessary, as long as the temperature remains between 50-75°F.

A filter is the only necessity, you don’t need any additional equipment. Most standard lights that come with a new tank are suitable, and you don’t need an air or water pump to create a current.

Add a layer of sand or gravel to the bottom of the tank. Black Moor Goldfish don’t spend much time here, so you can pick the type based of the needs of any other fish you plan to keep.

Adding plants is ideal, they make good hiding spots and help to clean the water. Free-floating varieties, such as hornwort are common in areas with Asian Carp.

Your Goldfish might nibble at the plants now and then, but they should be able to recover.

Decorations can be used as hiding spots too. Rocks and bogwood create a natural aesthetic, but you are free to use fun themed decorations instead.

What Size Aquarium Do They Need?

Black Moor Goldfish need at least a 20 gallon aquarium. Their long fins can mean that they take up more space than you might expect.

Don’t use a glass bowl like you have probably seen on TV. Goldfish need a proper tank with adequate filtration.

For each addition Black Moor add 10 gallons.

Tank Mates

Black Moor Goldfish Tank Mates

Black Moors are peaceful, fragile, and slow-swimmers, so any tank mates should have similar traits – this will prevent your Goldfish from being harassed and bullied.

This description matches many other varieties of Fancy Goldfish such as Orandas, so they can usually be grouped together.

Small shoaling fish make safe companions. Mollies, Neon Tetras, Cherry Barbs and Zebra Danios are a few of the most common shoaling species in the aquarium industry.

Some larger ones include Angelfish, Dwarf Gourami, and Glass Catfish.

There are many fish that you could use in the lower levels of the tank as well, such as Bristlenose Plecos, Kuhli Loaches, and Otocinclus.

Avoid aggressive or territorial species. This is the problem with most Cichlids, such as Oscars.
Species with a tendency to nip fins should be avoided too because of the Black Moor’s long, flowing fins.

Most small invertebrates are peaceful, so can be kept with your fish. Shrimp and snails are now a common sight in aquariums. Some examples include Amano Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, Mystery Snails, and Nerite Snails.

Keeping Black Moor Goldfish Together

Since this variety of Goldfish is so docile, you can keep them in groups without them displaying signs of aggression.


Black Moor Diet
Black Moor by Bastet78 (Wiki)

As omnivores, Goldfish consume both meats and plants.

They would naturally eat whatever they can find that will fit into their mouths. This would include small insects, tadpoles, larvae and small pieces of broken vegetation.

There are plenty of suitable foods that you can purchase. The most popular choices are dried foods like flakes and pellets. These are cheap and are designed to contain a variety of nutrients.

Higher quality foods will be a lot easier to process in the digestive system of your Black Moors. Moist foods, like frozen and live foods are good examples.

Daphnia, bloodworms and brine shrimp can be bought either frozen or live. These should be used as supplementary foods alongside their main diet.

Green vegetables can also be provided to help the digestive system. They contain high levels of fiber which lowers the risk of constipation. Lettuce, spinach and broccoli work well. You can even use them to try and make your own homemade fish food.

Feed your Black Moor Goldfish twice a day. Only add small amounts of food that they can easily finish in a couple of minutes.

Giving them small amounts of food regularly is easier for their digestive system to handle than adding lots of food in one go.


You should not experience many problems with your Black Moor Goldfish, but they are quite delicate and may need a little more attention than other species.

Their telescope eyes are an obvious weakness. Since their eyes are so large, but their eyesight is so poor, they can easily swim into sharp objects that could cause injuries.

They have a tough round body, but fragile eyes. They could also be damaged when being caught in a net. So you should make sure to place them in a tank with smooth objects and handle them carefully.

All their organs are squashed up in their small body, which can increase the likelihood of disease.

Swim bladder is a common problem and symptoms of this are obvious – the fish will either be floating on the surface or sitting at the bottom of the tank, since they can’t control their buoyancy effectively. Avoid feeding for 24 hours, then start to introduce fibrous foods such as vegetables.

Skin diseases, such as velvet disease are common for fancy Goldfish and are caused by parasites or bacteria. Symptoms will vary depending on the disease, but spots or color changes are typical.

Medications can be found in pet stores to help treat skin disease.

If you notice a sick fish, move them to a quarantine tank to try and prevent the disease spreading to the rest of your fish. Remember to be careful with their eyes when moving them.

Providing the tank is kept clean, problems will be infrequent. This includes weekly water changes to maintain clean water.


Black Moor Goldfish can easily be bred at home with a little know-how.

The lay eggs, just like all Goldfish. Spawning is triggered seasonally, so conditions in your tank need to replicate spring waters for breeding to start.

A rising temperature is the most important factor that changes as spring begins. Gradually raising the temperature of your tank is the key to starting everything off. Increase it 3°F a day.

Make sure the temperature remains in the recommended range though, aim for 75°F.

A male will begin courting by circling a female for a couple of days before they spawn. After spawning, up to 10,000 eggs could be produced and laid on surfaces around the tank.

Separate the fish from the eggs so that they don’t get eaten. The eggs will hatch in a few days time.

Feed the fry small foods that are high in iron and protein until they are large enough to eat an adult’s diet (at around two months old). At this point the parents can be re-introduced.

Are Black Moor Goldfish Suitable For Your Aquarium?

People of all experience levels will be able to look after Black Moor Goldfish. They are fish that even beginners will be able to look after with few problems.

A healthy diet is important to prevent digestive problems. If they are in a community aquarium they will need some peaceful tank mates too, since they are quite fragile.

Beyond this, you just need to keep the tank clean (like you should for all your fish).

They are a beautiful variety of Goldfish that you will love to watch swimming around your tank at home.

Why do you like Black Moor Goldfish? Let us know in the comments section below…

About Robert 394 Articles
Robert Woods is the creator of FishKeeping World, a third-generation fish keeper, and a graduate in animal welfare and behavior. He is also a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Marine Aquarium Societies of North America, and the Nature Conservancy.


  1. Kevin Boyle says:

    i have bee keeping end breeding fish for 40 years but i still like seeing this column come into my inbox and enjoy reading it. often i learn something new so keep up the good work!!

  2. Alex says:

    Barbs are able to nimble on a long fins of many goldfish varieties, so I would not recommend this combination of fish
    Neon tetras need doing great in acidic water, while a goldfish really flourishing in alkaline water. Not a god combination.
    Goldfish will most likely finish most if not all live plants in a tank.
    Goldfish does not need hiding places, especially telescopes due to their limited vision ability. I have and bred goldfish (and other aquarium fish) most of my life (about 50 years)

  3. Debbie Roe says:

    One of my black moors has started constantly returning to a certain spot in the tank and just hovering in that spot. It’s almost like he is laying on the gravel. What is this a sign of? Should I be worried about him?

  4. Roy says:

    It says 20 gallons. Does that mean 20 gallons per Blackmoor fish?

    • Alyssa Chisholm says:

      nope! 20 for the first, then 10 gallons per fish for the rest

  5. Corrin says:

    Dan black Moores be kept with calicos?

  6. Shiakoda Qkalokqua says:

    I have had my moor for about seven years and really enjoy him. I clean his tank and he rearranges it how he wants it! I put my hand in the tank and he rubs all over it.he likes when his belly is gently rubbed. He is the best! Him and my cat are good friends. I put him in a large bowl when i clean the tank and put the bowl on the floor and him and the cat watch each other for a while. My cat will go to sleep next to the bowl. Good fish!

  7. Kathy Brown says:

    Do my black moors need cycling (an air stone, etc) or is the filter enough movement? I’m using the Fluval 306 filter in a 40 gallon breeder tank. The problem is that the filter is at the far end, back of the aquarium so a lot of debris stays at the end away from the filter. It has to remain here because of the stand it is sitting on. I have some stone the size of quarters, more or less, on most, but not all, of the bottom.

    Also what brand and size heater(watts) do you recommend to maintain an even temperature. It gets a bit chilly in our upstairs in winter and I want to be sure temperature is not an issue.
    I appreciate you help,

    • Alyssa Chisholm says:

      for your tank i recommend a 200 watt heater and keep it to 60-70 degrees as they like colder temps

  8. Rachael says:

    I am new to fish keeping
    My husband bought me my tank and black 2 moor fish yesterday, and now am doing as much research as I can, I’m very excited.

  9. Antony says:

    I have 3 blackmoor goldfish in my 60gal tank and I awsome filter and it has air pumped through it. I know they are surface breathers but they do like to swim and play in the bubbles it’s quite amazing to watch them.

  10. Jess says:

    What do you recommend I try for my black moor that is sick. He’s just over 2 1/2 yrs old. The tank he has been in has gotten green algae or mold growth rather quickly lately. He is moved out of there with stress coat & water safe added, but appears very sick. He is at the bottom of the temporary water home he is in & doesn’t appear to have eaten for several days. Not sure what else to try. (Wish I could post a pic)

  11. Dillon says:

    Can you have 2 black moors in a 20 gallon tank

  12. nameless says:

    Great infro thank you

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