Caring for Black Moors in an Aquarium

Black Moors are a variety of goldfish with a unique and characteristic appearance.

Firstly, they are sometimes alternatively known as “telescope goldfish” on account of their protruding eyes.

Secondly, they tend to have a round, stubby and almost “cute” body – a long way from the sleek, streamlined outline of a standard goldfish. They also possess fancy flowing fins and as the name would suggest are almost always black on colour.

Growing to up to 6-8” in length as adults, and able to live for up to 20 years, these are unique and fascinating fish to keep as pets.

Black Moor Aquariums

The first thing to understand about keeping Black Moors is that their unusual appearance puts them at some severe disadvantages. Experts believe that Black Moors tend to suffer from poor eyesight. Their rotund bodies and long fins also mean that they tend to swim far more slowly than many other goldfish varieties.

For this reason, Black Moors are not really suitable for ponds, where they may struggle to compete against other fish. In addition, they can become easy prey for cats and predatory birds due to their sluggish movements.

Aquarists recommend a fish tank of no smaller than 20 gallons in volume for a Black Moor. Interestingly, while Black Moors may be kept at room temperature like other goldfish varieties, they may also be kept in tropical tanks with water up to 25’C.

The obvious question is why one might opt to purchase and install a heater if these fish are fine without one? Here there are two answers. Firstly, for anyone with an existing tropical community tank it may be possible to add one or more Black Moors (depending on the other fish present in the tank).

black moor fish photo
Photo by Benson Kua

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, one of the biggest killers of pet goldfish are rapid changes in water temperature. This is why aquariums should never be placed in direct sunlight, where the water temperature can rapidly rise. Additionally, they should never be placed too close to doors, windows or radiators where temperatures may change rapidly, especially in winter.

Adding a thermostatically-controlled heater to the aquarium therefore has the benefit to helping to keep the water temperature far more constant – leading to a more comfortable environment and a healthier fish.

Therefore, while a heater is certainly not essential, an increasing number of fish keepers opt for one all the same.

All standard rules of fish keeping should be followed in terms of the aquarium. For example, water should be carefully dechlorinated before use.

Either leave water in a container for 24 hours before use so the chlorine can dissipate, or use a commercial dechlorinater in the water.

Care should be put into tank décor, to avoid the chances of tearing the ornate fins.

Sharp rocks and suchlike are typically best avoided, in favour of more rounded items.

Aquarium Filters for Black Moors

Goldfish are known to be messy feeders. Over time, therefore, the water can quickly become unhygienic, leading to potential health issues. It is important, therefore, to install a suitable filtration unit.

The range of available filters has grown considerably over the years, but internal canister filters are possibly the easiest and most cost-effective type of filter to get started with.

Even with a filter, it is still important to carry out regular water changes. Aim to remove roughly 25% of the water on a weekly basis, and replace it with fresh. Leave the water to reach a comfortable temperature before placing your fish into it, to avoid the chance of shock.

Feeding Black Moors

As discussed previously, Black Moors are slow swimmers with poor eyesight. If you opt to keep your Moors with other varieties of fish, therefore, you’ll want to be certain that they’re getting enough food. The last thing you want is for other faster fish to be beating them to the food each day.

A common issue with goldfish – and aquarium fish in general – is that many people overfeed them, resulting in leftover food and mess in the tank. This can soil the water and cause issues.

Ideally you should aim to feed your fish just once or twice a day, providing just what will be eaten in the space of 2-3 minutes. Only add a small amount of food at a time to ensure that everything has been eaten by the end of the session.

Black Moors can be fed like any other goldfish and will eat a range of standard foods. Typically, goldfish flakes are the easiest base food for them, though you may decide to supplement this with additional treats on occasion. Live foods such as Tubifex and Artemia can be purchased from many fish keeping shops and offer an exciting treat for your fish.


If you own a Black Moors and are planning to relocate, speak to the pet travel specialists PBS Pet Travel. w can faciltate both the UK pet import and pet export of your little companions.