Black moor goldfish, as the name suggests, is a variant of goldfish and very popular as a pet. Here are some tips about the care and maintenance of this little fish, if you happen to bring it home as a pet.
The black moor goldfish originated in China, where it is popularly known as dragon eye, owing to its characteristic protruding eyes. It belongs to the telescope-eye variety of fancy goldfish, which are known for huge eyes jutting out of their heads! This fish is very friendly by nature and easy to maintain, making it one of the most loved aquarium residents all over the world.
Facts about Black Moor
★ Eyes: Black moors are not born with such huge eyes; they develop this unique characteristic as they mature. The other feature to note is the eyes of this fish move sideways, and not upwards.
★ Color: Almost always black, the fish may change their color to black, tinged with bronze as they age, and some may even undergo a transformation to rusty-orange on the undersides of their bellies if the water temperature rises.
★ Scales: They have metallic scales with a velvety appearance, which decreases with age.
★ Fins: The depth of their body is almost 2/3rd of its length. This goldfish are endowed with long, flowing, and delicate fins. The caudal fin is forked and rounded, and the pelvic, pectoral, and anal fins are long and paired. The dorsal fin is half the size of the depth of the body.
★ Eyesight: Despite such big eyes, the fish has very poor eyesight. Its eyes are very delicate features, and you need to take extra care to see that they do not get damaged.
★ Life Expectancy: Under favorable circumstances, they can have a life expectancy of 25 years, and grow up to 10 inches in length.
★ Physical Conditions: The fish is quite hardy despite a delicate body, and can survive in tough conditions. Even though it does not prefer very cold water, it can survive the winter months without too much hassle. If the water temperature rises, there are chances the fish may gradually change color to a grayish-orange, although this may not always happen.
★ Reproduction: They generally breed after a noticeable rise in temperature, at the onset of spring. Males grow small lumps over their gills and pectoral fins, with which they nudge females and stimulate them to release eggs. Apart from the breeding season, it is not easy to distinguish between the sexes. Generally, males are smaller in appearance than females with a slender body.
These goldfish are very gregarious, and will thrive in schools with other black moors. But due to poorly developed vision, it is advisable not to keep them with any other type of fish. When they cohabit with other types of fish, it has been found that they do not receive proper nutrition, as the other fish devour all the food and the black moors do not get to feed on anything because they can’t see much and are not very agile swimmers!
Care and Maintenance
★ A 10 gallon tank, or bigger, is suitable, the water temperature should be maintained around 60 to 70°F.
★ Monitor the pH level and maintain it at 7.
★ Standard lighting fixtures used for aquariums and available at pet stores can be used to provide light.
★ These goldfish produce ammonia as a by-product, and excess of it can cause ammonia poisoning. Hence the tank must be cleaned on a regular basis to keep the fish from getting killed due to ammonia toxicity.
★ Do not put delicate plants in the aquarium. The fish like to dig and may even uproot the plants and feed on them. Either decorate the aquarium with fake plants, or grow plants with sturdy root systems that will be difficult to uproot. But if you use fake plants, or any other aquarium decorations, make sure they have no sharp edges to them, because black moors have very delicate eyes. Silk plants and small, smooth decorations are ideal.
★ These goldfish are also quite messy and will dirty the tank often. With a penchant for digging, they can also disturb the gravel lining at the bottom of the tank, and stir up any settled debris. The water must be cleaned and filtered regularly to maintain the water quality and keep infections at bay.
★ Feed your pets with sinking food pellets. Floating food pellets should be avoided, as the fish find it difficult to hunt for food if it is floating around in the tank, because of poor eyesight.
★ They are voracious eaters, so be extra careful not to overfeed them, and do not feed foods that are too acidic or high in protein and sugar content too often because they are not tolerated well. Vary the diet now and then, your fish would be happy to munch on a variety of foods!
★ Pet stores stock the usual goldfish diet, so you can buy it to feed the black moors as well. You can also introduce the fish to tiny pieces of oranges, cucumbers, zucchini, blanched lettuce and spinach, peeled grapes and shelled peas. Sludge worms, bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp can also be fed to these goldfish.
Diseases and Preventive Measures
Like other types of goldfish, black moors are also prone to infections caused by parasites and worms. Some of these diseases can also lead to secondary bacterial and fungal infections in the fish.
★ Infections caused by flukes or flatworms cause torn fins and split gills which slowly lose color. Fish may also have trouble breathing. Preventive measures include treating the fish with Fluke Tabs for at least a couple of weeks, and giving the fish a bath with potassium permanganate added to the water.
★ Anchor worms and fish lice can also cause infections which can result in skin inflammation and redness, and the most obvious sign is the fish trying to rub itself on nearby objects to get rid of the itch. Potassium permanganate, and a formalin plus salt dip are usually recommended to treat this malaise.
★ One of the most common diseases is the ich, caused by a parasitic protozoan. The illness is characterized by rapid and shallow breathing, isolation, loss of appetite, and the fish exhibit lethargy and rest at the bottom of the tank. White spots all over the body indicate the presence of the parasite. The infection can be chemically treated like other ailments by using a potassium permanganate or a formalin dip. Other methods of prevention are treating the water with chlorine (tap water is usually used), to rid the water of parasites. The fish may die if ich is not treated at an early stage.
★ Most of this can be prevented by using correct filtration techniques and keeping the tank clean at all times, and replacing it with fresh clean water at regular intervals. If an infection is suspected or diagnosed, quarantine the infected fish to stop further spread of the disease.
Black moors make an excellent pet, do not require too much maintenance, and are intelligent enough to recognize human voices if they dwell with people for several months. If you keep this fish in a tank long enough, you can train it and might one day get it to accept food from your hands! Just be careful not to touch or pick up the fish, because handling a fish can harm its slimy coating, exposing it to parasitic infections. With a clean, aerated tank, and regular feedings, you can keep a velvety black moor goldfish as a pet for years to come.