Among the goldfishes we acquired back in January 2009 for our 46-gallon tank is a pair of Black Moors. Several months later, one of them turned orange. Apparently, what we thought was a Black Moor was a Celestial-Eyed Fantailed Goldfish that was black only as a juvenile. But this story is not about him. It’s about the other Black Moor. The real Black Moor. The one I call “Shuriken.”
Mike has this habit of counting the goldfishes every chance he gets. It’s unusual that he does that because I’m the one with OCD. One morning he said, “Aren’t we supposed to have nine fishes in this tank?”
I didn’t pay attention to him because he usually comes back with, “Oh, okay, there’s nine of them.”
This time he followed up with “Where’s the black guy? When was the last time you saw the Black Moor?”
We circled the tank twice, looked up and down. No Black Moor. Did he die and disintegrate without us noticing? He won’t fit in the filter tube, so that’s out of the question. Maybe he died and the fishes consumed him in the middle of the night. No way.
There’s a tree-trunk-like cast décor in the middle of the tank – maybe he got lodged inside it. So I lifted it to check the underside. No Black Moor. It remained a puzzle and a mystery for several days until I decided to clean the tank with the vacuum hose.
I lifted the cast décor to vacuum the gravel underneath it and out popped the Black Moor. He was alive but his fins were badly scraped and one of his eyes was white from being scratched against the wall of the décor. He had been lodged inside the décor for days!
Despite his injuries, Black Moor eventually recovered. His fins and eyes healed and there was no trace of the whitish wounds. He was back to normal, just with shorter tail fins.
Then yesterday afternoon, Mike counted the fishes again. “Where’s the Black Moor?”
“I saw the Black Moor eat this morning,” I said. This time we knew he had lodged himself inside the décor again. I quickly opened the tank and pulled up the décor. I gave it a gentle shake because I was sure the fish got trapped in there again. Black Moor rolled out, all bruised, again. He had struggled for hours.
I pulled the fake tree trunk out of the water, making sure the small Plecos were not attached to it, and brought it outside to decorate the patio. So, now if Shuriken really has a death wish, he’ll have to be very creative. We’ve put him on suicide watch.
For the story and photos of our aquarium setup: Fish Come True