Dazzling aquarists with their captivating appearance and peaceful nature, black neon tetra have gained immense popularity in the world of aquariums. An excellent choice for both novice and experienced fish keepers, these beautiful tropical fish add a touch of elegance and vibrancy to any tank. As you venture into the fascinating world of black neon tetra, learn about their unique characteristics, proper care, and breeding techniques that will ensure a thriving, harmonious aquatic community.

Key Takeaways

Black Neon Tetra Origins and Characteristics

Black Neon Tetra, also known as Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi, are small freshwater fish native to the Paraguay Basin in Brazil, renowned for their distinct dark stripes and tranquil nature. These fish are known to reach a size of about 1.5 inches in length.

With their energetic and peaceful temperament, it’s no wonder why they are a popular choice amongst aquarists. Their adaptability makes them suitable for novice fish keepers, as they are unlikely to succumb to minor errors or common diseases like Neon Tetra Disease.

What kind of fish is a black neon tetra?

Black Neon Tetra belong to the Characid family, closely related to the Neon Tetra species. Their natural habitat consists of slow-moving streams and rivers in the Paraguay Basin, with acidic, tannin-stained water, and an abundance of vegetation.

These fish live in their natural environment and sustain themselves with a diet of:

They depend on these food items for their survival. Mimicking their natural habitat within the aquarium is key to offering these stunning fish the best care. This involves maintaining optimal water conditions, creating a suitable environment, and providing a balanced diet.

Natural Habitat

Black Neon Tetras are native to the Paraguay Basin, inhabiting slow-moving streams and rivers with acidic, tannin-stained water, and plenty of vegetation. In these waters, black neon tetras swim gracefully among the plants and driftwood. These water conditions are crucial to the health and wellbeing of Black Neon Tetra, as they thrive in warm, acidic water with a plentiful amount of plants and driftwood.

To provide optimal care and ensure the longevity of these marvelous fish, it’s important to replicate their natural water conditions in captivity.

Physical Characteristics

The eye-catching appearance of Black Neon Tetra is characterized by:

The subtle differences in male and female Black Neon Tetra can be observed when the females mature and are ready to breed; they possess more prominent and rounded bellies than males, ensuring space for egg accommodation.

Caring for Your Black Neon Tetra

neon tetra, fish, underwater

Proper care for Black Neon Tetras involves:

These steps will help ensure the health and well-being of your black neon tetras, providing proper black neon tetra care for them and their tank mates.

Regularly monitoring water parameters and carrying out water changes helps create a healthy environment for your Black Neon Tetra, allowing them to thrive.

Tank Requirements

A 20-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for a small group of Black Neon Tetra, allowing them sufficient space to swim and exhibit their natural schooling behavior. To mimic their natural habitat, the tank should include a dark substrate covered with small pebbles, live plants for hiding spots, and driftwood for shelter.

Maintaining a clean tank environment and monitoring ammonia and nitrate levels are critical, as these factors can have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of these beautiful fish.

Water Parameters

The health of Black Neon Tetras depends on maintaining optimal water parameters. The recommended pH level is between 5.5-7, and the water temperature should be maintained at 72°-77° F.

Regular water changes, with at least 25 to 50 percent of the water replaced every two weeks, are recommended to maintain a healthy environment for these fish. By closely monitoring nitrate levels using aquarium test kits and introducing live plants to the tank, you can prevent potential health issues in your Black Neon Tetras.

Disease Prevention

Preventing diseases in Black Neon Tetras involves:

Additionally, sourcing fish from reputable breeders and adhering to a proper feeding schedule can further reduce the risk of diseases in your Black Neon Tetras.

Feeding and Nutrition

Black Neon Tetras are omnivores and require a varied diet for optimal health. Providing them with a balance of high-quality flakes or pellets, as well as live or frozen foods, ensures they receive all the necessary nutrients to thrive.

Avoiding overfeeding, which can lead to health issues and poor water quality, requires establishing a proper feeding regimen.

Omnivorous Diet

To keep your Black Neon Tetras healthy and vibrant, offer them a range of foods, including high-quality flakes or pellets, live or frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms, and vegetable matter.

Black Neon Tetras, in their natural habitat, consume a varied diet. Replicating this assortment of food in captivity contributes significantly to their wellbeing. Their diet should include:

Providing a diverse diet will help ensure the health and happiness of your Black Neon Tetras.

Feeding Schedule

Young adult Black Neon Tetras should be fed twice a day for three minutes, while mature fish can be fed once a day. Adjust the amount of food to ensure they can consume it within several minutes, as this helps prevent overfeeding and maintains water quality.

The health and growth of your Black Neon Tetras depend on a varied and balanced diet, which is why feeding black neon tetras properly is essential.

Social Behavior and Tank Mates

Black Neon Tetras are:

These qualities make them a popular choice for community tanks.

When selecting tank mates, it is important to choose other small, peaceful fish that will not cause stress or harm to your Black Neon Tetras.

Schooling Fish

Black Neon Tetras exhibit their natural schooling behavior best when kept in groups of at least six individuals. This promotes their natural behavior and reduces stress, ensuring a harmonious environment in your aquarium.

As they swim together in a coordinated manner, they create a mesmerizing display that adds visual appeal to your tank.

Suitable Tank Mates

Suitable tank mates for Black Neon Tetras include other similarly-sized schooling fish, such as guppies, platies, and other tetras, as well as snails.

Larger or aggressive species, such as cichlids, barbs, and gouramis, should be avoided, as they may cause stress or harm to your Black Neon Tetras. A diverse and harmonious aquatic community in your aquarium can be achieved with careful selection of compatible tank mates.

Breeding Black Neon Tetras

fish, neon tetra, nature

To breed black neon tetras, start by setting up a separate tank, conditioning the fish, and caring for the fry. Creating an ideal breeding environment and providing appropriate care enables successful breeding of these beautiful fish, allowing you to enjoy their captivating presence in your aquarium continuously.

Preparing the Breeding Tank

To encourage spawning, create a separate breeding tank with dim lighting, live plants, and peat-filtered water to mimic their natural environment. A dark sand substrate with live plants and hiding spots provides a comfortable environment for the breeding pair of Black Neon Tetras.

Conditioning the pair with live foods and gradually increasing the water temperature to around 80 degrees will further stimulate spawning.

Spawning and Fry Care

After the gravid female deposits hundreds of eggs, removing the adult fish from the breeding tank is necessary to prevent them from eating the eggs and fry, ensuring the availability of very fine fry food.

The eggs will hatch within 22 hours, and the fry can be fed with infusoria, baby brine shrimp, or finely crushed flake foods. Providing proper care for the fry will ensure their healthy growth and development, allowing them to eventually join the rest of your aquatic community.


Black Neon Tetras are an excellent choice for aquarium enthusiasts, thanks to their striking appearance, peaceful nature, and compatibility with other small fish. Providing appropriate care, maintaining optimal water parameters, and ensuring a balanced diet allows you to cultivate a thriving, vibrant community in your tank, as black neon tetras prefer such conditions.

With a little effort and attention, these beautiful tropical fish healthy, along with other tropical fish, will undoubtedly become the stars of your aquatic display.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big do black neon tetras grow?

Black neon tetras can grow up to 1 inch in length, making them suitable for small aquariums. They should always be kept in groups of at least 6 fish and can be added to a larger community aquarium without worry.

What color are black neon tetras?

Black Neon Tetras feature an iridescent silver body and a distinct color pattern consisting of a black and white stripe running the length of it. They are best kept in schools of 5 or more in a freshwater community tank with plants, rocks, and driftwood to mimic their natural habitat.

What is the price of Black Neon Tetra fish?

Black Neon Tetras typically cost around $2.50 each, and should be kept in a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0, and temperatures between 72°F and 80°F.

Are black neon tetras friendly?

Neon tetras are generally peaceful and easy to care for, making them a friendly addition to any community tank. They should always be kept in groups of at least six to ensure they stay happy and healthy.

How many black neon tetras per gallon?

For black neon tetras, it is generally recommended to keep 1 gallon per 1 inch long tetra, which would equate to 20 black neon tetras in a 20-gallon tank or 10-15 in a 10-gallon tank.

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