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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the

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This profile was written by "Tobi~Dawne (Prairie Lily)" , a knowledgeable and helpful hobbyist. 

South America


gold skirts

Gymnocorymbus ternetzi


    The Goldskirt Tetra, which is also known as the Whiteskirt or White Tetra are a fairly common fish that are very difficult to track down information on. It's my best guess that they are simply a variation of the Blackskirt Tetra and thus have the same distribution, behaviors, and required water conditions.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: About 2 inches (6.0 cm)
    Tank: 24 inches
    Strata: Bottom, top, and middle
    PH: Huge range from 5.8 to 8.5
    Hardness: Soft to hard
    Temperature: 68°F to 79°F (20-26°C)
    Diet: Omnivorous (will take anything from flakes to live food)


    Order: Cypriniformes
    Suborder: Characoidei
    Family: Characidae
    Genera: Gymnocorymbus

Common name:

    Gold Skirt Tetra
    (Black-skirt Tetra)
    (White-skirt Tetra)

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Southern Brazil, in the Rio Negro and Rio Paraguay.

General Body Form:
    Tall and highly compressed they are noted for their curved anal fin which is quite long. It is almost as long as the entire rear half of the body. In the Goldskirts there are no easily identifiable sexual differences. The female Blackskirt is bigger and more robust than the male.


    Although their natural colour is a very becoming pearly white these Tetra's are often sold as a coloured fish. The common names for these coloured fish reflect the dye colour, Blue fish are called Blueberry tetra's, Purple fish are Grape tetra's, Orange/Yellow fish are Mandarin or Tangerine tetra's, etc. The dye process is not nearly as stressful as the process undergone by painted Glassfish and instead of lasting only a couple months can last for up to a year. (I currently have two of the coloured tetra's, a Blueberry and a Strawberry).

    Goldskirts are a wonderful fish for beginners and are also a great choice for pretty much any habitat. They are a small fish who are not all that finicky about their water conditions and will live in water with a pH of anywhere between 5.8 and 8.5 (mine are kept at a neutral pH of 7). As long as you keep up with regular water changes (I currently change about 25% every three weeks) they'll live a long and happy life. These tetras, unlike most, can be a bit aggressive. They are an active fish and prefer to be in groups of three or more. They are wonderful in a species tank but also do well in a community tank of other similarly sized and larger fish.

    Shaded calm water of the Rio Negro and Rio Paraguay watersheds.

    The Goldskirt Tetra is difficult to breed in only that it is next to impossible to tell the differences between the sexes. They are an egg layer and have no special requirements. If breeding is your goal with these pretty little fish I'd recommend purchasing a community of at least six and just hoping for the best.
Final notes:
    Goldskirts are, in my opinion, one of the fish that should be on everyone's must have list. They are enjoyable to watch, and easy to care for. Whether you want a couple fish in a small four gallon tank in your dorm room, or your looking for your next addition to your 180 gallon community tank, you should definitely take a closer look at the beautiful Goldskirt Tetra.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Ashery
I have 4 of these rather interesting fish. The place I got them from called them Black Widow Tetra. I noticed pretty quickly that their 'black skirt' is a handy indicator of their mood. When they're unhappy or stressed it will go transparent. Needless to say whenever I do a water change I end up with 4 very pale BST. But once they calm down they go back to normal. I love watching their little antics. They're a great fish
From: Michael Daniels / superpap56
My daughter liked these painted-2 in blue and 1 pink....the 2 blues incessantly harassed the pink almost to death. I re-homed them and the pink has happily become a member of the platys in the same tank. The coloration is as vivid as ever and approaching 2 years and the fish seems as happy as one could hope for. I may try adding 2 or 3 more at some point-probably the natural coloration since I have learned more about dyed fish. This particular individual fish has survived disease in the tank ,busted heaters ,several power outages resulting in dangerously high temperatures while nobody was at home and several tank upgrades and is one of my sentimental favorites...if for no other reason than it's hardiness and will to thrive. A very active swimmer and eager feeder that loves to swim into the filter's current and float the tank's length in it and then repeating the process almost like a game.
From: Rachel
I have 4 BST I purchased a couple of months ago. They are very interesting fish. I have them in a tank with 3 glow light tetras and a cory catfish.. They like to play "tag" with each other but I have not seen them show any aggression towards my other fish. They are very lively and fun fish to watch. I am very pleased with them overall.
From: Vij
I got 2 of these which are among the first batch of fishes that I bought for my 20 gallon tank. These are nippy creatures, they nipped the fins of 2 of my rummy noses that I bought to the extent that they surrendered and succumbed to death, they have even nipped the tail of my betta. They try to bully every fish that I put in. They will eat almost anything you give them to eat.
From: Beca
These guys are tough. I still have one who was the sole survivor of a nasty ick outbreak, and it has come back from having 75% fin loss. It's also quite large compared to the other tetras in the tank, almost 3 inches and swims with danios and bala sharks. My 2 year old loves watching it eat and has dubbed it "BIG tetra"
From: Sam
I have 3 BSTs in a 20 gallon tank along with 4 red eye tetras and 2 guppies. They are interesting fish, but you should put them fish that have long fins or that are shy such as bettas or neon tetras.(I found my betta with all its fins chewed off.)They are active and do not bully their tankmates as long as they are fast and not delicate. They are a beautiful, bold centeriece for a community tank.
From: tettra
I don't know what the life span is of a black skirt but I have had both of mine for almost 4 years now and they have survived major disease outbreaks in my tank they are by far the most disease resistant fish I have ever had
From: Leeda
Despite being larger than many fish (guppies, small tetras), I have not had any problems with black skirt tetras becoming aggressive around them. They are very hardy fish. I purchased 3 "hi-fin" black skirt tetras 2.5 years ago when I first began the hobby, and kept them in a 5 gallon tank. Since then they have graduated to a 20 gallon community, and are still lively and healthy. An excellent addition to a calm community, they act as a centerpiece In groups of 3 or more.

From: RT
I bought two bst's and put them in my first aquarium. They survived my inexperience and grew quite large.(half dollar size). I've noticed stress and too much light cause them to lose color. My larger one jumped out of my tank and perished. I bought a small one that follows the other everywhere. He is also growing. When water quality is stable and lighting subdued, their fins are black and fade to a rich gold/silver body with black stripes. They are often comical to watch, often swimming in the filter current, doing almost complete backflips. The get along good with my black molly, 4 neons, albino algae eater, mickey mouse platy, bala shark(new), and baby angel. The angel often schools with them. They have the best personalities in the tank!

From: Just Poppy
These fish from observation, where as I have 11, change color due to lighting. I've noticed the dimmer the light, the darker they respond and vice versa like going stealth. They prefer blood worms over the dry flake food. They also remind me of their fierce cousins the piranha when they feed. They will pack together and swarm the tank when I am ready to feed them. With the aggressiveness such as piranha's, it seemed very odd of this type of behavior, especially robust as they are. They appear to be in groups of 3 to 4. Also they do not like to hang at the surface of the water, so they will dart to the surface to eat, then retaliate back mid level.

From: Rob
Blackskirt tetras are very interesting fish. There very energetic and spook easily so don't tap on the tank. Peaceful fish that gets along with most fish but may harass some(mine harass my betta). Schooling fish and are more interesting if you by 3 or more. These fish are very easy to take care of and are great beginner fish.







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