The Black neon tetra, also known as Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi, has an exquisite and unusual coloring that looks spectacular against the green and yellow plants in your aquarium. Fish hobbyists should consider adding this vibrant species to their tank.
The Black neon tetras are an excellent choice for any soft water community aquarium as they get along well with other species. This tiny fish is hardy, so it’s fantastic for novices and experienced fishkeepers looking for a low-maintenance addition to their tank.
This guide will provide you with all the details you need to know about caring for the Black neon tetra. Read on to learn how to set up their tank, balance the water chemistry and prevent or treat diseases.
Black Neon Tetra Stats
Peaceful, schooling fish
|Tank Level||Middle to top|
|Minimum Tank Size||15 gallons|
|pH||5.5 to 7.5|
|Water hardness||Up to 6 dGH|
|Temperature||73 to 81 F|
Black Neon Tetra Overview
The Black neon tetra is a freshwater fish of the Characin family. Black neon tetras are native to Brazil’s Paraguay Basin and Taquari River, spreading their natural habitat across several hundred kilometers.
These fish live in small tributaries, creeks, sandbanks, floodplains, and rivers that pass through lush forests. The water they live in is generally very acidic as it is stained brown by the tannins from decaying vegetation.
Like their other Tetra cousins, Black Neon Tetras are small and slender. Their torpedo-shaped body has a rounded head and transparent fins. These fish are very tiny and grow to about 1.5 inches long.
The base color of the Black Neon Tetra is a relatively dull silver that sometimes appears greenish. However, the glimmering iridescent enamel-white to greenish neon stripe that sparkles in the light makes this fish so stunning.
Right below this white stripe is a thicker, velvety black band. Both these stripes run horizontally along the body of the fish from the gills to the tail fin. They also have two thin fluorescent yellow and red lines above the eye.
Telling the male and the female Black neon tetra apart can be difficult because their differences are very slight. However, the easiest way to distinguish between them is to look at their bellies. Females have more prominent and rounded bellies than males, especially when the female matures and is ready to breed.
– Black Neon Tetra Lifespan
Black neon tetras, like other Neons, can live up to 5 years in captivity. However, while this species is sturdy and easy to care for, it is essential to provide them with the best care and environment possible.
Caring For The Black Neon Tetra
Black neon Tetras are a schooling species, so keeping them in a group of at least six or more would be best. The Black neon tetras flourish in soft, acidic water. It is vital to keep the water clean, and the water parameters remain consistent.
Since these fish prefer the upper levels of the aquarium, they do not eat food at the bottom of the tank. If you keep them with bottom-dwelling fish such as pygmy corydoras, they will eat the food that falls to the substrate. This will prevent food from decomposing and polluting the water.
– Tank Size
Black Neon Tetras are tiny fish less than two inches long; therefore, you don’t need a huge tank. However, since they are happiest in shoals, we suggest you keep at least six or seven together.
These fish are very active swimmers, so we suggest keeping them in a tank at least 20 inches long and preferably 20 gallons or more. These small fish are excellent jumpers, so the tank should have a well-fitted cover.
– Water Parameters
Black Neon Tetras live in shallow streams stained with decaying vegetation. Fallen leaves turn the water brown and raise acidity levels. While you don’t need to stain the water to the tea color, it is essential to meet their ideal parameters.
- Temperature: 68 – 82 F
- pH: 5.5 – 7.0
- kH: 4 – 8 dKH
- Hardness: 6 dGH
It is vital to keep the water clean, so it is wise to replace at least 25 to 50 percent of the water every other week, especially if you have a lot of fish.
When you bring your Black neon tetra home, it will help if you monitor the water more frequently. This breed is more likely to face complications when moving to a new environment and adapting to different parameters.
– Black Neon Tetra Diet
Black Neon Tetras are natural omnivores. In their natural habitat, they eat plants, algae and small crustaceans.
Offer your Black Neon Tetra a variety of small foods such as quality micro pellets and flakes. Add live foods such as brine shrimp or Daphnia, freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex for a balanced diet.
– Black Neon Tetra Diseases
Black Neon Tetras might be a hardy breed, and disease is not usually a problem in a well-maintained aquarium. Still, they are susceptible to skin flukes, parasitic infestations, ichthyobodo infection and bacterial disease. Fortunately, the treatment for those diseases is straightforward, and this species generally responds well to medication.
One important thing to remember about Black Neon Tetras is that they can easily carry diseases into your tank. This species is liable to suffer from “Neon Tetra Disease”, which is a parasitic infection. They can get this from other infected fish, and it will spread to the other fish. There is no known cure for it, so getting your fish from a reliable source is advisable.
Black Neon Tetras are hardy, so you can contain an outbreak of disease to just one or a few fishes if you deal with it in the early stages.
However, it is best is to avoid diseases altogether. Maintain tank conditions and keep an eye on water parameters. Anything you add to your tanks, like plants, substrate, and decorations, can carry bacteria. Make sure to clean or quarantine everything before you add it to an established tank.
Setting Up The Tank
Black Neon Tetras are happiest in an aquarium that mimics their natural environment. This reduces stress and enables them to settle in faster.
The first thing is to spread a substrate of sand on the bottom. Black Neon Tetras prefer to swim in the upper and middle areas of the aquarium and rarely explore the bottom level of the tank. However, they are used to a sandy bottom in their natural habitat.
The next step is to get live plants for the aquarium. You could choose a variety of plants to create a densely planted aquarium. It would be best to put the plants at the sides and back and leave some open areas in the center.
Once the plants are in place, add some rocks and driftwood. Apart from providing shelter from the light, the plants will also serve as hiding places for the Black Neon Tetra. The addition of rocks and driftwood will also replicate its natural habitat and provide an additional hiding place.
As a further step, you could place some dry leaves on top of the water. The leaves will release tannin, staining the water brown, and improve water quality for these beautiful fish.
We suggest you install a powerful filtration system since it is essential to cycle the tank efficiently. While Black neon tetras don’t produce too much waste individually, a group of fish living together can accumulate sufficient waste that significantly affects the ammonia and nitrate levels.
It would be best to ensure that your filter creates a strong flow at the top of the tank. You may also like to add peat moss to the filter.
– Behavior and Temperament
Black Neon Tetras are a gentle and docile breed. Even in groups, males don’t display the territorial behavior typical of other species. They move about together, exploring the aquarium as a group, creating a stunning display around the tank.
While this breed is a schooling species, sometimes individual fishes move away from the group to hide and relax.
– Black Neon Tetra Tank Mates
Black neon tetras are very peaceful and gentle fish that are ideal for community aquariums. However, we suggest you research possible tankmates carefully. Because this breed is so small, it is wise to avoid large or aggressive fish that may make a meal out of these tiny fish.
We suggest buying a mixed-sex group of at least eight to ten Black neon tetras. You could include other similarly-sized schooling fishes.
Some compatible tank mates you can consider for Black neon tetra are:
- Chili Rasbora
- Small Freshwater Catfish
- Rummy Nose Tetra
- Harlequin Rasbora
- Celestial Pearl Danio
- Neon Tetra
- Green Neons
- Honey Gourami
- Dwarf Gourami
- Sparkling Gourami
- Pearl Gourami
- Freshwater Aquarium Snails
Breeding Black Neon Tetra
Black neon tetras are egg layers, spawning in schools or pairs. They breed readily in captivity. We suggest selecting breeding pairs from one-year-old adult fish as you will get better results with mature fish.
It would be best to have one or two males with several females in the breeding group. To condition the breeding pair or group, offer them live foods like mosquito larvae and brine shrimp.
Prepare a 10 gallons breeding tank with a dark, sandy substrate on the bottom. Add live plants with small, delicate leaves for the female to lay the eggs. Some floating plants will also help to keep the tank dim. Alternatively, you can use mesh netting wide enough for eggs to fall through but small enough so the parents can’t reach them.
Lighting in the breeding tank must be very subdued; you could put cardboard around the tank if your room is brightly lit. We suggest keeping the temperature in the spawning tank at 75 F while you are conditioning the fish. Gradually raise the temperature to about 80 F after a few days. The water should be very softly acidic at 4 dGH or lower. Filtering the water through aquarium-safe peat encourages these fish to spawn.
The fish generally spawn early in the morning. Black neon tetras are egg scatterers, and the female will scatter several hundred sticky eggs over the plants where they will cling to the leaves. Some eggs may fall onto the substrate.
Black neon tetras don’t look after their fry. Move the adults back to the main tank once spawning is complete; otherwise, the parents will eat the eggs and their fry.
– Caring For The Fry
The Black neon tetra eggs will hatch in about 22 to 26 hours. Wait for about three to four days after the eggs hatch, and you will see the fry appear. They will survive on their egg sac until they are large enough to eat.
Fry are relatively easy to feed and readily accept commercially prepared fry foods, finely crushed flake foods, and freshly hatched brine shrimp. Start with very fine fry food and then graduate to slightly coarser fry food. We suggest infusoria or protozoa as the first food, then introduce Daphnia and baby brine shrimp.
Keep the baby Black neon tetra in the spawning tank until they grow as big as the adults before moving them back to the main tank.
Black Neon Tetra care is relatively simple. Here is a brief overview of this care guide to help this unique little fish thrive in your tank.
- Black Neon Tetra is a gentle, schooling species
- This tiny fish is hardy and low-maintenance
- Black neon tetras are natural omnivores
- It is vital to keep the water clean for this species
- The water parameters must be stable
- Black neon tetras are easy to breed
- They are hardy and resilient and overcome disease quickly
We hope you will consider giving the Black Neon Tetra a place in your aquarium, as these unusual little fish are a joy to have.
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