Care Guide for Black Neon Tetras – Our Fav Underrated Schooling Fish

Care Guide for Black Neon Tetras – Our Fav Underrated Schooling Fish

One of the unsung heroes of the freshwater aquarium hobby is the humble black neon tetra. It’s often overlooked, and sometimes outshone in favor of its more famous cousins, cardinal and regular neon tetra. Yet they are one of our favorite fish to work with at the Aquarium Co-Op retail store. They are a strong and healthy fish that we recommend to everyone who is looking to set up a tank. Their nano size makes them accessible to people with smaller aquariums, while their cheap price is appealing to aquarists wanting to fill up a large tank with tons of schooling fish.


What are Black Neon Tetras and how do they work?

Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi looks like a neon-tetra (Paracheirodon neesi) because it has two pearly white horizontal stripes and a black one at the bottom. But technically, it belongs to the same genera as ember and serpae tetras. This South American fish hails from the Paraguay River basin in Brazil and is a very common find in fish stores because of their hardiness and activity level.

Are black neon Tetras bigger than neon Tetras? Although both fish measure 1-1.5 inches (2.5-3.8 cm) in length, the black neon Tetra is slightly larger due to its taller body. In general, black neon tetras tend to be bolder and swim in the upper half of the aquarium, while neon tetras can be a little shyer and stay in the lower half.

The black neon is known for its striking black and white stripes and red eyes.

How to Set Up an Aquarium for Black Neon Tetras

This fish is easy to handle and can live in a wide range of water temperatures. They can survive in water pH levels between 5-8 and moderately hard. They look great in a tank with a darker substrate. Their red irises stand out against the greenery.

How many black neon tetras should be kept together? As is true with most schooling fish, the more the merrier. We can see their natural behavior in our fish store. Their synchronized swimming is amazing to watch. A minimum of six could be kept in a 10-gallon aquarium. However, you can get 10-15 fish for a larger 20-gallon tank.

What fish will live with neon tetras in their tank? They are larger than neon tetras so we have kept them with gouramis and Geophagus, medium-sized fish that can be used as community fish. They also get along with smaller, peaceful fish like rasboras, other tetras, and corydoras. Black neon tetras tend to leave adult dwarf shrimp alone. However, they will take advantage of any babies they find.

Black neo-neon tetras thrive in peaceful community tanks.

What does the Black Neon Tetra eat?

In the wild, they enjoy an omnivorous diet of zooplankton, tiny worms, crustaceans, and plant matter. Black neon tetras are known for their swimming patterns and prefer to eat at the top and center of the water column. However, they can eat just about anything that is dropped into the tank. To keep them healthy, we like to offer a wide variety of smaller foods – like krill flakes, nano pellets, frozen cyclops, daphnia, and baby brine shrimp.

How to Breed Black Neon Tetras

Like most egg layers, these tetras are easy to spawn, but their tiny fry can be harder to raise. Add several catappa leaves to a 10-gallon aquarium that has no other animals. The leaves will slowly decay over several weeks, lowering the pH and darkening the water. This will create biofilm and mulm for the fry to eat. You can also cover the ground with a lot of java moss or Easter basket grass and then cover it completely with craft mesh. The plastic mesh has holes that are large enough for the eggs to fall through but small enough to prevent the adults from predating on them.

Get a group of at least six black neons so you have a better chance of having at least one male and one female. Feed the adults high-quality food, including micro worms or baby brine shrimps to prepare them for breeding. Once the spawning process is completed, you should remove the adults. You can feed the infants small foods such as vinegar eels, infusoria and powdered fry food. Within a couple of weeks, they should be large enough to switch to live baby brine shrimp, which is the best superfood for fry.

Catappa leaves gradually acidify and tint the water, making it more comfortable for the black neons to breed.

While Aquarium Co-Op does not sell fish online, you can check out our preferred online retailers to see the latest species they have in stock. Plus, keep reading to learn about the top 10 tetras that we love to add to our community aquariums.