Neon Black Tetra Care Guide - Our Favourite Underdog School Of Fish

The humble neon black tetra is one of the unsung heroes of the aquarium hobby. It is overlooked and overshadowed by its more famous cousins: the neon tetra and the cardinal tetra. Still, they are one of our favorite fish to work with at Because they are tough creatures, we often recommend them to anyone who wants to start a new tank. Their nano size makes them accessible to those with small aquariums, while their low price appeals to divers who want to fill a large tank with many schools of fish.


What are black neon tetras? 

Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi may look like a neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) because of two white and black stripes running down its side, but it is technically the same species as ember, serpae, and lemon tetras . This South American fish is native to the Paraguay River Basin in Brazil and is very commonly pet by aquarium hobbyists due to its strength and performance level. 


Are black tetras bigger than neon tetras? 

Although both fish have a length of 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm), the neon black tetra is smaller and has a greater body depth. In general, black neon tetras are usually bold and swim in the upper half of the aquarium, while neon tetras can be a little shy and stay in the lower half.


FACT: Black Neon is known for its black and white stripes and red eyes. 


How to keep an aquarium for Black Neon Tetras

This friendly fish tolerates a wide range of water conditions and thrives between 22-27°C (72-80°F). Although they are native to acidic water, they thrive in pH levels from 5 to 8, and in both hard and soft water. We find they look best in a tank planted with dark seeds, and their red irises really stand out against the greenery.


Which black neon tetra should be placed together? 

As with many schools of fish, the more the better. In our fish shop, we can see their behavior when you collect a hundred of them, their swimming in harmony is truly amazing to see. At minimum, you can keep six in a 45 liter tank, but do yourself a favor and get 10-15 for a 90 liter or larger tank.


What fish can live in black neon tetras? 

Because they are smaller than Neon Tetras, we managed to keep ours with smaller fish like Angelfish, Earth Eaters, Geophagus, and Gouramis. They get along well with small peaceful fish like rasboras, other tetras and corydoras. Black neon tetras usually leave dwarf shrimp adults, but will eat any juveniles they find in their path.


FACT: Neon black tetras thrive in community tanks planted with other peaceful species. 


What do black neon tetras eat? 

In the wild, they eat an incredible diet of zooplankton, small worms, crustaceans, and plants. Due to their swimming behavior, neon black tetras prefer to feed at the top and in the middle of the water column, but they are not picky eaters and will eat anything you drop into the tank. To keep them healthy, we like to offer a variety of micronutrients - such as krill flakes, nano pellets, frozen cyclops, daphnia and brine shrimp. 


See: Food for Tetra


How to Raise Black Neon Tetras

Like most layers, these tetras are easy to breed, but their small fry can be difficult to raise. Add several catappa leaves to a 45 liter aquarium that has no other animals. Allow the leaves to decompose for several weeks to lower the pH, absorb water, and create a mulum and biofilm for fermentation. Also, place a pile of java moss, Easter basket straw, or spawn mops on the ground and cover the enclosure completely with craft paper. A plastic mesh with holes large enough to allow the eggs to fall but small enough to prevent the adults from dropping them.


Get at least six neon blacks to have a better chance of getting at least one male and one female. Keep the adults for breeding by feeding them a high-quality diet, such as live brine shrimp and microworms. After spawning, remove the adults. Feed newborns with small amounts of food. In a few weeks, they should be big enough to change to larger quantities. Although does not sell fish, you can check out our favorite fish food, filters, substrates, planting tools, CO2 equipment and more in stock. Keep reading to learn more about the top 10 tetras we want to add to our community aquarium. Write to us at and let us know about what your you want to know next!

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