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 often gets overlooked and outshone by its more popular cousins, the regular neon tetra and cardinal tetra. Yet they are one of our favorite fish to work with at the Aquarium Co-Op retail store. We recommend them because of their robust health and strong constitution. 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?

Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi may look like a neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) because of the two pearly white and black horizontal stripes running down its side, but it is technically in the same genus as ember, serpae, and lemon tetras. This South American fish comes from Brazil’s Paraguay River Basin and is very common in fish stores due to their hardiness and high 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.

Black neon is well-known for its striking black stripes and red eyes.

How to Set Up an Aquarium for Black Neon Tetras

This beginner-friendly fish tolerates a huge range in water parameters and lives comfortably in 72-80degF (22-27degC). They can survive in water pH levels between 5-8 and moderately hard. We find they look best in a planted tank with darker substrate, and their red irises really 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. When you have a hundred of them, their natural behavior is visible in our fish shop. The synchronized swimming display is truly amazing. 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 are also good with 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 Neon Tetras are happy in planted community tanks along with their peaceful tank mates.

What do Black Neon Tetras Eat?

They eat omnivorous food consisting of zooplankton and 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. We offer them a variety of small foods, including krill flakes and nano pellets.

How to Breed Black Neon Tetras

Although these tetras can be spawned easily, raising tiny fry can prove difficult. 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 holes in the plastic mesh allow the eggs to pass through while preventing the adults from preying on them.

To increase your chances of having at most one male and one girl, you should get at least six neons. You can condition the adults to breed by giving them high-quality food such as micro worms and baby brine shrimp. Once the spawning process is completed, you should remove the adults. Give the babies tiny food like vinegar eels and infusoria. 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 plants slowly acidify the water and tint it, making the environment more inviting for black neons.

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.