Black Neon Tetra Care: Diet, Tank Mates & Tank Setup

Black Neon Tetras are gorgeous and have unique coloration. Still, they are more mysterious and darker than their Neon Tetra counterparts. Even if your aquarium is filled with lush plants and a sandy bottom, these Tetras will steal the show. Besides being hardy and low-maintenance, these fish also have a calm demeanor and a lively personality, making them excellent tank companions.

If you want to provide the finest possible environment for your Black Neon Tetras, this guide will show you how.

Are Black Neon Tetras Easy To Keep?

All aquarists should give Black Neon Tetras serious consideration. They are beautiful and require very little care. The care requirements are low, they have a distinct appearance, and they can coexist peacefully with most other freshwater fish.

Black Neon Tetra Appearance

Black Neon Tetras are striking fish that look great in any setting. They are short and thin like their more colorful relatives. Their bodies are formed like torpedoes, their heads are spherical, and their fins are see-through.

The Black Neon Tetra has a primary coloration that is not particularly vibrant. They typically take on a subtle green tint. Two bright stripes contrast nicely with the base color.

  • First, there’s a shimmering white stripe. The iridescence it displays in the light is very breathtaking. One can see a darker, wider swath of black immediately below that one. The fish gets its name from the pattern on its body.
  • The fish has two stripes, and both of them are horizontal. It starts at the top of the gill cover and ends at the bottom of the tail fin.

Black Neon Tetra Size

A fully mature Black Neon Tetra will typically reach a length of about 1.5 inches. There have been recorded species measuring 1.6 inches in length. The small size of some fish makes distinguishing them from larger ones difficult.

Black Neon Tetra Behavior

The black neon tetra is a sociable fish that gets along with others. Always calm and peaceful, they never resort to aggression. These fish are typically found in the tank’s open areas, such as the middle and the surface. 

Black neon tetras swim swiftly and erratically because they’re very active fish. They spend their days swimming and eating and their nights resting. Your school of neon tetras will often be seen resting together at your tank’s base.

Black neon tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi) with a dark background.

Black Neon Tetra Lifespan

Black Neon Tetras have been known to live in captivity for up to 5 years on average. The lifespan of these creatures is comparable to that of conventional Neons. That being said, nothing is guaranteed. 

Despite this species’ reputation for resilience, carelessness could significantly reduce its longevity. For your fish to thrive, you should give it the finest possible home, diet, and care.

Black Neon Tetra Water Parameters

Shallow streams in Paraguay that are rich in decomposing plant materials are the primary habitat for black neon tetras. In a home aquarium, brown water isn’t essential, but you should still pay attention to the other water characteristics.

Black Neon Tetra pH

Black neon tetra thrives in water between 5.0 and 7.5 on the pH scale. Due to their natural environment, we advise making it more acidic.

Black Neon Tetra Temperature

Black neon tetras thrive in water between 68 and 82°F. Temperatures about 75 °F would be perfect.

Black Neon Tetra Water Hardness

Black neon tetras require a water hardness of around 6 dGH to thrive. Excessive levels might cause stress in the fish, which is not what you want.

Black Neon Tetra Tank Size

Black Neon Tetras are about 1.5 inches long and can live in a small tank. However, this is a schooling species of fish. The rule of thumb is always to maintain at least a half dozen together. These fish live happily in groups of 6, so they should be kept in a tank no smaller than 20 gallons.

What Do Black Neon Tetra Like In The Wild?

Black Neon Tetras can be found in all plant and tree-rich environments in streams, rivers, and flooded forests. Decomposing plant debris in the water where black neon tetras are found also releases tannins. Adding tannin to water causes it to become acidic and darker.  

Black neon tetras generally favor dark waters due to shade, tannin, and a dark substrate. They thrive in warm, acidic water rich in aquatic vegetation and driftwood. Your black neon tetras will thrive in an environment that mimics these.

How To Setup A Tank For Black Neon Tetra

Making an environment similar to what your black neon tetra might find in nature is essential. Because of this, the black neon tetra will feel at ease in its new environment. The secret is constructing a lush aquarium with real plants, leaves, and wood decor representing the original habitat.

Black Neon Tetra Male Vs. Female

There are no apparent differences between males and females in black neon tetras. Typically, the female will have a fuller, rounder stomach than the male. When a female reaches sexual maturity, her lower abdomen swells with eggs.

Black Neon Tetra Diet

Black Neon Tetras are omnivores and generally accept various foods without complaint. You can ensure their continued health by providing a balanced diet. Protein-rich foods like live worms, brine shrimp, and a wide selection of flakes and freeze-dried foods would be ideal. The water quality and the Tetras’ health are both at risk from excessive feeding.

Black Neon Tetra Tank Mates 

Black neon tetras are calm in nature and get along with other fish. Tankmates for black neon tetras should not be too big or aggressive. If a fish’s mouth is big enough to swallow a black neon tetra, having the two in the same tank is probably not a good idea, even if the fish is peaceful. Barbs, Danios, Gouramis (avoid larger species), Rasboras, Small catfish (such as corys), and other tetras are all suitable tankmates for black neon tetras.

Black Neon Tetra Plants

To provide these Tetras with hiding and resting spots, live plants like java moss, narrow-leaf anacharis, and driftwood are great additions to the aquarium. If you want to give your fish more hiding places, you can decorate their tank with rocks and caverns. Remember that you will need a decent filtering system for your tank setup to include live plants and dark leaves. 

Black Neon Tetra Breeding

Black Neon Tetras can reproduce successfully within their social groups. If you already have some vibrant, full-grown black neon tetras, then choose the best pair from among them for the most significant results, or select a breeding group consisting of one male and several females.

Black Neon Tetra Common Diseases 

Diseases like ich, dropsy, and neon tetra disease can quickly spread to the black neon tetra, just as they have to other tropical fish. To keep your black neon tetras healthy, clean water is crucial. You can keep your fish healthy and happy by changing out 30–50% of the water in their tank once or twice weekly.

How Many Black Neon Tetra Can You Keep Together?

The Black Neon Tetras only need a little room because it is slightly bigger than an inch. However, as schooling fish, it is recommended that you maintain a minimum of 6 together, with a bigger group needing a bigger tank.

Black Neon Tetras can thrive in a tank of as little as 20 gallons.

However, if you want to add more fish species to your tank, you can always upgrade to a larger tank (about 30 gallons) to give them more room to swim.

Why Is Your Black Neon Tetra Losing Color?

Neon tetras are known for their bright neon blue stripe that runs along its body, accented by a jet-black dorsal fin. However, many fish keepers notice that their Black Neon Tetras can sometimes lose their color, becoming dull and drab. If you’re wondering why your black neon tetras are losing color, there are a few reasons.

There are several reasons why this might happen, and understanding these factors can help you prevent color loss and keep your fish healthy and vibrant.

The Cold Water

Your lack of attention could be causing your black neon tetras’ color loss. They can have cold water in their tank, and you wouldn’t know it. Because of their tropical origins, black neon tetras require warm water to survive, and the cold can cause their vibrant colors to fade.

If the heater isn’t doing its job or it is chilly outside, that could be why their tank is cold. Since a drop in temperature can cause your neons to turn white, use a thermometer in your tank to constantly measure the temperature in your tank. 

Bright Light

Black neon tetras will benefit from bright light but should not be kept in a tank with artificial light for too long. They only need 12 to 14 hours of light and nothing more. Doing so will just cause more stress for your tetras.

Stress from Abusive Tankmates

Like any other fish, black neon tetras prefer to be around friendly tank mates. Any aggressive behavior from another fish can be stressful because they like a peaceful environment. Avoiding harassment can cause your neons to become more reclusive and evasive, which is terrible for their health and could cause them to lose some of their original neon glow.


Diseases in your black neon tetras can also cause their colors to fade or change. You know they have contracted a disease if they are also lethargic and not feeding as they should. They will have a more fading color than you’re used to seeing.


It’s normal for your black neon tetras to sleep for a while daily; during this period, they may lose some vibrant colors to conserve energy. When your neon tetra fish are resting or sleeping, don’t be alarmed if you notice a dulling or deterioration of their color; this is normal behavior.

How To Deal With Black Neon Tetra Aggression

Black neon tetras are peaceful fish. They are, on the contrary, gentle, perceptive, and nonviolent. There are, however, situations in which they become aggressive.

To end fighting in fish, you must first determine the root source of the problem and eliminate it. Black neon tetras can be discouraged from fighting through various means, such as supplying them with enough food, allowing them plenty of room to swim around, separating them to reduce aggression, adjusting the water parameters, and adding plants.

Adequate Food

Frustration and fighting among tetras are frequently triggered by competition for food. So, frustration and fighting between black neon tetras can be minimized by regularly feeding fresh produce.

Tetras are omnivores that thrive on flake foods . The best food for black neon tetras are high-quality fish flakes containing at least 40% protein. Some other foods that tetras enjoy are blood worms, brine shrimp, tubifex, and daphnia.

Provide Enough Space

Low oxygen levels in your tank directly result from overcrowding. As a result, it raises stress levels and fuels aggressive behavior. You should upgrade to a larger tank to keep your tetras from getting too crowded in their tank and resorting to fighting.


If your black neon tetras show aggression, separate them into a new tank until they calm down. Only add new fish to the tank if you know they’ll get along.

Water Conditions

When kept in an aquarium, tetra fish do best in water between 68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It is, therefore, crucial that this temperature be kept consistent. The tank’s temperature can fluctuate, so a heater is recommended. A heater is helpful to keep your tetras at a comfortable temperature.

Maintain a clean tank in ideal conditions at all times. Also, the water’s pH level needs to be constantly checked to ensure optimal conditions.

Adding Plants

Since black neon tetras are fish that like to hide, you can put in as many plants as you like without worrying about crowding out the occupants. Add freshwater plants such as Vallisneria, moss, and Cabomba and floating plants like dwarf lettuce and frogbit. They will become less aggressive and more peaceful if you do this.


Why Won’t Your Black Neon Tetra Eat Flakes?

There could be several reasons why a black neon tetra won’t eat flakes, such as the flakes being too large, unappetizing or stale, or the fish may prefer a different type of food, such as live or frozen foods. It could also be due to stress or illness, so it’s important to observe the fish’s behavior and health and adjust feeding accordingly.

Will Black Neon Tetras Eat Plants?

Absolutely! Algae, tiny crustaceans, and plant remains make up a large portion of black neon tetras’ diet when foraging in the wild.

What Is Black Neon Tetra Shoal Size?

As active shoaling fish, the recommended shoal size for black neon tetras is a minimum of 6 individuals, but ideally, they should be kept in groups of 10 or more. Keeping them in larger shoals can help reduce stress and increase their activity levels, as well as bring out their vibrant colors.

Are Black Neon Tetras Hardy?

When starting out in the hobby, the Black Neon Tetra is a fantastic choice for its resilience and ease of care. They do well in various aquarium conditions and are easy to feed.

Are Black Neon Tetras Aggressive?

Black Neon tetras are not naturally aggressive fish. They are, on the contrary, docile and easygoing.

Do Black Neon Tetras Fin Nip?

Black Neon Tetras are peaceful creatures that rarely bite other fishes’ fins. However, any fish can turn violent if it feels threatened and may nip at the fins of other fish, especially during breeding season or times of stress.

Do Black Neon Tetras Jump?

Jumping ability is a strength of Neon Tetras in general, and the Black Neon Tetras are no exception. However, a stressful environment makes them more likely to jump. Giving them enough space may prevent them from trying to jump out. You should also have a heavy lid over your tank top.

Will Angelfish Eat Black Neon Tetras?

Angelfish can eat black neon tetras, but if you ensure your Black Neon Tetras have a secure environment in the tank and that your Angelfish are fed adequately so they won’t seek snacks and attack your Black Neon Tetras if they are hungry.

What Is The Minimum Tank Size For Black Neon Tetras?

Black Neon Tetras are quite energetic swimmers, so a tank of at least 20 inches long and, ideally, 20 gallons is recommended.

Can Black Neon Tetras Live With Neon Tetras?

Black Neon Tetras and Neon Tetras don’t like to school or interact much with each other while housed in the same aquarium. Despite their similar habits, they are two separate fish species. Regular neon tetras live mid-to-low in the water column, while black neons live far above. Black neon tetras, unlike regular neon tetras, prefer warmer temperatures.


The black neon tetra may live with any other type of small, calm fish. This species’ vibrant colors and enthusiastic personalities make it a favorite among fish keepers. If you don’t plan on housing any giant or aggressive fish in the tank, black neon tetras will make an excellent addition. Black neon tetras are vivacious, flashy, and simple to care for; they would be a great addition to any aquarium.

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