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

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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. 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 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. Because of their hardiness, activity level, and toughness, this South American fish is very popular in fish shops.

Are neon tetras larger than black neon? Both fish are approximately the same length at 1-1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm), but the black neon is slightly longer due to its higher body depth. 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 very easy to care for and can tolerate a variety of water parameters. It can survive in temperatures between 72-80°F (22-27°C) and thrives in these conditions. 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 should we keep our black neon tetras together? Like most schooling fish, more is better. 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 can live with black neon tetras? Because they are a tad bigger than neon tetras, we have successfully kept ours with medium-sized community fish like angelfish, Geophagus eartheaters, and gouramis. They are also good with other tetras and corydoras. Black neon tetras will usually leave the adult dwarf shrimp alone but will eat any babies that they find.

Black neo-neon tetras thrive in peaceful community tanks.

What do Black Neon Tetras Eat?

In the wild, they enjoy an omnivorous diet of zooplankton, tiny worms, crustaceans, and plant matter. Because of their swimming patterns, black neon Tetras prefer to be fed at the top or middle of the water column. But they are not picky, and will eat anything you put in 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

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. To lower the pH and darken the water, let the leaves decay for several weeks. The leaves will also create mulm, biofilm, and food for the fry. Place a few java moss, Easter Basket grass, or spawning mop leaves on the ground and cover it with a sheet made of 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.

You will have more chance of getting at least one male and one woman if you get at least six black neons. You can condition the adults to breed by giving them high-quality food such as micro worms and baby brine shrimp. Once spawning is complete, take out the adults. You can feed the infants small foods such as vinegar eels, infusoria and powdered fry food. They should be able to eat live baby brine shrimp within a few weeks.

Catappa Leaves slowly acidify and tint water, making it more suitable for 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.