Black Neon Tetra: Appearance, Lifespan, Size, Diet, Care, Tank Mates, Breeding & More

If you’re an aquarium enthusiast looking to add a vibrant and stunning fish to your collection, then the Black Neon Tetra might be just what you’re looking for.

The black neon tetra is a charming little fish of the Characidae family. These delightful creatures hail from the Paraguay Basin in southern Brazil. In their natural environment, they fancy the flooded forests, cozy creeks, and sandy banks.

Known for its striking appearance and peaceful nature, this small fish is a popular choice among fish keepers of all experience levels. This blog post will explore everything you need to know about the Black Neon Tetra, from its appearance and lifespan to its diet, care requirements, ideal tank mates, breeding habits, and more. So, let’s dive in and discover the captivating world of the Black Neon Tetra.

Black Neon Tetra: The Basics



The Black Neon Tetra is a visually striking fish that adds a touch of elegance and beauty to any aquarium. These little fish are slim and sleek, with a body shaped like a torpedo and a round head. Their fins are transparent, adding to their delicate appearance.

The main color of the Black Neon Tetra is quite subtle, tending to have a slight greenish tint. Adding to this base color are two striking stripes. The first stripe is a thin, iridescent white line that shimmers and glimmers in the light, creating a mesmerizing effect. Just below that, there’s a thicker black band, which gives the fish its name.

Both of these stripes run horizontally along the entire length of the fish’s body, starting from the gill cover and reaching all the way to the base of the tail fin.


This fish has a relatively short lifespan compared to other fish species, typically lasting about 3 to 5 years in captivity.

A well-maintained tank with a healthy and balanced ecosystem will provide a stress-free environment, which can significantly impact their lifespan. By providing proper care and attention, you can help maximize the lifespan of your Black Neon Tetras and enjoy their beauty for many years to come.


Black Neon Tetras are known for their small size, making them a perfect choice for smaller aquariums or community tanks. They typically grow to a maximum size of about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length; sometimes, they can reach 1.6 inches.

Black Neon Tetra Care

Tank Requirements

When setting up a tank for Black Neon Tetras, it’s important to consider their natural habitat and replicate it as closely as possible. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Tank Size: Black Neon Tetras are small fish, but they need enough space to swim around comfortably. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for a small group of Black Neon Tetras.
  • Substrate: Use a dark-colored substrate like sand or small gravel to mimic the dark waters where these fish are typically found in the wild.
  • Plants: Neon Tetras prefer a well-planted tank with plenty of hiding spots. Use a variety of live or artificial plants to provide shelter and create a natural environment.
  • Lighting: Dim lighting is preferred as it replicates the subdued lighting conditions in their natural habitat. Use floating plants or provide shaded areas to create diffused lighting.
  • Tank Cover: Use a well-fitted lid or cover to prevent the fish from jumping out.

By setting up their tank appropriately, you can create a comfortable and natural environment for your Black Neon Tetras, ensuring they thrive and display their beautiful colors.

Water Parameters

Maintaining suitable water parameters is crucial for the health and well-being of black neon tetras. These tetras prefer soft, slightly acidic water. The ideal temperature range for black neon tetras is 68°F to 82°F with a pH level between 5.0-7.5. They thrive in soft to moderately hard water with a hardness level between About six dGH.

Black Neon Tetras inhabit slow-moving waters, so it’s best to provide gentle water flow using a sponge or low-flow filter. Keeping ammonia and nitrite levels at a minimum is important, as they can be toxic to black neon tetras. Regular monitoring of these levels is necessary to maintain a healthy environment for the fish.

Filtration and Maintenance

Proper filtration and maintenance are crucial for maintaining a healthy environment for your Black Neon Tetras. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Filtration: Use a reliable filtration system to keep the water clean and pollutants-free.
  • Water Changes: Regular water changes are essential to remove accumulated toxins and maintain water quality. Aim for a 25-30% water change every week.
  • Water Testing: Regularly test the water parameters like pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels to ensure they are within the suitable range for Black Neon Tetras.
  • Monitor Temperature: Maintain a stable water temperature by busing a reliable heater.

Maintaining a clean and stable environment is essential for the overall health and well-being of your Black Neon Tetras. Regular maintenance will help ensure they thrive in your aquarium.

Feeding Habits

Black Neon Tetras are relatively easy to feed. Here are some important considerations regarding their feeding habits:

  • Diet: Black Neon Tetras are omnivorous, which means they eat both plant matter and small insects or crustaceans. In captivity, they can be fed a combination of high-quality flake or pellet food and live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. It’s important to provide a balanced diet to meet their nutritional needs.
  • Feeding frequency: This fish should be fed small amounts of food multiple times daily. This helps mimic their natural feeding behavior and prevents overfeeding. Feed them only what they can consume within a few minutes to avoid leftover food fouling the water.
  • Variety: It’s recommended to provide a varied diet to promote optimum health and vibrant colors. Alternate between dry and live/frozen foods to ensure they receive a diverse range of nutrients.

Keeping a close eye on your Black Neon Tetras’ feeding habits will help ensure they receive proper nutrition and remain healthy and active in your aquarium.

Disease to Black Neon Tetra

Disease Potential

Like fellow tropical fish, Black Neon Tetras are susceptible to health issues plaguing their aquatic peers. This includes common health concerns like

  • Ich: Ich, a common disease encountered in tropical fish aquariums, can affect these fish. Look out for small white dots on their body, gills, and loss of appetite, and abnormal hiding behavior. If you notice any symptoms, make sure to quarantine the infected fish for a few weeks and treat them.
  • Dropsy: Another disease that may impact black neon tetras is dropsy. Watch for symptoms such as stomach swelling, lethargy, loss of appetite, and floating around the top of the tank. If you observe these signs, take action promptly.
  • Neon tetra disease: This disease is caused by a parasite that gradually eats the fish’s muscles from the inside out once it reaches its intestinal tract. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for neon tetra disease. Your best course of action is to focus on prevention and stop it from spreading to your other fish.

Disease Prevention

It is essential to take preventive measures against diseases to ensure the health and well-being of your Black Neon Tetras. Here are some tips to help you keep your fish healthy:

  • Quarantine new fish: Before introducing new fish to your tank, always quarantine them for a few weeks. This allows you to monitor their health and prevent the spread of diseases to existing tank inhabitants.
  • Maintain water quality: Regularly test your tank water parameters to ensure they are within the appropriate range for Black Neon Tetras. Keep the water clean and properly filtered to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and parasites.
  • Avoid overfeeding: Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality, which increases the risk of diseases.
  • Provide a stress-free environment: Stress weakens the immune system of fish, making them more susceptible to diseases. Keep the tank environment stable by avoiding sudden changes in water parameters or introducing aggressive tank mates.
  • Observe fish behavior: Regularly observe your Black Neon Tetras for any signs of illness, such as loss of appetite, abnormal swimming patterns, or discoloration. If you notice any abnormalities, promptly take action to address the issue.

Following these disease prevention measures can help keep your Black Neon Tetras healthy and thriving in your aquarium.

Black Neon Tetra Behavior



Black Neon Tetras are known for their peaceful and friendly temperament, making them a great addition to community aquariums.

Black Neon Tetras are generally peaceful and non-aggressive toward other fish species. They tend to stay in the mid to upper levels of the tank, which means they won’t disturb bottom-dwelling or slower fish.

These tetras are schooling fish, so it is recommended to have a group of at least six to eight individuals to keep them happy.

Compatibility with Tank Mates

Black Neon Tetras are generally peaceful and can coexist with various other fish species. However, it’s important to Avoid aggressive or fin-nipping fish species, as they may harass or damage the delicate fins of Black Neon Tetras.

Opt for peaceful and similarly-sized fish that occupy different areas of the tank to prevent overcrowding and territorial disputes. Avoid housing them with larger, predatory fish that may view the Black Neon Tetras as food.

Good tank mates for Black Neon Tetras include other small tetra species like Cardinal Tetras or Rummy Nose Tetras, peaceful rasboras, small corydoras catfish, and dwarf gouramis.

Consider the specific water parameters and habitat preferences of potential tank mates to ensure they are compatible with the needs of the Black Neon Tetras. By selecting suitable tank mates for your Black Neon Tetras, you can create a peaceful and vibrant community tank that showcases the beauty of these fish.

Breeding Black Neon Tetras

Condition the Breeding Pair

To breed Black Neon Tetras successfully, you must set up a separate breeding tank. Here are the key considerations for a breeding tank setup:

  • Tank size: A breeding tank can be a smaller aquarium, typically around 10-20 gallons. Ensure that it has enough space for the breeding pair and the fry.
  • Temperature and Water Conditions: Maintain the water temperature at around 78-80°F (25-27°C) and ensure the water parameters are stable and within the recommended range for Black Neon Tetras. Optimal conditions can help stimulate breeding behavior.
  • Substrate: Use a fine-grained substrate to mimic their natural habitat.
  • Cover: Provide floating plants or breeding mops to give the breeding pair a sense of security and encourage spawning.
  • Lighting: Keep the lighting subdued. Black Neon Tetras prefer dimly lit environments for breeding.
  • Food: To stimulate breeding behavior, provide a variety of high-quality live or frozen foods, such as small insects or freshly hatched brine shrimp.

By following these steps, you can help condition the breeding pair of Black Neon Tetras and increase the chances of successful breeding.

Spawning and Caring for Fry

The female will lay adhesive eggs among the plants or on the substrate. The male will then fertilize the eggs, and both parents should be removed to prevent them from eating the eggs.

After spawning, the eggs will hatch within 24 to 36 hours. After the eggs hatch, hold for approximately three to four days. During this time, they will rely on their egg sac to sustain them until they reach a size suitable for feeding.

Once they have grown enough, it’s time for some delicious baby brine shrimp or infusoria. However, keeping the little ones separate from the adults is important until they catch up in size. This way, everyone can grow and thrive at their own pace.

FAQs about Black Neon Tetras:

What is the lifespan of Black Neon Tetras?

Black Neon Tetras typically have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, though, with proper care, they can live longer.

What size do Black Neon Tetras grow to?

Black Neon Tetras are small fish growing to an average size of around 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length.

Are Black Neon Tetras aggressive?

Black Neon Tetras are generally peaceful and non-aggressive fish.

Can Black Neon Tetras be kept with other fish?

Black Neon Tetras are compatible with various peaceful fish species that share similar water requirements. Good tank mates include other small tetras, guppies, rasboras, and peaceful bottom-dwelling species like Corydoras catfish.

Can Black Neon Tetras breed in captivity?

Yes, this fish can breed in captivity.


Black Neon Tetras are small, vibrant fish that bring an exciting pop of color to any aquarium. They are known for their calm and non-aggressive temperament, making them ideal tank mates for various other fish species. These little social creatures enjoy the company of their own kind and thrive in a community tank setting.

In terms of care, Black Neon Tetras are relatively easy to maintain, and with proper care and attention, these little fish can thrive and bring endless delight to their owners.