If you want to add a beautiful, peaceful fish to your freshwater aquarium, the black neon tetra could be for you! It’s one of the kindest small fish that you can buy, and it’s great to look at.
This comprehensive guide will give you all the information you need to know and the tools you need to take good care of your black neon tetra fish.
Origins And Natural Habitat
Usually, black neon tetras are found in South America, typically in South Brazil or Paraguay basins and rivers. Their scientific name is Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrod, and they come from the Characidae. Aka the Characid family, a tropical and sub-tropical freshwater fish family.
Colours And Appearance
The black neon tetra fish has a silver body, with two joined shiny black and white stripes on it, going from its head to its caudal fin. This fish also has yellow and green spots below the stripes. Also, their eyes have a big orange semi-circle.
Females are plumper than male black neon tetra fish. Males are slimmer.
It’s not too easy to determine which gender your black neon tetra fish is. But you can usually tell when you see that one of your black neon tetra fish is rounder. Males tend to be slimmer than females.
The black neon tetra fish usually has a five to ten years lifespan. The more you take good care of it, the longer it will live.
Black neon tetras like it when the tank water is black, as that’s their original habitat. The water should be soft and a bit acidic.
As for the water pH in your fish tank, it should be adapted for freshwater fish, so it should ideally be between 5 to 7.5. The fish tank’s water temperature should stay between 670 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 21.11 to 23.33 degrees Celsius).
The water’s general hardness level (GH, aka General Hardness) should range between 8 to 16 for the water to be soft in the fish tank. The TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) should be between 180 to 250. Finally, the KH (carbonate hardness) should be between 4 and 7.
This might seem very complicated to you right now if you never owned fish before. But I promise it’s easier than it seems! Plus, there are a lot of online guides that can explain all the differences between these water terms and help you keep your black neon tetra fish happy.
You should get at least a 20-gallon fish tank with blackwater for your black neon tetra fish (approximately 75.70L). Black neon tetra fish like low-lighted and dark environments. So make sure their fish tank has low lights, dark gravel, and blackwater. Also, this shadowy atmosphere will make your black neon tetra fish shine, and its colours will look even more beautiful in the dark!
The black neon tetra fish’s natural habitat is clear water. So make sure you have a good water filter for their fish tank. This will remove nitrates, ammonia, and more which could harm your black neon tetra fish. It will also replace the essential minerals and salt that your fish needs.
It’s also essential for your black neon tetra fish to be surrounded by plants, like leaves, and decorations like cones or wood-based items, like driftwood, twisted roots, and branches. Any organic material will be good for your fish tank!
Not only will this decoration provide them with the same environment they’re used to, but it will also provide black neon tetra fish with a place to hide.
When you choose leaves, you should either get Guava leaves or Indian Almond leaves. These have many benefits for your black neon tetra fish, keeping it happy and healthy physically, and they also look great! As for the cones, use alder cones. Finally, for the wood, choose Malaysian wood or Mopani wood.
Black neon tetra fish are omnivores, meaning they can and will eat anything. It’s good to give them a varied diet that fits their nutritional needs. You can feed them small invertebrates, small crustaceous, plant detritus, algae, flake food, live or frozen food, and more.
You can feed them mosquito larvae, bloodworms, baby brine shrimp, daphnia, microorganisms such as cyclopods, or freeze-dried food, for example. Anything with protein will be good for your black neon tetra fish. You can also give your black neon tetra fish vitamins or supplements. You can ask your local vet for advice.
But, whatever you feed your black neon tetra fish, it’s important that you don’t overfeed them! This can cause health issues but can also impact the quality of the water in their fish tank.
There are some potential diseases your black neon tetra can suffer from, as any other tropical fish. For example, they can get dropsy or ich. Luckily, these diseases are quite easy to treat, and black neon tetra fish respond well to medication usually.
If you’re not too sure about what’s wrong with your black neon tetra fish or how to cure a certain disease, you could always browse the internet for some advice. Or simply contact your local vet.
Usually, your black neon tetra fish won’t get any diseases if you keep good water conditions and tank conditions in the fish tank. So make sure to regulate the water often. Replace a bit less than half of the water in the fish tank about every two weeks.
While black neon tetra fish won’t get sick often, they can carry diseases and infect the other fish in the fish tank. For example, it can carry the ‘neon tetra disease,’ which is a parasitic infection. To avoid your black neon tetra fish carrying this disease and infecting your other fish in the aquarium, just make sure you buy your fish from a reputable buyer.
Also, to make sure they don’t have any diseases, you can quarantine your recent black neon tetra fish for a couple of weeks.
If you want your black neon tetra fish to breed, the water pH in their tank should be 80 degrees Fahrenheit (around 26.66 degrees Celsius). Also, if you follow all the water requirements, breeding should be quite easy. You usually don’t need to do anything for your black neon tetra fish to breed.
The black neon tetra is free-spawning fish, which means females will lay eggs and milt in their fish tank. If you want to spawn your black neon tetra fish instead of letting nature do its work, you can. Simply separate the males from the females, and feed them all live fish.
You’ll know that your black neon tetra fish are ready for spawning when the female gets a bit plumper and when the male gets a livelier color. Then, just put the male and female in another fish tank, specifically for spawning, which should be approximately five gallons (approximately 18,92L). Make sure to cover the tank up with a towel, for example. Also, make sure the water temperature stays at 80 degrees Fahrenheit (around 26.66 degrees Celsius).
As for the lighting, it should be pretty low and dimmed. You can put a fine-leaved plant in the fish tank or an artificial one made out of synthetics. Getting an artificial plant will make it easier to clean the spawning fish tank, and it won’t decompose.
Once all the fish are done laying their eggs, you should move them back to their original tank. But be careful to transfer the females first. Otherwise, males might get aggressive and territorial with other male black neon tetra fish. They can also attack the females, and the females might attack them too.
Then, the female black neon tetra fish lays an egg. When the egg hatches, 36 hours after the female laid it, the fry (the baby fish) will attach to the spawning place. You should place a cover at the bottom of your spawning fish tank, which will prevent the eggs from falling and breaking. And it will stop the adult fish from eating the eggs.
Yes, it seems gross, but black neon tetra fish get hungry after spawning and will want to eat. And they will eat anything, even their own breed. A good cover is mesh, glass marble, plastic grate, fake grass mat, or anything that will resemble those. You can repeat this process with every female and male black neon tetra you have.
The fry will appear from the egg three or four days after it’s hatched. You can give them commercial fry food, fresh brine shrimp, or crushed flake food. Keep them in a separate tank until they’re old enough to defend themselves. Otherwise, the adults can eat the younger fish.
Behaviour With Other Black Neon Tetra Fish
Black neon tetra fish are one of the most peaceful small fish. Sometimes, it happens that they are aggressive with their breed, but usually, that doesn’t happen. They might get aggressive, though, after spawning, as mentioned above.
After the spawning is done, make sure to reintroduce your male after your female black neon tetra fish. You should ideally wait one night before reintroducing the male fish in their original fish tank.
The males can be aggressive with other males for territorial reasons, but they can also be aggressive with females. Females can also reject the males and be aggressive with them.
So make sure to watch their behaviour when the male fish are reintroduced to their original fish tank. If the males are too aggressive, you should remove them from the fish tank and put them in another.
Otherwise, black neon tetra fish are pretty peaceful. They like to swim up at the top of their fish tank, so keep a lid over the tank. Black neon tetra are good jumpers, and if you don’t cover their fish tank, they can jump out.
Also, since they prefer to be in the upper level of their fish tank, you could get a peaceful bottom-swimmer fish like pigmy catfish in their tank to pick up the leftover food that stays in the bottom of the tank.
Behaviour With Other Fish Breeds
You should keep your black neon tetra fish with at least six others from its breed. If you want other fish in the fish tank, you can get some that are the same size, non-territorial, and have peaceful behaviour. If you keep bigger fish in the tank, they might eat your black neon tetra fish.
Some good fish to keep with your black neon tetra fish include cichlids, lebiasinids, characids, gasteropelecids, loricariids, and callichthyids.
Also, black neon tetra are schooling fish, which means they like to hang out in groups as if the fish were one. So they like to explore the fish tank together, which is really cute and fun to watch. Sometimes, one black neon tetra can hide and decide to stay alone for a while, even though it’s a social fish.
They will be peaceful with other fish. They usually aren’t territorial when there’s no spawning, even with other males. This peaceful behaviour can change if the water quality of the fish tank is bad.
If the water quality is bad and the water isn’t cleaned regularly, their behaviour can change. So make sure to check the water requirements are always met, that there is a filter in the fish tank and that the water keeps clean.
Black neon tetra fish are beautiful fish to keep in your fish tank that are peaceful and also fun to watch. They are social and won’t be aggressive unless they’re in their spawning phase, but this can be avoided.