Black Neon Tetra Fish Care Guide

Black neon tetra fish

Last updated on August 13th, 2022 at 09:58 pm

Black neon tetra fish are sometimes referred to as Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi or just black neons. They sometimes have a black-colored body with dark green horizontal stripes, making them easy to distinguish from other fish species. Like many popular tropical fish species, the black neon tetra fish can be kept in freshwater or saltwater aquariums, although they prefer freshwater environments more, and they are very hardy, adaptable, and easy to care for and maintain.

Properly caring for your black neon tetra fish will ensure that they stay healthy and active so you can enjoy watching them swim around in your aquarium for many years to come.

If you’re looking to add some color to your aquarium, you might want to consider the black neon tetra fish (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi). These vibrant little fish are easy to take care of and are often kept by novice aquarists because they are relatively low-maintenance and do not require extremely specific water conditions like many other types of fish do.

These are popular tropical fish that makes an excellent choice for both beginning aquarists and seasoned pros alike. Before you can begin caring for your black neon tetras, it’s important to learn about what kind of fish they are and how to care for them properly.

Origin and descriptions

Black neon tetra fish

Black neon tetra fish (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi) are omnivorous species that originated in the Paraguay basin of southern Brazil, in South America. They grow to just 2 inches and feature a black body.

In many cases, a black neon tetra fish is brown in color with black lateral lines, but other variations are also possible; for example, it can be completely white. It’s important to remember that what we call colors are only perceived differences in light frequencies.

The black neon tetra fish is a very peaceful species that grows to an average length of 4 cm (1.6 in). It’s an active, schooling fish that can be kept in schools of at least six individuals, preferably more. They should be kept with other peaceful and non-aggressive tank mates that enjoy similar water conditions and temperatures such as rasboras, danios, gouramis, and other small tetras.

Cichla Ocellaris "Butterfly Peacock Bass"

Species profile

Black neon tetra fish

The black neon tetra fish belong to the family Characidae, which is a large group of small-sized freshwater fish native to South America. They are an omnivorous species that feeds on both plant and animal matter, including insects, worms, crustaceans, and algae. They are often kept in aquariums due to their beautiful coloration and peaceful nature. However, they can be quite sensitive, so it’s important that they are cared for properly.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the black neon tetra fish is Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi


In nature, black neon tetra fish are found in slow-moving sections of forest streams in South America. In an aquarium setting, these fish prefer similar environments—placid waters with lots of plants and a moderate current. They also appreciate some rocks or driftwood for nooks and crannies to hide in.

They do not thrive in acidic water; keeping your tank’s pH between 6.5 and 7.0 is ideal for maintaining healthy populations of these fish. Avoid ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates at all costs; they will kill your fish within days. For optimal health, keep black neons at temperatures between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Be sure to provide them with plenty of oxygen by utilizing a powerful filter system and/or frequent water changes (25 percent every two weeks). You can expect your fish to live up to five years if properly cared for.

Black neon tetra size

Black neon tetras are small fish, growing to a maximum size of just 1.6 inches (4 cm) in length.

Tank size

Due to their small size, black neon tetra fish don’t need large tanks. The minimum recommended tank size is 10 gallons (38 liters).

Tank requirements

Black neon tetra fish can grow to a size of 1.6 inches and have slender bodies that need a lot of space to thrive. This fish is best kept in a tank at least 10 gallons or larger with an extremely low water level. Since they are schooling fish, they should be kept in groups of five or more.

Hemichromis Bimaculatus (Jewel Cichlid)

They require a soft substrate for swimming, like aquarium gravel or fine-grain sand. Make sure your tank has enough room for plants because neon tetras like them for hiding places and to help them feel secure. Provide rocks or driftwood for cover and make sure there’s a tight-fitting lid on your tank.

The black neon tetra fish prefers warmer temperatures than most tropical fish. The ideal water temperature for them is between 72°F and 82°F. The pH should be kept between 6.0 and 7.5; a neutral to slightly acidic pH is ideal for most tropical fish tanks.

Black neon tetra tank mates

They are peaceful, active swimmers that get along with most species of tropical fish. They can be kept in groups or as single specimens; however, if you plan to keep them in a group, it’s best to have at least 5 individuals.

Some good tank mates are other small tetras, such as cardinal tetras, glowlight tetras, and pencilfish. Other peaceful fish species that can work well with black neons include danios, dwarf cichlids (such as bettas), rasboras, gouramis, angelfish, and livebearers. Avoid keeping them with larger or aggressive fish species like tiger barbs, larger tetras, or goldfish.

Black neon tetra breeding

Black neon tetra fish

If the water quality is good, black neon tetra will spawn quite easily. Ensure that the prospective parents are well fed before breeding them. It is best to breed fish that are about a year old. Fish can be classified as male or female based on their body shapes, with females being deeper and plumper than males.

In addition to keeping them in water more alkaline and harder than their natural habitat, it is necessary to rear them in conditions more similar to those they would find in natural habitats like the Amazon. The water in which they should be bred must be acidic and contain no more than four degrees of hardness. Dim lights are recommended.

In addition to laying sticky eggs, black neon tetras scatter eggs around plants. There is a chance that one female will lay hundreds of eggs. In order to prevent the parents from eating their own eggs and babies, the parents need to be removed as soon as spawning is over. It’s common for black neon tetra to spawn early in the morning, as with many fishes.

Julidochromis Regani (Convict Julie)

Because their size is small, raising the fry is more difficult. Infusoria are normally the first foods to be consumed, followed by Daphnia. You can start with very fine fry food and progress up to slightly coarse fry food. Live food of the right size is crucial for all ages of black neon tetra fish.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Black neon tetra fish are known to be peaceful and can coexist in a community tank with other non-aggressive species. However, they should not be placed with overly aggressive or territorial fish. They also should not be kept with other tetras of different species, since they’re vulnerable to being outcompeted for food by them.

Black neon tetra care

Black neon tetra fish

Black neon tetras are a hardy species that can live peacefully in most community tanks. These fish don’t require much care, but their tank needs to have good filtration and sufficient space for each fish. They are often very active swimmers and are happiest when kept in schools of five or more.

If you want to keep them singly, be sure there is enough room for one adult fish and several inches of additional swimming space for every individual on top of that. You should also provide plenty of hiding places such as plants and driftwood. Keep your water clean by performing regular water changes (20% weekly) with dechlorinator added.

Black neon tetra food

They are omnivores, feed your black neons a variety of foods including pellets, frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, tubifex worms, and sinking catfish pellets.

Black neon tetra lifespan

The average lifespan of this fish in captivity is 5-6 years. However, they can live up to 10 years in their natural habitat with proper water parameters and diet.

Parasites and diseases

Parasites are a common problem with black neon tetra fish and other freshwater tropical fish, and even seemingly healthy fish can carry some. Look for white, stringy threads hanging from your fish’s mouth or sticking to its body. Aside from depleting your fish’s energy and appetite, parasites can also spread disease to other animals in your tank.

Placidochromis phenochilus (Mdoka White Lips)

Some of these diseases include anchor worms, which show up as flesh-colored strings on your fish’s skin; velvet, which looks like tiny cotton balls on your fish; and ich (also called white spot), which is characterized by small white dots that will turn into holes if left untreated.


Black neon tetra fish aren’t particularly fast swimmers, so they’re vulnerable to predators. You should keep a close eye on your tank at all times to ensure none of your fish has been eaten by its tank mates. For example, you might notice that you never see your black neon tetras at night and realize that they’ve all been eaten by nocturnal fish.

Some natural predators are larger piranha, large catfish, loaches, suckerfish, etc. If you have any of these species of fish that might nip at smaller fish (like barbs), then you may want to choose a different fish from your local pet store.

Do black neon tetra fish make good pets?

Black neon tetra fish can make for beautiful aquarium fish, especially if you match them with other small species. However, not everyone is suited to keeping black neons as pets, If you don’t have experience with tropical fish and would like a chance to learn more about their care before adding them to your own tank, consider visiting an aquarium retailer and talking with a salesperson who works with them.