Black Phantom Tetra Fish (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus)

black phantom tetra

Last updated on September 4th, 2022 at 03:07 am

The Black phantom tetra fish (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus) originates from the river basins of the upper Rio Negro in Brazil, and the Guyana Shield in South America and it belongs to the Characin family of fishes also known as characidae. The name of this fish literally means black ghost, which is why they are commonly referred to as phantom tetras.

Their bodies are elongated with a deep-bodied structure that allows them to live in water with low oxygen levels.

Its delicate and beautiful appearance has led to its growing popularity in the aquarium hobby. Most people who own this fish consider it to be very hardy and easy to care for, making it an excellent option for any beginner hobbyist looking to add a new type of fish to their tank!

The black phantom tetra may be small, but it is big on personality and one of the most popular species of freshwater fish in the hobbyist community. This species is also relatively easy to care for, as long as its basic needs are met and its tankmates are carefully selected. Here’s what you need to know about keeping black phantom tetras at home.

Origin and descriptions

black phantom tetra

Black phantom tetra fish (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus) are one of the smallest species of aquarium fish, growing to just 3 inches long at adulthood. They are native to fast-flowing streams and rivers in parts of South America, including Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, and Guyana.

The Black Phantom Tetra has an elongated body and pointed tail that allows it to dart quickly through rapids and waterfalls as it searches for food items like zooplankton and insect larvae.

Black phantom tetras are members of Hyphessobrycon Heros, a subfamily of characins. They have been bred for both food and decoration in aquaculture, as well as kept by hobbyists due to their hardiness. The black phantom tetra is a beautiful fish in both appearance and personality, with a number of varieties now available in pet stores.

Convict Cichlid Care

If you would like to add black phantom tetras to your aquarium at home, here’s everything you need to know about the black phantom tetras (Hyphessobrycon hermanni), which is one of the most popular fish found in tropical freshwater aquariums.

Originating from South America, these colorful little characins make great additions to any community tank, thanks to their peaceful temperament and striking looks.

Since black phantoms thrive in similar conditions to those that support many other freshwater species, they can be kept alongside almost any other species without risk of disease or ill-health – provided that adequate care is given throughout their lifespan.

Species profile

black phantom tetra

Black phantom tetra fish are small tropical freshwater fish from South America. The fish has an elongated body and can reach up to 3 inches in length and lives for about 5 years if well cared for in the right conditions. This care guide covers everything you need to know about keeping this species of fish healthy, happy, and fed properly so that they live as long as possible.

The Black phantom tetra is one of many tetras that make an excellent addition to any freshwater aquarium. These fish are normally found in water that ranges from soft to slightly acidic and thrive in most environments. They are native to South America, where they can be found living primarily on muddy bottoms of lakes and rivers.

They will eat almost any flake or pellet food given to them, but their diet should also consist of live foods such as worms and brine shrimp. Their coloration helps them blend in with their surroundings by making them less visible to predators lurking beneath murky waters. A full-grown Black Phantom will generally measure between two and three inches long, while juveniles typically stay under an inch long when fully grown.


Black phantom tetras are very popular in fishkeeping due to their red eyes, black body, and long elegant fins. They are schooling fish, meaning they will live happily if kept in groups of at least 5 or more.

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Keeping them in a community aquarium is ideal, as they will get along with other small, peaceful species such as danios and rasboras, even some algae eaters like dwarf corydoras. They should not be kept with fast-moving or aggressive species that might harass them.

Black phantom tetra size

When fully grown, black phantom tetras measure about 3 inches. Males can be slightly larger than females, but not much.

Black phantom tetra tank size

The minimum recommended tank size is 10 gallons (38 liters); 20 gallons (76 liters) or larger is ideal. Tetras are shoaling fish, so an aquarium with multiple compartments will be needed to house a group of 5 or more.

Black phantom tetra tank mates

This fish is a great community aquarium fish and can be kept with most other similar-sized tetras, rasboras, barbs, and danios. They are okay with live plants but not an absolute necessity for them to be healthy. Because they are relatively small (up to 3 inches) you should avoid housing them with much larger tropical or cold water fish who may see them as food.

Some good tankmates are Cardinal tetras, rummy nose tetras, black neon tetras, harlequin rasboras, and other smaller barbs and danios.

Some good plants for the tank are hornwort, Amazon frogbit, duckweed, java moss, and water wisteria.


black phantom tetra 3 - black phantom tetra

The Black Phantom Tetra is a livebearer and is usually bred in pairs or groups. They can have up to 2,000 fries per batch. The eggs are transparent and become opaque after fertilization and should be removed as soon as they are noticed. Ideally, you want them to hatch within 24 hours at 75°F (23°C). Eggs will develop faster if there is more than one male for every female.

If hatching by themselves, keep them at 84°F (29°C) until hatched when temperatures can then be dropped back down to a normal breeding temperature of 76 to 78°F (24 to 26°C). This fish has been known to spawn in aquaria with many different kinds of tetras as well as Danios.

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Conditioning them first might help trigger spawning. To trigger spawning, increase water hardness and temperature to 80 to 84°F (27 to 29°C). It’s recommended that water changes are done on a regular basis – 25% weekly being optimal for most species.

Are black phantom tetras aggressive or peaceful?

Most black phantom tetras are peaceful fish and can be kept in most community tanks. They have been known to nip at their own reflections, so they should never be kept with other black phantoms. Some keepers have reported that breeding pairs will attack any intruders in their territory.

Black phantom tetra care

black phantom tetra

The black phantom tetra needs an aquarium of at least 30 gallons with good filtration and high oxygenation. Avoid under-gravel filters as they have been known to cause eye and skin irritations in these fish. Be sure to provide plenty of hiding places, like rocks or driftwood, as well as smooth rocks to prevent injury from territorial disputes with other bottom dwellers. Also, be sure to avoid sharp decorations that can injure your fish. This fish will do best when kept in a school of 5 or more.

What do black phantom tetra eat?

Black phantom tetra is an omnivore and will eat a variety of food which include Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and plant matters such as algae wafers. Feed them plenty of live foods like daphnia, artemia, etc., along with quality flakes or pellets.

Water parameters

black phantom tetra

This fish is a tropical species and prefers a water temperature between 24.0 and 28.0 degrees Celsius (75 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit). It has been observed that your black phantom tetra will thrive best in soft, slightly acidic water with pH 6.5 – 7.5 and a hardness of less than 20 dGH; aquarium salt should not be used in an attempt to make hard water more suitable to these fish, as they are salt-intolerant.

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Black phantom tetra lifespan

The Black phantom tetra fish’s average lifespan is 5 to 7 years, making it a good investment for any aquarium enthusiast.

Parasites and diseases

They are susceptible to a variety of fish diseases, most of which are caused by parasites. One such parasite is the anchor worm (Lernaea), which can quickly kill fish if left untreated. It’s important to always quarantine new fish before adding them to your aquarium. If you suspect that your fish has an infection, they can be treated with praziquantel and metronidazole.


Black phantom tetras should be kept in tanks without fish that prey on small fish. This includes guppies, sharks, cichlids, and plecos. Smaller species of loaches are good choice for tank mates, although they may not tolerate Black phantom tetras, as well as some other loaches, will. Some people have reported success with large danios and other fast-moving fish; however, these combinations should only be attempted by experienced aquarists.

Do black phantom tetras make great pets?

Yes. They are hardy, low-maintenance, and beautiful fish that are also popular as community fish in aquariums due to their peaceful nature. Black phantoms are quite easy to care for and can be kept with other tetras, catfish, livebearers, and rasboras.