Black neon tetra Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The Black Neon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi) is a freshwater fish that is popular among aquarists of all levels of experience.

This species is easy to care for and is compatible with a wide range of tank mates, making it a great addition to any community tank.

Despite their name, Black Neon Tetras are not actually black. Their bodies are a dark blue or purple, with a bright neon blue stripe running along their sides.

These fish are relatively small, only growing to be about 2 inches in length.

Black Neon Tetras are a peaceful species that is best kept in groups of 6 or more. They are shy fish that prefer to stay in schools, so a larger group will help them feel more comfortable and less stressed.

Species overview

Black neon tetras (scientific name: Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi) are a freshwater fish that’s native to South America. They’re found in the wild in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.

They prefer slow-moving water with a lot of vegetation. This provides them with plenty of places to hide and forage for food.

Black neon tetras are a very popular choice for aquariums because of their beautiful black and blue coloration. They’re also very peaceful fish, which makes them a good choice for community tanks.

In the wild, black neon tetras eat a diet of small insects and crustaceans. In captivity, they will happily eat flake food, pellets, and frozen foods.


Black neon tetra

The Black Neon Tetra is a freshwater fish that is easily recognizable thanks to its bright neon blue stripes. These fish are very slender and have a long body shape that tapers off at the tail.

The base color of a Black Neon Tetra is a deep black. This color covers the entire fish except for the two bright blue stripes that run horizontally along their body.

The first stripe is located just behind the gill plate and extends to the base of the tail. The second stripe is a bit shorter and is located right in front of the anal fin.

These fish have small fins that are all the same color as their body. The only exception to this is their caudal fin which has a bit of a yellowish tint.

The Black Neon Tetra is a very peaceful fish that does well in community tanks. They’re a very popular choice for beginner aquarists thanks to their low level of care.


Black neon tetras have a lifespan of 5 to 8 years on average. That’s actually quite impressive for such a small fish!

As with any animal, there are a number of things that can impact their lifespan. Poor water quality, for example, can lead to a number of diseases that can shorten their life.

Stress is also a big factor. If these fish are constantly being bullied by tank mates or if they’re not getting enough food, their lifespan will be significantly reduced.


The Black Neon Tetra fish is a very small fish. Adults will only grow to be about 1.5 inches in length.


Tank Size

The recommended minimum tank size for black neon tetras is 10 gallons. This is assuming you’re keeping them in a school of at least 5 or 6 fish (which you should).

We personally recommend a slightly larger tank if you can accommodate it. Every extra space will make a big difference and allow you to keep a larger school or more tank mates if you’re interested in a community tank.

Water Parameters

The Black Neon Tetra is a freshwater fish that is native to the clear waters of the Amazon River basin.

As such, they are used to living in a tropical climate with warm water and a high level of dissolved oxygen.

In the wild, Black Neon Tetras live in schools and prefer to have plenty of plants and hiding places.

The following water parameters are ideal for keeping Black Neon Tetras:

  • Water temperature: 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 7.8
  • Water hardness: 2 to 8 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 5 to 20 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Neon tetras are a species of freshwater fish that come from the Amazon River basin. In the wild, they inhabit slow-moving waters with dense vegetation.

This is something you’ll want to replicate in their home aquarium as best as you can.

The first step is to choose an appropriate tank size. These fish don’t grow very large (about 2 inches at most), but they do best in schools. This means you’ll need a tank that can accommodate a decent number of them.

A 20-gallon tank is a good starting point, but you can go bigger if you want.

The next thing you’ll need to do is choose a substrate. Neon tetras prefer a dark substrate since it makes them feel more comfortable. You can use gravel or sand, but make sure it’s not too sharp.

After the substrate, you’ll want to start adding some plants. These fish love to hide in dense vegetation, so the more plants you have the better. Some good choices include Java moss, hornwort, or water wisteria.

You can also add some driftwood or rocks to their tank if you want. Just make sure there are plenty of hiding spots for your fish to feel comfortable.

Last but not least, you’ll need to add a filter to their tank. Neon tetras are very sensitive to water quality, so a good filter is a must.

Common Diseases

Black neon tetras are a pretty hardy species of fish. They’re not too susceptible to disease and can usually handle a wide range of water conditions.

With that being said, they’re not immune to everything. There are still a few diseases that you need to look out for, the most common being ich.

Ich is a pretty serious disease that can affect any freshwater fish. It’s caused by a parasite that latches onto the fish and begins to feed on their blood. This will cause the fish to become weak and stressed, and if left untreated can eventually lead to death.

The most obvious symptom of ich is the presence of white spots on the body of the fish. If you notice this, it’s important to act fast and begin treatment immediately.

Other diseases that can affect black neon tetras include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and problems with the swim bladder. These are all relatively rare, but can still occur if the fish are kept in poor water conditions.

As always, the best way to prevent these diseases is by maintaining a clean and stable tank. This will go a long way in keeping your black neon tetras healthy and happy.

Behavior & Temperament

The black neon tetra is peaceful by nature and will do well in most aquariums with other similar species. They are a schooling fish, so it’s best to keep them in pairs or groups.

When kept in pairs or groups, they will often swim together and form a tight-knit group. This is especially true when they feel threatened or are in unfamiliar territory.

In their natural habitat, black neon tetras spend most of their time near the bottom of the water column. This is where they feel the most comfortable and secure.

They are not a particularly active fish, but they are curious. They will often explore their environment and can be seen swimming in and out of plants and other hiding places.

Black neon tetras are not aggressive and will not bother other fish in the tank. They are, however, quite timid. They can be easily scared by loud noises or sudden movements.

Tank Mates

The black neon tetra is a peaceful community fish that does well in a wide range of tanks.

These fish are small and timid, so they need tank mates that won’t bully them or see them as food.

In general, small to medium-sized fish work best. The black neon tetra is a schooling fish, so it’s best to keep them in groups of at least 6. This will help them feel more comfortable and reduce stress levels.

Some compatible tank mates for black neon tetras include:

  • Neon Tetras
  • Ember Tetras
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Rummy Nose Tetras
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Otocinclus Catfish


Black neon tetras are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish for a reason: they’re absolutely beautiful. They’re also very easy to breed which makes them a great choice for beginner fish breeders.

To start, you’ll need to purchase a group of black neon tetras. It’s best to have at least 6, but more is always better. Then, set up a breeding tank. It should be at least 10 gallons, but 20 gallons is even better.

The breeding tank should have a sponge filter and plenty of plants. Java moss is a great option since it’s easy to care for and tetras love to hide in it.

When setting up the breeding tank, make sure the water conditions are just right. The pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0. The water hardness should be between 5 and 15 dGH. And the temperature should be between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the breeding tank is set up, it’s time to add the fish. Let them acclimate to their new home for a few days before you start feeding them. Once they’re acclimated, feed them a diet of live foods.

After a few weeks, you should start to see the females getting fuller bellies. This is a sure sign that they’re carrying eggs.

When the females are ready to lay their eggs, they’ll do so on plants or other surfaces in the tank. The males will then fertilize the eggs.

Once the eggs are fertilized, the parents will usually eat them. To prevent this from happening, you can remove the parents from the tank once the eggs have been laid.

Eggs usually hatch within 24 hours. The fry will be very small, so they’ll need to eat small foods like baby brine shrimp or microworms.


Black Neon Tetras are a great freshwater fish for beginners and experienced aquarists alike. They’re relatively easy to care for and are very peaceful, making them a great addition to community tanks.

Their striking black and neon blue coloration is also very eye-catching, and they’re a relatively small fish so they won’t take up too much space in your tank.

Overall, we think Black Neon Tetras are a great choice for anyone looking for a new freshwater fish, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy them as much as we do!