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

Updated: October 27, 2022

The Black Phantom Tetra is a beautiful, peaceful, and easy to care for freshwater fish that is perfect for beginners.

This species is perfect for a community tank and gets along well with other peaceful fish. They’re also very active and love to swim!

But even though they’re easy to care for, there are still a few things you need to know to make sure they’re happy and healthy.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about Black Phantom Tetra care. You’ll learn about their diet, tank mates, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

The black phantom tetra (scientific name: Hyphessobrycon megalopterus) is a freshwater fish that’s native to South America. It’s found in various parts of Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia.

This fish prefers slow-moving waters with a lot of plants and vegetation. This is something that’s common to many species of tetra, as they come from an environment where there’s not a lot of movement or disturbance.

The black phantom tetra is a very popular fish in the aquarium scene due to its unique black and white coloration. It’s also a very peaceful fish, which makes it a good choice for community tanks.


Black phantom tetra

The Black Phantom Tetra is a freshwater fish that is easily recognizable due to its unique coloration. As the name suggests, these fish are mostly black with a few white markings.

The black coloration starts at the tip of their mouth and extends all the way back to their caudal peduncle. There is a small white stripe that runs along their body starting at their gill plate and extending to their tail.

This white stripe is bordered by another black stripe on each side. The fins on these fish are also mostly black with a few white markings.

The dorsal fin has a white tip and the caudal fin has a white edge. The anal fin and pectoral fins are also black with white edges.

The Black Phantom Tetra is a relatively small fish, only reaching a maximum size of about 2 inches.


Black phantom tetras have a lifespan of 5 to 8 years. This can obviously vary based on the individual fish and the conditions they’re kept in.

As with any other animal, the lifespan of a black phantom tetra can be shortened by things like poor water quality, stress, or a suboptimal diet.


Black phantom tetras are a small fish, only growing to be about 2 inches in length. Because of this, they don’t need a lot of space to thrive and can even do well in smaller tanks.


Tank Size

The minimum tank size for black phantom tetras is 20 gallons. If you plan on keeping a school of these fish we recommend at least 30 gallons so they have enough space to swim and school together.

Water Parameters

The Black Phantom Tetra is a freshwater fish that is native to the Rio Negro in South America. As such, they are used to living in water that is relatively warm (between 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit), slightly acidic (between 6.0-7.0 on the pH scale), and has a relatively low hardness level (between 2-12 dGH).

To maintain these water parameters, it is important to do regular water changes (approximately 10-15% every week or two) and to use a water filtration system that is designed to remove toxins and impurities from the water.

It is also important to make sure that the water in your tank is well-oxygenated, as Black Phantom Tetras are known to be sensitive to low levels of dissolved oxygen.

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to the inside of the aquarium, these fish are pretty easy to please.

The biggest thing you need to worry about is the water quality. They prefer clean water with a bit of a current.

As for the substrate, go with something that’s dark in color. This will help bring out their black coloration.

When it comes to plants, go with something that’s on the hardier side. These fish love to nibble on plants, so anything that’s delicate won’t last long.

Java Fern, Anubias, and Hornwort are all great choices.

You can also add some driftwood and rocks to the inside of their tank. Just make sure that anything you put in is securely anchored. These fish are known to dig around a bit and can easily uproot things that aren’t properly secured.

Common Diseases

The black phantom tetra is a relatively hardy and disease-resistant fish. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t get sick.

The most common disease that these fish experience is ich. This is a parasite that will attach itself to your fish and cause white spots to form on their body.

If left untreated, ich can be fatal. However, it is treatable if you act quickly. There are a number of different ich treatments available, so consult your vet or do some research online to figure out the best course of action.

Another disease to look out for is fin rot. This is a bacterial infection that will cause the fins of your fish to rot away. It’s usually the result of poor water quality, so the best way to prevent it is by keeping a close eye on the conditions in your tank.

As always, the best way to keep your fish healthy is by providing them with clean, high-quality water. This will help to prevent a lot of different diseases and illnesses, so it’s always worth the extra effort.

Behavior & Temperament

Black phantom tetras are schooling fish, so they do best in groups. When they’re alone, they can be a bit shy and may not come out to play as often.

These fish are relatively peaceful, but they can be nippy. They’re known to nibble on the fins of their tank mates from time to time. This is especially true if the other fish have longer fins.

Black phantom tetras are also known to be a bit jumpy. They may startle easily, so it’s important to have a lid on your tank.

During the day, these fish like to stick to the shadows. They’ll often hide behind plants or rocks. When night falls, they become more active and start to explore their environment.

All in all, black phantom tetras are relatively easy to care for. They’re not too picky about their food and they don’t need a fancy tank. As long as you have a few plants and some hiding places, they’ll be happy.

Tank Mates

Black phantom tetras are peaceful, social fish. In the wild, they live in large schools. As a result, they do best when kept in groups of 6 or more.

These fish are also shy. They’re not aggressive, but they can be skittish. As a result, they do best with other peaceful fish that won’t bully them.

Some compatible black phantom tetra tank mates include:

  • Neon Tetras
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Rummy Nose Tetras
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Guppies
  • Platies
  • Mollies


Black phantom tetras are one of the easier species of fish to breed. This is due in part to the fact that they are egg-scatterers. They don’t provide any care for their young, so you don’t have to worry about them eating the eggs.

To breed black phantom tetras, start by setting up a breeding tank. It should hold at least 20 gallons of water and have a sponge filter.

Then, add plenty of plants. Black phantom tetras like to lay their eggs on plants. Java moss is a good option.

When ready, add two males for every female. These fish are shy, so you might want to add more plants to help them feel comfortable.

Once the fish have acclimated, begin feeding them live foods. This will help to trigger spawning.

When the female is ready to lay eggs, she’ll do it on the plants. The male will then fertilize them. After that, the parents will be done. They won’t care for the eggs or the fry.

Eggs will hatch in about 24 hours. At that point, you can start feeding the fry baby brine shrimp.


Black phantom tetras are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They’re relatively peaceful, easy to care for, and look great swimming around.

We think they’re a great option for beginner aquarium keepers and experienced aquarists alike.

If you’re looking for a new fish to add to your tank, we highly recommend giving black phantom tetras a try!