Black Neon Tetra

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Black neon tetra - Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi

Scientific name: Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi

Common name: Black neon tetra

Family: Characidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 3 - 4 cm (1.18 - 1.57 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 5.6 - 7.4

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 0 - 18°N (0 - 321.43ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 23 - 27 °C (73.4 - 80.6°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: South America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels


The Black neon tetra originate from South America where they can be found in Brazil. They inhabit small streams and waterways which are highly vegetated and have high oxygen levels.

Short description

These fish have large populations in their natural habitat being prolific breeders if given the correct conditions and like most of the tetra species have become very popular in the aquarium trade. They belong to the family of characins and make great additions to any peaceful community set up.

They display a wonderful colouration comprising of a lateral line that runs along the length of the body which is normally an ivory to a pale green colour which is complimented with a dark lower body colour.

The Black neon tetra make a great species to care for with novice fishkeepers as they are classed as hardy but like all fish still require a good water quality in the aquarium. Adult specimens will reach an average length of up to 1.6 inches making them perfect for smaller aquarium set ups.


If cared for correctly the average lifespan of the Black neon tetra should be at least 5 years of age.

General care

Black neon tetra are a social species so should be kept in groups of at least 6 specimens. The minimum aquarium size required should hold at least 20 gallons (76 litres) of water and be well filtered to obtain high water quality. It is advised to use a tight fitting lid as these fish can be skilful jumpers. To get the best colouration from the fish use a dark substrate and keep the lighting moderate to low. You can add live plants but only add species that can tolerate the lower lighting levels such as Anubias. Rocks or wood can be added for decoration but make sure that there are plenty of open swimming space available as they are very active.

The water temperature should range between 23-27°C (74-81°F) and keep the pH in a range of 5.6-7.4.

Regular water changes will be required to keep the quality high, at least 10% weekly and syphon out any uneaten food after a 5 minute feeding period.

The Black neon tetra can be kept with other peaceful species of tetra, danios and peaceful bottom dwellers such as corydoras that require the same water parameters.


A very easy species to feed. They will accept quality commercial flake or very small pellets but these should be varied with treats of brine shrimp, artemia or blood worms.


Mature females will have a rounder body shape and grow slightly larger than mature males.


The Black neon tetra make a good choice for beginners to fish breeding as they are not the most difficult species to spawn.Use a separate breeding tank and filter this with an air driven sponge filter. A 10 gallon tank is ideal and the lighting should be very subdued. The water should be slightly acidic and soft, add marbles at the bottom to allow the eggs to drop through the gaps as the parent fish will see them as a food source.

Add 1-2 males with a group of females and condition them with live or frozen foods. The females bellies will swell with eggs after a couple of weeks and once ready the eggs will be scattered around the tank. Spawning normally takes place in the early hours of the morning and the eggs will have a sticky coating meaning they will attach themselves to any plants added or even the tank walls. Once spawning is complete it is wise to remove the parent fish allowing the eggs to hatch after a 24 hour period dependant on the water temperature.

Once free swimming the fry can be fed on newly hatched brine shrimp or infusoria.