Black Tetra

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Gymnocorymbus ternetzi - (Boulenger, 1895)
Black Tetra

One of the nearly bulletproof species, great for beginners and beautiful in schools in larger aquariums kept by experienced hobbyists.


The Black Tetra is a popular aquarium fish, highly recommended to beginners. It is commonly referred to as a Skirt Tetra, and a number of long-finned and color varieties have also been commercially produced. Avoid “painted” (dyed) fishes offered in some stores.

Family: Characidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: Subdued lighting and a dark-colored gravel substrate is preferred. A long tank is best to provide them with ample room to swim in. Floating plants will help subdue the light from above. Keep the flow rate of the filter baffled to provide gentle water movement.

Maximum length: 6 cm (2 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 19 L (5 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Mid-level


Omnivore. Not particularly finicky, it will accept just about any food in the aquarium. Provide a variety of commercial fare, including high-quality flakes, or freeze-dried or frozen foods like brine shrimp or blackworms. Supplement with vegetable-based foods, such as those that contain Spirulina.

Aquarium Compatibility

The Black Tetra is a peaceful, schooling species that should be kept in groups of at least three. Adults tend to be fin-nippers, so avoid tankmates with long, flowing fins.


This is one of the easiest of the egg scatterers to breed in the aquarium. A typical tetra breeding setup has fine-leaved plants or artificial spawning “mops” to receive the adhesive eggs and a peat moss covered bottom to create the water conditions many species prefer.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW