Black Neon Tetra

Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi

Black Neon Tetra
Black Neon Tetra. Marcin

The Black Neon Tetra is an energetic fish with a pleasant personality and it's easy on the eyes! Put this fish among contrasting plants and a dark background and you'll have a vibrant and beautiful aquarium.

Black Neon Tetra: Basics

  • Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi
  • Other Names: Black Tetra, Neon Tetra
  • Family: Characidae
  • Origin: Brazil
  • Adult Size: 1.5 inches (4 cm)
  • Social: Peaceful, suitable for community tank
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Tank Level: Mid, top dweller
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon; keep in schools
  • Diet: Omnivore, eats most foods
  • Breeding: Egglayer
  • Care: Intermediate
  • pH: 5.5 - 7.5
  • Hardness: to 6 dGH
  • Temperature: 73-81 F (23-27 C)


Sporting an iridescent silvery white stripe contrasted by a black stripe beneath it, the Black Neon makes an excellent contrast fish to similarly shaped and sized tetras such as the Rummy Nose or Neon Tetra.

At an adult size of little more than one inch, it is suitable for even small aquariums, although it should always be kept in schools instead of alone. They also make a nice addition to a larger community aquarium as they are peaceful and easy to care for.


Like other tetras, Black Neons prefer soft acidic water; however, they are quite adaptable and are more tolerant of hard neutral water than some tetra species. Peat filtering is recommended for bringing out the best coloration, and it's essential if attempting to breed them.

The ideal biotope for the Black Neon Tetra includes subdued lighting, live plants, open space for swimming, a dark substrate, and a healthy water current in the mid to upper region of the aquarium where they prefer to swim. They are a schooling fish and should always be kept in groups of a half dozen or more.


Black Neons are not demanding and will eat almost anything offered to them; however, they should be fed a varied diet for optimum health and color. Flake, frozen and freeze-dried foods are all suitable, as well as small live worms and brine shrimp.


The sexes are fairly easy to differentiate by observing the body type. Males are much slimmer than the stocky, full-bodied female. Set up a separate breeding tank should with very soft acidic water (4 dGH or less), a dark substrate and fine leafed plants. Lighting must be very dim. If the room is very bright, place ​cardboard on the sides of the tank to subdue the light.

Select breeding pairs from healthy adults that are approximately one year old. Younger fish may spawn, but best results are achieved in fully mature fish. Condition the breeding pair prior to spawning with live foods such as brine shrimp and mosquito larvae.

Spawning generally occurs early in the day. The female will scatter several hundred sticky eggs on the plants and/or substrate. Once spawning has occurred, remove the mating pair from the aquarium, as they will consume the eggs and young fry. Fry are relatively easy to raise and may be fed commercially prepared fry foods, freshly hatched brine shrimp or finely crushed flake foods.