Caring for White Skirt Tetras

Habitat, Breed, Diet and More

White Skirt Tetra
White Skirt Tetra. Joeysaad

The White Skirt Tetra is commonly available and it's a good breed for a beginner fish keeper. It is very robust, requires little caretaking and it's easy to breed. White Skirt Tetras can live up to seven years. They are also a very striking fish to look at in an aquarium!

White Skirt Tetra Basics

  • Scientific Name: Gymnocorymbus ternetzi
  • Other Names: Petticoat Tetra
  • Family: Characidae
  • Origin: Rio Paraguay, Rio Guapore, Bolivia
  • Adult Size: 2 inches (5.5 cm)
  • Social: Peaceful, good community fish
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Tank Level: Mid dweller
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Diet: Omnivore, eats most foods
  • Breeding: Egglayer
  • Care: Easy
  • pH: 5.8 - 8.5
  • Hardness: to 30 dGH
  • Temperature: 70-90 F (20-26 C)

Appearance of the White Skirt Tetra

This species is a color variation of the popular Black Widow/ Black Tetra. They achieve their mature size of two inches at approximately one year of age. A number of long-finned and color varieties have been produced, some of which are artificially colored. Most notable of the color variations are the pastel blue and pink varieties, which are achieved via dyes. They may be sold under names such as Strawberry Tetra, Blueberry Tetra or Rainbow Tetra. Any fish that may have been artificially colored should be avoided. Fish dyeing is harmful and shouldn't be supported.

A schooling fish by nature, it is best kept in groups of three or more.

Due to their peaceful nature, they make an excellent community fish. Some owners report that they sometimes nip the fins of slower moving fish, however, particularly those with long flowing fins such as Bettas or Angelfish.


White skirts are undemanding species that will adapt to a range of conditions.

Subdued lighting, as well as neutral colored gravel substrate, is preferred. They are accustomed to large plants in their natural habitat and enjoy a planted aquarium. Water parameters may range from acidic to alkaline and hard to soft. Ideally, they should initially be matched to the water conditions from the supplier. White Skirt Tetras are hardy at 70 to 90 F but if kept at colder temperatures, they are prone to developing ich.


Virtually any kind of live, fresh, frozen, freeze-dried or flake foods is suitable. For optimal health, provide a variety of foods that include high-quality flake foods, brine shrimp and any type of worms, as well as vegetable supplements such as spirulina.


Female white skirts are generally larger than the males and have a rounder body. Males have a broader anal fin and a narrower more pointed dorsal fin.

Larger males will generally claim a territory that they will guard during spawning periods. Although they are egg scatterers, they prefer to spawn among fine-leaved plants which you should provide in the breeding tank. Once spawning has occurred, the parents should be removed as they will consume the eggs. Eggs will hatch after approximately one day.

The fry may be fed freshly hatched brine shrimp, egg yolk or finely ground flake foods.