The black neon tetra is a small schooling fish that is widespread throughout the upper Rio Paraguai in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, both north and south of the the vast tropical wetland known as the Pantanal, where it appears to favor minor tributaries, headwater rivers, oxbows, and seasonally inundated flood plains. This species is of the typical elongated tetra appearance. It has fairly plain, basic coloration but with two distinct, adjacent longitudinal stripes that consist of a white above a black. The eye has two thin but distinctive color bands across the top, red above yellow. It grows to an adult size of 1.2 to 1.6 inches in length. Females are larger and visibly plumper than males when in breeding condition. This species has been a ubiquitous aquarium fish since its discovery, and it is produced on a commercial basis in several countries, therefore wild fish are no longer collected.
The black neon tetra should be maintained in an aquarium of 20 gallons or larger, as it is a schooling fish and should be kept in groups of 8 to 10 or more. They will look their best on a dark, sandy substrate (CS6631) with driftwood (ZM2000) in a well planted tank. Dried leaf litter, such as Indian almond leaves (CS706), can provide extra cover and a secondary food source. Moderate water flow and subdued lighting is preferred.
The black neon tetra prefers a temperature of 70°F to 83°F, a pH of 5.0 to 7.5, and a hardness of 1 to 12°H.
The black neon tetra is typically a very peaceful fish. When kept in groups of 8 or more, it makes a suitable resident for a community aquarium. Do not keep the black neon tetra with any fish large enough to eat it or with aggressive fish. Good tank mates include cory catfishes, other tetras, pencil fishes, hatchet fishes, peaceful dwarf cichlids, and small algae eating catfishes (otocinclus, bristle nose, clown, and rubber plecos).
Black neon tetras are not fussy eaters in the aquarium and will readily accept a wide variety of foods. For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics in addition to a balanced diet including quality flake, freeze dried, and frozen foods. We have seen amazing results using AquaLife Bio-Pro Plus and CS Pro Flakes with Calanus and Spirulina in addition to frozen blood worms (SF4792) and brine shrimp (SF6777).