Black Skirt Tetra Complete Care Guide | Feeding, Breeding & Tank

The black skirt tetra is exactly what you are searching for if you are searching for a little extra Beauty for your aquarium community?. They are school fish that are fun to watch, and they have a unique black translucent color that really brings something more to the aesthetic of your tank.

black skirt tetra

The Black Skirt Tetra is for some reason our favorite freshwater species.

It’s not only an interesting look that sets it apart from the other fish in your tank, but it’s also a piece of caring cake. This makes it an accessible option for all skill level aquarists!

Read to find out what you need to know about successfully raising a black skirt tetra. I will talk about their origins, behavior, tank needs, diet and more. After reading this article you will be wondering why you waited so long to get some black skirt tetras.

Black Skirt Tetras Species

The black skirt Tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) is a unique addition to community tanks. While other species of the Characidae family are known for being bright and colorful, these fish take on a darker appearance. Still, they are absolutely beautiful and stand out in a well-kept aquarium.

This fish emerges from many carcasses in South American waters. They can be found in the Paraguay River Basin, throughout Brazil, and even in Argentina. They go by many different names. These include Black Widow Tetra, Petticoat Tetra and Blackmoor.

Today, it is a common species in the aquarium trade. Due to their huge popularity, they are readily available at large pet stores. Black skirt tetras are relatively easy to enhance in captivity. But they don’t have to be vigilant to stay healthy.

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Because they belong to the Characidae family, the black skirt tetras have that iconic tetragonal shape. They are significantly lower in the front of the body. However, the back end of the fish is dramatically cut at the tail. Unique shapes are made more dramatic by their fins.

These fish have very different fin shapes. The tailfin is quite thin and features a forked shape. Meanwhile, the dorsal fin is very small and close to the square. At the bottom of the fish, you will see a dramatic anal fin.

It extends from the center of the body down to the tail. It is gear towards the belly of the fish, forming a very strange shape that comes out.

When we talk about color, the fins are usually dark gray or black. It is translucent and shows small rays. The rays are so firm that they are not spotted as you would see on other fish species, but are visible on closer inspection.

The main color of the black skirt Tetra is brown silver. It is translucent because the head is lighter and more reflective than other parts of the body. The fish gets its unique name from the color gradation effect.

Starting in the middle of the body, it turns a silvery-gray color dark black. There are two black stripes located on the front of the body. They run vert way too and are gradually complemented nicely.

Giving sex to these fish can be a little harder than other species. The difference between males and females is subtle.

Contrary to the norm, female specimens are slightly larger than males. They are also often plump in size. This is especially true during fish breeding.

Males can be identified by looking at the anal fins. These fins are usually slightly wider than the fins on females.

black skirt tetra appearance

How big does a black skirt tetra get?

Normally a full grown black skirt tetra is 2.5 to 3 inch long. As the most tetra species are smaller in size(1.5inch to 3 inch). But this can vary on how good the care of the fish is in aquarium. If you feed them properly and maintain the proper temperature of the aquarium then the size could be 3 inches. on the other hand with poor handling size will be around 2.5 inch when the fish is fully mature.

Black Skirt Tetras Behavior

Aside from the percussion for the flowing fins of fish like angelfish and betta fish, the black skirt tetras are a fairly peaceful tankmate. Still, show them long, flowing fins, and they’ll go into nip mode.

Their daily schedule includes swimming around the tank to see what the latest happenings are. Like a group of high school kids, the black skirt Tetras will check out the action around the school.

It’s a pleasure to watch them swim together, and it’s also interesting when someone leaves the group for a little bit of time alone before joining the school.

Although they are aggressive with long underlying fish, overall they are very timid and will appreciate hiding places. The caves, plants, rocks and wood contained in the aquascape will give them places to shelter. Also, because black skirt tetras are mid-tank swimmers, tall plants are the best choice.


Typically, the average black skirt tetra lasts from a lifetime 3 to 5 years. There have been several reports of these fish exceeding this average range, but this is uncommon.

This species of fish are affected by poor water conditions and an unstable environment. To ensure your fish live to the end of their lives, you need to maintain a tank and provide a stress-free habitat.


The typical black skirt tetra size is about 3 inches long at full maturity. Unlike the Tetra species in general, these species do not grow very large.

The Tank Size

The recommended tank size for a black skirt tetra is at least 15 gallons. This is enough for a small group of fish to swim easily. If possible, go for a 20-gallon tank for good measure.

If you plan to keep a large group of black skirt tetras or build a community tank with multiple species, a larger tank is always better. These are very active swimmers, so you have to provide suitable space to prevent congestion.

Black Skirt Tetra Care

Caring for a black skirt tetra should not be a problem for you, no matter how much you experience fishing or in an aquarium. These species are easy to please and have no complicated requirements for such habitats.

However, you still need to follow some guidelines. You need to put their health first and ensure that they live a long and happy life.

Water Parameters

Good water conditions are paramount when it comes to keeping fish healthy. Poor quality can lead to unnecessary stress or a wide range of diseases. This will significantly affect the health of the species and lead to death.

A good rule of thumb for any fish is to mimic the water conditions of their natural habitat. These fish that live in South American aquatic bodies are warm and slightly acidic.

Here are some important parameters to stick to when you are setting up a tank for a black skirt tetras.

  • Water temperature: 70°F to 85°F (aim for the middle of this range)
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 4 to 8 dKH

It is a good idea to invest in a reliable water test kit to make sure you are getting an accurate reading. Although these fish are hard, any significant change in water parameters can lead to serious health issues.

black skirt tetra size

What To Put In Tank

Decorating a tank is where you can get a little creative! The ecosystem where these fish live in the wild attracts life. You can recreate it in your own tank and experiment with your own aesthetic choice.

Plants are one of the most important things to get into an aquarium. Black skirt tetras prefer large plants through which they can explore and swim. In the wild, fish also feed on plants. Having some hard food in your tank can be a great snack for your fish in between feeding.

We ideally recommend tall plants. Black skirt tetras usually stick in the middle of the aquarium. Ler plants will ensure that the bottom of the fish tank has places to hide the fish without venturing out.

When you’re arranging vegetables in their tank, don’t overdo it! Plants should not be too dense. Remember, these fish are active swimmers and need a little room to move freely.

The best way to do this is to place the plants in the background and perimeter of the tank. This is an effective method to provide enough open space for the species.

What to with the rest of the aquarium?

At the bottom of the tank, you can use a darker sandy substrate. River gravel also works.

These fish don’t often go to the bottom of the tank, so this isn’t a big decision. However, the darker colors call home in the wild will accurately mimic the decaying leaves at the bottom of the stars.

You can also add cave systems and driftwood. These create hidden spots whenever the fish is a little embarrassed or threatened.

A strong filtration system is essential. While they don’t personally produce a ton of waste, a large school can quickly change water quality. Your filter should be able to keep the amount of ammonia and nitrate relatively low and get rid of all kinds of waste.

Courtesy : Aquarium Fish Keepers

Common Diseases

Like any other freshwater fish, the black skirt tetras suffers from a variety of diseases. Your fish may experience Ich, which is a parasitic infection brought on by stress. It causes white sores all over the body.

Desire can be fatal if not acted upon urgently. In most cases, poor water conditions are the main cause of stress-related hiccups. You can reduce the chances of such problems by doing regular water tests and making the necessary changes.

Ich is not very difficult to treat. However, it is very contagious. Infected fish should be kept separate from the rest of your fish and treated with a copper-based drug.

Black skirt tetras also have a risk of fungal and bacterial infections. The most common infections are dropsy, fish fungus and fin rot. Most of these issues can be treated by using over-the-counter medications and improving water quality.

Food for Black Skirt Tetras

Black skirt tetras are not preferred when it comes to food. In the wild, they will feed the plants and make the most of any insects they come across.

In captivity, this species should do just fine with commercially available dry food diets. You can provide nutrient-rich flakes or pills for their main meal.

Many hobbyists like to supplement dry or frozen foods with live food. Black skirts prefer snacks like Tetras Bloodworms. This will give them some diversity and richness which will keep their stress level low.

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Tank Mates for Them

Peaceful tank mating is the way to go with a black skirt tetras. It’s true that they can be mildly aggressive from fin-flowing fish, but the truth is that fins are also flowing in some varieties of black skirts, and they can easily be the target of aggressive fish that might cut their feathers.

Good choices are tetras that are slightly less active than black skirt tetras. Black neon, cardinal and neon tetras are all less active and even smaller. Because black skirt tetras are mid-level residents, peaceful bottoms are also good choices. Danios, Dwarf Sichlids and Rasborus are good bets.

Suitable Tankmates for Black-Skirt Tetras

Keeping the black skirt tetras in a tank

To reduce stress and increase pleasure, I recommend having at least 6 black skirt tetras together. You definitely don’t want to try to raise singles; These individuals depend on each other and they will not thrive on their own.

In addition, because they feel safe in groups, you will see less aggression and nipples when they are surrounded by their crew.

black skirt tetra care


Black skirt tetra stud is not very difficult. However, it does require some work. These fish do not take care of their eggs or baby fish fry at all. Therefore, you must raise adult children in a separate tank to prevent them from eating.

You can set up a separate 10-gallon stud tank. Use the same water parameters and insert some plants into the mixture. We recommend using a sponging mop, artificial grass, or mesh.

These accessories can be used to hide the eggs and to separate them slightly after the breeding process. The goal is to make it harder for adult fish to feed on eggs.

When you are ready, separate the tied pair and place it in the stud tank. Feed fish protein-rich live food until you start swelling with female eggs

At this point, the male fish may begin to chase around the fish. Keep an eye on both fish and make sure the male is not more aggressive. If it hurts, separate the fish for that time.

If successful, the female will start laying 1000 eggs in all the tanks. Black skirt tetras will scatter their eggs all over the tank instead of picking a spot. The egg will then sink to the bottom.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have some kind of grass or mesh netting. The eggs go to the bottom where they continue to breed, they will be hidden from adults.

Once that’s done, return the adult fish to the main tank. The eggs will hatch in 24 to 36 hours. The baby fish will first hatch and feed the egg bags. After a few days, you can provide powdered fry food or infusoria.

In a few weeks, they will be big enough to drink Baby Brin Shrimp. Keep the fry separate until it is large enough to be eaten by other fish.

Related : Killifish Species, Insertion, care and feed

What Should Be The Next Step

Now that you are familiar with the principles of black skirt tetra care, now is the time to create one for you!

These fish are a great pleasure to own and we recommend them to fellow aquarists all the time. Their unique appearance and constant activity level make them a great species to watch.

If you have any suggestions on the routes, please contact us if we can improve this care guide. We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve the information on our site!

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