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Black Skirt Tetra: Everything You Need To Know

Are you searching for a new freshwater species for your tank? The Black Skirt Tetra originates from South America, dwelling in Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. The most distinguishable characteristics of these unique, blackfish are their gradient coloring and Characidae shape.

This comprehensive guide will explore in detail the origin, tank requirements, diet, behavior, and appearance of the Black Skirt Tetra as well as tips on caring for this fascinating species and more.

Black Skirt Tetra


In their habitat of origin, the Black Skirt Tetra has the potential to live for 6-7 years, but this lifespan is inevitably reduced in an aquarium environment which cannot replace their natural habitat. If well taken care of Black Skirt Tetra can live happily for around 4-5 years.

Admittedly, the Black Skirt Tetra lifespan is typically fairly short, but there are some cases where fish have outlived the 4-5 year predicted life span.

Expert Tip: There are ways to improve and lengthen the lifespan of a Black Skirt Tetra maintaining the aquarium tank, water conditions, and encouraging a stress-free environment and lifestyle for the fish can help in this area.



Black Skirt Tetras belong to the Characidae family and are distinguished by their iconic tetragonal shape, being taller at the front of the body. The colors of the Black Skirt Tetras are also a defining feature. The main body shade of a Black Skirt Tetra is greyish-silver, with a lighter and more reflective head.

This greyish silver tone fades to a black shade at the mid-section of the fish, where two strong black stripes can be found. The fin color is usually dark grey or black and features tiny rays as well as being translucent. The name ‘Black Skirt Tetra’ is symbolic of the unique color gradient effect.

In terms of shape, the Black Skirt Tetra has a unique with unusual fins. The tailfin is thin and forked, whilst the dorsal fin is smaller and squared off. The anal fin is more prominent in shape, growing from the central body to the tail.

The male Black Skirt Tetra can be identified by having a wider anal fin than a female Black Skirt Tetra Female Black Skirt Tetras are, however, larger and plumper than males. Overall, the differences between male and female Black Skirt Tetra are hard to detect due to their similarities.


Typically the Black Skirt Tetra does not grow particularly large and is recognized to be quite a small fish. An average Black Skirt Tetra grows to around 3 inches long when full maturity has been reached. Black Skirt Tetra tend to grow larger when growing in their wild, natural environment in comparison to the habitat of an aquarium tank.

Offering the Black Skirt Tetra the best possible care and maintenance can assist in their growth. In some cases, Black Skirt Tetra can be smaller in size due to bad genes or disappointing genes.

Black Skirt Tetra Care

Black Skirt Tetra Care
Black Skirt Tetra Care

Caring for Black Skirt Tetras is important and necessary to avoid the fish becoming at risk of diseases of a bacterial, fungal, or parasitic nature, such as Ich, fish fungus, fin rot, and dropsy. Care of Black Skirt Tetras is, however, a fairly simple task even for an inexperienced fish-keeper.

The health of Black Skirt Tetra fish is dependent on water parameters and levels of cleanliness in the tank. Because of the relatively short life span of Black Skirt Tetra, it is necessary to provide a strong level of care to enrich their short and limited lives.

Preferring soft water, it is a good idea to try to imitate the warm, acidic conditions of the rivers of South America in the freshwater home environment.

The ideal water parameters for a tank containing Black Skirt Tetras are:

  • pH levels of 6 to 7.5.
  • A water temperature of 70F to 85F.
  • Water hardness of 4 to 8 dKH.

To provide optimum care for Black Skirt Tetras. a good filter is hugely important to reduce levels of nitrate and ammonia in the tank. Furthermore, a 25-50% water change should be carried out bi-monthly. Testing water regularly will make maintaining water conditions easier, and detecting any problems is more transparent.

Even the most subtle changes in conditions can be harmful to the health and wellbeing of a Black Skirt Tetra. Black Skirt Tetra is a species particularly susceptible to stress, and this should be taken into account when providing daily care for the fish. To reduce stress, remember to maintain a clean tank and steady water parameters.

Whilst it is difficult to fully imitate the conditions of the native habitat of a Black Skirt Tetra, attempting to make as many close connections as possible will always be beneficial to the health of the fish.

Only allowing good-natured fish of appropriate breeds to act as tank mates is essential, and a stimulating variety of plants and objects of variety to act as hiding places will enhance the enjoyment in the life of the fish. Try to keep overcrowding in the tank to a minimum to allow this active species space to swim and roam.

Tank Size

To provide the best possible environment for the Black Skirt Tetra to grow and thrive, as much space as possible is recommended. A recommended minimum tank size is 15 gallons, however, it is more sensible to opt for a tank size of around 20 gallons. The more Black Skirt Tetras that inhabit the tank, the more space that will be necessary.

It is advised that a 15-gallon tank is capable of holding 5 Black Skirt Tetras. Their behavioral traits reveal that Black Skirt Tetras are active in swimming and movement, so a larger tank size is necessary to avoid overcrowding and reduce the possibility of stress for the fish.

Expert Tip: If you hope to introduce multiple species into the tank to share the space with Black Skirt Tetras, it is always best to opt for a larger tank size to allow more space for the species to exist happily in the same tank.

What To Put In Their Tank

What to put in their Tank?
What to put in their Tank?

The contents of the tank are of huge importance to the growth and happiness of Black Skirt Tetras. Most importantly, Black Skirt Tetras require the best water conditions in the tank, so a quality filter to remove nitrate, ammonia and other waste is necessary.

The natural habit of Black Skirt Tetras is fairly dark, so opting for gravel or sand in a darker color to mirror the darkness of their natural habit is advised. Furthermore, the bright colors on the bodies of the Black Skirt Tetras will be more visible if the foundations are darker and the lighting is dim.

Like most freshwater fish, Black Skirt Tetras favor objects of interest in the tank, such as rocks, caves, and driftwood to offer potential hiding places. Items such as rocks can also be decorative and enhance the overall appearance of the tank. It is advised to include a selection of plants in the tank.

Plants improve the condition of the water and provide a source of enjoyment for Black Skirt Tetras. who enjoy swimming through plants. The quantity of plants to choose from is important, the plants should be enough to enhance the habit, but should not overcrowd the fish.

Go for taller plants, as Black Skirt Tetras dwell in the mid-level areas of the tank mostly, and smaller plants may not reach them as they glide through the water.

Common Possible Diseases

All species of freshwater fish are prone to disease, and the Black Skirt Tetras fish are no exception. Black Skirt Tetras are susceptible to fungal and bacterial infection, the most common being Fish Fungus, Fin Rot, and Dropsy.

Infection in Black Skirt Tetras can be avoided by maintaining the care of the aquarium environment, constantly working to improve the water quality in the tank, and using recommended medications to treat disease.

A common disease found in Black Skirt Tetras is Ich, a parasitic infection caused by increased levels of stress, causing white lesions to grow on the body of the fish. Ich is mostly caused by poor water conditions in the tank, which can be avoided by carrying out regularly water tests to assess the condition of the water.

To treat Ich, the infected fish should be isolated from the other inhabitants of the tank and a copper-based medication should be used. Ich is a highly contagious and often fatal disease.

Food and Diet

Food and Diet
Food and Diet

Black Skirt Tetras have a fairly basic diet that is easy to maintain. A diet of commercially-available dry food is recommended, consisting of pellets and nutrient-rich flakes. This diet should be offered daily in 5-minute windows.

Some Black Skirt Tetra enthusiasts prefer to supplement dry food with live food, such as bloodworms, blackworms, daphnia, tubifex, and brine shrimp. Snacks such as these enrich the diet of the Black Skirt Tetra and work to lower their stress levels.

Some recommend attempting to mirror the simple plant and insect-based diet of Black Skirt Tetra in the wild by introducing algae and plants into the diet of Black Skirt Tetra. Frozen food can also be occasionally integrated into the diets of Black Skirt Tetra.

Behavior and Temperament

Considering the overall behavior and temperament of Black Skirt Tetras, they are peaceful fish, showing virtually no sign of aggression in any situation, other than in the presence of long-finned fish. Black Skirt Tetras do have a tendency to nip at the longer fins of some species, such as Angelfish or Betta Fish.

In addition to displaying a peaceful, easy-going manner. Black Skirt Tetras can often be timid in nature and prefer to hide behind rocks, plants, driftwood, and inside caves within the tank environment. The everyday behavior of the Black Skirt Tetra usually involves swimming around the tank.

Expert Tip: Black Skirt Tetras are a schooling species and feel more comfortable operating in a group, although from time to time individual fish may swim alone.

Black Skirt Tetras are often curious in the manner and will be interested in new introductions to the tank, whether this is a new hiding place, a taller plant to swim through, or a new tank mate.

Black Skirt Tetra Tank Mates

Black skirt tetra tank mates
Black skirt tetra tank mates

The ideal tank mates for your Black Skirt Tetra fish should be calm and peaceful in nature. The flowing fins of the Black Skirt Tetra species can be a target for aggressive fish with a tendency to nip at fins. The Black Skirt Tetra is an active species with typical behavior involving plentiful swimming and movement.

It is therefore a good idea to opt for smaller, less active fish as tank mates for Black Skirt Tetras. such as Neon Tetras, Cardinal, and Black Neon. To maximize the space within the tank choosing bottom-dwelling fish as tank mates for Black Skirt Tetras is a wise choice, as Black Skirt Tetras tend to inhabit the mid-level space.

Ideal bottom-dwelling fish include Rasboras, Danios, and Dwarf Cichlids.

To help you to select the best tank mates for your Black Skirt Tetra, consult the options below:


When breeding Black Skirt Tetra a separate breeding tank of 10 is required. The conditions of the breeding tank are also important, the tank should mirror the water parameters of the main tank and should possess soft characteristics with slightly acidic content.

It is recommended to add plants to the tank to aid the breeding process. Black Skirt Tetras are not natural parents and may attempt to eat the eggs. To protect the eggs from being eaten by a parent, a net, spawning mat or artificial grass can be used to cover the eggs.

It is important to prewash anything which comes into contact with the breeding tank in a salt bath to check that no pests or snails enter the tank which could harm the eggs or any harmful substance which could be determinantal to the future health of the eggs.

To begin the breeding process, a bonded pair of Black Skirt Tetras should be introduced into the breeding tank, having prepared the tank to ensure suitable water conditions. The male and female Black Skirt Tetra should be fed rich in protein live foods, such as bloodworms, for a week to 10 days, three times per day before breeding.

The male Black Skirt Tetra will begin to follow the female when her belly swells with eggs. If the male Black Skirt Tetra becomes too aggressive and harmful towards the female, the male should be removed from the tank and breeding can be attempted after another week of preparations.

If the breeding process is successful, the female Black Skirt Tetra should lay around 1000 eggs. The eggs will be scattered around the tank and may sink to the bottom of the tank, making a spawning mat a useful choice.

When the eggs have been laid successfully and the male Black Skirt Tetra has fertilized the eggs, the male and female parents should be removed from the breeding tank and returned to their regular tank. After 1-2 days the eggs will being to hatch, and after several days infusoria or powdered fry food can be introduced to the tank.

After approximately 2 weeks baby brine shrimp can be offered as food for the fry. The fry should not be introduced into the main tank from the breeding tank until they are large and resilient enough to avoid being eaten by other species in the tank, including the parent Black Skirt Tetra fish.

How Many Black Skirt Tetras Should Be Kept Together?

Black Skirt Tetras enjoy living and growing in a group
Black Skirt Tetras enjoy living and growing in a group

Like many species of fish, other creatures, and humans. Black Skirt Tetras enjoy living and growing in a group. It is recommended to keep a minimum of around 5-6 Black Skirt Tetras in an aquarium in a group. Black Skirt Tetras are naturally shoaling fish and thrive in a group.

A decent group of Black Skirt Tetras will increase happiness, and confidence and reduce the potential of stress in each fish. Black Skirt Tetras feel safer and more comfortable in their surroundings when in a group scenario, and less aggression will be observed in the fish behavior.

Expert Tip: Evidence has also proven that fish who have lived in a bigger group have longer lifespans.

Final Thoughts

As this guide discusses, Black Skirt Tetras are unique, vibrant fish with a striking body shape and coloring. Their endearing schooling mannerisms and active swimming behavior will make them a fascinating addition to any tank.

Caring for and feeding a Black Skirt Tetra is fairly simple, but maintaining levels of care is essential to avoiding diseases and keeping stress levels low. Remember, it is recommended to opt for a minimum of 5-6 Black Skirt Tetras in your tank, as these fish thrive, grow, and live for longer when dwelling in a group.

Feel free to comment if you have any questions about Black Skirt Tetra.
Hopefully, you will enjoy observing and caring for Black Skirt Tetras. Caring for them should be very simple, just follow this guide for helpful advice.

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