Black Skirt Tetra
Updated August 5, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
The Black Skirt Tetra has a few different common names such as the Black Tetra and the Black Widow Tetra. They are very popular among hobbyists and usually available at most fish stores. There are some different color varieties (may be dyed fish, look closely) and even some long fin varieties. The Black Skirt Tetra may lose some of the black coloration as they age. Also check out the White Skirt Tetra profile.
The Black Skirt Tetra can make a nice addition to a community tank with the right mix of tank mates. Avoid keeping them with known fin nippers like tiger barbs and likewise, avoid keeping them with fish that have larger fins such as Angelfish because Black Skirts have been caught nipping fins themselves. Try to keep your Black Tetras in groups of 5 or more to keep any fin nipping at a minimum, or at least amongst the school.
The Black Skirt Tetra is not very demanding as far as water quality goes and can be recommended to the freshwater beginner. Try to keep them in a large enough tank so you can get a school of them and keep up with those water changes. However, they probably won't make it through a complete aquarium nitrogen cycle, so make sure that your tank is cycled before introducing them. Yes, this means that you definitely need to have an aquarium test kit.
They are not very picky when it's chow time. Give them a variety of vitamin enriched fish foods and they should do well. Toss them some frozen foods every once in a while as a treat.
Breeding Tank Setup Video
Black Skirt Tetra Care
Scientific Name : Gymnocorymbus ternetzi
Common Names : Black Tetra, Black Widow Tetra
Care Level : Easy and could be considered a good beginner's fish.
Size : 2 inches (6 cm)
pH : 6 - 7.5
Temperature : 75°F - 80°F (24°C - 27°C)
Water Hardness : 5° to 20° dH
Lifespan : 3 - 5 years
Origin / Habitat : South America, river basin areas
Temperament / Behavior : A generally peaceful little tetra that needs to be in a school of 5 or more.
Breeding : Egg scatterer. The adults may eat the eggs. You will need a bare bottom breeding tank and will have to remove the adults after they release the eggs.
Aquarium Size : 20 gallons (114 liters) - a schooling fish and should be kept in groups of 5 or more.
Tank Mates : You don't want to keep them with overly aggressive tank mates. If you have a long fin black tetra, you will want to avoid putting them in a tank with known fin nippers such as tiger barbs and other tetras. They have also been known to nip a fin or two themselves. Angelfish and Bettas should probably not be mixed with these tetras.
Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment
Diet / Foods : The Black Skirt should eat most common aquarium foods. Flakes, frozen, freeze dried and may nibble at some aquarium plants.
Tank Region : All over, but mostly in the middle and top areas of the fish tank.
Gender : The female will usually be larger and the male may have a wider anal fin.
Photo Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk
Fish Lore Forum : Black Skirt Tetra Forum
Black Skirt Tetra Comments and Tips
I had a small 10 gallon tank for over a year and have just recently upgraded to a 20 gallon. In my previous 10 gallon I had 2 Tiger Barbs and 2 Black Skirt Tetras, I know that most people I speak with, including this website, say that I shouldn't have these types of fish together, however, they have been excellent together. Now that I have a larger tank, I have gotten some more Tiger Barbs, 4 more, so now I have 6 Tiger Barbs and 2 Black Skirts, and the Tetras are schooling with the Barbs and seem to be doing quite well. I hope this continues!
We have a 50 gallon tank and have put together a very interesting mix. We have 5 Black Tetras with 8 Tiger Barbs and they do just fine. Since we had the room we tried to get enough of each for schools and they tend to stay together.
I have had up to 6 of these interesting little guys and they school wonderfully, however the larger ones have become pushier and chase the smaller ones around. Watching their fins grow as they mature is great, they really extended and flow excellently. I recommend these for every starters tank! They are peaceful and fun to watch school and I've even seen my black neon tetras (2 of them) schooling right along with them. It's great.
This is the first place that I have gone that cautions against putting Angelfish and Tetras in the same tank. I thought there was something very wrong with my tetras after they killed 3 angelfish. Turns out that's just their nature. Be warned. An angelfish must be at least twice the size of a tetra to survive, and even then they'll get beaten up pretty bad.
More Tetra Fish Profiles
Bleeding Heart Tetra
Has the signature small red spot (don't think it looks like a heart though) on its sides.
Blind Cave Tetra
The Blind Cave tetras live in deep caves in the wild. They range from Texas to Mexico, with the sighted version from Mexico to Panama. There is no need for eye sight in the pitch black caves, so they have evolved to adapt to these conditions.
A slim lined tetra with red fins, a fast swimmer that does well in planted tanks.