Black Skirt Tetra: Fish Profile, Tank Setup, Feeding & Breeding

If you keep a freshwater aquarium, you can find several breeds of tropical fish. While most of the more colorful fish are found in saltwater aquariums, there is quite a variety for freshwater tanks as well. Some of the more popular fish are the smaller breeds, easy to care for varieties of tropical fish. The Black Skirt Tetra is a popular smaller fish that many owners buy for their smaller aquariums.


Many varieties of this fish are elongated, but this breed is more spade-shaped. Its body is silver with black stripes or black along the back half of the body. The name of the fish comes from the marking on the back half of the body. The secondary color is translucent and they have long flowing fins. These fish lose their juvenile coloring as they get older.

Tank Setup

They do well in aquariums as small as 10 gallons, but they shouldn’t be put into anything smaller. You can keep the tank between 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and if not in a room that gets cold, you don’t need to use a heater for these fish. The aquarium should have a variety of plants and rocks in as well. These fish like to hide among the plants, which gives them a sense of security. Taller plants and rock-formed cave structures would work well for them.

Unlike some other tetras, the Black Skirt Tetra schools easily. They usually like to be in schools of no less than three, but six is preferable. They don’t like to be alone and if isolated, they can become aggressive. In a well-cared tank, they will usually live three to five years.


Since it is a small fish, they need to be fed foods that can be crushed or are small in size. Like most of their breed, they are omnivores, so they eat a bit of everything. They can be fed brine shrimp, daphnia, freeze-dried bloodworms, and tubifex. They also will accept micro pellet foods and high-quality flakes. If you are feeding Black Skirt Tetra babies, you need to crush up the flakes so they can more easily eat them.

Where is the Black Skirt Tetra Found in the Wild?

Most varieties of this breed are found in Central and South America. It can be found in the Paraguay and Guapore River basins. These basins are found in Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia. Since they are found south of the Tropic of Capricorn, this fish can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures in an aquarium than other tropical fish. Their aquariums don’t need to be heated if they are in a room that doesn’t get cold.


The Black Skirt Tetra does breed pretty well in captivity. A hospital or breeding tank will need to be set up for them. Like most of their kind, they are egg scatterers, and the male will eat the eggs. So, when they spawn, if you want to have babies, you will need to transfer the parents out of the breeding tank. To encourage breeding, the tank should be slightly more acidic than the main aquarium.


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