Black Skirt Tetra: Care, Breeding, Diet & Behavior

Gymnocorymbus ternetzi (Black Skirt Tetra) are not only beautiful, but they are also quite easy to care for.

This is why they are a great choice for aquarists of all abilities, especially novices.

This article will teach you all you need to know about the Black Skirt Tetra breed, including behavior and temperament, fish tank needs, breeding, and food.

Black Skirt Tetra Overview

Black Skirt Tetra Overview

Family: Characidae
Origin: Rio Paraguay, Rio Guapore, Bolivia
Temperament: Easy-going and peaceful
Size: 1-2.5 inches (2.5-6.4cm)
Minimum Tank Size: 15 Gallons
Diet: Omnivore
Care: Easy
pH: 5.8 to 8.5
Alkalinity Levels: Up to 15 dGH
Temperature: 68 to 79 F (20 to 26 C)

Black Skirt Tetra Breed

Origin and Habitat

South American nations like as Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay are home to Black Skirt Tetra.

The forest canopy provides both shelter and food in the form of insects, tiny worms, and crustaceans, and you’ll normally find them near the water’s surface.

The Black Widow Tetra, Petticoat Tetra, Goldenskirt Tetra, and Colored Skirt Tetra are all varieties of the Black Skirt Tetra.


In captivity, the Black Skirt Tetra lives for 3 to 5 years on average. Some people can survive over this age, despite the fact that it is unusual.

It’s critical to keep the tank clean and give adequate water conditions for them to survive their entire lives. (I’ll go into more detail about this later)

Behavior & Temperament

Black skirt Tetras are a calm breed with a laid-back personality. Because they rarely show symptoms of aggression, they make good tank mates.

The only thing to keep in mind is that this species is known for nibbling at flowing fins. If you have long-finned fish like Angelfish or Betta Fish, be cautious.

Black Skirt is an inquisitive creature who will spend the most of their time swimming and investigating the tank. Because they are a schooling animal, you’ll notice that this breed also sticks together. On rare occasions, you may see that they swim away on their own.


They are tiny, like other Tetra species, and reach a mature size of 1-2.5 inches (2.5-6.4cm).

They may grow up to 3 inches in length on rare instances, although this is more common in the wild.


The morphology of Black Skirt Tetras, like that of other Characidae family members, makes them easily identifiable. Tetragonal is a form that looks like a rectangular prism cube.

Their backs are shorter than their fronts, and some have small fins while others have larger fins. Their tail has a noticeable taper, which is another distinguishing trait.

Colors and Markings

Black Skirt Tetras are a gorgeous species with a gradient color pattern on the front of their bodies and two prominent vertical black stripes.

Their deeper hues will diminish as they grow older, until they are completely white at the end of their lives.

Providing a thriving tank habitat with clean water and a good feed is one technique to avoid or slow down color fading.

Gender Differences

Females are somewhat bigger and more rounded than males. A male Tetra’s anal fin is normally bigger than a female’s.

Black Skirt Tetra Care

Tank Size

A 15 gallon tank is recommended for Black Skirt Tetra, but if you plan on maintaining a big group of these fish, a 20 gallon tank is even better.

Because they are energetic swimmers, larger tanks give more area for them. Overcrowding is reduced as a result of this.

Water Conditions

To keep your fish happy and healthy, the water quality is critical. If the water quality is inadequate, fish might quickly become stressed or contract a disease.

The best and safest solution is to mimic the water conditions of a breed’s native environment. Here are some suggestions when it comes to Black Skirt Tetra.

  • Water temperature: 70°F to 85°F
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 4 to 8 KH

Water refills of 25-50 percent are advised once every two weeks to guarantee that potentially dangerous elements such as ammonia and nitrates do not affect your tank.

Always keep a water testing kit on available so you can check the water on a frequent basis.

What To Put Inside The Tank

A Black Skirt Tetra’s natural habitat is teeming with life. To develop a healthy ecosystem, they must reproduce this within their tank.

  • Plants: Tetras, like many other breeds, like plants since they are energetic swimmers with many of opportunities to investigate. This breed thrives on taller plants. Just don’t go overboard; they’ll still need room to swim.
  • Dark sandy substrate: Due to rotting leaves, the sandy substrate has a dark tint that simulates how it would be in their natural environment.
  • Driftwood and cave systems provide lots of opportunities for your fish to hide and flee if they feel threatened.
  • Filtering: A good filtration system is essential for removing waste and preventing ammonia and nitrate buildup.

Common Diseases

Ich, a parasite illness that creates white lesions all over the body, is one of the most prevalent diseases to be aware of.

Ich is caused by stress or poor water quality, which is why it’s crucial to build up a healthy tank with plenty of hiding places to help avoid stress.

Because ich may be lethal if not treated, it’s critical to do frequent water testing to verify that the water’s quality stays good.

A copper-based drug is typically the best option when it comes to therapy. It’s also worth noting that Ich is extremely infectious. As a result, sick fish must be removed as soon as possible.

Fungal and bacterial illnesses including as fin rot, fish fungus, and dropsy are also frequent in Black Skirt Tetra.

Tank Mates

Although Black Skirt Tetra are a placid and easygoing species, they can be little hostile with fish with long flowing fins and may nip at them.

Here are some tankmates to keep your Black Skirt Tetras with.

  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Harlequin Rasbora
  • Honey Gourami
  • Neon Tetra
  • Bolivian Rams
  • Cardinal Tetra
  • Celestial Pearl Danio
  • Chili Rasbora
  • Cory Catfish

Black Skirt Tetra Food & Diet

Black Skirt Tetras will consume plants and insects in their native habitat for food.

Although you can feed them flakes and pellets in captivity, it’s usually ideal to try to mimic their natural diet as closely as possible for happy, stress-free fish.

Live and frozen food like as bloodworms, daphnia, blackworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp can be used to augment their diet.

Pellets or flakes can be fed on a daily basis, but frozen and live meals should only be provided as a special treat.


If you want to breed Black Skirt Tetra, you’ll need a separate tank dedicated to breeding.

Because they are notorious for eating both eggs and fries, this is the case. When it comes to the tank, a 10 gallon with the same water parameters as their primary tank is the ideal option. You may even put some plants inside of it.

Here are some pointers to consider:

  • In the breeding tank, place a male and female tetra.
  • Feed them three times a day for seven to ten days with a diet of live, protein-rich food.
  • The female’s belly will eventually expand with eggs. The male will often chase her around the tank at this point. If the male becomes too aggressive, you can remove him from the tank.
  • Females may deposit up to 1000 eggs, which are dispersed around the tank.
  • Remove both the male and female from the breeding tank and return them to their usual tank as soon as the male has fertilized the eggs.
  • The eggs will hatch in 1-2 days, and the fry will acquire the nutrition they need from the egg sac.
  • After a few days, powdered food can be provided, followed by brine shrimp after a few weeks.
  • Other fish, as well as their parents, will eat fry, so it’s critical to keep them in the breeding tank until the threat of being eaten has gone.