Black neon tetra

Aquarium fish: Black neon tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)
Size: 4 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 23-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 70 l

Black neon tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi ) – a small, shoal aquarium fish with a characteristic shimmering bar along the body.


The species is native to South America . It lives in the streams and rivers of the Paraguayan basin and the Mato Grosso plateau.

Characteristics and disposition

Black neon lamps are approx. 4 cm long.

The body is gray-green in color, along which runs a thin iridescent, silver-white stripe contrasting with a thick black stripe. Below, the black changes to a scarlet green or neon green band. The upper eye is divided by two distinctive colored stripes, red and yellow. Gender difficult to distinguish . Females are slightly larger than males and have a more rounded belly.

Despite the common name, fish should not be confused with the popular and more colorful innesa neon . These fish are not closely related to each other. Black neon is a different type and is found in the southern parts of the continent. They are very active, gentle and beautifully colored fish, shoal by nature, which feel best in a large group . You should keep at least 6 individuals in the aquarium – 10 or more are recommended.

In a larger group, they are less skittish and exhibit more interesting behavior. Recommended for beginner aquarists.

Nutrition and feeding

Feeding black neon is not a problem. They are happy to eat most of the dry foods available. Regularly fed with small live or frozen foods (daphnia, artemia, bloodworm), they will show the growers their best colors.


The aquarium should be at least 60 cm long, with a forced light water current and not too bright lighting so that the beautiful color of these fish is fully revealed. Black neon lights look the most attractive in a large shoal in a tank with a dark substrate, in places densely planted with plants. They feel best in soft and acidic water. Filtering it through peat may be helpful. Gravel ground, dry roots, branches and leaves (e.g.

of oak) reflect their natural environment. Black neon is perfect for a social aquarium with fish , danios , razors and other tetras, as well as gentle bottom fish ( cuiras , smaller armored fish ). It can also be kept with most gouras and small cichlids. However, it will not be safe with the larger species that can treat neonka as food. In a biotope aquarium it can be kept with other rapids, tortoises, microorganisms, apistogramma cichlids ( Kakadu , Agassiza , Bolivia ) and cuiras .


Breeding is quite easy . Fish scatter their spawn among the plants. If we plan to raise a larger number of fry, we must prepare a tank with dimensions of min. 45x25x25 cm. Shade the aquarium and place in it finely leafed plants, eg java moss moss or an artificial aquarium “mop”.

The bottom can be lined with a net, with holes such that the roe grains pass through them and at the same time protect the eggs from the parents. For reproduction, soft and acidic water in the range of 5.5-6.5 ph and 1-5 ° dgH at a temperature of 26-28 ° C is required. Filtering it through peat or using an RO filter will help. A small sponge filter is sufficient for oxygenation. Black neons can be reproduced in a larger group in which there should be one male for each female.

We feed the fish abundantly with live food and wait for the spawn to appear. After spawning, adults are caught. However, it is best to reproduce neons in pairs. Before the planned spawning, we separate males from females and feed them with live or frozen food. When the females are rounder and the males more intensely colored, we choose the thickest female and the prettiest male and transfer them to the breeding aquarium in the evening.

Spawning usually takes place the next morning. If the females are visibly thin, it is a sign that spawning has taken place and we can catch the parents. If, on the other hand, we do not observe the eggs within a few days, we try it with another pair. An adult female lays 50-200 eggs. Hatching takes place after 24-36 hours, after another 3-4 days, the young start swimming in search of food.

Care should be taken as the fry and roe are very light sensitive. In the first days, we feed them with micro foods (plankton) until they can eat micro nematodes or Artemia larvae.


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