Black phantom tetra

Aquarium fish: Black phantom tetra (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus)
Size: 4.5 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 22-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 54 l

Black phantom tetra (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus ) – a species of freshwater aquarium fish from the tetras family (Characidae) .


The species is native to South America. It is found in the Paraguay River, Guapore and Mamore basins in Brazil and Bolivia.

Characteristics and disposition

They reach a maximum of 4.5 cm in length. The shape of the body resembles a quadrilateral.

The fish are characterized by light gray coloration and a black, silver-edged spot just behind the gill covers. Black male fins. Anal, abdominal and fat fins in females are colored red. The male has elongated dorsal and anal fins. There is also a long-fin variety in aquarium breeding.

Shoal fish, it is recommended to keep at least 6 individuals , preferably 10 or more. In a large group, they look more effective and present interesting behaviors, e.g. males raise their fins when they compete for the favor of females.

Nutrition and feeding

In nature, they feed on small crustaceans, insects and worms. In the aquarium, they gladly eat most of the available food.

They can be given a mixture of dry foods and regularly enrich their diets with live or frozen foods . Such feeding will ensure the good condition, appearance and health of the fish.


In nature, they inhabit clear, flowing waters, abundant with vegetation. These fish thrive in tanks densely planted with vegetation. In scantily decorated aquariums they are sometimes shy and their colors are not so intense.

Black phantoms will also work well in the Amazon biotope reservoir (Black water). The aquarium in this biotope will include: the substrate (preferably river sand), dried wood or a few twisted roots, a handful of dry leaves (e.g. oak, beech). Wood and leaves will color the water in the aquarium a tea color. For this purpose, you can also use a bag with peat, which you place in the filter.

Lighting should not be too strong. One of the best tetras for a social aquarium. Lively, gentle and colorful. Their colors contrast nicely with many other species. They are good companionship for fine fish , zebra fish , rasbor , other tetras and calm bottom fish such as cuirass or small armored fish .

They can also live with most gourami and cichlids . Much larger fish can treat them as food. Fish of the Hemigrammus or Hyphessobrycon genus , microorganisms (eg Beckford’s , gingerbread), cichlids, cuiras, armored fish can be co-inhabitants in the biotope aquarium  .


The reproduction of Phantoms is not difficult . However, a separate aquarium with dimensions of 45x30x30 cm, dimly lit, with several large clumps of small-leaved plants, e.g.

java moss , will be necessary . The bottom of the tank can be lined with a mesh with small meshes, large enough for the grains of roe to pass through them. The water should be soft (1-5 gH) and acidic in the range 5.5-6.5 pH and temperature 24 – 26 C. Filter the water through peat or use RO water. A small sponge filter is sufficient for filtration.

Fish can be bred in a larger group (e.g. 12 pieces), where half of them are males. However, we will achieve a greater number of fry by reproducing them in pairs. It is a good idea to separate the fish by sex into separate tanks and to give slightly larger amounts of live or frozen food than usual. When the females are clearly thicker and the males are more intensely colored, choose the thickest female and the best colored male and transfer them to the breeding aquarium in the evening.

Spawning usually takes place in the morning of the next day. Interestingly, during the act, the fish are in an inverted position, i.e. back down. Adult individuals eat both eggs and fry, so after spawning it is worth moving them to another aquarium as soon as possible. A fully mature female lays about 300 eggs.

Hatching takes place after 24-36 hours. The larvae begin to swim independently after another 3 – 4 days. For the first few days, we give micro-foods until they can ingest micro-nematodes, artemia or shellfish larvae. In the initial period, the roe and fry are very sensitive to light .


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