Black Skirt Tetra

General Information
Scientific Name Gymnocorymbus ternetzi
Minimum Water Size 10+ gallons (37.85+ liters)
Ease Of Care Beginner
Average Lifespan 4 years
Temperament Peaceful
Approximate Adult Size 2.5 inches (6.35 centimeters)
Water Parameters 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit (22.22-27.78 degrees Celsius), 4-8 KH, 5-20 dH, 6.0-7.5 pH
Diet Omnivore
Native Region South America

Overview

The black skirt tetra is a very peaceful schooling fish that gets its name from the black translucent coloring all over its body. These tetras are a majority silver over their body with black stripes running along their body, and long flowing black fins. If this fish does not have enough of its own kind in the same tank, it will turn from peaceful to aggressive and start to fin nip at any other fish that are kept within the aquarium. Since they fish tend to be very shy and skittish, having enough hiding places for them to run to when they feel like there is danger nearby is a must. Many use driftwood, rocks, plants, or other types of decoration to allow for the fish to feel more secure and at home. If the aquarium has any live plants, these tetras may nip at them in order to get some additional food from time to time.

As the fish will age it may appear to lose some of its vibrant colors, as this is a normal trait. These fish are extremely sensitive when it comes to water parameters, so making sure to have a fully established nitrogen cycle and to not add too many fish into the tank at once is a must.

Breeding

Breeding black skirt tetras is difficult, as they will scatter their eggs all over the substrate as they are breeding. The males will tend to be darker in color, while the females will have a larger stomach due to them holding the eggs until they are ready to mate. The first step in order to have them bred is to make another tank that is shallow, and place a male and female inside of the new tank. Many use pebbles, big rocks, grates, or other similar objects to allow for the eggs to drop below without the black skirt tetras being able to eat them afterwards. Leave the lights dimmed since it will recreate their natural breeding time of the early morning or late evening. All of the eggs will hatch in approximately 24 hours after the male and female have bred, and will be free swimming within 2-3 days.

Remove the pair once the eggs have been laid as they will not provide any parental care and tend to eat the eggs if they are not hidden enough

Feeding

Since the goal is to keep them as healthy, and as happy as possible, it’s always recommended that you try to imitate the diet they would naturally follow in the wild. This diet would include small insects, worms, algae and crustaceans. Since many will not have access to get these foods, a food that is mostly based on a meaty substance like more pellets are will work. As they are omnivores giving them food that is based on plant matter will also make sure that they thrive, which most flake foods are based off of. Live foods should be used when available, otherwise using frozen foods is also a very good option as it gives them their true natural food in a very convenient way.