How To Care For Black Skirt Tetras


The Black Skirt Tetra is a larger tetra that is personally one of my favorite tetra species. They are an exotic color and just is a beautiful fish. They originate in the rivers of South America and a tropical fish. If you’re looking for a cheap, medium-sized, beautiful tetra, then maybe the Black Skirt Tetra is for you!


Black Skirt Tetras are a medium-sized tetra. They have an almost abnormally large anal fin. Unfortunately, as they age, their colors begin to fade. You can help keep their colors longer as long as you give them a healthy environment. There are two varieties for these fish; one with long fins and another variety shorter fins.

Usual Behavior

The Black Skirt Tetra is a schooling fish and it’s recommended to keep at least 6 of these fish in order to keep them less stressed. They are fairly peaceful fish, but avoid fish with long fins as they are fin nippers. If you are keeping the long fin variety of these fish, this can’t really be avoided. But try to avoid keeping any more long-finned fish such as betta fish.


Expect for these fish to live for around 3-5 years. These fish aren’t the longest living fish, so don’t expect to have them for too long. But, they aren’t the shortest living fish either, so if they die the next day after you bought them, they probably didn’t die of old age (unless you bought an old fish).


These fish are a medium-sized tetra, getting around 2-3 inches at max. There are tetras that are much larger than even Black Skirts, but they are still a little larger than most common tetras.

Black Skirt Tetra Care

Black Skirts aren’t extremely hard to care for, but they still need a clean tank and should be in the right conditions just like any fish would.

Tank Size

Because of their size, the recommended tank size is 15 gallons. Personally, I would recommend getting a 20 gallon if you can so you can get a larger school and even have enough room to house something else as well. But, a 15 gallon would also work.

Tank Mates

Black Skirt Tetras as I stated earlier are fairly peaceful fish, but try to avoid getting long-finned fish in the tank such as bettas as they are fin nippers. Try to keep other peaceful fish to keep the fish less stressed. Here are some fish you can keep.

  • Cory Catfish
  • Harlequin Rasboras
  • Neon Tetras
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Celestial Pearl Danios


Black Skirt Tetras don’t need anything special, but live foods are recommended just like other aquarium fish. You can feed these fish foods like …

  • Flake food
  • Pellet food
  • frozen & live bloodworms, brine shrimp, tubifex worms and blackworms

Water Parameters

All fish have their own water parameters. These fish need the following water parameters.

  • pH: 6.0 to 7.5 
  • Water temperature: 75-82 Fahrenheit (or around 23.9 to 33.3 Celsius)
  • Hardness: 4-8 dKH

Tank Setup

Preferably, there should be a darker substrate along with plenty of plants around the perimeter of the tank so that they still have plenty of room to swim around. You could also add rocks and driftwood in the tank.

Possible Diseases

These fish can get Ich, Flukes, Protozoa, Dropsy & Red Pest. Red Pest is a disease that causes blood streaks on the fins and body of the fish. Unfortunately, this disease is internal, so external medicine usually doesn’t help. Flukes, a parasite, can cause a lot of damage to it’s host and should always be treated as soon as possible like all diseases should.

Typical Price

Black Skirt Tetras are usually around $2-$4 USD an individual. But, it really depends on the seller. If you’re going to buy 6, expect it to cost anywhere from $12-$24 USD.

Breeding Black Skirt Tetras

Black Skirts will need another tank during breeding as they aren’t the best parents. In fact, they may even eat their own eggs! The breeding tank will need to be a 10 gallon aquarium and the water parameters should be the same as the main tank. A bonded pair should be added into the breeding tank. Feed them high-protein foods for around 7-10 days, before breeding, 3 times a day.

Once the female is filled with eggs, the male will chase her. If they successfully breed, the female can lay around 1,000 eggs! The eggs should hatch within a 36 days. Make sure that the pair won’t eat the eggs.


Females will be slightly larger than the males. Males will have a large anal fin and will have white dots around the caudal fin. Males will be longer & skinnier, while females will be large and more plump.

Are Black Skirt Tetras For Me?

If you’re looking for medium-sized tetra to brighten up your aquarium, then perhaps Black Skirt Tetras are for you! Black Skirt Tetras don’t need a massive tank and should be easier to care for. Just make sure that the tank is clean and that the fish aren’t stressed. Make sure that the water parameters are where they’re supposed to be so that the fish will be less likely to get a disease. Black Skirt Tetras are beautiful fish and a great touch for any medium-sized, peaceful community tank.

Black Skirt Tetras are beautiful fish. If you have a medium-sized tank and looking for a good fish to add in it, Black Skirt Tetras are a great choice!

Check Out These Articles!


Fish Tank Advisor

The Brief Beauty of Black Skirt Tetras

It’s A Fish Thing

Black Skirt Tetra

How to Treat Goldfish Flukes in 5 Steps (Disease Control) (For Information About Flukes)

Fish Keeping World

The Complete Guide to Black Skirt Tetra Care

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