Mastering Black Phantom Tetra Care: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

If you’re looking for a colorful and easy-to-care-for fish, the Black Phantom Tetra might be the perfect addition to your aquarium. These small fish are native to South America and are known for their striking black and silver coloration. As someone who has kept Black Phantom Tetras in my own aquarium, I can tell you that they are a joy to watch and relatively low-maintenance.

Black Phantom Tetras require a well-planted aquarium with soft, slightly acidic water. They are peaceful and should be kept in groups of at least six. They feed on small live foods such as brine shrimp and daphnia, and their diet can be supplemented with high-quality flakes and pellets. Regular water changes and maintenance are essential for their health.

Despite their small size, Black Phantom Tetras require a few specific care considerations to keep them healthy and happy. One of the most important factors is water quality – these fish are sensitive to changes in pH and water hardness, so it’s important to keep a close eye on these parameters. Additionally, Black Phantom Tetras are social fish and should be kept in groups of at least 6 to 8 individuals.

If you’re interested in learning more about Black Phantom Tetra care, this guide will cover everything you need to know. From setting up your aquarium to feeding and breeding these fish, we’ll go over all the basics so you can provide the best possible care for your new aquatic pets.

Black Phantom Tetra

Species Summary

Black Phantom Tetras are a popular freshwater fish that are known for their striking appearance and peaceful temperament.

These fish are relatively easy to care for, making them a great choice for both novice and experienced fish keepers.


Black Phantom Tetras are native to South America, specifically the Paraguay and Paraná River basins.

They are typically found in slow-moving or still waters, such as streams, ponds, and swamps.


Black Phantom Tetras have a relatively long lifespan for a freshwater fish, typically living for 3-5 years in a well-maintained aquarium.


As their name suggests, Black Phantom Tetras are primarily black in color, with a distinctive white stripe that runs horizontally along their body.

They also have a red or orange spot on their tail fin, which adds a pop of color to their overall appearance.


Black Phantom Tetras are a relatively small fish, typically growing to be around 1.5-2 inches in length.

Growth Rate

Black Phantom Tetras have a moderate growth rate, and will typically reach their full size within 6-12 months of being born.

Behavior & Temperament

Black Phantom Tetras are a peaceful and social fish, and are best kept in groups of 6 or more. They are also relatively active, and will spend a lot of time swimming around their tank.

Male vs Female

Male Black Phantom Tetras are typically smaller and slimmer than females, and will also have a more pronounced red or orange spot on their tail fin.

Personally, I have kept Black Phantom Tetras in my own aquarium for several years and have found them to be a joy to watch.

Their peaceful nature and striking appearance make them a great addition to any aquarium.

Tank Setup

Setting up a tank for your Black Phantom Tetras can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Here are some important factors to consider when creating the perfect environment for your fish.

Tank Size

The minimum recommended tank size for a small group of Black Phantom Tetras is 20 gallons. However, if you plan on keeping a larger group or other fish species, a larger tank is necessary.

Keep in mind that these fish are active swimmers, so a longer tank is preferable to a tall one.


Black Phantom Tetras prefer subdued lighting, so it’s best to avoid bright, direct light.

A low to moderate level of light is ideal, and you can achieve this with a combination of natural and artificial lighting. Live plants can also provide additional cover and help regulate lighting levels.

Filtration & Aeration

A good filtration system is essential for maintaining a healthy aquarium environment. A combination of mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration is ideal.

Additionally, aeration is necessary to provide oxygen to the fish and promote water circulation. A simple air stone or sponge filter can provide sufficient aeration.


Black Phantom Tetras are tropical fish and require a consistent water temperature between 74-78°F. A reliable heater is necessary to maintain this temperature range.

It’s important to choose a heater that is appropriate for the size of your tank.


A fine-grained substrate, such as sand or gravel, is ideal for Black Phantom Tetras.

This substrate will not only provide a natural look but also allow for the growth of beneficial bacteria that aid in the nitrogen cycle.


Adding decorations to your tank can provide hiding places and visual interest for your fish. Driftwood, rocks, and caves are all great options.

However, be sure to avoid sharp edges or decorations that may leach harmful chemicals into the water.


Live plants can provide additional cover and help regulate water quality. Black Phantom Tetras prefer plants with broad leaves, such as Amazon Sword or Java Fern.

However, be sure to research the specific needs of the plants you choose and provide appropriate lighting and nutrients.

When setting up your Black Phantom Tetra tank, keep in mind the specific needs of these fish. With the right environment, your fish will thrive and provide years of enjoyment.

Personally, I love using live plants in my tanks, as they not only provide a natural look but also help maintain water quality. Remember to research and choose the right plants and decorations for your specific setup.

Water Quality

When it comes to Black Phantom Tetra care, maintaining water quality is crucial for their health and well-being. Here are some of the key factors to consider:

Water Temperature

I keep my Black Phantom Tetras in a tank with a temperature of 75-78°F. It’s important to keep the water temperature consistent, as sudden changes can cause stress and even death.

Use a reliable thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust the heater as needed.

Water pH

The ideal pH range for Black Phantom Tetras is between 6.5 and 7.5. It’s important to avoid sudden fluctuations in pH, as this can also cause stress and health problems.

Test the pH regularly and make adjustments as needed using a pH stabilizer or buffer.

Water Hardness

Black Phantom Tetras prefer slightly soft to moderately hard water, with a range of 5-12 dGH. Test the water hardness regularly and adjust as needed using a water softener or hardener.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are essential for maintaining good water quality. I recommend changing 25% of the water in the tank every two weeks.

This will help remove any accumulated toxins and keep the water parameters stable. Use a gravel vacuum to remove debris from the substrate during water changes.

Overall, maintaining good water quality is crucial for the health and well-being of Black Phantom Tetras.

By monitoring and adjusting water temperature, pH, hardness, and performing regular water changes, you can provide your fish with a healthy and thriving environment.

One thing I’ve learned from my experience with Black Phantom Tetras is that they are sensitive to changes in water quality.

I once neglected to perform regular water changes and noticed that my fish were becoming lethargic and losing their vibrant coloration.

After performing a water change and adjusting the water parameters, I noticed a significant improvement in their health and behavior. It’s important to stay vigilant and proactive when it comes to maintaining water quality for your fish.

Tank Maintenance

Keeping a clean and healthy environment for your Black Phantom Tetras is essential to their well-being.

I recommend doing a partial water change of 25% every week to keep the water quality high. This will help remove any excess waste and debris in the tank.

In addition to regular water changes, it’s important to keep the tank clean.

I use a siphon to clean the substrate and remove any uneaten food or waste that has accumulated on the bottom. I also clean the aquarium glass with an algae scraper to remove any algae buildup.

Another important aspect of tank maintenance is checking the water parameters regularly. I use a water testing kit to check the levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH. If any of these levels are off, I take action to correct them immediately to prevent any harm to my fish.

It’s also important to maintain the filter in the tank. I clean the filter media once a month to prevent any buildup of debris that could clog the filter and reduce its effectiveness. I also replace the filter media every three months to ensure that it is working properly.

In my experience, maintaining a clean and healthy tank not only benefits the fish but also creates a beautiful and relaxing environment for me to enjoy. By following these simple maintenance tips, you can ensure that your Black Phantom Tetras thrive in their home.

Tank Mates

When it comes to keeping Black Phantom Tetras, choosing the right tank mates is crucial to ensure their health and happiness. Here are some things to consider:

Compatible Fish Species

I’ve found that Black Phantom Tetras get along well with other peaceful community fish. Some good options include:

Cardinal Tetra Care Pet people blog 3
  • Neon Tetras
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Harlequin Rasboras
  • Corydoras Catfish

These fish have similar water requirements and won’t compete with Black Phantom Tetras for food or territory.

Incompatible Fish Species

On the other hand, there are some fish species that should be avoided as tank mates for Black Phantom Tetras. These include:

  • Aggressive Cichlids
  • Large Predatory Fish
  • Territorial Betta Fish
  • Fast-Moving Fish (like Danios)

These fish may stress out or even harm Black Phantom Tetras, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

How Many Black Phantom Tetra Should Be Together

When deciding how many Black Phantom Tetras to keep together, it’s important to consider their schooling behavior. These fish are happiest when kept in groups of at least six individuals.

This allows them to establish a pecking order and reduces stress.

However, it’s important not to overcrowd the tank. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than one inch of fish per gallon of water.

So, for a 20-gallon tank, you could safely keep up to 20 inches of fish (including Black Phantom Tetras and any tank mates).

Overall, choosing the right tank mates for Black Phantom Tetras is key to creating a harmonious and healthy aquarium environment.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your fish thrive and live happily together.

Black Phantom Tetra 2

Personally, I’ve found that my Black Phantom Tetras are happiest when kept with a group of Neon Tetras. They school together and create a beautiful display in my aquarium.


What To Feed

Black Phantom Tetras are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. In the wild, they feed on small insects, worms, and crustaceans as well as algae and other plant matter.

When it comes to feeding your Black Phantom Tetras in captivity, you can offer them a variety of foods such as flakes, pellets, frozen or live foods.

A high-quality flake or pellet food made specifically for tetras should be the staple of their diet. You can also supplement their diet with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, and mosquito larvae.


It is recommended to feed your Black Phantom Tetras twice a day, in small portions that they can consume within a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to health problems and pollute the water in the tank.

It’s important to note that Black Phantom Tetras are social fish that like to feed in groups. Make sure to distribute the food evenly throughout the tank to avoid any competition or aggression between the fish.


One tip to keep in mind when feeding your Black Phantom Tetras is to vary their diet. Offering them different types of food will not only provide them with a balanced diet but also stimulate their natural feeding behavior.

Another tip is to observe your fish while they eat. If you notice that some of them are not getting enough food, you can adjust the feeding routine or add more food to the tank.

On the other hand, if you notice that there is uneaten food left in the tank after feeding, you should reduce the amount of food you offer.

Personally, I like to feed my Black Phantom Tetras a mix of flakes and frozen foods. They seem to enjoy the variety and always swim to the surface when they see me approaching the tank with the food container. It’s a great feeling to see your fish happy and healthy!

Common Diseases


Black Phantom Tetras are generally hardy fish and can live up to 5 years with proper care. However, they are susceptible to a few diseases that can affect their health and well-being.

Some of the most common diseases that affect Black Phantom Tetras include:

  • Ich (white spot disease)
  • Fin rot
  • Columnaris


If you notice any of the following symptoms in your Black Phantom Tetras, it may be an indication of a disease:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Clamped fins
  • Discoloration
  • Erratic swimming
  • Breathing difficulties


If you suspect that your Black Phantom Tetras are suffering from a disease, it is important to take action immediately. The following treatments can be effective:

  • Medication: There are a variety of medications available that can treat different diseases. Consult with a veterinarian or an experienced fish keeper to determine the best medication for your fish.
  • Water changes: Regular water changes can help prevent the spread of disease and promote good health.
  • Isolation: If one fish is infected, it is important to isolate it from the rest of the tank to prevent the disease from spreading.


Prevention is key when it comes to keeping your Black Phantom Tetras healthy. Here are some tips to help prevent disease:

  • Quarantine new fish: Always quarantine new fish for at least two weeks before introducing them to your tank to ensure they are disease-free.
  • Water quality: Maintain good water quality by performing regular water changes and testing the water regularly.
  • Healthy diet: Feed your fish a healthy and varied diet to boost their immune system.

Personally, I have had experience with fin rot in my Black Phantom Tetras. I noticed that their fins were deteriorating, and they were not as active as usual.

After consulting with a veterinarian, I treated them with medication and performed regular water changes. Within a few weeks, they were back to their normal selves, and their fins had regrown.

It is important to act quickly when you notice any symptoms of disease to ensure the health and well-being of your fish.

Signs of a Healthy Black Phantom Tetra

When it comes to caring for your Black Phantom Tetra, it’s essential to ensure that they are healthy and happy. Here are some signs to look out for to ensure that your fish is in good health:

  1. Active Behavior: A healthy Black Phantom Tetra will be active and swim around the tank freely. They will explore their surroundings and interact with other fish in the tank.
  2. Bright Colors: A healthy Black Phantom Tetra should have vibrant and bright colors. Their fins should be erect, and their scales should be shiny and reflective.
  3. Good Appetite: A healthy Black Phantom Tetra will have a good appetite and will eagerly eat when you feed them. They will not show any signs of disinterest in food or have trouble eating.
  4. Clear Eyes: The eyes of a healthy Black Phantom Tetra should be clear and not cloudy. Cloudy eyes can be a sign of illness, and you should consult a veterinarian if you notice this symptom.
  5. No Visible Signs of Disease: A healthy Black Phantom Tetra will not have any visible signs of disease, such as white spots, redness, or swelling. If you notice any of these symptoms, quarantine the fish and seek medical attention.

I remember when I first got my Black Phantom Tetra. I was worried about keeping it healthy, but with the right care, it has become a vibrant and active fish.

By observing these signs, I can ensure that my fish is in good health and continue to enjoy its company.

Signs Your Black Phantom Tetra Is Sick

As a fish owner, I know how important it is to keep an eye on the health of my Black Phantom Tetras. Here are some signs that your fish may be sick and require attention:

First and foremost, keep an eye on your fish’s behavior. If your Black Phantom Tetra is swimming erratically, hiding, or not eating, it may be a sign that something is wrong. Fish that are sick often become lethargic and may spend more time at the bottom of the tank.

Another important sign to look for is discoloration. If your fish’s colors are fading or becoming dull, it may be a sign of illness. Additionally, if you notice any white spots or patches on your fish’s body, it may be a sign of ich, a common fish disease.

Changes in your fish’s breathing patterns can also be a cause for concern. If you notice your fish gasping for air at the surface of the water, it may be a sign of poor water quality or a respiratory infection.

Finally, keep an eye out for any physical abnormalities. If your fish has any visible wounds, growths, or deformities, it may be a sign of illness or injury.

In conclusion, it’s important to monitor your Black Phantom Tetra’s health regularly and watch for any signs of illness. By catching and addressing health issues early, you can help ensure your fish live long, healthy lives.


Breeding Setup

When I decided to breed my Black Phantom Tetras, I set up a separate breeding tank. I used a 10-gallon tank with a sponge filter, some gravel, and a few plants.

It’s important to have a separate tank because the parents will eat their eggs and fry if they’re in the same tank.

I also added a spawning mop to the tank. A spawning mop is a bunch of yarn or string tied together to create a fluffy ball.

The tetras will lay their eggs on the mop, and it makes it easy to transfer the eggs to a separate container for hatching.

How To Breed

To breed Black Phantom Tetras, you’ll need a male and female. The males are usually slimmer and more colorful, while the females are rounder and less colorful.

Once you have a pair, you can start conditioning them for breeding by feeding them high-quality foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms.

When the female is ready to lay eggs, she’ll follow the male around the tank, and they’ll perform a “dance” where they’ll swim together in circles.

Eventually, the female will lay her eggs on the spawning mop, and the male will fertilize them.


After the eggs are laid, it’s important to remove them from the tank and place them in a separate container for hatching.

I used a plastic container with an airline and a heater to keep the water at a constant temperature. The eggs will hatch in about 24-48 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming after about five days.

Once the fry are free-swimming, you can start feeding them infusoria or baby brine shrimp. It’s important to feed them small amounts several times a day, as they have small stomachs and can’t eat a lot at once.

Overall, breeding Black Phantom Tetras can be a rewarding experience. It’s important to have a separate breeding tank and to provide high-quality food for the parents and fry.

With the right setup and care, you can successfully breed and raise these beautiful fish.

Product recommendations for Black Phantom Tetra:

  1. Hikari Micro Pellets – This is a high-quality fish food that is perfect for Black Phantom Tetra. It contains all the essential nutrients that your fish need to stay healthy and vibrant.
  2. API Aquarium Water Test Kit – It is important to keep an eye on the water quality in your aquarium, and this test kit makes it easy to do so. It includes tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH.
  3. Seachem Prime – This is a water conditioner that helps to detoxify ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in your aquarium. It is safe for use with Black Phantom Tetra and other fish.
  4. Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum – If you plan on keeping live plants in your aquarium, this substrate is a great choice. It provides the nutrients that plants need to thrive, and also helps to maintain a stable pH.
  5. AquaClear Power Filter – This filter is highly effective at removing debris and maintaining water quality in your aquarium. It is also very quiet and easy to maintain.
  6. Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer – This device makes it easy to perform regular water changes in your aquarium. It is designed to be safe and easy to use, and can help to keep your Black Phantom Tetra healthy.
  7. Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter – This is a small and efficient filter that is perfect for smaller aquariums housing Black Phantom Tetra. It is easy to install and maintain, and will keep the water in your aquarium clean and healthy.
  8. NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light – This LED light is perfect for illuminating your aquarium and showcasing your Black Phantom Tetra. It is energy-efficient and easy to install.
  9. Tetra EasyStrips 6-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips – These test strips are perfect for monitoring the water quality in your aquarium. They are easy to use and provide accurate results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, hardness, and alkalinity.


Throughout my years of keeping Black Phantom Tetras, I have learned that they are a fantastic addition to any aquarium. Their vibrant colors, peaceful nature, and hardy disposition make them a great choice for both novice and experienced fish keepers.

When caring for Black Phantom Tetras, it is important to maintain a well-balanced aquarium with plenty of hiding places and ample space for swimming. These fish thrive in schools, so it’s essential to keep them in groups of at least six. A healthy diet consisting of high-quality flakes, pellets, and occasional live or frozen foods will keep your tetras happy and vibrant.

One thing to keep in mind when caring for Black Phantom Tetras is their sensitivity to water parameters. Regular water changes and testing are crucial to maintaining a healthy and stable environment for your fish. Additionally, avoid overcrowding your aquarium and introducing aggressive tank mates.

In conclusion, Black Phantom Tetras are a delightful and low-maintenance species that can bring life and color to any aquarium. With proper care and attention, these fish can live for several years and provide endless enjoyment for fish keepers of all levels. So, if you’re looking for a beautiful and peaceful addition to your aquarium, I highly recommend considering the Black Phantom Tetra.

Personally, I have enjoyed watching my Black Phantom Tetras swim and play in my aquarium. Their playful and curious nature always puts a smile on my face, and I love how they interact with each other. I hope that you, too, can experience the joy of keeping these wonderful fish in your own aquarium.


After writing about Black Phantom Tetra care, I have received several questions from fellow fish enthusiasts. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions:

Q: How often should I feed my Black Phantom Tetras?

A: I feed my Black Phantom Tetras twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. However, it’s important not to overfeed them. They have small stomachs and can only eat what they can fit in their mouths. Overfeeding can lead to health problems and poor water quality.

Q: Can Black Phantom Tetras live with other fish?

A: Yes, Black Phantom Tetras are peaceful fish and can live with other peaceful fish species. However, it’s important to avoid keeping them with aggressive or fin-nipping fish. They also prefer to live in schools, so it’s best to keep them in groups of at least 6.

Q: Do Black Phantom Tetras need a heater?

A: Black Phantom Tetras are tropical fish and prefer water temperatures between 74-80°F. If your room temperature falls below this range, then a heater is necessary to maintain a stable temperature.

Q: How often should I change the water in my Black Phantom Tetra tank?

A: I recommend changing 25% of the water in the tank every week. This helps maintain good water quality and keeps the fish healthy. However, if you have a heavily stocked tank, you may need to change the water more frequently.

Q: Can I keep Black Phantom Tetras in a planted tank?

A: Yes, Black Phantom Tetras can be kept in a planted tank. In fact, they prefer a well-planted tank with plenty of hiding spots. However, it’s important to choose plants that are compatible with their water requirements and won’t harm them.

Overall, Black Phantom Tetras are easy to care for and make great additions to any aquarium. With a little bit of knowledge and care, you can enjoy these beautiful fish for years to come.

Personally, I love watching my Black Phantom Tetras swim around and interact with each other. They are such fascinating fish with their dark bodies and bright red fins. Taking care of them is a rewarding experience that I enjoy every day.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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