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Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi
Black Neon Tetra

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Black Neon Tetra - Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi

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blackn1.jpg (22kb)
Photo Credit: Marcelo Drummond

These fish were recommended to me by someone from this forum. I thought they would add an interesting, moody element to the tank. When I brought them home, I was very disappointed with them. They didn't school tightly, and one of them bullied the rest. Their coloration wasn't very impressive either. Well, the mistake was mine! They had a school of only 5 in a 40 liter tank, and the light on the tank was too bright. Now that the school lives in the 200 L, and the lighting is a bit different, they are more active, school a bit more tightly, and their colors are lovely. I'd like to add a few more of them to this tank, however, it's slightly overstocked, so I don't dare add a single fish! They are easy to feed and love shrimp pellets, flaked food and live/frozen brine shrimp. The bullying has stopped, and I love their contribution to this tank. I've found them to be much more hardy than common neons, and I also like their body shape. It's more robust. The blue stripe on their body changes color according to ambient light. Some days the stripes on these fish look green, some days they turquoise, and some days a nice, vibrant blue.

Contributed by Shawna in CA

I bought 20 of these 2 years ago. They were really big-sized (the biggest female 4.5 cm), much bigger than I had ever seen them before or since. I believe they are wild import or second handed because one by one they are now starting to come down with old-age-related illnesses, not to mention getting really fat! Fifteen remain today and the fattest female has been swimming vertically for weeks now, her swimbladder broke, but still much too fast to catch her and euthanize. The others are all doing well, blending in well with a school of 25 cardinals which are all still there after 2 years (almost glowing blue in the dark). This kind of neon is phenomenally fast, going after live food like little sharks, and as I notice with passing time, surprisingly strong. I bet they can live up 5 years without any problems, possibly a lot more...

Contributed byMathias

Black neons are probably the silliest fish I've had. They add the finishing touch to my aquarium and it's fun to watch them play. However, one of my black neons seems to be a loner. It's the largest out of the bunch and he found his own little spot in between two plants. He likes to chase away the other black neons, neons, and lemon tetras if they come too close, but he doesn't seem to mind the angel fish or mollies.

Contributed by Julie Cote

These are really great fish. I have a fascination with the smaller tetras, but these are some of my favorite. It's naturally a good idea to acclimate them to the water for approximately 45 minutes, but once that's done (barring disease, of course), they have proven to be a very hardy fish even in adverse conditions. I was rather new to aquariums when I first purchased them, and as a result, my inexperience really showed through. But they held up extremely well even through some mistakes that would make an experienced aquarist cringe, and drop to a fetal position. They are best kept in schools of at the very minimum of five. I try to keep at least twice that. They are extremely playful, and incredibly lively. It's very relaxing and really funny to watch them play. They like a good game of tag (and it's not bullying as I can see they take turns doing it), and adore the current created by my filter. They don't get terribly big, as with all these type of tetras (or at least those I'm familiar with). Mine enjoy staring at me when I visit them. They do school very nicely, and do really well with other fish, such as my Neons. Overall, I've found them to be very docile and energetic little critters. Since I've found a reliable, and extremely clean place to buy them (they can be difficult to find at times in some stores), I plan on keeping them as a constant addition in my tank. I can't say much about breeding, as I don't concentrate on that aspect too much. But as a recap, I think these are a fantastic addition to any aquarium. Their playful nature and hardiness along with their inherent beauty makes for a great selection. Just make sure to keep up on water maintenance (as you probably already know), and these fish will put a smile on your face. I know they have on mine!

Contributed by Gary Vikar Jr

One bit of caution for the black neon owner: do not change more than 50% of your water even when changing the gravel in the tank with these fish. If you do, replace at least 1/2 of the water that you took out or they may all croak from the new water. I changed my gravel from white/multi-blue to a black lagoon and added the water and the conditioner and let it sit for a while to heat up. Next I added my fish and all of a sudden my 5 black neons were lying on their sides in the water. I moved them to my hospital tank and quickly called the guys at the pet store and that is when I found out about the water issue. Before the great gravel change I had a Pleco, 5 Black 'Neons', a Blue Gourami, a Chinese Algae Eater, an Algae Eating Shark and 4 snails. The following morning after my neons had died I looked in the tank to feed them and only found one Golden Mystery Snail and two Ramshorn Snails alive. Other than that, my Black Neons were extremely friendly for the time I had them and would have tug of wars over the California Blackworms that I feed them from the tweezers. Le sigh...I miss my fish.

Contributed by Drace Whitten-McCombs

I have kept black neon tetras for over 3 years now with a school of eight fish. They are extremely hardy and can withstand various conditions (I've had some aquarium emergencies over the last few years). I currently have them in a tank with pH 7.4, temperature 25C. When conditions are ideal, mine develop a copper/amber tint above the white stripe and on their bellies. Also, especially in natural light, the portion below the black stripe can look a rich dark green, which contrasts nicely with their bright orange eyes. On a day to day basis, they do not school very tightly and mostly stay near the top of the tank. However, I have occasionally noticed some territorial behaviour, as they have chased other black neons away from plants that two or three sometimes guard. I'm not concerned though, because I've never seen them nip fins. My black neons are quick at feeding time, will eat anything and are quite voracious! They are fine with flake/pellets, frozen brine shrimp, and even fruit and veggies that are in season. Overall, I think black neon tetras would be a great little addition to almost any community tank. They are hardy, easy to care for and their orange eyes are quite unique.

Contributed by Donna

I absolutely love these fish! They are very hardy and peaceful, but they will not allow any other fish to pick on them. They love to play in fast moving currents, and do well in groups of 6 or more. Floating plants are great if you want to see their colors at best. I would recommend these fish to any beginning aquarist.

Contributed by Nik

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