Black Phantom Tetra Care Guide

Do you want to add a little excitement to your tank? If so, then the Black Phantom Tetra is a perfect fish for you!

These little fish are very active and fun to watch. They are also very easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginner aquarists.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about these species.

We will also provide some tips on how to create the perfect environment for them.


Scientific Name
Megalamphodus Megalopterus
They are native to Paraguay, Brazil
Minimum Tank Size
10 gallons
Egg Layer
SizeBetween 1.4 and 1.75 inches
Life Span
Five years
6.0 to 7.5
 Range of 72-80°F (20-26°C)

Black Phantom Tetra Origins

The Black Phantom Tetra is a South American freshwater fish. They can be found in Bolivia and western Brazil, including the Guaporé River basin and Rio Sao Francisco.

They prefer sluggish-moving, murky water with a lot of vegetation, but they can also be found in clear waters that flow into the Pantanal wetlands.

Black Phantom Tetra Lifespan & Life Cycle


The average Black Phantom tetra lifespan is about five years, and if you give them the proper care, some may even reach six years.

To help your Black Phantom tetra reach their full potential, give them the best care possible. This includes regular water changes, a well-kept tank, and a nutritious diet.

Life Cycle

The Black Phantom Tetra has a relatively short life cycle.

They are born as larvae and then transform into juveniles. As they mature, they become adults.

During the larval stage, Black Phantom Tetras are very vulnerable to predators, and many of them don’t survive to become adults.

Once they transform into juveniles, they are a bit more protected from predators, but they still have many dangers to face.

As adults, Black Phantom Tetras are relatively safe from predators, but they can still fall victim to disease or other health problems.

What Are the Appearance of the Black Phantom Tetra?

At first glance, the fish has a lot of the same features as other tetras. A flat, tetragonal body with a large anal fin and a tiny adipose fin are among them.

The fish’s body is rather bland, as the foundation coloration is typically smokey gray.

The most distinctive feature is a prominent eye-shaped marking behind the gills, distinguishing it from other genus species.

This distinctive marking on the fish’s body gives it its name. It’s a dark black band or spot; when you flake off it, you’ll notice iridescent stripes with a subtle blue tinge that resembles an intimidating eye staring back at you!

All Black Phantom tetras have this pattern on both sides of their bodies. It is, however, more noticeable in males.

Males also have long-flowing fins that are frequently edged in black.

Average Size Of Black Tetra

The average length of an adult Black Phantom tetra is 1.4 to 1.75 inches; however, some individuals reach 2 inches in length.

Is Black Phantom Tetra Hardy?

The Black Phantom Tetra is a hardy fish that can adapt to various water conditions.

However, they still need a well-maintained tank with clean water and plenty of hiding places.

They are also sensitive to sudden changes in water conditions, so it’s important to acclimate them slowly to any new tank.

Black Phantom Tetra Availability

The Black Phantom Tetra is a freshwater fish widely distributed throughout the world.

You can find these species in most local fish stores or online retailers, and it will cost you 2 to 4 dollars.

How to Care for Black Phantom Tetra?

Tank Size

When it comes to the ideal Black Phantom tetra tank size, a 10-gallon aquarium should be the bare minimum.

In fact, we recommend going with a tank that holds 20 gallons or more.

This will give them plenty of space to swim around and stay active. The more space they have, the better.

PH Level

The ideal pH level for black phantom tetras is between 6.0 and 7.5. However, these fish can also tolerate a slightly higher or lower pH level.

The water hardness is also essential since it directly affects the pH level as the mineral in hard water acts as a buffer that will reduce the acid in water.

So, we recommend keeping the water hardness at 10 dGH.


The Black Phantom Tetra is more likely to live in regions where heavy plantations exist in the wild.

These regions of water are devoid of strong lighting. For this reason, you should employ subdued lighting in your aquarium.

So, we recommend using a low-wattage fluorescent tube in your tank.


As black phantom tetras are native to tropical climates, they prefer warm water.

If the water in your aquarium is too cold, it can slow down their metabolism and make them less active.

On the other hand, if the water is too warm, it can speed up their metabolism and make them more active.

The optimal water temperature for black phantom tetras is from 72°F to 82°F. (22 to 28°C).

This is the temperature range in which these fish are most comfortable, and their metabolism functions optimally.

To maintain a stable water temperature in your aquarium, you can use an aquarium heater.

Set the heater to the desired temperature and check the water regularly to ensure it remains within the optimal range for your fish.


Filters play a crucial role in the overall health of your aquarium by trapping solid wastes and converting liquid wastes into a less harmful form.

When choosing a filter for your black phantom tetra tank, there are a few things you need to take into account.

The size of your tank, the number of fish you have, and the type of filtration you want will all play a role in choosing the right filter for your phantom tetra aquarium.

In general, Canister filters are an excellent option for larger tanks or those with more fish.

They provide powerful filtration and can be customized to meet your specific needs.

On the other hand, Hang-on-back filters are good for smaller tanks or those with fewer fish.

They are easy to install and maintain, and they offer good filtration for your phantom tetra aquarium.

Tank Decoration

Black Phantom Tetras are shy fish who prefer to hide among the plants and another décor in their tank.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when decorating a tank for black phantom tetras.

First, you should clan all adornments and substrates to avoid contamination and injury to the fish.

Second, the tetras like to float freely in thick vegetation, so surround the tank with live or artificial plants on all sides and along the back.

Finally, if you want to mimic the black phantom tetra’s natural habitat, use a blackwater aquarium design.

This design includes dark-colored substrates and adornments to give the illusion of a murky jungle stream.

We also recommend using river sand with some driftwood and twisted roots.

Black Phantom Tetra Diet

When it comes to feeding your black phantom tetra, it’s crucial to provide a varied and nutritious diet.

In the wild, these fish would feed on insects, worms, and crustaceans. However, in captivity, the best diet is high-quality fish flakes and pellets.

Since tetra fish are prone to overeat, most fish keepers find it essential to make a feeding plan and stick rigidly.

So, for example, you might feed your black phantom tetra fish flakes three times a day and then give a meal daily of brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, or bloodworms (choose the hours that work best for you).

By providing a varied diet, you’ll ensure that your black phantom tetra gets all the nutrients they need for optimal health.

Black Phantom Tetra Compatibility

Black phantom tetras are compatible with most other peaceful fish

You just have to avoid keeping them with larger, more aggressive fish that may bully or eat them and keep them in groups of at least six.

Black Phantom Tetra can be kept with the following fish:

  • Danios (Celestial Pearl danios are our favorite)
  • Most types of rasboras
  • Honey gourami
  • Non-aggressive cichlids (like the Apistogramma)
  • Dwarf gourami

Is Black Phantom Tetra Reef Safe?

Yes, Black Phantom Tetra Reef is safe for your reef aquarium.

These little fish are peaceful, will not bother other fish or invertebrates in your tank, and are an excellent addition to any reef community.

They are also great cleaners, often eating debris and uneaten food off your aquarium’s live rock and sand.

This helps keep the water quality high and saves you money on expensive aquarium maintenance bills.

Black Phantom Tetra Gender Difference

When looking at a group of Black Phantom Tetras, it is usually easy to spot the males and females.

The males are typically the largest and most brightly colored fish in the group, while the females are usually smaller and less colorful.

The easiest way to tell the difference between a male and female Black Phantom Tetra is by looking at their fins.

Males have much longer and more elaborate fins than females, and they also lack the red coloration that is often present in the fins of females.

Another way to tell the difference between a male and female Black Phantom Tetra is by looking at their body shape.

Females are typically deeper-bodied than males, and they also tend to have reddish pelvic, anal, and adipose fins.

If not fully red, they have a definite red tint to their fins and even to the mid-body, which is also fuller than the males.

This reddish hue in the females sometimes causes them to be confused with other tetra species.

However, once you know what to look for, it is usually easy to tell the difference between a male and female Black Phantom Tetra.

Black Phantom Tetra Breeding

The Black Phantom Tetra is a highly prolific breeder, with females capable of laying up to three hundred eggs.

To aid the breeding process, you must alter the pH of the tank water to between 5.5 and 6. You’ll also need to raise the water’s hardiness (dH) to 4 or 5.

Also, we recommend using a mesh barrier, breeding grass, or a breeding box to separate the eggs from the parents. These add-ons will help you keep egg survival rates high by keeping the eggs separated from the adults.

It is ideal to have a single male with a group of females in the same tank for stress-free breeding. On the same tank, a single male should be able to fertilize the eggs of many females.

Once the eggs are laid, it’s essential to remove the parents from the tank, so they don’t eat their fry.

Thes eggs will take a few days to hatch; during this time, we recommend covering the tank with a dark cloth to reduce stress on the fry and promote hatching.

Possible Diseases and Prevention

As with any fish, there are several diseases that black phantom tetras can suffer from.

These include common illnesses such as Ich, bacterial infections, flukes, and parasites.


Ich is a common disease that can affect any aquarium fish.

It is caused by a parasite that burrows into the skin of the fish and causes irritation, leading to the telltale white spots on the fish’s body.

You can treat Ich with various methods, including raising the water temperature, adding salt to the tank, and using a commercial ich treatment.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections are another common disease that can affect black phantom tetras.

These infections are usually caused by poor water quality or an injury to the fish.

Symptoms of a bacterial infection include redness, swelling, and ulcers on the skin.

You can treat it with various methods, including the use of antibiotics.


Flukes are parasitic flatworms that attach themselves to the skin of fish.

They cause irritation and can lead to secondary bacterial infections.

You can treat flukes with the use of chemicals, raising the water temperature, and adding salt to the tank.


Parasites are another type of disease that can infect black phantom tetras.

These parasites can be internal or external and can cause various problems for the fish, including anemia, weight loss, and even death.

If you want to treat parasitic infections, you need to use a combination of chemicals and raise the water temperature.

Prevention is always the best medicine when it comes to diseases in aquarium fish.

You can prevent most diseases by keeping your tank clean and maintaining good water quality.

It would be best if you also quarantined new fish before adding them to your tank to make sure they are not sick.


Why Are My Black Phantom Tetras Fighting?

Tetras are usually quiet, barely fighting among themselves in the aquarium.

So, if you notice them chasing each other around or nipping at each other’s fins, there might be a problem.

There can be several reasons for this behaviour.

One reason might be that the tank is too small, and the fish feel cramped.

Another possibility is that the tank is not clean enough, and the fish are stressed.

You should also check the water parameters to make sure they are within the ideal range.

If the fish are still fighting, you might need to remove one of them from the tank.

Can Black Phantom Tetras Live With Bettas?

Yes, black phantom tetras may live with bettas in the same tank.

These two are ideal for cohabitation because phantom tetras have a black neon hue that doesn’t make the bettas scared of them.

Apart from that, both tetras and bettas require the same conditions to thrive.

As a result, they may make excellent companions in an aquarium tank!

Can Black Phantom Tetras Live With Angelfish?

Yes, you can keep black phantom tetras and angelfish together in the same aquarium.

These two species are a perfect match because they both require similar water conditions to thrive.

Moreover, the dark coloration of the phantom tetras will complement the bright colors of the angelfish quite nicely!

Last Words

If you’re searching for a simple fish to care for and an excellent addition to your tank, the Black Phantom Tetra is ideal. It will transform your aquarium into a work of art.

We hope you have enjoyed this article as much as we did.

If you still have any questions please share them with us in the comment section below.