Black Phantom Tetra (Hyphessobrycon Megalopterus) Fish Species Profile

The black phantom tetra is a peaceful, very active schooling fish and an excellent choice for any community aquarium. It is best maintained alongside non-predatory and similarly sized fish.

It is advisable to have a tight-fitting lid, as black phantom tetras can and very much do jump out.

This fish has an attractive, flat, oval body which is silvery grey with a unique, vertical dash of black-edged on its front and back with a pearly-silver, just behind the gills.

An unusual location for an eye-spot, this dash almost matches the colouring of a human eye. The real eye of this fish is edged in black on the bottom and top. The male's fins are black, so is the female's dorsal fin. The female's anal, pelvic and adipose fins are a reddish colour.

There is also a long-finned variety, and captive breeders developed that.

Scientific NameHyphessobrycon Megalopterus
Other NamesPhantom Tetra
OriginsSouth America
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan2 - 5 years
Maximum Sizeup to 3.5 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature72 - 82 ℉ (22.2 - 27.8 ℃)
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH3 - 18

Origins of the Black Phantom Tetra

The Black Phantom Tetra is native to the upper Rio Madeira, a significant part of the western Amazon watershed in Bolivia and west Brazil, Including its main tributaries the Rios Mamore and Rios Beni, as well as the upper Rio Paraguai in Brazil.

They inhabit clear, still and sluggish backwaters and tributaries, including small lakes and ponds, where it produces gatherings around patches of minimal vegetation or submerged tree roots.


Black phantoms are not picky eaters, and they will accept most foods. Provide them with a varied diet of fine flake and freeze-dried foods, as well as small live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworm, mosquito larvae, Moina and daphnia, to keep them in excellent health.

Sexing the Black Phantom Tetra

It is quite simple to differentiate males from female Black Phantom Tetras.

The male black phantom tetras have more extended fins than the females. When in breeding condition, the females become plumper, the adult males possess black fins of which the pelvic, dorsal, and anal are enlarged. In contrast, females are deeper-bodied and tend to have reddish pelvic, anal, and adipose fins.

Breeding the Black Phantom Tetra

For the best results, you should set up a separate breeding tank with ample floating plants and dim lighting.

Before spawning, condition the mating pair with small live foods, such as mosquito larvae. Once you have placed the couple in the breeding tank, continue feeding to a minimum to maintain cleanliness.

You can trigger spawning by lowering the pH and dropping the hardness of the water. Using peat filtration is the best method to achieve the required water parameters.

Males will take part in elaborate courtship fin displays that end with the female releasing about 300 eggs. After all the eggs have been laid, it is advisable to remove the breeding pair from the tank, to avoid them being eaten.

The fry is very sensitive to light, so either leave the light off or cover the sides of the tank. Supreme water quality is essential to prevent fungal growth on the eggs of this species.

It would be best if you fed the fry every few hours with tiny, commercially prepared foods or freshly hatched brine shrimp. After ten days, you can then provide them with finely crushed flake foods; you should also conduct water changes at least once a week.


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Date Added: 9/18/2020 - Updated: 9/18/2020 6:35:00 PM