Max Size: 3.5cm

Black Phantom Tetra (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus)

A peaceful, active schooling fish, the Black Phantom Tetra makes an excellent addition to any community aquarium. However, maintaining it alongside similarly sized and non-predatory fish is best.

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

Silvery grey with a distinctive vertical dash of black along its front and back, just behind the gills, this fish has an attractive, flat, oval body.

An unusual location for an eye spot, this dash almost matches the colouring of a human eye. However, the actual eye of this fish is edged in black on the bottom and top. Males have black fins, and females have black dorsal fins. The anal, pelvic, and adipose fins of the female are reddish in color. In addition, captivity breeders have developed long-finned varieties.


Black Phantom Tetra
Black Phantom Tetras
Black Phantom Tetra
Black Phantom Tetra
Black Phantom Tetra
Black Phantom Tetras Sparring
Quick Facts
Scientific NameHyphessobrycon megalopterus
Year Described1915
Other NamesPhantom Tetra
OriginsBolivia, Brazil
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan2 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH3 - 18
72 - 82℉
22.2 - 27.8℃

Natural Habitat

Madeira river tributary


In the home aquarium, the Black Phantom Tetra will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Tank Mates

1 interesting tank mate ideas for the Black Phantom Tetra could include:

Black Widow Tetra(Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)

Sexual Dimorphism

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

Those observing the male Black Phantom Tetra would notice that they have more extended fins than the females. When the females are in breeding conditions, they become plumper, and their fins change colour to red. Males start having black colouration on their pelvic, dorsal, and anal fins. When the female is in breeding condition, her pelvic, anal, and adipose fins are red.

The Black Phantom Tetra has been featured on the following stamps

Germany - 1966