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Maximum size : 3.5 cm

Black Phantom Tetra - Hyphessobrycon megalopterus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Black Phantom Tetra (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus) is a stunning and peaceful addition to any community aquarium. To ensure they thrive, it's important to keep them with similarly sized, non-predatory fish and in groups of six or more. A sandy substrate, driftwood roots, and branches, and dried leaf litter make for an attractive and natural-looking setup that these Tetras will love. They also appreciate a heavily planted aquarium. However, it's important to keep a tight-fitting lid as they are known to jump out. These fish have an eye-catching silvery-grey body with a unique black vertical dash that runs along its front and back. This dash looks almost like a human eye, making for a fascinating and visually appealing feature. Males have black fins, while females have black dorsal fins and reddish anal, pelvic, and adipose fins. In addition, long-finned varieties have been developed by captivity breeders. Black Phantom Tetras are a delight to observe as they swim together in synchronized schooling. They are peaceful with other species and may occasionally engage in minor squabbles that display their beautiful finnage but are harmless.

Black Phantom Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

When distinguishing between male and female Black Phantom Tetras, males can be identified by their longer fins compared to females. During breeding conditions, females become more plump and their fins will change colour to red. Males, on the other hand, will display black colouration on their pelvic, dorsal, and anal fins during breeding. In contrast, when females are ready to breed, their pelvic, anal, and adipose fins will turn red.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameHyphessobrycon megalopterus
Year Described1915
Other NamesPhantom Tetra
OriginsBolivia Brazil
Max Size3.5 cm
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

The Black Phantom Tetra has been featured on the following stamps.

Natural habitat

The Black Phantom Tetra originates from the sprawling lands of Bolivia, Brazil, and other parts of South America. With a natural habitat that spans the upper Rio Madeira and the Rios Mamore and Rios Beni, which are all tributaries to the magnificent Amazon River, these beautiful creatures can be found in clear, still, and sluggish backwaters, as well as in small lakes and ponds. One of the most remarkable features of the Black Phantom Tetra is its ability to form stunning gatherings around patches of minimal vegetation or submerged tree roots. It's truly a mesmerizing sight to behold and a testament to the adaptability and resilience of this unique species. Join us on a journey to explore the world of the Black Phantom Tetra and discover the incredible beauty and diversity that can be found in the rivers and waterways of South America.
 Madeira River - Brazil
Brazil Flag

How to breed the Black Phantom Tetra

When it comes to breeding Black Phantom Teras it's important to set up a specific breeding tank with plenty of floating plants and subdued lighting. Prior to spawning, it's recommended to condition the pair with small live foods, such as mosquito larvae, and to maintain cleanliness, feed them minimally while in the breeding tank. To trigger spawning, it's advisable to lower the pH and drop the hardness of the water, which can be achieved through peat filtration. During spawning, the male will display elaborate fin movements, culminating in the female releasing around 300 eggs. Once the spawning is complete, it's recommended to remove the breeding pair to prevent the eggs from being eaten. To ensure proper growth and development, it's crucial to maintain supreme water quality to prevent fungal growth on the eggs. The fry is sensitive to light, so it's best to either turn off the lights or cover the sides of the tank. Feeding the fry every few hours with tiny, commercially prepared foods or freshly hatched brine shrimp is essential for the first ten days, after which finely crushed flake foods can be introduced. Weekly water changes are also necessary to maintain optimal conditions for the fry.

Diet & feeding

Black Phantom Tetras are omnivores and have a broad diet. To maintain optimal health and vibrant colors, offer them a varied diet consisting of high-quality flake food, freeze-dried food, and small live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworm, mosquito larvae, Moina, and daphnia. A mixture of different types of food will provide essential nutrients and vitamins that are necessary for their well-being. It is essential to avoid overfeeding to prevent water quality issues and potential health problems.

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