Maximum size : 6 cm

Xingu Black Neon Tetra - Moenkhausia heikoi : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Prepare to be captivated by the exquisite beauty of Xingu Black Neon Tetras (Moenkhausia heikoi) a rare gem in the realm of aquarium fish. These graceful creatures bring a touch of elegance and tranquility to any aquatic setting. While their stunning appearance is reason enough to admire them, there is much more to these Tetras than meets the eye.

In order to truly appreciate the captivating allure of Xingu Black Neon Tetras, it is essential to understand their social dynamics. These peaceful and active species thrive when kept in groups of six or more individuals. In the company of their kindred spirits, these Tetras come alive, exhibiting their natural behavior and showcasing their vibrant coloration. Watch in awe as the males diligently court the females, creating a captivating display of courtship rituals.

When it comes to choosing tank mates for these remarkable Tetras, it is important to consider their gentle nature. Other South American Characins and Bottom-Dwellers of similar size make ideal companions, allowing for a harmonious and visually stunning community. However, exercise caution and avoid housing them with more aggressive or significantly larger species, as this may lead to stress and food competition.

Creating an environment that showcases the subtle beauty of Xingu Black Neon Tetras is key. A densely planted aquarium, with a dark substrate and background, serves as a canvas to accentuate their captivating colors. Providing ample swimming space and gentle, subdued lighting allows these Tetras to truly shine. And remember, a secure aquarium lid is a must, as these energetic jumpers may venture beyond the water's edge.

The unique markings of Xingu Black Neon Tetras are a sight to behold. A thick black band, reaching almost halfway across their flank, serves as their signature feature. The intensity of this black band varies, adding intrigue and individuality to each specimen. Above the black band, a delicate silvery stripe creates a striking contrast. Look closely, and you may catch a glimpse of the goldish-red spot adorning the upper half of their eye. Their abdomens are pristine white, while their pectoral, pelvic, and caudal fins shimmer in pale orange, adding a touch of warmth to their exquisite appearance.

Xingu Black Neon Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Accurately discerning the sex of Xingu Black Neon Tetras can pose a challenge. Nonetheless, careful observation of their body shape can provide valuable insights. Females exhibit a noticeably more robust and plump physique, particularly when they are carrying eggs, setting them apart from their male counterparts.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameMoenkhausia heikoi
Year Described2004
Other NamesNone
Max Size6 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 5.5 - 7.5
GH 5 - 18
KH 1 - 2
TDS 18 - 268
Ideal Temperature
72 - 82
22 - 27

Natural Habitat

Within the captivating waters of Brazil's South America, you can find the Xingu Black Neon Tetras' enchanting habitat in the Rio Novo and Rio Iriri tributaries of the illustrious Rio Xingu. One will discover these Tetras gracefully navigating the depths of shallow, fast-flowing currents by exploring these pristine waterways. Seeking refuge and intrigue, they seek out the hidden enclaves concealed amidst colossal rocks and submerged roots.

As nature's architects, these Tetras carve their niche within the cracks and crevices, weaving through a labyrinth of aquatic landscapes. Amidst the mesmerizing dance of currents, they find solace and protection, embracing the dynamic interplay of water and stone. These unique habitats, adorned with submerged roots, create an otherworldly realm where the Xingu Black Neon Tetras thrive.

In the company of these remarkable Tetras, one explores the awe-inspiring wonders that reside within the vibrant Rio Xingu. The intricate network of rock formations, complemented by submerged roots, beckons the curious observer to witness the harmonious integration of aquatic life and its mesmerizing surroundings.


Regrettably, comprehensive information on the breeding of Xingu Black Neon Tetras remains scarce due to their rarity. However, drawing from the breeding behaviours of other Moenkhausia species, we can infer some general guidelines. Breeding these Tetras will require the setup of a dedicated breeding tank, providing specific conditions to encourage successful reproduction.

Creating an optimal breeding environment begins with a dimly lit tank, complemented by soft water conditions. Slightly elevating the temperature above their usual range can help stimulate breeding behaviour. Dense planting within the breeding tank is crucial, as it offers essential shaded areas for the Tetras to deposit their eggs.

To ensure the production of healthy offspring, carefully select a robust female and a male with vibrant colours. Then, introduce them to the breeding tank and continue to provide them with a nutrient-rich diet, including live food, to enhance their reproductive readiness.

When Xingu Black Neon Tetras are prepared to breed, they will engage in fin-locking behaviour, followed by a graceful somersaulting movement among the plants. Then, the female will release a batch of approximately a dozen eggs at a time, which the male will swiftly fertilize. Typically, spawning activity occurs during the early morning hours, with the female eventually laying a considerable number of eggs, often reaching several hundred.

To safeguard the developing eggs, it is crucial to promptly remove the parents from the breeding tank. Adult Tetras have a tendency to consume the eggs, which may hinder successful hatching. After approximately 24 to 36 hours, the eggs will start to hatch, and within 3 to 4 days, the fry will become free-swimming, embarking on a rapid growth journey.

The newly hatched fry will initially sustain themselves by consuming their yolk sac. Once the yolk sac has been absorbed, they will eagerly accept infusoria-type foods, progressing to baby brine shrimp and crushed flakes as they continue to develop.

Diet & feeding

Xingu Black Neon Tetras demonstrate a versatile and accommodating appetite within the confines of the home aquarium. While they readily accept a variety of food offerings, a diverse and well-rounded diet is essential to showcase their vibrant colours and ensure optimal health. This should encompass a combination of high-quality dried foods, such as flakes and granules, alongside regular servings of live, frozen, or freeze-dried delicacies. Mosquito larvae, daphnia, Moina, and brine shrimp are excellent choices to incorporate into their feeding regimen.

To promote a balanced nutritional intake, it is advisable to feed Xingu Black Neon Tetras multiple times a day, providing them with an amount of food that can be consumed within three minutes or less. This feeding approach optimizes their feeding response and helps maintain water quality within the aquarium. Furthermore, by curating a varied and enticing menu for these captivating Tetras, aquarists can revel in the spectacle of their enhanced colours and the vitality that accompanies a well-nourished aquatic companion.

Other Tetras of interest