If you are new to keeping fish in captivity, you can try the Black Skirt Tetra to begin with. Not only will it swim gracefully in your tank, but also be easy to take care of. Keep on reading to know anything about this beautiful fish.
A Black Skirt Tetra, also known as Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, is a kind of freshwater fish. It is native to Argentina, Bolivia, Guapore Rivers of southern Brazil, and Paraguay.
Some significant features of this fish are the two vertical black stripes lying on the front half of the body. It also has black dorsal and anal fins that can be quite long depending on the varieties.
The dark coloration of a Tetra begins to fade when it becomes mature, which is approximately at the age of 1. The bold colors soon turn into very pale ones by the age of 5.
Every Tetra has a short lifespan. It lasts for about 3 or 5 years. However, if you take care of it well, it can live longer. It is not common, though.
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Tank Size Suitable for Black Skirt Tetras
The Black Skirt Tetra is rather small. Even its maximum size is about 2 inches. Thus, you will not need a huge tank to keep a school of Tetras.
A 15-gallon tank will be perfectly fine. But make sure that the tank is at least 20 inches long as this fish is a very active swimmer.
Decorating the tank to resemble the natural habitat of the fish is your greatest bet. It will make the tank homey and the fish will feel comfortable.
To make it tangible, put a darker river gravel in place of dark sandy substrate. The darker color at the bottom of the tank mimics the decaying leaves that are usually found in the streams where it lives in the wild.
Adding plants to the tank is a worthy idea as the Black Skirt Tetra likes to explore and swim through them. Make sure that the vegetation is not too dense, though. There has to be enough space for your Tetra to swim, so few big plants will do the trick.
Like many other fishes, Tetras like hiding in a cave when feeling shy or threatened. Therefore, adding a piece of driftwood, snags, or twisted roots is a great idea. But do not forget to wash them in a salt bath before adding them into the tank.
This small fish is good at jumping. Thus, covering your tank is necessary to prevent it from jumping out. Keeping the water quality at an adequate level is imperative to avoid this action.
The Black Skirt Tetra tends to thrive well in soft water that is approximately 30 ppm or less. The water also has to be slightly acidic ranging from 6.8-7.0 pH. The appropriate water temperature for this fish is ranging from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although this fish does not produce lots of waste, you will still need to consider installing a good filtration system especially if you are keeping a large school of these fish. Do not forget to replace the water every other week to maintain cleanliness.
Feeding Black Skirt Tetra
The Black Skirt Tetra is omnivorous. It can eat both plants and small animals. You can give it worms, insects, small invertebrates, and a small number of algae. It also enjoys eating mosquito larvae, daphnia, and brine shrimp.
Frozen and flake food is a top-notch choice that supplements its healthy diet.
Breeding Black Skirt Tetra
When it comes to breeding, you have to be able to distinguish the males from the females. The male Tetra is a little bit smaller than the female. It is elongated, too.
You can notice the difference more easily at the breeding stage as the females will look as if they were on the point of exploding.
To breed these fish, you need to set up a separate spawning tank which will also be used as the place where the fry can develop in their early stages.
The ideal size of the tank used for breeding is 10 to 20 gallons, and you can breed several pairs in it at the same time. Set the water temperature a few degrees higher than the original basic tank.
Since these fish are a kind of free-spawning ones, you will need to lay some kind of mesh or grass-like mat to create a surface that allows the eggs to fall through. The holes on it have to be large enough for the eggs, but quite small for the adults to reach and eat them.
You will also need to put some plants to which the eggs are attached after being scattered. But do not forget to wash them in a salt bath to remove any harmful pest.
About ten days before the breeding begins, separate the pairs from the rest and each other. Feed them lots of live and frozen foods three times a day.
Once the females are getting fatter, and the colors of both the males and females are brighter, introduce the females a night before the males.
The males will begin to chase the females. If you happen to find any sign of negative behavior found in either the males or the females, remove them from the tank. You can give them another try only after another week of preparations.
Then, the female can scatter up to 1,000 eggs if the spawning goes well. As soon as it lays the eggs, remove both of the male and female Black Skirt Tetra from the tank so that they will not eat the eggs. The eggs will hatch within 24-36 hours.
Tank Mates and Safety Measures
The Tetra is a semi-aggressive fish. It can be extremely aggressive when meeting another fish with a long fin, like Betta or Angelfish.
You must choose between Cardinal Tetras, Black Neon Tetras, Neon Tetras, danios, rasboras, and cichlids, as they were the best tank mates for Black Skirt Tetra.
Although Black Skirt Tetra is easy to take care of, you need to provide it with a suitable environment and food so that it can thrive well and live longer.