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Black skirt tetra - Gymnocorymbus ternetzi

Black skirt tetra - Gymnocorymbus ternetzi

Scientific name: Gymnocorymbus ternetzi

Common name: Black skirt tetra

Family: Characidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 3 - 4 cm (1.18 - 1.57 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 5.9 - 8.3

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 4 - 18°N (71.43 - 321.43ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 20 - 26 °C (68 - 78.8°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: South America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels


The Black Skirt Tetra originates from South America, namely Bolivia, Brazil and certain areas of Argentina where it inhabits the cooler river basins, these fish are more at home in these cooler temperatures compared to some species of Tetras that prefer higher temperatures. Always remember this when setting up your aquarium, the temperature on your heaters should be set between 20-26°C (68-79°F), tank mates should also prefer the lower range to provide a happy environment for all of your fish.

General care information

It is best to keep the Black Skirt Tetra in small groups of at least 5 specimens, if the group is too small they will become shy and skittish. Tank mates should also be chosen carefully as they do have a reputation for being fin nippers, Angelfish or other species with long flowing fins should not be kept with the Black Skirt Tetra.

They do prefer planted aquariums and try to avoid bright lighting, dimmer lights will also help to make them feel more secure in your home aquarium.


Black skirts accepts flakes, bloodworms, and nearly all food. Don’t forget about enough vitamins and nutrition.


Females tend to have a plumper body shape compared to the males and may be slightly larger. All males will have elongated finnage.


Although these fish, which are egg scatterers, can breed in planted tanks with alkaline water, breeding them isn’t easy especially for newbies. This is mostly due to the fact they often reproduce successfully in dedicated and heavily planted tanks, therefore never aim at breeding this species in overpopulated tanks as there's a risk of other fish eating the eggs. Fine leaved plants are searched for during courtship and they will spawn amongst the plants. Bear in mind it is best to keep a single male in the aquarium during spawning periods to prevent rival males from fighting amongst themselves rather than spending the time with the females.

Once the spawning ritual has taken place, you'll notice the eggs are very small, way smaller than eggs of most species and once hatched, the fry has to be fed Artemia salina as soon as the yolk sac has been consumed. Eggs may fall down to the substrate layer which is why it's sometimes wise to use glass marbles at the bottom - this will keep the eggs safe from being eaten.


From 3 up to 6 years, possibly more if kept properly.


Due to merging with related pages we added the following question and answer here on March 25th 2011.

Why does my Black Skirt Tetra lose its black?

Answer: This normally occurs as the fish reaches an older age, the black will turn to grey.


Thanks to halkor for allowing us to use his pictures.

Black skirt tetra Black skirt tetra Black skirt tetra


Feel free to download our video here (9.1 MB, mpeg, MPEG-1 type, 640x480).

Other webpages

Once you’re done with reading all information on this page, you’re welcome to visit following pages, they’re on different websites, but definitely worth it. Black Skirt tetra @ AquaticCommunity.Com, Black Skirt Tetra - Gymnocorymbus ternetzi @ FishLore.Com, Gymnocorymbus ternetzi Profile @ BadMansTropicalFish.Com, Black Tetra ~ Black Widow @ Animal-World.Com. If any of these links doesn’t work, let us know, please. Simply use the form available at the bottom of this page.

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