Black Widow Tetra Tank Mates: 7 of the Best Tank Mates for Black Widow Tetra

Estimated read time 13 min read

In this article, I will share with you some great Black Widow Tetra Tank Mates that you can add to your aquarium for a fun and colorful aquarium.

Commonly known as the Black Widow, Black Skirt or Black Tetra this active and fast-moving fish is the perfect choice for beginner fish keepers.

Very easy to take care of and hardy, Black Widow or Black Skirt Tetra is a schooling fish that can help you create a beautiful community fish tank.

They belong to the very popular tetra family, which consists of their cousins: the neon and cardinal tetras – both of them are brightly colored favorites of aquarium owners.

Black widow tetras are also among the more popular species of aquarium fish. You can distinctly tell this 2 inches long fish apart by the two vertical black stripes on its body and the black, long and flowing fins.

What fish can live with black Tetras?

In general most other small tetras like Neon Tetra, Cardinal Tetra or other species like Danio, Rasboras and many bottom-dwelling fish would be great compatible companions for a Black Widow Tetra.


Equipment You Might Need For Your Black Skirt Tetra

  1. Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter
  2. NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light
  3. Fluval M Aquarium Heater
  4. Python Pro-Clean Gravel Washer and Siphon Kit
  5. Marina Algae Magnet Cleaner
  6. API Freshwater Master Test Kit

Facts about the Black Widow Tetra

Just like their more popular cousins, black widow tetras also originate from South America. They are found in the wild within small and slower tributaries of the Paraguay and Guapore Rivers in Brazil. These are areas where they have plenty of cover because of the forest canopy.

Initially, they were only available for aquarium owners as they were caught from the wild but there are bred specimens sold all over the country now. In the wild, black widow tetras like to stay near the surface of the water where they eat insects, small worms and crustaceans.

This tiny fish is around the same size as the neon and cardinal tetras at just 2 inches when it reaches full maturity. It loves the company of its own kind of fish and that is why it’s always a good idea to keep groups of at least 6 in the fish tank.

If you keep them in a large enough group, you will find the tetra to be quite peaceful. You might face some issues if you have long-finned fish smaller than them in size because they are known to nip at smaller fish a little.

Tips to Help Care For Your Black Widow Tetra Happy and Healthy

While the Black Widow Tetra’s name might suggest an aggressive and brooding fish, this is actually an excellent community fish because of its peaceful nature. Like other tetras, they get nervous when they are not with other fish of the same kind so you need to keep them in a school.

They love to eat the worms, small invertebrates, and insects in the wild. They occasionally like eating the odd algae and other plant matter. You can give them a variety of food and they will happily eat it. Other than these things, here are some important tips to help you keep the Black Widow Tetra happy and healthy in the fish tank.


Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 1.5 to 2 inches
Temperature Range: 68 to 79 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 8 to 8.5

Creating ideal living conditions for your black widow tetras is actually pretty easy. These are ideal conditions which can suit a lot of other types of fish that you can add to the aquarium to make a wholesome community fish tank.

Here are some additional facts about the Black Widow Tetra you should know.

1. Black widow tetras are the easiest to distinguish among tetras due to their iconic black vertical stripes and long trailing fins

2. They are very peaceful fish that can get along with almost any other fish tank species

3. Males sometimes have white spots on the caudal fin, broader anal fins, and a more pointed dorsal fin

4. Black widow tetras do not reach sexual maturity until at least two years of age

Best Tank Mates For Black Widow Tetras

You can expect the black widow tetras to live for up to 5 years of age in a fish tank. When they breach about two years, they become fully mature and their colors start to fade. By the time they are 5 years old, Black Widow Tetra actually become a quite pale color of their younger selves. Nonetheless, they make for a very beautiful fish to have in the aquarium as the group swimming together makes a pretty sight.

Of course, adding more fish to the tank for the Black Widow Tetra – both visually and as a community – is very important. We have put together a list of the best tank mates for Black Widow Tetra to help you decide which fish you should add to the aquarium to give them company.

1. Cardinal Tetras

Cardinal tetra in aquarium

Ltshears [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 2 inches
Temperature Range: 79 to 82 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 6 to 7

There are few options better for top tank mates for a tetra than another kind of tetra. The cardinal tetra is an ideal tank mate for the Black Widow Tetra for so many reasons. It is a fish that enjoys similar living conditions and the diet as the Black Widow Tetra.

Cardinal tetras also love keeping the peace like the black widows. In fact, they are not problematic at all in a community fish tank. This tetra also loves to swim in schools of at least 6 so you will have not one but two different groups of tiny and fast-moving fish in the tank that make the whole aquarium even more beautiful.

Check out this roundup list with 7 of the best tank mates for Cardinal Tetras

2. Kuhli Loaches

Pair of loaches in a fish tank

Bonhilda at the English language Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 4 to 6 inches
Temperature Range: 60 to 77 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 7 to 8.5

Loaches generally make ideal tank mates for a lot of fish you find in aquariums and your Black Widow Tetra is no exception. Among loaches, one of the most popular choices to go for is the Kuhli loach. A fish that is active more at night in the wild, they like darker conditions and mind their own business most of the time.

Low maintenance fish, they like being in groups of at least 3 to enjoy themselves, they like to scavenge at the bottom of the fish tank and they are a peaceful fish species. The fact that their ideal conditions are similar to those for the Black Widow Tetras makes them a top choice to have in the fish tank. Their beautiful color adds contrast and diversity to the fish tank.

3. Neon Tetras

Nerite Snail with Neon

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 1.5 inches
Temperature Range: 69 to 79 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 5 to 7.5

With the cardinal tetra already an option to consider, it only makes sense that you have neon tetra as a possible tank mate for your Black Widow Tetra. This fish is simply beautiful and adds a very beautiful tinge of color to your fish tank with its neon blue and red strips on a translucent body.

The neon tetras are among the most popular aquarium fish around and you will not be surprised to see these in almost every aquarium enthusiast’s fish tank. Just make sure you have a decent-sized tank because they also like to be kept in schools of at least 5 or 6.

Other than that, they are very easy to take care of, they enjoy similar living conditions as the black widow and they are very peaceful.

4. Giant Danio

Devario aequipinnatus

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 4 inches
Temperature Range: 72 to 81 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 6 to 8

Colorful, tiny and incredibly fast, the giant danio is an obvious entry on the list of the best tank mates for Black Widow Tetra. Peaceful in nature, giant danios are actually able to live in the tank with a variety of different fish. They are fast swimmers and they like to dart around from end to end in a fish tank so it is a good idea to have a long fish tank if you really want them to be happy.

You won’t face any trouble between the giant danio and the Black Widow Tetra. They eat similar food and they enjoy similar conditions in the tank to thrive. Have a group of 5 or 6 of these to add a good mixture of vibrant colors in the fish tank.

5. Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras catfish in fish tank

Karsten Schönherr [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 1.5 inches
Temperature Range: 74 to 80 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 7 to 8

Corydoras catfish are always an important part of a community fish tank. They reside at the bottom of the fish tank away from the rest of the fish and like to keep to themselves. A group of these in the fish tank will help you keep the fish tank clean.

A lot of people prefer the albino version of the corydoras catfish because it is truly an immaculate fish to look at in the fish tank. With just a single white color with a pinkish hue, the albino cory catfish adds a bit of contrast to the fish tank while being a part of a healthy community fish tank.

We see no reason why this low maintenance fish should not be a tank mate for your black widow tetras.

6. Horsehead Loach

Horsehead loach

Alter welt [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 12 inches
Temperature Range: 44 to 77 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 6 to 6.5

Another kind of loach that makes it to the list of the best tank mates for Black Widow Tetra is the horsehead loach. A fish with a head that looks like the head of a horse, you can easily tell that they went for an obvious approach while naming this peaceful fish.

This fish can grow to become quite large if it reaches full maturity. You can expect it to grow to up to 12 inches in length so this is a slightly tricky option to consider. A slow-moving fish, the horsehead loach is also a very shy creature that actually likes to bury itself under the substrate with only its eyes above the surface.

You might not see this fish very often unless you keep the conditions of the fish tank dark. If you want to get a better chance to see them out and about in the fish tank, consider turning off the lights at night and leaving catfish food that sinks to the bottom.

7. Harlequin Rasboras Fish

Harlequin rasbora 2

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 2 inches
Temperature Range: 72 to 79 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 5 to 7

A quite fascinating little fish, this is the most common and the easiest to keep among the rasboras family of fish. Originating from Sumatra, Thailand and the Malay Peninsula, this beautiful little fish has a very distinctive body with a dark, triangular patch that extends from the base of the caudal fin to its back.

They are a shoal fish you should keep in odd numbers so that there is a competition when it comes to mating so that they keep busy among themselves and do not bother any other fish in the tank. They make ideal tank mates for Black Widow Tetras because they take up very little space and make the tank look beautiful while enjoying similar conditions.

Tank Tips to Make Sure Your Black Widow Tetras Stay Safe

Now, we are going to take a look at some essential safety measures you should take to make sure that your Black Widow Tetra is able to thrive in the fish tank. Smaller and less active tetras among other fish that are ideal tank mates can be a part of the aquarium with them but it isn’t recommended to keep other aggressive fish in the same tank:

  • If you have slow-moving fish that is aggressive in nature, expect the black widow tetras to stir up some trouble in the fish tank.
  • Make sure you keep the water quality to an adequate level and change out the water from time to time to keep it a little fresh.
  • While two or three black widow tetras make a reasonable group, try to keep a larger number of them so that they spend more time focusing on each other than other fish.
  • Try to feed the fish using multiple feeding rings because there is always a chance the black widow tetras might become a little aggressive while feeding.

Tank Mates, You Should Keep Away from Black Widow Tetra

Black widow tetras are mildly aggressive fish if you add more aggressive fish species to the tank. It is best to avoid adding tiger barbs and betas to the fish tank because their aggressive nature can get the worst of the Black Widow Tetra to come out.

Fun Facts about Black Widow Tetras

Here are some interesting facts about the Black Widow Tetra tetra that you might not have heard of:

  1. When you’re breeding the black widow tetras, make sure that as soon as the parents lay the eggs, you separate them from the eggs otherwise they can actually eat up their own eggs.
  2. Black widow tetras are very skilled jumpers and it is a good idea to keep your water tank covered unless you want to see them jumping out of the fish tank.
  3. Their skin color fades as they grow older and by the time they are 5 years old, they change to a very pale hue.
  4. Keeping odd numbers of the black widow tetras makes sure that they are busy with each other because they constantly compete with each other and do not have time to focus on other fish. If you keep even numbers, they will make their pairs and bother other fish in the aquarium.

Final Thoughts

Can black widow tetras live with guppies?

Black Widow tetras can live with guppies; however, you should proceed with causing. Black Widows tetras are mostly peaceful if kept in groups of at least 6. Guppies tend to have long fins that the Black Skirt Tetras might nip.

Do black skirt tetras eat other fish?

Black Skirt Tetras are not known to eat other fish. Their regular diet should consist of proteins like insects and worms however, they will eat pretty much anything you place in the tank.

Black widow tetras are a very good beginner fish for aquarium enthusiasts but they are equally loved by the more seasoned hobbyists as well. Try to follow all the precautions we have mentioned and add only the best tank mates for black widow tetras to create a peaceful and beautiful community fish tank.

Feature Image: Fernandograu [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You May Also Like

More From Author