Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi

Black neon

Black neon, Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodiBlack neon, Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi
Photos by Andy Rapson


Hyphessobrycon: Greek, hyphesson, -on, -on = a little smaller + Greek, bryko = to bite.

General Notes:

As is the case with most small tetra's the black neon is a shoaling species and they behave more confidently and naturally when kept in a group of at least five individuals. Black neon's are very good hardy community fish being very striking to look at and both lively and peaceful all of which makes them a good choice for your first community tank. Despite their appearance and common name black neon's are not closely related to neon tetras.


Wild black neon's feed on on worms, small crustaceans and plant matter, in captivity they will readily accept flake, suitably sized granular food, freeze dried food and of course live or frozen food.


Females are larger and more rounded than the males when adult.


To breed black neon's you will need a spare aquarium which should be set up with a small air powered sponge filter and filled with very soft acidic water with a temp of  75 - 78°F and finally some spawning mops either fine leaved plants or artificial mops will suffice. A well conditioned pair will normally spawn quite quickly after being introduced especially if they have been separated for a few days beforehand. After spawning the parents will need to be replaced in their original aquarium or they will feast on their own eggs. The eggs hatch after 24 - 36 hours and the fry become free swimming about four days later. You can add small amounts of a liquid fry food just before the fry are free swimming, they won't eat it but it will encourage the growth of infusoria which the fry will eat. After a few days the fry will be big enough to accept micro worms and just hatched brine shrimps.

Wild status

The status of this species in the wild has not been evaluated. Almost all black neon's offered for sale will have been commercially bred rather than taken from the wild.

Information at a glance

pH: 5.5 - 7.5
dGH: 4 - 15
Temperature: 23 - 27°C (74 - 80°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 3cm (1.2in)
Min tank size: 60 litres
Difficulty level: Easy
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: All levels

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Black neon, Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi

Origin: South America: Paraguay River basin.

Habitat: Wild black neon's inhabit rivers and streams often with tannin stained water which is both soft and acidic.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Characiformes
Family: Characidae
Genus: Hyphessobrycon
Species: H. herbertaxelrodi, Géry, 1961

Common name:
Black Neon

Synonyms: None