View Full Version : Keeping Black Skirt Tetras for beginners.

02-21-2009, 09:21 AM
Just thought i would have a go at this William, hope it's ok.

I was thinking a little while ago about how confusing it is for beginners to get their heads around all the big, flashy word's that you find in aquarium forum's and other web sites, so i decided to try and pass on some advice in a more simpler sort of way. No big word's, no scientific names just plain and simple.

The fish i'm about to introduce to you is what we call a Black Skirt tetra or in my country, Australia, Black Widow tetra.


Above is a picture of this wonderful little fish, which is one of my personal favourites. The Black Skirt comes from South American rivers and can reach 2.5 inches (6.35cm) in size, which makes them quite large for a tetra species.
They are a very peaceful fish which enjoy planted tanks but like the occasional swim in open water areas, like to be in schools of six or more and go well in community tanks as long as the other fish in with them are not really aggressive. (Please note though at the time of writing this article i added the Black Skirts to a tank with a rather cranky Paradise fish and had no troubles with bullying).

They are quite a tough little critter and their water quality has quite some range to play with so it makes them a good beginners fish. Now if you are reading this it must be time for you to start picking fish for your newly cycled tank and you need to find out what ph level that those fish like the most.(Cycling? you ask. There is a whole section on cycling in the beginners forum right here at AC.). The ph level in basic terms is wether your water is acidic or alkaline, to check this you need a ph test kit, this is how they work.
The lower the number, the higher the acid is. The higher the number, the higher the alkaline is.

Black Skirts like a ph of 6.0 to 8.0, but do best in slightly more acidic conditions of around 6.8 and a temperature of 22-25 degrees C (72-77 degrees F).

If you split your tank up into three areas, top, middle and bottom this will give you the three levels of your tank in which specific fish will mostly swim in. The Black Skirts will mostly swim around in the middle area of your tank which leaves two whole areas in your tank to fill with other sorts of fish.

Black Skirt tetras are not really fussy eaters, they eat flake food, live foods such as frozen bloodworms and some vegetables such as peas. Because the bloodworms are more difficult to digest they should only be given as a treat, once maybe twice a week, the veggies will help thier digestion aswell as adding the extra vitamins they need. Feeding time is my favourite part of looking after these little fellas, they will, after a little while get used to you and will feed straight out of your fingers or the palm of your hand.

When you become more advanced in looking after your Black Skirts and you start selling things to buy more tanks you might like to breed them. They are egglayers and like to scatter them around the tank and although i have not yet bred them myself they can hatch in around 24 hours.

So after all that i hope i have explained most of the things you need to know in a simple fashion so even the most beginner of beginners could understand how easy and how much fun the Black Skirt tetra can be to keep.

Thank's for reading.


02-21-2009, 05:20 PM
I have 2 black skirted tetras & I absolutely love them!! Good info for beginners :)

Lady Hobbs
02-21-2009, 05:23 PM
I would not cycle with these fish, tho, unless they are going in a large tank where the toxins are not so high. Easy to cycle with fish in bigger tanks but not small tanks.

02-21-2009, 05:40 PM
I have two the Black skirt and Gold skirt of the long fin variety, I have to say they are quite fun to watch but I obviously need more because they can be a little nippy.

02-21-2009, 07:58 PM
I would not cycle with these fish, tho, unless they are going in a large tank where the toxins are not so high. Easy to cycle with fish in bigger tanks but not small tanks.

I would'nt cycle with them either Lady Hobbs, i had to read my article again after reading your last post. I thought that i'd not mentioned anything about cycling with them..PHEW. This is why i kept cycling right out of the article and sent the reader elsewhere to get that info, less confusion.thumbs2:

Wild Turkey
02-21-2009, 08:20 PM
I would not cycle with these fish, tho, unless they are going in a large tank where the toxins are not so high. Easy to cycle with fish in bigger tanks but not small tanks.

I never understood the difference.

Sure, the dangerous levels rise less quickly in a larger tank, but in the end as long as you are doing the water changes you should be the, the levels are still gonna max out at the same level (the one you allow) and stay there for several weeks during the beginning cycle stages.

Is there something I'm missing?

I agree i wouldnt choose these for those purposes either.

02-21-2009, 09:44 PM
This is just clarify a few things about this article.

1. Cycling with Black Skirts was not mentioned in the article, the reason being that if it was mentioned in the article, the above sort of arguments start happening and the "beginner reader" of the article will without a doubt get confused about what to do.

2. The point of the article was to try and explain to beginners in simple terms about the different areas of keeping this fish, this is why i added the part about the cycling being found in another part of the forum.

I think if there is any sort of constructive critisism about an article on a whole, i.e if you think that having cycling added to an article would make it easier to understand, by all means post it, but i think discussions about whether or not to do specific things or expressing one's opinion about specific things that don't really have anything to do with the article should be left to the correct areas of the forum.

Anyway i hope everyone likes the article, it's my first go at doing something like that. Please post what you think about it, let me know if it's easy to understand. thumbs2:

12-18-2009, 12:01 PM
Thanks for the article! It's a good bit of information for a beginner such as myselfthumbs2:

Lady Hobbs
12-18-2009, 01:50 PM

Easy trigger! You mentioned this was a good fish for beginners and I agree with you. But often beginners try to cycle with fish so I tossed in that tidbit only for that reason.

Tetra's were my first fish and I still have nearly all that I started with. Awesome little guys.

Deleted User
12-18-2009, 01:53 PM
I also love black skirt tetras. We have the regular and long fin varieties in one of our tanks. I think they're beautiful fish!

12-19-2009, 04:33 AM
A school of black skirts were in my first tank, starting over three years ago. They kind of harassed each other, but not much. Now there is only one left, the old man of the tank. He's so placid now, he barely twitches an eye when I introduce new fish to the tank. I loved being there when the light came on and they were all sporting their little miniskirts! Maybe that's just me being a perv(blush)

Lady Hobbs
12-19-2009, 02:28 PM
OOPs. This thread is 10 months old.