Black Widow Tetra Tank Mates: Best and Worst

Black Widow tetra Tankmates

Fish like Black Widow Tetra are well-known for their community nature. So, the questions you ask are mostly, which fish are the best tank mates of black widow tetra? Likewise, which fish are the worst tank mates for black widow tetra?

Black widow tetras (Black Skirt Tetra) do pretty well with other tetras as well as some other fish like loaches, Corydoras, Rasboras, etc. depending on the temperament, size, and nature of the fish.

These black widow tetras are known for their fin nipping nature. So, you will face issues when you keep small fish with longer fins along with these tetras in the same tank.

As we know black widow can not be kept in isolation so you need an idea which fish can be suitable as their tank mates.

Find the right ones that can be the best tank mates for black widow tetra below.

Black Widow Tetra: An Overview

Before you decide about the tank mates and know which one is better, first you need to know the nature of Black widow tetra.

Nature, water requirements, size every single thing about these tetras play a vital role to decide the better tank mates.

Black Widow tetra is also known as black skirt tetra. Learn in detail about Black Skirt Tetra Profile: Care, Size, Life Span, Tank Mates, Breeding from here.

Here are the things you need to look at about Black Widow Tetra:

Temperature: 68 °F to 79 °F
pH: 8 to 8.5
Size: 1.5 to 2 inches max
Life Expectancy: 5 years in captivity
Hardness: up to 15 dGH
Temperament: social, peaceful, community fish

What Are The Factors That Decides The Best Tank Mates Of Black Widow Tetra?

You need to find similarities between the following things so that the tank mates do not fight off with black widow tetra for survival.


The fish with the same nature and habits as black widow tetra are ideal as tankmates. Fin nipping fish or aggressive fish cannot go well with these peaceful fish.

I have written more about ‘Are Tetras Fin Nippers? Are They Aggressive?’ here. Check it out!


Fish of the same size as black widow tetra can survive together in the tank because these tetras tend to nip the fin of smaller fish with long, flowing fins.

And larger fish than black widow tetras can eat them up without any second thought. So, a similar size decides the compatibility of the fish in the tank.

black skirt tetra

Water Conditions

You can not keep cold water and warm water fish together. So, you need fish that can survive in the warmer environment as Black widow tetra.

And the water needs to be slightly acidic as well or else fish that prefers alkaline water will not survive much longer.

You can learn more about Water Parameters for Tetra Fish: Stable Water Condition from here.

School Size

Even if you keep black widow tetras with other fish, each of them needs their school to survive. Two different types of fish rarely school together.

So, if you plan to get various fish in the same tank, keep in mind to purchase the whole school of each especially black widow tetra.

Find out more about ‘Are Tetras Schooling Fish? – Easy Schooling Fish’.

Best Black Skirt Tetra Tankmates

Based on the above-mentioned factors, the following fish can be ideal tank mates for these black widow tetras.

Cardinal Tetra

Most of the tetras are quite compatible with each other, so there is no doubt peaceful and community fish like cardinal tetra can go along with black widow tetra.

The cardinal tetra asks the same conditions and diet as a black widow making their school compatible to live together.

The temperature range and pH cardinal tetra ask for is between 78 ° F to 81° F and 6 to 7 respectively. Cardinal tetras are also fast-moving small fish that prefer to live in a school of 6 members minimum.

When both schools of peaceful cardinal and black widow tetra present in the tank, the tank will be beautiful and delightful.

You can get the details about the fish in our other article Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) – A Complete Care Guide.

Neon Tetra

Cardinal and neon tetras always go side by side, be it to form a school together or be tank mates to other tetras.

Neon tetras are one of the topmost choices as tank mates for Black widow tetra because of similar needs and diet as well.

Even the temperature range they ask for is quite similar to black widow tetra i.e. between 69 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. And the ideal pH range, following the temperature footsteps, is similar as well with ranging between 5 to 7.5.

These peace-loving and non-aggressive tetras go along together in the tank with no issues. Both fast-moving tetras even make the tank active and delightful to look at.

Both of these tetras are easy to care about and prefer a school of 6 for each. There is no doubt, your tank will look the most enthusiasts’ fish tank with the presence of both tetras’ school.

Get into the details on Neon Tetra: A Complete Care Guide For Beginners.

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Kuhli Loaches

Loaches are one of those fish that can be tank mates to varieties of fish with no complaints whatsoever. And one of the loach fish which prefer darker theme and profusely remains active at night is Kuhli loaches.

With no doubt, these loach fish can make ideal tank mate for the black widow tetra as their ideal water requirements match too.

They want water temperature between 60 ° F to 77° F and a pH range between 7 to 8.5. Even the size does not make enough difference, they grow up 4 to 6 inches maximum.

Now that, you know their tank requirement, let us talk about their nature. Kuhli Loaches are known for their peaceful yet scavenging nature.

These loaches do not bother other fish in the tank and stay on the bottom of the tank scavenging.  Moreover, these loaches usually prefer a group of 3 members and very low maintenance.

Kuhli Loach, hands down, is the best tank mate for black widow tetras making itself on few top choices. The fish with colorful and beautiful body adds diversity and beauty in the aquarium.

Horsehead Loach

Horsehead loach is another type of loach fish that can be ideal mates for black widow tetras. These loaches can adjust to the temperature between 44 ° F to 77 °F.

Even the ideal pH range slides towards the acidic side between 6 to 6.5. These fish, although, grow quite large to 12 inches in length, they still make a better companion to tetras.

Horsehead loach is a shy fish that keep themselves hidden in the substrate with eyes upon the surface. These slow-moving fish, even with the large body, do not bother black widow tetra and live peacefully in the tank.

This is a tricky choice and you can only see these fish when the aquarium is dark hiding down the tank, so feeding catfish food that sinks to the bottom is a good idea.

Giant Danio

The name of Giant Danio might have the word giant in it but are small fish with a maximum size of 4 inches.

These fish are well-known for their compatible nature and can make a good companion to most of the fish variety.

The water condition they ask for is similar to black widow tetra, even they intake the same food too. The temperature range ideal for them is between 72 ° F to 81° F and the pH range between 6 to 8.

A long fish tank might be an additional thing you need to think about, as these fast swimmers prefer to swim around, from one to another.

And also, giant danio are schooling fish too, so make sure you get 5 to 6 members of them which in turn will add additional color to the tank.

Corydoras Catfish

The thing about black widow tetra is they mostly stay in the middle or on the surface of the tank. So, any fish that prefers similar water conditions but stays mostly on the substrate makes a better tank mate.

The same case is with Corydoras catfish, this beautiful small fish will not disturb other fish as they like to keep to themselves in the tank.

These catfish stay away from all the chaos and swimming around and are very low maintenance. They adjust well in the water temperature that ranges between 74 ° F to 84 °F similar to black widow tetra.

They, although prefer alkaline water between 7 to 8, they will not complain about the water for black widow tetra.

These beautiful fish are mostly the first choice as the white color with the pinkish hue they bring along with them give contrast to the aquarium.

Harlequin Rasboras Fish

The most common and easiest fish, Harlequin Rasboras fish, are also a warm water fish with an ideal temperature between 72 ° F to 79 °F.

The water pH they ask for is also similar to black widow tetras i.e. between 5 to 7. They even take up small space in the tank without bothering other fish remaining busy within their school.

These shoal fish live in similar conditions as black widow tetras making themselves ideal mates for black widow tetras.

Worst Tank Mates Of Black Widow Tetra

There are some tank mates that you should avoid when you have black widow tetra in your aquarium. They are mentioned below:

Tiger Barbs

Tiger barbs are well-known for their semi-aggressive nature, and can not go well with peaceful fish like black widow tetras.

Black widow tetras, although, live with tiger barbs and has similar tank requirements, it is better to avoid this pair.


Bettas prefer to live alone as well as have long beautiful fins. Black widow tetras, as we know, are fin nippers, so these beautiful bettas with long fin cannot live together with these tetras.

Bettas are too aggressive toward black widow tetras making even these tetras come out as the worst.

The risk of losing the fin is quite high and they are not quite compatible with black widow tetra making them worst tank mates.

You can learn more about Neon Tetras And Betta Fish: Can You Keep Them Together? – Here Is How.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Black Widow Tetra Live With Guppies?

No, you can not keep guppies with black widow tetras because these tetras are larger than guppies and can eat these guppies up.

Do Black Widow Tetras Lay Eggs?

Yes, black widow tetras lay eggs as they are not livebearers, and need a separate breeding tank as well. Find out more on ‘Are Tetra Livebearers? Do They Give Birth or Lay Eggs?’.

How Long Do Black Widow Tetras Live?

Black widow tetras, as any tetra, has a life expectancy of 5 years in captivity, although they can live up to 8-10 years in the wild.


Briefly, Black widow tetra is schooling, community fish so you can’t keep them alone in a tank. You need to get a whole school of tetras and if you want variety in the tank, you can also go for other tetras like neon tetra and cardinal tetra.

Loaches, Corydoras, Rasboras, etc. can also be better tank mates to these black widow tetras if you take care of them well. But remember to keep bettas and tiger barbs far away from these small tetras.

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