Providing your fish with perfect living conditions is essential for their well-being. However, finding proper tank mates can be just as important. Are black skirt tetras and angelfish among them, or is this a match made in hell?
Both of these species are fairly social fish that could benefit from sharing a tank with other pets. But, are they good for each other?
The answer is not that straightforward… I’ll explain why.
Can You Keep Black Skirt Tetras With Angelfish?
Black skirt tetras are a popular type of tetra that is becoming more common in recent years. It is known for its monochrome appearance and fairly peaceful nature.
Angelfish are one of the most beautiful aquarium fish. They are triangularly shaped, with especially long pelvic fins and impressive anal and dorsal fins.
While both species are fairly non-confrontational, they have some behavioral quirks that can make them somewhat tricky to keep with certain fish species.
So, can you keep black skirt tetras and angelfish together? The answer is an indecisive maybe.
Both species have some compatible traits, as well as some traits that might make keeping them in the same tank a challenge. While I have had some success in having a community tank with these two, things are not as simple as you might think.
I’ll get into more details.
Why Are They A Good Match?
In a way, angelfish and black skirts can make great tank mates. Here are some traits that make them a great pair:
They Live In Similar Water Conditions
Black skirt tetras and angelfish have similar requirements when it comes to water conditions. They both prefer slightly acidic to neutral pH levels (around 6.5 to 7.5) and water temperatures between 75°F to 82°F.
This shared preference makes it easier to maintain suitable water conditions in the tank, ensuring the well-being of both species.
Not to mention how both will enjoy living in a planted tank, so find some beautiful fast-growing aquarium plants to give your tank some decor!
They Occupy (Somewhat) Different Areas Of The Tank
When two fish species live in the same area of the tank, the chances of territorial behavior might increase.
While both angelfish and black skirts love to swim in the middle of the tank, angelfish also tend to occupy the upper levels of the aquarium.
On the other hand, black skirt tetras prefer the lower levels.
This is always a good thing, as the two are more likely to stay non-confrontational if they don’t run into each other.
Angelfish are somewhat large aquarium fish. They can reach the size of up to 6 inches! This can be really bad for their tank mates, as they’re known to eat smaller fish.
While black skirts are about half their size, this is still large enough not to end up hurt or eaten. This makes them some of the few fish that are safe from a hungry angelfish.
They Are Mostly Peaceful Fish
Both black skirt tetras and angelfish are generally peaceful species, which reduces the likelihood of aggressive behavior towards each other.
They are not known to be overly territorial, which is an important consideration when selecting tankmates. For example, pairing an angelfish with a much more aggressive krib is never a good idea.
While angelfish might become nippy during the mating season, they’ll exhibit this behavior only towards the same species. Black skirts will mostly stay safe.
Additionally, both are fairly social, so they’ll love having the company of other species.
They Look Good Together
It’s okay to admit that we all want our tank setups to look nice. This is probably one of the main reasons why we choose various fish for our community aquariums. And let’s face it, black skirt tetras and angelfish do look nice when paired together.
The contrasting colors of these two fish can give your tank a beautiful appearance. Black skirt tetras have a sleek, black body with white or silver accents, while angelfish display vibrant shades of silver, black, and various patterns.
This will make your tank the talk of the neighborhood!
Unfortunately, things are not always sunshine and rainbows. There are some issues you might run into, as well as a few problems you might overlook at first.
Here’s what I mean:
Both angelfish and black skirt tetras have been known to exhibit fin-nipping behavior, especially towards fish with long, flowing fins.
Ironically, both fish have long fins, so they may be vulnerable to this behavior.
This can cause aggression from any side, as well as increase the fish’s stress levels, which is never a good thing!
Different Activity Levels
Angelfish are relatively slow swimmers compared to active and lively black skirt tetras.
The contrast in activity levels might create a mismatched dynamic in the tank. The tetras’ constant movement and shoaling behavior might cause stress or annoyance to the angelfish, leading to potential aggression or agitation.
Also, as angelfish are so slow, they can easily fall prey to fin-nipping activities.
Both fish are primarily omnivorous, so you might think they eat the same type of food. However, due to their size difference, their dietary preferences might differ.
For example, black skirt tetras prefer insects as a primary protein source, while angelfish seem to love brine shrimp and even fish fry!
As such, ensuring proper nutrition for both species might be an issue, as their specific dietary needs may not align perfectly. This can result in nutritional imbalances or inadequate diets for either the tetras or the angelfish.
How To Increase Their Chances of Getting Along
If the issues I’ve listed concern you, I’ve got some good news: There are some things you can do to increase your fish’s chances of getting along.
Sure, an angelfish and a black skirt tetra might never get along as well as black skirts and guppies, but as long as there’s peace in your tank, it’s worth it.
Here’s what you can do:
- Make sure the tank is adequately sized. Provide a spacious aquarium with ample swimming space and hiding spots. The minimum recommended tank size for a community of angelfish and black skirt tetras is around 40 gallons.
- Keep black skirt tetras and angelfish in appropriate group sizes. Black skirt tetras are shoaling fish and feel more secure when kept in groups of six or more. While not shoaling fish themselves, angelfish are also best kept in larger groups of five or more (although a pair will work, as well).
- Make sure the water parameters are proper. If the water quality becomes unsatisfactory, your fish will become stressed. This will increase their aggression levels.
- It is often recommended to introduce both species at a relatively young age. Younger fish are generally more adaptable and have a better chance of establishing hierarchy and social dynamics within the tank.
- Provide lots of hiding spots. Incorporate plenty of hiding places, plants, and decorations in the tank. Hiding places help reduce stress and provide a sense of security for both species, minimizing potential conflicts.
- Regularly observe the behavior of both species. Pay attention to any signs of aggression, stress, or fin-nipping. If any issues arise, be prepared to make adjustments, such as rehoming aggressive individuals or providing additional hiding places.
So, it’s possible to keep black skirt tetras and angelfish together. The two can coexist in peace, and they might not cause too much hassle.
However, there are plenty of issues that might decrease your chances of having a peaceful fish community. Their fin nipping and different behaviors might not make them the most suitable pair.
If you’re keen on keeping the two species in the same tank, make sure to give them lots of space and make sure their tank is in great condition. Also, keep a close eye on them, at least in the beginning.
If you notice your black skirt tetra and angelfish are not getting along no matter what you do, it might be best to separate them. In the end, you can find some much more suitable tank mates for your black skirts, such as shrimp!
Hi fellow aquarists, I’m Ava and I’ve been an enthusiastic aquarium hobbyist for over four years now.
I’ve been amazed by these beautiful creatures since I was a kid and I’m thrilled to be sharing everything I’ve learned over the years with anyone who’s as passionate about the topic as I am.