Information, Characiformes (Characins), Freshwater fish, Species, Tetras

White Skirt Tetra: Complete Species & Care Overview

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by Jason Matthews



White Skirt Tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) is a unique variety of Black Tetra, native to the tropical river basins of South America. This fish species is beginner-friendly due to its amicable and peaceful temperament. It possesses a heavenly appearance because of its solid white body, distinctive anal fin shape, and transparent fins. 


Scientific Name: Gymnocorymbus ternetzi
Common Names: Gold Skirt Tetra, Petticoat Tetra, White Widow Tetra
Life Expectancy: 3 to 5 years
Adult Size: 2 to 2.2 inches


Origin Paraguay, Guapore
Care LevelEasy
Temperament Friendly and peaceful
Diet Omnivore
Tank LevelMid-dweller
Water pH5.8 – 8.5
Water Temperature70°F – 90°F
Water HardnessUp to 30 dGH
LightingSubdued, dim
Tank MatesDanios, Gouramis, Guppies, Mollies, Otocinclus

Fun Fact Corner

White Skirt Tetras aren’t different from Black Skirt Tetras. They are simply a non-pigmented version of them. 


White Skirt Tetras haven’t originated from the wild as they’re bred only in captivity. It is because they are just a non-pigmented variety or a genetic morph of the Black Tetra. 

On the other hand, Black Tetra is found in the wild. This fish species has originated from the South-American basins of Paraguay and Guapore. Therefore, it prefers warm water conditions with gentle currents.


White Skirt Tetras are peaceful and friendly community fish. They prefer to stay in groups of three or more as a single White Skirt Tetra may feel constantly stressed and scared. 

Note that White Skirt Tetras quickly get frightened of large and boisterous fish species, which can lead to stress. So, house them with peaceful fish species of similar size.


White Skirt Tetras can live for three to five years in an aquarium. Even though they’re hardy, their lifespan depends on how much care you provide them.

Size and Appearance

White Skirt Tetras are a color variation of the famous Black Widow Tetra (or Black Tetra). They can grow up to 2 inches to 2.2 inches by reaching maturity.

Body Shape

Similar to most members of the Characidae family, White Skirt Tetras also possess a tetragonal body. The front area of their body is elongated, whereas the lower body quickly tapers towards the tail.

The overall body of a White Skirt Tetra looks more rounded and compressed compared to other Tetras.

Just like Black Tetras, White Skirt Tetras also possess uniquely-shaped fins. The dorsal fin is tiny and square, whereas the anal fin has a more dramatic flair. 

The anal fin starts from the middle of the body, where it is thicker and extends to the tail. Hence, the anal fin makes it appear as if the fish has worn a skirt, giving it the name ‘White Skirt Tetra’.

Body Color

White Skirt Tetras are entirely white in appearance. So, when they are grouped and kept in an aquarium, they give it a heavenly look. 

In White Skirt Tetras, the base color is solid white, and the fins are transparent. The only pop of color in the whole body is the presence of two black-colored beady eyes.

Note: White Skirt Tetras are “dyed” to produce “Blueberry Tetra” and “Strawberry Tetra” varieties for commercial purposes. Don’t purchase such dyed fish varieties as dyes are toxic and can cause health issues in fish – eventually leading to their death. 

Differences Between Male and Female White Skirt Tetra

It is hard to distinguish between a male and female White Skirt Tetra as there are barely any significant differences. Some minor differences are discussed below.

CategoryMale White Skirt TetraFemale White Skirt Tetra
Body SizeSmaller and more slenderLarger and plumper than males
Anal FinSlightly broaderNarrower than anal fins in males
Dorsal FinNarrow and pointed dorsal finSlightly broad dorsal fin


Breeding White Skirt Tetras is straightforward if you provide proper water conditions. 

  1. Take a separate 10-gallon tank and fill it with water. Follow the same water parameters as that of their original tank. 
  1. Keep some plants and spawning mops in the breeding tank.
  1. Introduce one pair of White Skirt Tetras in the breeding tank. Allow the male and female to breed. Ensure that the male Tetra isn’t getting too aggressive. If he does, separate the two fish for some time to prevent injury.
  1. After spawning, the female Tetra will release around 1000 eggs all over the tank.
  1. Once the eggs are fertilized, and breeding is complete, separate the adult Tetras, as they might feed on their eggs. 
  1. The eggs will hatch in 24 to 36 hours
  1. Initially, the fry will feed on the egg sac. Once they’re free swimming, you can provide them with fry food.

Nutrition and Diet

White Skirt Tetras eat pretty much everything as they’re omnivorous. You can provide them with good-quality flakes or pellets three to four times a day

Moreover, try giving them frozen or live foods and supplements (like Spirulina supplements). 

The best live or frozen food options include insects, worms, and crustaceans like bloodworms, Daphnia, Brine Shrimp, and earthworms.

Tank Requirements

White Skirt Tetras are mid-dwellers. They are also hardy and can adapt to various water conditions. Yet, it is best to provide proper tank conditions to ensure longevity.

Tank Size

You require a 10-gallon tank to keep around four to five White Skirt Tetras. 

However, we recommend opting for a 15-gallon tank as it gives more swimming space to your Tetras. It will also reduce the chances of fin-nipping.

Water Requirements 

White Skirt Tetras prefer warm and slightly-acidic water with moderate currents. 

  • Water Temperature – Around 70°F to 90°F (between 75°F and 80°F is ideal).
  • Water pH – Slightly acidic pH between 5.8 and 8.5.
  • Water Hardness – This fish species can handle water hardness up to 30 dGH.
  • Water Flow – White Skirt Tetras come from streams having slight currents. So, keep low to moderate water flow in your tank.

Decoration and Plants 

White Skirt Tetras belong to the leafy regions of Amazonian rivers, so they prefer an aquarium with high vegetation. So, try keeping large and leafy plants like Java fern and Anubias in the aquarium. 

It is also necessary to put some driftwood and rocks in the aquarium. These decorative items provide hiding spaces for your White Skirt Tetra whenever they need rest. 

For substrate, opt for either sand-based or gravel-based substrate. However, keeping a neutral-colored gravel substrate is preferable to mimic the fish’s natural surroundings.


White Skirt Tetras prefer subdued lighting. They don’t like bright lights and seek shelter in hiding spots and decorations.

Best Tank Mates

White Skirt Tetras are friendly and get along with most other social and community fish species. You should still try to keep them with fish species of similar size. The best options include:

As White Skirt Tetras are tiny, avoid housing them with large or hyperactive fish species as they may feel intimidated. They can also become fin-nipping targets due to their elongated anal fin. 

The surprising fact is that White Skirt Tetras might indulge in fin-nipping too! So, don’t house them with fish having long fins like Angelfish


    Jason Matthews

    My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

    Jason aquariume

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