Neon Tetra Care Guide: Appearance, Breeding & All | 2022

By: Martin McAdam
Updated: May 30, 2022

Neon Tetras are a popular fish for beginners and experienced fishkeepers alike. They are small, brightly colored fish that is easy to care for and hardy. They are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of six or more.

This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about caring for Neon Tetras.

So, let’s get started!

Species Summary

Scientific name:Paracheirodon Innesi
Other names:Neon Tetra, Blue Neon Tetra
Family:Characidae
Size:2.5-3.5 cm long
Life span:5-10 years.
Habitat:Orinoco and Negro Rivers in South America
Behavior:They are very active and playful fish and can be entertaining to watch
Tank size:Minimum of 10 gallons
Temperature:75°-84°F
pH:pH level between 6.0 and 7.0
Water type:Neon Tetras do best in soft water with a low to moderate level of hardness
Water Hardness:Less than 10 dGH
Activity level:Neon Tetras are very active fish
Compatibility:Neon Tetra do well with other peaceful fish
Tankmates:Many, but avoid fish that are larger or nippy
Care level:They are easy to care for and hardy
Diet:Omnivorous
Neon Tetra Species Summary

While most of the fish sold are wild-caught, a few are bred in captivity. Neon Tetra fish are susceptible to water quality and temperature changes, so it is essential to acclimate them slowly to their new home.

Neon Tetra Size & Growth Rate

When it comes to size, Neon Tetras are small fish. They typically grow to be 2.5-3.5 cm long. As for the growth rate, Neon Tetras grow relatively slowly.

However, bred in captivity, Neon Tetras have a faster growth rate. It’s essential to have a tank that can accommodate their full size, as they will not do well in a cramped environment.

Neon Tetra Lifespan

You can expect a Neon Tetra to have 5-10 years. This is on average, and there are cases where they have lived up to 12 years.

You should always aim to provide the best possible care for your fish to ensure they live a long and healthy life. It’s important to keep in mind that some things, like tank size and water quality, are beyond your control.

Neon Tetra Appearance

As for their appearance, Neon Tetras are beautiful fish. They have a blue body with red stripes. They also have a black spot on their dorsal fin. However, the most distinct aspect of their appearance is their iridescent blue scales. This gives them their name, as neon is another word for iridescent.

Neon Tetra Appearance

A shiny blue stripe extends from the gills to the start of their tail fin. This stripe has a somewhat purple hue. Their belly is typically white or silver. It’s believed that the colors of a Neon Tetra serve as a warning to predators that they are poisonous.

Below the blue stripe, a black line extends to the end of their tail. Because of this, they are sometimes called “Blue Neon Tetras.”

Their bodies are thin and streamlined, making them fast swimmers. Most of their head is taken up by their large eyes.

For Cardinal Tetras, it is the same thing but with an orange hue instead of blue. Lastly, they have a long dorsal fin and a small anal fin. All in all, they are very colorful fish.

While they look similar, males and females can be distinguished by their size and coloration. Males are typically smaller than females and have a brighter blue coloration. Females are typically larger with a duller blue coloration. Females also have a rounder belly when they are full of eggs.

Neon Tetras have a translucent body, which allows you to see their internal organs. This is why it’s important to provide them with a clean and stress-free environment, as any internal issues will be visible.

Neon Tetra Breeding

If you’re looking to breed Neon Tetras, it’s important to keep in mind that they require a lot of space. For this reason, it’s best to keep them in a large tank with plenty of open space.

Neon Tetra Breeding

To breed Neon Tetras, you will need to provide them with many hiding places. This can be done by adding artificial plants or creating caves out of rocks.

Neon Tetras are known for their prolific breeding habits and can often be bred in the home aquarium. If you want to increase your chances of success, it’s important to keep the tank water clean and well-oxygenated.

To trigger spawning, you will need to lower the water temperature by about 5 degrees Fahrenheit. You can do this by using an ice pack or placing the tank in a more relaxed house area.

Once the fish have spawned, you will need to remove the eggs and place them in a separate container filled with clean water. The eggs will hatch in about 2-3 days, and the fry will be ready to eat once they’ve reached 1/2 inch in size.

When breeding Neon Tetras, it’s important to remember that they are schooling fish. This means that you will need to provide them with plenty of space and keep at least 6 fish in the tank.

If you’re looking to raise some of your own Neon Tetras, breeding them is a great way. Just be sure to provide them with plenty of space and keep the water clean.

Neon Tetra Behavior & Temperament

Neon Tetras are a great choice if you’re looking for a lively and active fish. These fish are constantly swimming around and exploring their surroundings. They are also known for being very friendly and social fish and will often swim up to the front of the tank to say hello.

They are schooling fish, which means they like to live in groups. They can often be found in groups of up to 100 fish in the wild. They should be kept in groups of at least 6 fish in captivity.

When it comes to temperament, Neon Tetras are typically peaceful fish. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you have a male and a female Neon Tetra in the same tank, they may start to quarrel with each other.

It’s also important to note that Neon Tetras are very sensitive to changes in their environment. This means that they can be easily stressed by sudden changes in temperature or water quality.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure that their tank is set up correctly and that they are not being bothered by other fish in the tank.

If you’re looking for a calm and mellow fish, you may want to consider a different type of fish. Neon Tetras are known for being active and playful fish and may not be the best choice for those who are looking for a calm and relaxing tank.

Neon Tetra Care Guide

Keeping a Neon Tetra healthy is not difficult, but there are a few things you need to be aware of. First and foremost, they are susceptible to water quality and temperature changes. It’s important to acclimate them slowly to their new home.

Secondly, Neon Tetras are susceptible to a disease called Neon Tetra Disease (NTD). This disease is caused by a parasite and can be fatal if left untreated.

Symptoms of NTD include:

  • Loss of color
  • Loss of appetite
  • Flashing (moving rapidly back and forth)
  • Lesions or bumps on the body

If you notice any of these symptoms in your Neon Tetras, it’s important to take them to a qualified fish veterinarian as soon as possible.

It’s important to provide them with a clean and stress-free environment. A good way is to keep their tank well-maintained and free of debris. It’s also important to give them plenty of hiding places, as they are shy fish.

Your aquarium should also have a filter and heater. As for their diet, Neon Tetras are not fussy eaters. They will accept most commercial fish foods. However, it’s important to provide them with a varied diet. This will ensure that they get all the necessary nutrients to stay healthy.

Below, we have outlined the basic needs of a Neon Tetra tank.

Neon Tetra Food & Diet

Like any other fish, Neon Tetras need a healthy diet to thrive. A good diet for Neon Tetras includes a variety of different foods, including:

Live food - Live food such as:

  • Brine shrimp
  • Daphnia

Frozen food - Frozen food such as:

  • Bloodworms
  • Mysis shrimp
  • Pellets
  • Flakes

They spend most of their time eating small insects and other invertebrates in the wild. This includes:

  • Mosquito larvae
  • Tubifex Worms
  • Tiny little crustaceans

Some vegetables can also be included in their diet, such as:

  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

When choosing a food for your Neon Tetras, be sure to select one that is high in protein and low in fat. A good diet will help to keep your Neon Tetras healthy and ensure that they live a long and happy life.

Neon Tetra Diet Foods To Avoid

There are also some foods that you should avoid feeding your Neon Tetras.

Some of these foods include:

  • Table food: Table food is not suitable for fish and can make them sick.
  • Fruit: Fruit is high in sugar and can be harmful to fish.
  • Eggs: Eggs are high in protein and can be detrimental to fish.
  • Coated foods: Coated foods are high in fat and can be detrimental to fish.

When feeding your Neon Tetras, avoid these foods and stick to a healthy diet of live food and frozen food.

Neon Tetra Feeding Schedule

There are a few different things to keep in mind when it comes to feeding your Neon Tetras. One of the most important things is to establish a regular feeding schedule. This will help ensure that your fish are always getting the food they need.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should not overfeed your fish. This can be harmful to their health and lead to water pollution.

A good feeding schedule for Neon Tetras is to feed them once a day. You can either provide them with a large amount of food at once or break the food up into smaller portions and feed them multiple times throughout the day.

Be sure to watch your fish and see how they react to the food. If they are not eating the food, you may need to try a different type of food.

Neon Tetra Tank Mates

When choosing tank mates for Neon Tetras, it’s essential to consider their temperament. As we mentioned before, Neon Tetras are very active fish and can be easily stressed by other fish in the tank.

Neon Tetra Tank Mates

For this reason, it’s essential to choose tank mates that are peaceful and won’t bother your Neon Tetras.

Some good choices include:

  • Guppies: Guppies are an excellent choice for tank mates because they are peaceful and easy to care for.
  • Platies: Platies are also suitable for tank mates because they are peaceful and can handle various water conditions.
  • Mollies: Mollies are good for tank mates because they are peaceful and easy to care for.
  • Swordtails: Swordtails are a good choice for tank mates because they are peaceful and can handle a wide range of water conditions.
  • Corydoras Catfish: Corydoras Catfish are a good choice for tank mates because they are peaceful and help keep the tank clean.
  • Barbs: Barbs are a good choice for tank mates because they are peaceful and easy to care for.

If you’re looking for a school of fish, then you may want to consider adding some of the following fish to your tank:

If you have a large tank, then you may also want to consider adding some of the following fish:

  • Angelfish: Angelfish is a good choice for a large tank because it is peaceful and easy to care for.
  • Discus: Discus is a good choice for a large tank because they are peaceful and can handle a wide range of water conditions.
  • Cichlids: Cichlids are an excellent choice for a large tank because they are active and easy to care for.
  • Plecos: Plecos are an excellent choice for a large tank because they are peaceful and help to keep the tank clean.

When choosing tank mates for Neon Tetras, it’s important to remember that they are schooling fish. This means that they do best when kept in groups of at least 6 fish.

If you’re looking for a lively and active tank, Neon Tetras is a great choice. These friendly and social fish are always on the move and make great tank mates for other peaceful fish. Just keep them in groups and provide them with a well-rounded diet.

Neon Tetra Tank size

A Neon Tetra tank should be at least 10 gallons in size. However, to give your fish plenty of room to swim and explore, we recommend a tank size of 20-30 gallons.

While they’re considered a community fish, Neon Tetras should not be kept with larger fish. They are very timid and can easily be outcompeted for food. They should only be kept with other small fish that have peaceful temperaments.

When setting up your tank, include plenty of plants and decorations. This will help create a natural and relaxing environment for your fish.

Water Parameters

Finding the right water conditions and maintaining them is crucial for the health of your Neon Tetras. They are susceptible to changes in water quality and temperature.

The ideal water temperature for Neon Tetras is between 75°-84°Fahrenheit. The pH level of their water should be between 6.0-7.0. To maintain these levels, we recommend using a quality aquarium water conditioner.

The water hardness for Neon Tetras should be less than 10 dGH, and the water should be filtered regularly.

It’s also important to change the water in their tank regularly. We recommend a partial water change of 20-30% once a week. This will help keep the water quality high and reduce the risk of disease.

In addition to regular water changes, it’s important to regularly test the water parameters in your tank. This will help you identify and address any potential problems before they become too serious.

Filtration

As we mentioned earlier, Neon Tetras are very sensitive to changes in water quality. This is why it’s important to provide them with a good filter. A quality filter will help to remove toxins and debris from the water, keeping it clean and healthy.

When choosing a filter for your Neon Tetra tank, be sure to get one that’s the appropriate size for the aquarium. A good rule of thumb is to choose a filter that’s rated for at least twice the size of your tank.

Some recommended filters for Neon Tetra tanks include:

  • The Aqua Clear 50 Power Filter: This filter is great for small tanks and can be easily hidden behind plants or decorations.
  • The Fluval C2 Power Filter: This filter is good for larger Neon Tetra tanks. It’s also quiet and easy to use.
  • The Penn Plax Cascade 600 Submersible Filter: This filter is perfect for tanks with a large amount of debris. It’s also very easy to clean and maintain.

Heating

As we mentioned earlier, the ideal water temperature for Neon Tetras is between 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that you will need to provide them with a heater if your tank’s temperature falls below this range.

When choosing a heater for your Neon Tetra tank, be sure to get one that’s the appropriate size for the aquarium. A good rule of thumb is to choose a heater that’s rated for at least 10 gallons more than the size of your tank. This will ensure that your fish have plenty of room to swim and will help to keep the water temperature stable.

Some recommended heaters for Neon Tetra tanks include:

  • The Aqueon Pro Heater: This heater is reliable and easy to use. It’s also adjustable, so you can set it to the perfect temperature for your fish.
  • The Hydor Theo Heater: This is a very popular heater for fish tanks. It’s adjustable and comes with a built-in thermostat.
  • The Marineland Stealth Heater: This is a great choice for large tanks. It’s adjustable and can heat up to 250 gallons of water.

Lighting

Neon Tetras require a moderate level of lighting. Too much or too little light can be harmful to their health.

When choosing a light for your Neon Tetra tank, be sure to get one that’s the appropriate size for the aquarium. A good rule of thumb is to choose a light rated for at least 10 gallons more than the size of your tank. This will ensure that your fish have plenty of room to swim and will help to keep the water temperature stable.

Some recommended lights for Neon Tetra tanks include:

  • The Aqua Clear 50 Power Filter: This filter is great for small tanks and can be easily hidden behind plants or decorations.
  • The Fluval C2 Power Filter: This filter is good for larger Neon Tetra tanks. It’s also quiet and easy to use.
  • The Penn Plax Cascade 600 Submersible Filter: This filter is perfect for tanks with a large amount of debris. It’s also very easy to clean and maintain.

Co2 System

A CO2 system is not required for Neon Tetras, but it can be beneficial if you’re keeping them in a planted tank. The plants in your tank will use the CO2 to help them grow, and the extra oxygen will be good for your fish.

When choosing a CO2 system for your Neon Tetra tank, be sure to get one that’s the appropriate size for the aquarium. A good rule of thumb is to choose a system rated for at least 10 gallons more than the size of your tank. This will ensure that your fish have plenty of room to swim and will help to keep the water temperature stable.

Some recommended CO2 systems for Neon Tetra tanks include:

  • The Fluval CO2 System: This system is great for small tanks and can be easily hidden behind plants or decorations.
  • The AquaClear CO2 System: This system is good for larger Neon Tetra tanks. It’s also quiet and easy to use.
  • The Penn Plax Cascade 600 Submersible CO2 System: This system is perfect for tanks with a large amount of debris. It’s also very easy to clean and maintain.

Substrate

Neon Tetras do best in a tank with a sandy substrate. This will help to keep their fins and scales healthy.

Some recommended substrates for Neon Tetra tanks include:

  • The Fluval Aquarium Sand: This sand is great for small tanks.
  • The Caribsea Super Naturals Sunset Gold Sand: This sand is good for larger Neon Tetra tanks.
  • The Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate: This substrate is perfect for planted tanks. It’s also very easy to use.

Neon Tetra Aquascaping

When aqua scaping your Neon Tetra tank, include plenty of hiding places for your fish. Neon Tetras are shy fish, and they will appreciate having somewhere to hide.

Neon Tetra Aquascaping

Some recommended plants for Neon Tetra tanks include:

  • The Java Fern: This plant is great for small tanks.
  • The Anubias Nana: This plant is good for larger Neon Tetra tanks.
  • The Amazon Sword Plant: This plant is perfect for planted tanks.

Decorations

When choosing decorations for your Neon Tetra tank, include plenty of hiding places for your fish. Neon Tetras are shy fish, and they will appreciate having somewhere to hide.

Some recommended decorations for Neon Tetra tanks include:

  • The Anacharis: This plant is great for small tanks.
  • The Java Moss: This moss is good for larger Neon Tetra tanks.
  • The Hornwort: This plant is perfect for planted tanks.
  • The Driftwood: This decoration is an excellent choice for any tank.

Other Tank Accessories For Neon Tetra

In addition to the items listed above, there are a few other tank accessories that you may want to consider for your Neon Tetra tank.

These include:

  • Air Pump: An air pump is not required for Neon Tetras, but it can be beneficial if you live in an area with a low oxygen level.
  • Thermometers: Thermometers are an excellent way to keep track of the water temperature in your tank.
  • pH meters: pH meters can help keep track of the pH level in your tank.

Water Changes

Water changes are an important part of keeping your Neon Tetras healthy. Be sure to do a water change at least once a week and more often if necessary.

When changing the water in your tank, use a de-chlorinator to remove the chlorine and chloramine from the water. Chlorine and chloramine can be harmful to your fish.

Some recommended de-chlorinators for Neon Tetra tanks include:

  • The API Tap Water Conditioner”: This conditioner is a great choice for small tanks.
  • The Seachem Prime Water Conditioner: This conditioner is a good choice for larger Neon Tetra tanks.
  • The AquaSafe Water Conditioner: This conditioner is perfect for tanks with large debris. It’s also very easy to use.

Cleaning The Tank

It’s important to clean your tank regularly to keep it healthy. Be sure to clean the tank and all of its accessories at least once a month.

When cleaning your tank, use a mild detergent and warm water. Do not use any harsh chemicals or cleaners, as they can be harmful to your fish.

Some recommended cleaners for Neon Tetra tanks include:

  • The API Glass Cleaner: This cleaner is great for small tanks.
  • The Seachem Multi-Purpose Glass and Hard Surface Cleaner: This cleaner is good for larger Neon Tetra tanks.
  • The AquaSafe All-Purpose Aquarium Cleaner: This cleaner is perfect for tanks with a lot of debris. It’s also very easy to use.

Cleaning The Filter

It’s important to clean your filter regularly to keep it functioning properly. Be sure to clean the filter at least once a month.

When cleaning your filter, be sure to remove all of the debris from the filter media. You can do this by gently rinsing the media in warm water.

Some recommended filter media for Neon Tetra tanks include:

  • The API Bio-Filter Media: This media is great for small tanks.
  • The Seachem Matrix Media: This media is good for larger Neon Tetra tanks.
  • The Aqua Safe Filter Media: This media is perfect for tanks with a lot of debris. It’s also effortless to use.

Testing The Water

It’s important to test the water in your tank regularly to ensure that it is healthy for your fish. You can test the water using a pH meter, a thermometer, and a chlorine reader.

Some recommended pH meters for Neon Tetra tanks include:

  • The Hanna Instruments HI 98129: This meter is excellent for small tanks.
  • The API Freshwater Master Test Kit: This kit is good for larger Neon Tetra tanks.
  • The LaMotte ColorQ PRO 7 Digital Pool and Spa Water Photometer: This meter is perfect for tanks with a lot of debris. It’s also effortless to use.

With regular water testing, you can ensure that your Neon Tetras are always living in a healthy environment.

Common Possible Diseases In Neon Tetra

There are a few diseases that Neon Tetras are prone to.

These include:

  • Ich: Ich is a disease that is caused by a parasite. Symptoms include white spots on the body, flashing, and scratching.
  • Fish tuberculosis: Fish tuberculosis is a disease that is caused by bacteria. Symptoms include weight loss, lethargy, and bulging eyes.
  • Columnaris: Columnaris is a disease that is caused by bacteria. Symptoms include lesions on the body, fin rot, and cottony growths.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your fish, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Preventing Diseases

The best way to prevent diseases is to maintain a clean and healthy environment for your fish. Be sure to do a water change at least once a week and more often if necessary.

When changing the water in your tank, use a de-chlorinator to remove the chlorine and chloramine from the water. Chlorine and chloramine can be harmful to fish.

Some of the best ways to help keep your tank clean include:

  • Maintain a regular cleaning schedule
  • Use a filter
  • Use an aquarium vacuum
  • Keep your tank stocked with live plants

By following these tips, you can help to keep your Neon Tetras healthy and prevent the spread of diseases.

Treatment And Medications Of Diseases

If your Neon Tetras do become sick, there are a few treatments and medications that you can use to help them recover.

Some common treatments and medications for Neon Tetra diseases include:

  • Ich: The best way to treat Ich is to raise the temperature of the water. This will kill the parasites. You can also use a medication such as Ich-X.
  • Fish tuberculosis: The best way to treat fish tuberculosis is to use a medication such as Tetracycline.
  • Columnaris: The best way to treat Columnaris is to use a medication such as Kanamycin.

If you are unsure of what treatment or medication to use, contact a veterinarian.

With a little bit of care, you can help your Neon Tetras live a long and healthy life. By following the tips in this guide, you can keep your tank clean and healthy and ensure that your fish always live in a comfortable environment.

Advantages Of Having Neon Tetra In Your Tank

  • The first advantage of having Neon Tetras in your tank is that they are lively and active fish. These friendly and social fish are always on the move and make great tank mates for other peaceful fish.
  • The second advantage of having Neon Tetras in your tank is that they are prolific breeders. They will readily breed in the home aquarium if you provide them with the right conditions.
  • The third advantage of having Neon Tetras in your tanks is relatively inexpensive. You can usually find them for sale at your local pet store for a reasonable price.
  • The fourth advantage of having Neon Tetras in your tank is that they come in various colors. This makes them a popular choice for both beginner and experienced fish keepers.
  • The fifth advantage of having Neon Tetras in your tank is that they are small fish. This means that they will not take up a lot of space in your tank and can be easily kept with other small fish.
  • The sixth advantage of having Neon Tetras in your tank is that they are peaceful fish. They will not harass or bully other fish in the tank and can be safely housed with various species.

Disadvantages Of Having Neon Tetra In Your Tank

  • The first disadvantage of having Neon Tetras in your tank is that they are schooling fish. This means that they do best when they are kept in groups of at least 6 fish. If you only have a few Neon Tetras, they may become stressed and start to exhibit strange behaviors.
  • The second disadvantage of having Neon Tetras in your tank is that they are sensitive to changes in water conditions. This means that you will need to regularly test the water and ensure that the levels are stable.
  • The third disadvantage of having Neon Tetras in your tank is that they are not excellent jumpers. This means you will need to have a tight-fitting lid on your tank to prevent them from escaping.
  • The fourth disadvantage of having Neon Tetras in your tank is that they are not tolerant of other fish. This means that you will need to be careful when choosing tank mates for them.
  • The fifth disadvantage of having Neon Tetras in your tank is that they are not very durable fish. This means they can be easily injured or killed if not appropriately handled.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are both advantages and disadvantages to having Neon Tetras in your tank. Neon Tetras are a joy to watch and can add a splash of color to your tank. They are also sensitive to changes in water conditions and are not very tolerant of other fish. If you can provide them with the right environment, Neon Tetras can make a great addition to your tank.

If you decide to add them to your aquarium, do your research and provide them with the proper care. With a little bit of effort, you can create a beautiful and thriving community of Neon Tetras.

Thank you for reading! I hope this guide has been helpful.

Disclaimer

AquaMarinePower.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help users better understand their aquatic friends. However, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

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