Neon Tetra Care Guide & Breeding

Neon Tetra Care Guide & Requirements For Breeding:

Neon tetra with a scientific name of Paracheirodon innesi, is a freshwater fish of the characin family. Due to its vibrant colors and peaceful temperament, they are one of the most popular tropical fish among aquarium hobbyist. Neon tetra is native to blackwater and clearwater streams in the Amazon basin of South America and were first discovered in 1934 and first imported in 1936. Neon tetra requires easy care and are highly peaceful fish. With vibrant colors (blue-red) and a size of 1 and half inch, they are widely kept in aquariums across the globe. Neon tetra are omnivorous and has a life span of 8 years, however 5 years if kept in aquarium. Neon are schooling fish and must be kept in at least 20 gallon tank. An amazing fact is that neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) is named after William T. Innes. He was a famous aquarium writer who worked hard in promoting neon to establish the hobby in the United States. 

Neon Tetra Care Guide & Breeding


Neon Tetra Tank Setup & Care Guide:

Neon Tetra needs a large aquarium having a minimum length of about 40 cm in length & a heater is also required in the tank.

Neon Tetra Tank Setup & Care Guide

In the wild, neon tetra lives in areas of dark water with heavy plantation and hiding spots. It is hard to replicate the same habitat if kept in captivity but aquarium hobbyist could provide neon tetra a safe and comfortable place by ensuring that there are lot and lot of aquatic plants. When setting up a tank for neon tetra, use a dark substrate and always place some driftwood, hollow logs and rocks. Driftwood will slowly leach tannins and it will darken the water and maintain an acidic pH. A mix of submersible and floating plants will ensure that overhead light is not too strong for the fish. Affixing a dark background or on three sides of the tank will help achieving low light habitat by blocking most of the natural or room light. Neon tetra can not tolerate changes in the water chemistry so it is highly recommended to cycle the tank before adding them to the aquarium as ammonia spikes and pH crash is quite common in newly setup aquarium.


Neon Tetra Tank Condition:

  • Temperature: should be between 20 to 26°C
  • pH: anywhere between 6.0 to 7.0
  • General hardness: between 50 to 150 ppm
  • Lighting: subdued lighting; a low watt fluorescent light


How To Breed Neon Tetra:



How To Breed Neon Tetra

Breeding neon tetras in home aquarium is considered extremely difficult. However, fish farms are getting more experienced in breeding these amazing fish in captivity. According to reports 1.5 million specimens sold in the market are bred in fish farms and only 5% of imported tetra are caught in the wild. Adults can spawn every 14 days and fry usually achieve adult coloration with in 4 weeks. Before breeding neon tetra, it is important to distinguish male from female. To identify male, look for a slender body with straighter blue line. Female has a rounder body with a bent blue line. To breed neon tetra, place a pair in a breeding tank without light and gradually increase the lighting till reproduction occurs. It is important to stimulate the environment in their natural habitat, this is achieved by letting the nitrates level rise and then doing a 50% water change to stimulate the rain. Remove the eggs as the parents will more likely eat them. Move the eggs to a separate tank without any light and eggs hatch within 24 hours. Feed fry infusoria or egg yolk or fry food till they can eat other food. After 4 weeks the fry will achieve beautiful coloration same as their parents.


Neon Tetra Diet & Care:


Neon Tetra Diet & Care

Neon tetra are omnivorous and are not fussy eaters at all. They will take flake food and pellet but i often give them some frozen food. Live food would be definitely a healthy feed for these beautiful fish. Blood worm, daphnia, tubiflex and brine shrimps are easily available in most of the pet store in frozen form. I only feed them once a day and stop once they don't seem interested in anymore. 


Neon Tetra Tank Mates:

Neon tetra are very peaceful fish and can be kept with other peaceful community fish. It is best to keep them in a school of at least 6 or more as they are more comfortable and happy in the presence of other neon tetras. A general rule of thumb if a fish mouth is big enough to swallow neon tetra then don't keep them together. Some of the companions for neon tetras are as below;

Neon Tetra Tank Mates

  • Other tetras
  • Dwarf neon rainbowfish
  • Harlequin rasboras
  • Bristlenose
  • Kuhli loach
  • Corydoras etc.,


Difference Between Neon and Cardinal Tetra:



Neon Tetra vs Cardinal Tetra

Its not hard to differentiate between Neon and Cardinal tetra, lets start with some similarity first. Neon tetras (Paracheirodon innesi) and cardinal tetras (Paracheirodon axelrodi) are both small, streamlined fish displaying electric blue and blood red longitudinal bands. However, red band on neon tetra only runs half the length of the body. In case of Cardinal tetra, the red band runs from head to the tail. Comparing the size, cardinals grows bigger than the neon and have a strong immune system too.


Neon Tetra Disease Symptoms:

Neon tetra are more prone to disease compare to Cardinal tetra and with proper care they can be kept healthy in an aquarium. Below are some of the diseases neon tetra can get;


Neon Tetra Disease

  • Difficulty swimming
  • A lumpy exterior
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of color
  • A curvature of the spine

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