Neon Tetra Care Guide: Everything A Beginner Should Know

Neon Tetra fish are eye-catching additions to any aquarium. The fish has a silver and white belly that blends into a light blue hue on the back. Near the tail end is a bright orange color that completes the perfect blend of colors against the green of any aquarium.

This article teaches you everything about caring for neon tetra, an easy-to-care-for freshwater fish popular among beginner aquarists.

How To Care For Neon Tetra Fish

Neon Tetra Care Basic Overview - Temperature, Habitat, Diet, Lifespan

Wild neon tetra fish live in waters that lean toward the acidic side and have a temperature of around 75-80 ℉. Wild neon tetra can live for up to ten years. However, the average lifespan of neon tetra kept in an aquarium is five years. These are the basics of neon tetra care:

Neon Tetra Temperature: 75-80 ℉

Wild neon tetra fish live in waters that lean toward the acidic side and have a temperature of around 75-80 ℉. So, 75-80 ℉ is the optimal temperature for neon tetra kept as pets.

Neon Tetra Lifespan: 5 -10 Years

Wild neon tetra can live for up to ten years. However, the average lifespan of neon tetra kept in an aquarium is five years. How long your neon tetra lives depends on the care it receives.

Neon Tetra Water pH: 5.5-7.8

Neon Tetras do well in water pH anywhere between 5.5 and 6.8. It would be best if there were no abrupt changes in the water condition. This may lead to disease, shock, and even death. These fish also prefer a planted aquarium with lots of plants.

Neon Tetra Diet – What Do Neon Tetras Eat?

Neon Tetra Diet Guidelines

Neon Tetra fish are omnivores and can eat tiny bits of flake food and brine shrimp and bloodworms. Daphnia and tubifex are also good additions to your Neon Tetra’s diet. Remember that these are small fish, and anything you feed them should be small enough to fit into their tiny mouths. Many aquarists prefer to and have had great success using this brand of tetra food.

How Often To Feed Neon Tetra?

Once per day is enough to keep your neon tetra happy. Try to feed your fish at the same time every day. Be careful not to overfeed the fish, as any leftover food can cause an ammonia spike and make your fish sick. It would be best to remove any uneaten food a few minutes after you notice that your fish have finished eating.

Neon Tetra Tank Size: 10-gallon And Up

Neon Tetra Tank Size

The smallest recommended size is a 10-gallon tank. Of course, as with all fish, the bigger the tank, the better. Larger tanks make water changes more suitable for these fish. These are also shoaling fish so keep them in groups of six or more for best results. Of course, larger tanks make this easier than smaller ones.

A sponge filter or hang-on-back filter is also recommended to help keep the water clean. If you’re only keeping tetras, these filters are fine as they have a small bio-load. Before you add your neon tetra to a new tank, be sure that the tank has gone through a proper nitrogen cycle.

Neon Tetra Plant Guidelines

Neon Tetras love lots of plants. A spacious tank with many plants is the perfect habitat for these busy fish. Any freshwater plant can do. A few of the recommended plants for neon tetra are:

Common Neon Tetra Disease

According to The Spruce Pets,

Neon tetra disease refers to a condition caused by a Microsporidian parasite that’s more common than many aquarium enthusiasts realize, and affects species beyond neon tetras. The disease is degenerative, meaning it starts mild but then progresses quickly to become very severe.

The disease is incurable, spreadable, and leads to death. False Neon Tetra disease refers to the fact that some aquarists mistake the symptoms of a treatable condition for that of Neon Tetra Disease.

Other common diseases and problems that affect neon tetras are fin rot, dropsy, and ich. These can also be a result of the tetra disease but not always. A neon tetra can have fin rot but not be inflected by the parasite that causes neon tetra disease.

Neon Tetra Disease Symptoms

  • Trouble Swimming
  • Cysts
  • Hyperactitivity
  • Discoloration
  • Curved Spine

Neon Tetra Disease Causes

The Microsporidian parasite usually causes the disease. The parasite can get into your tank by developing on the rotting corpse of other dead fish and through live foods.

How To Sex Neon Tetra Fish

How to sex neon tetra fish

Look at the stomach area to tell the difference between a male and female neon tetra. Male neon tetras are a bit more slender than females. The blue line on males is also usually straight. Female neon tetras have a blue line that may appear curvy. Females are also more rounded.

How To Breed Neon Tetras

Breeding is as easy as placing a male and female neon tetra in a breeding tank. For best results, keep the breeding tank in the dark. Then, increase the lighting in small increments daily to encourage reproduction.

If you’re having trouble, try shorter light cycles followed by slow increases to prompt them to start reproducing. Do you still need help breeding neon tetra fish? Here’s an excellent video to help you get started.

For the breeding tank, make sure to sterilize everything before use. Once the female lays her eggs, remove the adults from the tank, or they will eat the eggs.

How Often Do Neon Tetras Breed?

Neon Tetras breed twice per month. Eggs usually hatch 24 hours after they are laid. The newly hatched tetras are too small to eat regular food, so you might want to try Infusoria at first. As they mature, try to add brine shrimp and tiny bits of diced bloodworms.

The Bottom Line

Neon Tetra care is easy once you get a proper tank, stable water temperature and pH, a few plants, and food. Like most fish, neon tetras are susceptible to diseases, so ensure that your tank water is in good condition. Breeding can be a bit challenging but not impossible.