Neon Tetras complete guide to foster

Neon Tetras

Credit by : Wikimedia Commons

Neon Tetras are found in tropical freshwater rivers and streams in South America and inhabits slightly acidic waters with the temperature below 25 degrees centigrade. They are small schooling fish and known for the crowning glory of the home aquariums. They have smaller lives in captivity while they may live for longer span in natural conditions. They are fragile as drastic changes in their surroundings may damage their health, often the harm is so much that it eventually results in their death. Neon Tetra is one of the most readily available and attractive fish for the aquarium located at the offices, homes and living places. The scientific name of Neon Tetra fish is Paracheirodon innesi. One of good thing about Tetras is that it is quite easy to breed Neon tetras in captivity because of which they have adapted to aquarium conditions much more than any other wild caught species. Neon Tetras are popular among fish keepers due to their vibrant colors and ease-of-care. They are tiny, brightly colored, non-aggressive and community loving fish.

How does Neon Tetras Look Like?

Neon tetras are beautiful, small and attractive Tropical fish which is the native of Tropical fresh water. They have iridescent blue horizontal stripes that runs along each side of the fish from their nose to the base of the tail fin. They also have the iridescent red stripe that begins at the middle of their body and move to the base of the tail fins. This color combination of Neon Tetras makes their recognition easy for the fish keepers and hobbyists. They are transparent else than red and blue coloring which help them in hiding from the predators in wild. The interesting fact about Neon tetras is that when they feel themselves threaten or in danger they can even turn off their red and blue iridescent hue in order to stay secured. Their color also fades when they are sleeping or sick. They have a spindle-like body, round nose and big eyes make up the majority of their head. Neon tetras are often confused with the Cardinal Tetras because of their great resemblance with each other.

How to Differentiate Neon Tetras from Cardinal Tetras?

Although Neon Tetras and Cardinal Tetras resemble a lot with each other but still we can differentiate them as there is one identifiable difference. The difference among the two is that, in Neon Tetras the red stripes on the body starts at the mid-body, which moves very roughly below the dorsal fins and extends to the tail. In the Cardinal Tetras the red stripes on the lower half of the body extends the full length of the fish i.e. they move from the eye area to the tail of the fish.

Why to Keep Neon Tetra as a Pet?

Neon Tetra is one of the most popular fish kept as a pet by people all around the world. They have been kept in aquarium over many years because of which they are well adapted to the aquarium conditions and thrive well under the right conditions provided in the aquarium. The reason of Neon tetra’s popularity among hobbyist is that they are beautiful, have vibrant colors, and their peaceful temperament make them a perfect addition to any non-aggressive community tank. They are very hardy in general and durable fish that are good choice for the beginners. They are cheap, inexpensive and can be found easily at the pet store. It is not difficult to take care of Neon Tetras in captivity and require less effort in maintaining their aquarium. Thus Neon Tetra can be a best addition to your community fish tank especially for the beginning fish keepers.

What are the size and life span of Neon Tetras?

Neon Tetras are relatively small fish and tiny in size. They are so small that often they become the food of other larger fishes. They can grow up to 3 cm or the size of an adult fish may be 1.57 inches long. Neon Tetras have extensive life span as they may live for as long as 8 years under right and favorable conditions in the aquarium. In the natural conditions they my live up to 10 years. They have shorter lives in captivity.

What is the Habitat of Neon Tetras?

Neon Tetras are the native of Amazon Basin and lives in the fresh water. They are used to live in the atmosphere with low pH level of water, low temperature and moderate exposure of sunlight. It is not possible to provide exactly same or 100% similar environment but try to provide at least the habitat closer to their natural environment in captivity.

What are the Different Types of Neon Tetras?

Neon Tetras are famous for keeping in the fish tank or aquarium at your homes. Their vibrant colors range all over the spectrum and suppose to have around 150 species. They have a lot of variation which includes their variation from bodies spotted to striped, chubby to slim and multi-colored to neon. Neon Tetras like to swim in the middle of the aquarium and add beauty to the middle water layer of the aquarium. There is a list of different types of tetras that are helpful to draw people’s eye to your aquarium.

  • Neon Tetra

Scientific Name: Paracheirodon innesi

  • Lemon Tetra

Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis

  • Buenos Aires Tetra

Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon anisitsi

  • Congo Tetra

Scientific Name:Phenacogrammus interruptus

  • Glow light Tetra

Scientific Name:Hemigrammus erythrozonus

  • Blood fin Tetra

Scientific Name: Aphyocharax anisitsi

  • Ember Tetra

Scientific Name:Hyphessobryco amandae

  • Bleeding Heart Tetra

Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma

  • Emperor Tetra

Scientific Name:Nematobrycon palmeri

  • Black skirt Tetra

Scientific Name:Gymnocorymbus ternetzi

  • False penguin Tetra

Scientific Name:Thayeria boehlkei

  • Serpae Tetra

Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon eques

  • Diamond Tetra

Scientific Name: Moemkhausia pitteri

  • Cardinal Tetra

Scientific Name: Paracheirodon axelrodi

How to Differentiate Male Neon Tetra from Female Neon Tetra?

The Neon Tetra is fresh water aquarium fish which likes to live in a school. They are hardy and easily available at the pet stores and along with this they are inexpensive fish. They are small and peaceful so they are best addition to the community aquariums. It is not easy to differentiate male Neon Tetra fish from female fish because of their small size. With the careful observation one can tell the gender of the Neon Tetra. Few distinguishing features of Neon Tetra which helps in knowing the gender of the fish includes that:

  • The male Neon Tetra is slender than female.
  • Female Neon Tetras have rounder bodies.
  • The blue lines are straighter in male Neon Tetra fish while female has bent blue lines.
  • Mostly male Neon Tetra fish are bigger in size than female fish.
  • Fish with larger bellies are mostly female as eggs in their belly make it look fat.
  • Usually male Neon Tetras are more active than female.

Aquarium for Neon Tetras:

Owing a pet definitely requires an effort as you are responsible for your pet’s life, health and happiness. When it comes to having fish as a pet you have to set a beautiful and healthy aquarium for your pet fish. Neon Tetras are most popular fish among the aquarist as they are small, cute and come in a variety of beautiful colors which adds beauty to the aquarium. Before bringing your pet home, it is a wise decision to get a beautiful aquarium fully prepared for your pet so that they may feel comfortable at the new place. For Neon Tetras you must buy a tank with a capacity of at least 10 gallons of water so that they may thrive well in the aquarium. One more reason for having a larger tank for these tiny fish is that as they are community fish so they live in a form of school which requires more space. According to a study Neon Tetras should be kept in a group of at least six which is an absolute minimum for them. As in other case they may get nervous and aggressive with each other, they rely on number of group members for safety.

Ideal Aquarium for Neon Tetras:

In order to have an ideal aquarium for Neon Tetras one must consider the following aspects:

  • Size of the Tank:

Tetras are tiny fish and don’t need huge amount of space. A single fish may grow up to 2 cm in size but the fact is that they are community fish and lives in a group for that reason one must have to buy at least six fishes at once to keep in their tank. According to an estimate one should get at least a tank of 10 gallons for a group of six Tetras. Tetras look best in a bigger tank. They thrive best in a larger tank as they feel comfortable and move around happily.

  • Cycling the tank:

To give your pet a healthy home it is important to cycle your tank properly few weeks earlier, before getting your fish home. Cycling your tank will remove any harmful bacteria that could harm your pet and clean the tank. For this purpose you must get a water testing kit from the pet store. The water in the tank must have 0 parts per million (ppm) of ammonia (NH3), nitrite (NO2-) and nitrate (NO3-) before adding fish in the tank. The 0ppm of water indicates it is lacking all the harmful bacteria that may affect the health of your fish.

  • Filters in the Tank:

Fish present in the form of large group in an aquarium produces more waste, urine and feces. It is essential to remove this waste timely before its breakdown and decomposition starts which become the source of toxic in the tank. If this left unchecked in the tank it will kill almost everything in the tank. For this purpose filters must be installed in the tank to ensure the cleanliness of the tank. It is also important to cover the intake of the filters installed in the tank as fish may get sucked in to the filter. It is recommended to cover filter intake with the mesh or foam. In this way your fish will stay protected while the filter regulates the bacteria in the water.

  • pH Level in the Tank:

It is one of the most important components of tank maintenance for the fish. In order to provide the suitable habitat to the fish, it is required to maintain the right pH level of the water. Neon Tetras are the fresh water fish and thrive best in mildly acidic water which has pH level ranges from 5.5 to 6.8. pH Testing Kit is required to keep the check of correct level of the pH in the tank. The breeding Tetras prefer the pH ranging from 5.0 to 6.0.

  • Heater in the Tank:

The optimum temperature range for Tetras is 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 to 27 degrees Centigrade. The tank for breeding the Tetras must have a temperature at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 degrees centigrade. Aquarist must purchase an adjustable aquarium heater and a thermometer along so that temperature can be adjusted accordingly.

  • Addition of Organic Matter in the Tank:

Neon Tetras belong to the Amazon Basin which is rich in plants. In order to give them natural habitat one must add aquatic or semi-aquatic plants. Driftwood and leaf litter will also be a useful addition to the tank. It also provides them the places to hide and secure themselves.

  • Substrate for the Tank:

Unlike other fishes Neon Tetra doesn’t need substrate at the bottom such as they are mid-water swimmers and don’t hang out at the bottom of the tank. If someone wants to add it for the beauty purpose then it is recommended to avoid using aragonite sand as a substrate in Neon Tetras fish tank.

  • Light for the Tank:

Neon Tetras live in the black water environment and are not fond of bright light. They like to live in the place with dim lights so, no light is needed in the aquarium. Make the selection of the plants for the aquarium accordingly as select the plants that can grow in the low or medium light.

  • Plants and Decor for Neon Tetra Fish Tank:

Neon Tetra fish likes the addition of plants and decorative in the tank as they are the native of Amazon Basin they like the mixed environment with some open swimming space and lots of plants around. They hide themselves in the plants when they feel threatened. They like tall plants like Ludwigia repens, Brazilian pennywort, Vallisneria, Cabomba or Cryptocoryne wendtii. The floating plants include frogbit, red river floater, dwarf water lettuce etc. It is better option to add live plants as they also help in removing nitrates from the water. If the live plants are not available then select tall artificial plants with soft edges. Neon Tetras don’t like hidey caves or bubbles.

So if we summarize the characteristics of an ideal tank then an ideal tank must have the following features:

  • An ideal tank for Tetras is large enough to give them space to thrive well, i.e. 10 Gallons capacity for group of six Tetras.
  • The suitable temperature lies between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 and 27 degrees centigrade.
  • The pH range for Tetras lies between 5.5 and 6.8.
  • Organic matters like aquatic or semi-aquatic plants are useful addition in the tank.
  • Ideal tank must have dim lights rather than bright lights.
  • Filters should be installed in the tank.
  • Filters should be covered with mess or foam, in an ideal Neon Tetra fish tank.
  • Ideal tank water must show 0 ppm, for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates.

What are the Suitable Tank Mates of the Neon Tetra Fish?

Neon Tetras are tiny fish. They are peaceful and stay happy with other fish in the tank. It is suggested to keep them with other friendly, non-aggressive fish. They are considered as the modest fish. Good tank mates of Neon Tetras are other species of Tetras like black neon or cardinal Tetras, livebearers like endlers or guppies, platies, otoclinus cat fish, corydoras cat fish, clown or bristlenose plecos, Fresh water shrimps like red/black crystal snails and red cherry snail.

Aggressive or semi-aggressive fishes should not be placed with the Neon Tetras.

What does Neon Tetra Eat?

Neon Tetras are omnivore in nature which means that they eat both plants and animals for their survival. They should be fed on insects, wingless fruit flies, live or freeze-dried bloodworms, algae, freeze-dried or live brine shrimp, fish pellets and frozen peas etc. Frozen peas help in digestion. It is best to mimic balanced, high quality flake food or sinking micro-pellets in the tank.

What are the Time Duration and Time Interval for Feeding Neon Tetra fish?

It is recommended to feed Neon Tetras twice or thrice a day for a shorter duration in small amount as they are active fish and requires more energy to live. Neon Tetras should be feed varied food in short intervals 2-3 times a day, in a small quantity.

It is recommended to use dropper in order to feed Tetras as they may be scared to come up and eat. It is also possible that they may not notice their food. If you observe that the Tetras are not eating, you must use dropper to put the food near them.

What are the Common Diseases of Neon Tetras?

There are few diseases which may affect your pet fish Neon Tetra. It is highly suggested to control the diseases instead of looking for curing them later which is not good for your fish in any way.

  • Neon Tetra Disease:

This disease is named after the fish Neon Tetra as it is firstly observed in the Neon Tetra fish.

Cause of Neon Tetra Disease:

It is caused by a parasitic organism named as Pleistophora Hyphessobryconis. This parasite feeds on the host fish until the fish is dead. This disease is communicable as it is caused when fish eat other dead fish; eating live food having the parasite can act as a carrier of the disease and harm their lives. The parasitic organism targets the stomach and the digestive track and consumes the fish from inside out.

Symptoms of Neon Tetra Disease:

  • The major symptom of the disease is that the body of the fish is covered with white cysts or bumps.
  • Fish stop schooling and start moving away from the tank mates.
  • Lumps start originating under the skin of the fish.
  • Fish start losing their bright colors and eventually result in the pale white colored fish.
  • Difficulty or even an inability to swim properly.
  • Fish’s spine become wrapped and curved which limits the ability of the fish to swim in the tank

Treatment for the Disease:

It is sad news for the fish aquarist who loves Tetras that there is no known treatment for the fish suffering from the Neon Tetra Disease. There is nothing that can be used to cure the disease. What you can do is to remove the infected fish from the tank and place it in a separate tank so that it may not affect the other fish in the tank.

It is suggested to use anti-bacterial fish remedy in order to remove any bacterial containment from the water that may be the cause of your fish illness. This is to be done in the situation when you actually don’t know the cause of the disease or you just failed in detecting the disease of the fish. The API anti-bacterial remedy is a well-known treatment for fish that are suffering from bacterial infections. It is an effective remedy at treating germ infections in fish and it is affordable too, which is making it famous for treating bacterial infections in fish.

  • Fin Rot Disease:

This is the disease which may affect your aquarium fish. This is usually considered as secondary disease which means that it is not the actual disease but is caused by some other major disease. Fin Rot is also deadly disease that will rapidly cause your fish health to deteriorate and may be fatal if no care is given to the fish. It mostly affects the fish living in the unhealthy or unclean tank.

Symptoms of Fin Rot Disease:

Symptoms of fin rot disease include:

  • Milky whites patches developing around the edges of fish’s fins and tail.
  • Ragged or tattered look on the fins and tail of the fish as the disease progress.
  • Rotted away membrane of the fins and tail and eventually it starts affecting the body which is known as body rot.

Treatment of Fin Rot Disease:

  • API Melafix Antibacterial Fish Remedy
  • API Fungus Cute Powder
  • Kanaplex