The Bright & Amazing Neon Tetras

The Neon Tetra is an extremely popular freshwater aquarium fish. It is beautiful, lively and easy to care for. The Bright & Amazing Neon Tetras. Knowing what this species needs will make all the difference when putting together your carefully planned aquarium setup with its bright colors.

The Bright & Amazing Neon TetrasReady Reckoner

The Bright & Amazing Neon Tetras

Basic Facts

The Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) is a freshwater fish belonging to the Characidae family. It is native to the Amazon Basin of South America and was first discovered in 1936 by George Sprague Myers.

It originates from Columbia and Peru. The Neon Tetra is one of the most popular aquarium fish in the world due to its bright color and ease of care.

The Neon Tetra is a beautiful, long and slender fish that is known for its vibrant coloration. The Neon Tetra supposedly got its name from its neon-like iridescence under certain types of light.

Some people say it is named after the way it looks when it swims, darting quickly back and forth like a neon sign being turned off and on. gif maker 2022 10 17T234000.162


The Neon Tetra is one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish. With their bright blue and red coloring, these fish make an excellent choice for a ‘small’ tropical community tank.

The Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) is a popular aquarium fish. It has a bright coloring of blue and red, with silver-white abdomen, partially transparent except for the lines that run horizontally.

The blue striping on the body runs from its nose to adipose fin while the iridescent red striping runs from middle of body to caudal fin. The blue line is bright neon in color and the red is blood red.

The neon tetras can grow up to 4 cms or 1.5 inches. Although they are small, their bright colors have made them popular. Their school behavior makes it a beautiful sight. gif maker 2022 10 17T234000.162


Neon Tetra are not just beautiful, but also very peaceful. At night, they hide and dim their bright coloration.

However, in the morning, these fish reactivate their bright colors and become very active. Neon Tetras prefer to be in schools and should be kept in groups of at least six to 8.

They do best if kept with other non-aggressive fish of similar size.

Gender Differences

Neon Tetra is a small, schooling fish. It has a red body and blue stripes that run vertically along the sides of its body.

A female will have a little bigger belly than a male. The males have smaller eyes.

They also have straight stripes compared to the females who have slightly curved stripes which looks so because of the rounder belly in females.

The females are larger than the males in size as well. gif maker 2022 10 17T234000.162

Water & Tank Requirements

Neon tetras can thrive in a tank with a temperature between 68–79 °F (20–26 °C). They prefer a pH from 6.0 to 7.0, which makes them very easy to maintain.

Their ideal water GH range is below 10 dGH, KH in 1-2 dKH and nitrate below 20 ppm (which can be accomplished by keeping the fish put).

In terms of lighting, bright light and strong currents are not ideal as they will stress these fish out and make it harder for them to thrive.

The Neon Tetra will benefit from driftwood giving them cover from larger fish that might otherwise eat them.

Neon Tetras do best in a densely planted tank with few open spaces, and plenty of hiding places provided by the driftwood. gif maker 2022 10 17T234000.162

They need to be kept in tanks of at least 10 US gallons, if not larger. The less hard the water, the easier it will be to maintain their optimum conditions.

Neon Tetras are one of the most popular fish in any aquarium, and for good reason.

Even better, this is a fish that is easy to keep, giving you plenty of time to enjoy watching its antics without worrying too much about water parameters.

Plant your aquarium with brightly colored, hardy plants to create a vibrant habitat for your fish.

Neon Tetras are hardy and prefer warmer temperatures, making them a great addition to your tank.

They usually stay in the mid or upper regions of the tank and hence planted bases are great. gif maker 2022 10 17T234000.162

Tank Mates

Neon tetras make excellent companions in schools They are hardy fish and can be kept with other non-aggressive fish.

Small tetras and rasboras, small catfish and dwarf gouramis are okay too. 

However, avoid larger tetras or fish that may eat neon tetras. 

Some good choices for tank mates include livebearers like platies, guppies, clown or bristlenose plecos.

Boesemani rainbow fish (these get over 6 inches but are very non-aggressive). 

Freshwater shrimp like red cherry, ghost or red/black crystal would also be excellent companions for this freshwater species.

Aquarium snails will do well with these guys as well!


Neons come from the Amazon and do not like bright light. These fish are generally hardy and easy to keep, but can succumb to “neon tetra disease,” a fungal infection that can be fatal.

So, it is important to quarantine fish thoroughly before they are added to the tank. Also, take care of the water quality when you add water to the tank.

A healthy pH range and hardness maintained is best for neon tetras. Adjust your water accordingly to see your fish being stable. Neon Tetras can live from 3 – 5 years in the aquarium.

Neons are freshwater fish from the Amazon, who are known for their color changes in response to their surroundings. gif maker 2022 10 17T234000.162

The size also makes them an ideal choice for beginning aquarium owners who may not have as much experience keeping larger fish.

Since they are small, the waste let out by them is less too. Thus, maintenance is easier.

Using an established tank will help ensure your new additions do well without having to worry too much about cleaning out the water or getting rid of algae before adding them!

Neon Tetra. Neons are a great addition to any tank, but they are very sensitive to dirty water. That’s why a sponge filter is so important. They provide a strong filtration. However, buy one in which the flow is adjustable to gentle and slow levels

If cared for properly, they can live longer. gif maker 2022 10 17T234000.162


Neon Tetra is an omnivore and will eat most types of food, including flakes and frozen foods. However, they are often picky eaters and will not take to certain live foods right away.

If you’re having trouble getting your neon tetras to eat, try giving them a variety of different types of food (including live daphnia) until they find something that they like.

If you want to give your neon tetras some variety in their diet but don’t have time to prepare live foods every day or two, try using freeze-dried bloodworms as an occasional treat for your tankmates!

They will eat most floating pellets and foods that stick food to the side of the aquarium.

They will minimize their use of the bottom part of the aquarium, choosing instead to hover over driftwood, rocks, or plants. So bottom foods are not a great idea. gif maker 2022 10 17T234000.162


The Neon Tetra is a very desirable fish in the freshwater aquarium.

If you want this fish to breed, you must keep their hardness level very low at 1dGH and pH at 5.5. The temperature should be somewhere near 74 – 75 Degrees F.

A mating pair of Neons should be kept in a separate tank from others due to the aggression that can develop towards other Neons around spawning time.

Spawning generally takes place in the morning with the female releasing eggs and the male fertilizing them.

Neon Tetras are live bearers, meaning both parents participate in raising the fry (babies). Neon tetras are egg eaters. You should remove the breeding pair after eggs are hatched.

Breeding Neon tetras can be rewarding, but you should have some experience before attempting. gif maker 2022 10 17T234000.162

They are a member of the livebearer family; hence their reproductive habits closely resemble those of guppies and mollies.

Newly hatched fry is sensitive to bright light and should not be placed in a cycling aquarium until they are well-established. Eggs hatch in 24 hrs.

Feeding powdered fish food is a great way to feed the fry. It has all nutrition needed for their little bodies. gif maker 2022 10 17T234000.162

Difference Between Cardinal Tetra and Neon Tetra

Cardinal Tetra fish are also known as Cardinal Neon Tetra Fish. They are two types of tetra fish with similar color patterns but different body structures.

Cardinal and neon tetras are both gorgeous, but they have a few key differences.

Neon and cardinal tetras are so similar in looks that it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart.

Cardinal tetras have a red stripe that continues throughout their body, while the red stripe in neon tetras stops mid-way through their bodies. gif maker 2022 10 17T234000.162


Neon Tetra is a small, peaceful fish that is commonly kept in community tanks. These energetic, schooling fish are best kept in groups of 5 or more and will thrive if given plenty of space to swim.

They exhibit iridescent colors when light hits them which differentiates them from closely related species. Neon Tetras can be easily acclimated to the aquarium environment if given the right conditions. gif maker 2023 04 22T201514.431

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