Neon Tetra Care Guide, Breeding, Temperature, Size, Tank Mates

Neon tetra fish are one of the most abundant ornamental fish and are most often kept by ornamental fish hobbyists. Neon tetra fish are widely loved because their relatively small size and striking red and blue colors make this fish pleasing to the eye.

In addition to its beauty, neon tetra fish also have a relatively cheap price. The selling price of neon tetra fish ranges from $1  to $2, of course this price will vary from place to place. Fish seller shops in my area usually have a price of around 1 Dollar To 2 Dollar per head. If you want to get a cheaper price, you can buy in large quantities at once.

Neon Tetra Overview

Origin South America (Around the amazon river)
Latin name Paracheirodon innesi
Longevity Around 5 – 8 years
Size About 4 cm
Maintenance Easy (suitable for beginners)
The nature of fish Schooling (clusters)

Origin and habitat of neon tetra fish

The neon tetra is native to South America. This fish is found along the Amazon river area. If you look at the amazon river, the neon tetra is a freshwater fish. Not infrequently many fish hobbyists make aquariums close to the original habitat of these neon tetras. If you look at the habitat around the Amazon River, the waters there are relatively cloudy or brownish due to the influence of leaves or wood submerged in the water. Because it is much liked by hobbyists of ornamental fish, neon tetra fish that are traded today are mostly bred and not directly caught. Although sometimes there are still fish that are caught directly because many people depend on their lives by looking for various types of ornamental fish around the amazon river.

How to care for a neon tetra

Neon tetra fish are ornamental fish that are easy to maintain, making them suitable for beginners. Even so, I still recommend not to be negligent when keeping these neon tetra fish.

What is the minimum number of neon tetras to keep?

As stated in the brief information table above, neon tetra fish are fish that like to flock. Because of their flocking nature, neon tetras will have difficulty or easily get stressed if they are kept alone. Of course, the more neon tetras you can keep, the better.

Not only is it great for neon tetras, but watching a large number of neon tetras swim around is also a lot of fun. If you intend to keep neon tetras in a small aquarium, at least make sure there are enough for 3-5 tails.

Also Read =  Galaxy Rasbora Care, Tank Mates, Size, Breeding Complete Guide

Neon tetra compatible living environment

The neon tetra fish that come from around the amazon river are freshwater fish, so be sure to use fresh water on the aquarium to keep these fish. Neon tetra fish can live in water conditions that are slightly acidic or with a low pH. A good pH for neon tetras is between 5.5 – 7.8. For the temperature, Nenon tetra fish originating from the tropics is very suitable for the temperature in Indonesia.

Neon tetra fish like temperatures between 23 o C – 26 o C, this way you don’t have to bother using a heater to warm the aquarium water.

Neon tetra fish food

Neon tetra fish are omnivores (eating everything), in the wild these fish eat anything such as small insects such as mosquito larvae, worms, or water fleas. Do neon tetras eat moss? Of course neon tetras also eat decomposed plant debris or even moss in the wild. However, if kept in an aquarium, it will be quite difficult to see neon tetras only eating moss. In the wild, neon tetras have a wide variety of food choices, so they may occasionally eat moss or something else to meet their nutritional needs.

But, if you hope not to give any food and let the neon fish eat moss or algae in the aquarium, maybe the neon fish will die first.

Neon tetras like any kind of food, from dry food such as pellets, to live food such as mosquito larvae, water fleas, to frozen worms or blood worms.

I personally gave the pellets to the neon tetra fish I kept and they ate them greedily and had no problem. Neon tetra fish can be fed 2x a day in the morning and afternoon.

How old are neon tetra fish

The lifespan of a neon tetra is estimated to be up to 8 years in the wild and about 5 years in an aquarium. When kept in an aquarium, the age of the fish will greatly depend on the care and quality of the aquarium water itself. Because river water is always flowing, there is no need to worry about problems with ammonia which is usually the main problem in aquariums.

While the aquarium can not replace the water naturally so it requires humans to change the water every time. Ammonia will appear if you rarely replace aquarium water with new, if the concentration is high it will be very toxic to fish and cause death. So the age of neon tetra fish that live in the aquarium is highly dependent on the care done. If you want to live longer, of course, you should not underestimate treatments such as regular water replacement which usually causes problems.

Can neon tetras live without an aerator?

For beginners who are new to the world of ornamental fish, there may be many questions about the use of aerators. I was also like that when I first entered the world of ornamental fish and aquascape.

Are aerators a must? I’ve discussed this before, so you can see in the article can fish live without an aerator?

For those who don’t know, an aerator is a tool that usually creates bubbles in an aquarium. Neon tetra fish can live without using an aerator. I have proven this myself, I don’t use aerators in my aquascape. Even now, I still don’t use aerators because I don’t really need them. The most important thing is the movement of water so that there is an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In addition, the number of fish and the size of the aquarium is also very important. If the aquarium is small and contains a lot of fish, the oxygen will quickly run out. So all things must be balanced so that neon tetra fish can survive even without an aerator.

Why neon tetra fish die fast

There are many things that can cause neon tetras to die quickly. The main factor in my opinion is the condition of the water. Because the life of fish is very dependent on water conditions, so if the water conditions change or are not suitable for the fish, it will most likely cause the fish to die quickly. My experience with keeping neon tetras was not very good, because all of them died in just a few months.

If I remember correctly, at that time, the neon tetra that I kept was slowly losing its color and was having difficulty swimming. Because it was difficult to swim, not long after that the fish died. It is very likely that the disease can spread or be transmitted to other fish, so if you see the characteristics of the disease as I mentioned, you should immediately separate the sick fish from other fish. Maintaining water quality and being careful about the food given is one way to prevent this disease. It is not known how to treat the disease. You should do quarantine if you just bought fish and will be combined with other fish in the aquarium. By doing quarantine, you can see the condition of the fish for a certain time, so you can make sure that the fish don’t carry diseases to other fish later.

What fish can neon tetras be combined with?

Neon tetras are non-aggressive and can be mixed with almost any fish. The problem is not with the neon tetra, but with the other fish to be combined. Neon tetras can be mixed with other tetras, zebra danio, and other fish that are less aggressive and have a much larger body than neon tetras. Never mix betta fish with neon tetras, because basically betta fish are territorial fish so they have to be alone. In addition, if the aquarium is small, do not mix neon tetras with guppies.

I’ve done this before, with neon tetras damaging the guppy’s beautiful, wide fins. If the aquarium is very large this may be avoided because of the large area for swimming, but if the aquarium is small it is best to avoid it.

Difference between neon tetra and cardinal tetra

This is the first thing that made me quite confused when I wanted to buy a neon tetra. You need to know that neon tetras and cardinal tetras have a similar appearance so they often make mistakes. Both have the same color, namely blue on the top and red on the bottom. But if you look closely, the two have differences. The neon tetra has only half of the red on the underside, while the cardinal tetra has a full red color on the underside.


Neon tetra fish are suitable for beginners because they are easy to care for. However, you must still pay attention to the quality of the water used and be diligent in changing the water regularly. The bigger the aquarium and contains a lot of neon tetras, the better because these fish like to live in groups. However, if the aquarium is small, don’t force it to fill with lots of fish because it will quickly make the water cloudy and oxygen depleted, especially if you are not diligent in changing the water.

Do not mix neon tetras with large, aggressive fish as they can potentially injure and eat neon tetras. Should still be combined with fish the same size as the neon tetra.