Neon tetras

Neon tetras originated from the clear water and blackwater streams and tributaries in the Orinoco and Amazon river basins in Brazil, Columbia, and Peru. These are regions of blackwaters beneath dense forest canopies that allow very little light to get through. Neon tetras live in shoals mainly in the middle water layers and feed on insects, worms and small crustaceans.

Neon tetras are some of the most popular freshwater fish in the world. They’re beautiful additions to any home aquarium and are frequently studied in research settings.

Neon tetra fish are members of the scientific family Characidae. Their scientific name is Paracheirodon innesi. Neon tetras are a distinct species from the similarly named black neon tetra and green neon tetra one of which isn’t even in the same genus as the neon tetra. But you can frequently find all of these tetras plus other unique species in pet stores around the world. 

The dazzling crown jewel of aquariums everywhere, the hardy little neon tetra fish was originally imported from South America. Neon tetras must be kept in groups of at least a half-dozen, as they are a shoaling species. With peaceful dispositions, they are also able to be kept with other species of non-aggressive fish. They have a decently long life expectancy of 5 or more years.

When it comes to size, Neon Tetras are not very big at all. In the wild, they can reach about two and a half inches in length. However, bred fish usually don’t get much larger than one and a half inches. Their bodies are thin, narrow, and torpedo-shaped. Most of their head is taken up by large beady eyes which sit almost perfectly level with their mouth.

Neon tetras are peaceful fish that get along well with most community fish. Always keep neon tetras in schools of a half dozen or more as they are a shoaling species that requires the presence of others of their kind. Neon tetras do well in a community tank as long as the other species are not large or aggressive. Small peaceful fish such as rasboras, small tetras, dwarf gouramis, corys, and other small catfish are good choices as companions. Avoid larger tetras, as they will eat neon tetras at the first opportunity. The rule of thumb is, if the mouth of the fish opens large enough to swallow the neon, they will do it sooner or later.

In nature, neon tetras are omnivores that will eat both plant and animal material. Fine flake food, small granules, live or frozen brine shrimp or daphnia, and frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms are all good food choices. Offer a variety of food, including live foods, to ensure good health.

Newly set up aquariums are not suitable for neon tetras as they will not tolerate changes that occur during the initial startup cycle. Only add neon tetras when your tank is fully mature and has stable water chemistry. Water should be soft and acidic for neon tetras, meaning a pH that is not above 7.0 and hardness of no more than 10 dGH. Blackwater extracts or driftwood are often used to darken the water, maintain an acidic pH, and soften the water. In their natural habitat, neon tetras live in areas of dark water with dense vegetation and roots. Providing a habitat with plenty of low-light hiding places is important. Give them plenty of plants, including floating plants if possible. Driftwood will provide hiding places as well. The dark substrate will replicate the natural habitat in which the neon tetras feel most comfortable. Some fishkeepers will put a dark background on three sides of the aquarium to achieve the desired low-light habitat.

The most distinct aspect of the Neon Tetra is its color. As their name would suggest, these fish have a noticeably vibrant color pattern. Splashes of red, white, and blue cover their bodies. A shiny blue stripe extends from the tip of their heads to the adipose fine, which is a small rounded fin above the tail. This stripe has a somewhat iridescent quality and reflects light very well. It’s believed that the stripe is used to improve visibility among different types of tetras. Below the blue stripe, there’s a partial red stripe that starts at the middle of the fish’s body. It extends all the way to the tail. Because of this red streak, Neon Tetras are commonly mistaken for Cardinal Tetras. While they do look similar, the biggest difference is the size of the red stripe. For Neon Tetras, the stripe only crosses half of the body. For Cardinal Tetras, it runs through the entire length of the fish. The belly of the fish is colored in a neutral white. Aside from those three colors, Neon Tetras have a translucent body. This allows them to blend into their natural habitat and hide from predatory fish.

Tetras in general are very popular aquarium fish. The neon tetra is the most famous and plentiful of all of the tetra species found in the ornamental fish trade. Each month, approximately 2 million neon tetra are sold in the U.S. alone. They’re the second most common fish imported to the U.S. The most common is the guppy.

Published : Dec 7 2023