Despite having been in the aquarium hobby for many years, the Neon Tetra is easily the most popular fish of all aquarium fishes!
Neon Tetra Fish Picture

The Neon Tetra was a very exciting addition to the aquarium hobby when first introduced in the 1930's, and is still sought after by aquarium enthusiasts today. A school of flashing Neon Tetras makes a brilliant display. It is an active schooling fish, one of the most peaceful tetras, and a very desirable community fish. Keep them only with other small fishes or in their own tank. Their small size can easily make them a qourmet meal for larger fishes!

They are most comfortable and show their best colors when kept in a school of 6 or more fish. They like a planted aquarium and a dark gravel substrate. Their water should be soft, clean, slightly acidic, and changed regularly. The Neon Tetra can live 10 years or more with the proper conditions.

Today the Neon Tetra shares the popularity spotlight with its close relative the Cardinal Tetra Paracheirodon axelrodi. The Cardinal Tetra, though similar in appearance, is a bit more gaudy. Its red coloring runs the whole length of the body, and it is also a bit more delicate. The Neon Tetra is much easier to keep and to breed than the Cardinal Tetra.
For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Freshwater Aquarium


* Kingdom: Animalia
* Phylum: Actiniform
* Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
* Order: Characiformes
* Family: Characidae


The Neon Tetra was described by Géry in 1961. They are found in South America, the Paraguay River basin; Rio Taquari, Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul, and Brazil. Black Neon Tetras are now generally all captive-bred.


The species is not listed on the IUCN Red List.


The Neon Tetra is a small slim-bodied species of tetra. It is similar in appearance to the Cardinal Tetra with its horizontal stripe that seems to glow, but is a distinctly different fish. They can readily be identified, with each fish having a very beautiful red stripe next to an an electric blue neon stripe. The difference is that the red stripe on the Neon Tetra runs only halfway up the body while it runs the full length of the body on the Cardinal Tetra.

Size - Weight:

These fish get up to 1.5 inches (4 cm).

Care and feeding:

Since they are omnivorous the Neon Tetra will generally eat all kinds of small or finely ground foods; live, fresh, and flake. To keep a good balance give them a high quality flake food everyday. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat.

NOTE: Neon Tetra Disease

* The Neon Tetra will occasionally develop ' Neon Tetra Disease'.
* This has been identified as a microscopic sporozoan in the genus Plistophora.
* It shows up on the fish as a spreading spot or blemish beneath the dorsal fin.
* There have been attempts to cure this disease with the use of Methylene Blue, but it is not always successful, so the disease is considered uncurable.
* This disease has also been spotted on the Glowlight Tetra Hemigrammus erythrozonus, and the Rosey Tetra Hemigrammus erythrozonus.

Acceptable Water Conditions:

The Neon Tetras are somewhat less demanding in their water conditions than the Cardinal Tetras but they should have peat-filtered water. These fish prefer some plant cover and a darker gravel.
Hardness: 2-10° dGH
Ph: 5.5 to 8.0
Temp: 68-79° F (20-26° C)

Social Behaviors:

The Neon Tetra are ideal for a community aquarium with other peaceful fish. It is best not to keep them with larger fish like angels. They are most comfortable and show their best colors when kept in a school of 6 or more fish.

Sexual Differences:

The male is slender and the blue line is straighter. The female is rounder producing a bent blue line.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom:

These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.


Recommended conditions: pH 5.0-6.0, 1-2° dGH, 75° F.

The Neon Tetras are egg layers. The female will lay up to 130 eggs. They are considered somewhat difficult to breed. Success has been had, however, by using especially soft acidic water, intense sterilization of the breeding tank and everything used in and on the tank, and making sure that you have compatible pairing of fish. The eggs are especially sensitive to light.


The Neon Tetra is readily available.


5 years 35 weeks ago, 10:23 PM


ilovemyminirexCoco's picture

Secretary of State
Join Date:
Jan 2009

I have like a zoillion of those. They are great fish to have. But there so tiny watch out of the other non-friendly fish eat them!

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