Neon Tetras


Basic Information:

Neon Tetras are a very popular freshwater fish for beginners and advanced fish keepers. Their bright neon blue and red color patterns are very attractive as an individual freshwater fish but when they school together, the effect is quite mesmorizing. Although found in nearly all fish stores around the world, the neon tetras come originally from rivers in South America, near Eastern Peru.


Based on their size (maximum size is approximately 1 1/2″), most hobbyist like to keep them in groups of 6 or more. They also tend to be more comfortable in larger groups and in the end, isn’t it all about keeping your fishes happy and comfortable?

Type of Fish:

Neon Tetras are a great community fish. They are non-aggressive and will co-exist with about any type of smaller community freshwater fishes. Due to their size, any larger fish might mistaken them for food so pick their tankmates carefully. Fishes such as Angels are naturally predators of neon tetras in the wild.

What fish aquarium equipments do you need?

You need a few simple fish aquarium items to set up a thriving community for your fishes. First you need to pick an appropriate fish tank size. Try to get as big of a fish tank as you can get (everyone will tell you that you’ll always end up upgrading anyways). The next important thing you need is to pick a proper size filter. There are many different brands of filters to pick from but the rule of thumb is to get as big of a filter as you can get. Your aquarium filter system is very essential to the stability and growth of your fish tank.

Another important part is the proper aquarium lighting system. Depending on if you want to keep plants, you can go with regular light bulbs or go as complex as metal halides for harder to keep plants. Your aquarium lighting system will also help bring out the vibrant colors of your fishes so it’s a good idea to invest in a good system.

What to Feed Neon Tetras?

Neon Tetras accept most any type of food that will fit in their mouths. Most neon tetras that are available at pet stores are usually bred at fish farms and are fed basically what you can find at your local fish store. I personally feed mine with Hikari brand food that are made especially for small fishes like the neon tetra in mind. Make sure you feed enough as it’s hard to determine which one has eaten do to their quickness and quantity.

What Conditions:

Neon Tetras are a tropical area fish. They prefer temperatures between 73F-79F so they can co-exist with many other freshwater tropical fishes. PH they usually prefer softer water so around 5 to 7 would be acceptable. They easily adapt to any lighting although brighter bulbs brings out the shine of their colors better. Water clarity should be clear and clean with weekly water changes if possible.

Editor’s Remarks:

The Neon Tetra is a great fish to add. I’ve personally kept them in every single freshwater tank that I have ever owned. Because of their size and color, I’d recommend keeping as many as possible in your tank, even to the point of just keeping just Neon Tetras only. If you’ve ever seen a tank of just a huge group of neon tetras, you’ll know what I’m talking about. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Panther28 April 9, 2007 at 2:32 am

Very nice fish! Although I never had the luck of keeping them. Since i have gone to the dark side I can’t just go back.

e-Aquarium May 19, 2007 at 7:06 am

Tetras are great and neon tetras have to be one of the nicest fish to set schooling in a planted aquarium.

Janice Rasmussen June 16, 2007 at 11:24 pm

I had bad luck and lost all my tetras except one. This guy, however, is extremely hardy and has buddied up with my dwarf platys. He swims with them and I think he believes he is one of them.

I have never had aggressive neon tetras- they are a wonderful community fish.

Sam (scottishtilidie92) February 20, 2009 at 6:25 pm

i love these wee colourful tetras i had a shoal of 22 they loooked lovely just playing about in the middle of my tank but each time 1 of my 2 bala sharks went through the shoal there was 1 less neon LOL..they go well with small angels,other types of peaceful tetras e.g black neons,bleeding hearts,x-ray etc,platies,guppies,swordtails,peaceful gouramis like dwarf and pearl,cory catfish,small loaches and plecs,otos,small sharks,glass catfish,some barbs like cherry barbs,golden barbs.,and harliquin rasboras,discus……and the list goes on but there was a good bunch of fishes to go with the neons.

pauline June 5, 2009 at 8:15 am

i have had my tank for over 2 yrs, i have had blood parrots and large angel fish, just a general community tank with gouramis, danios etc, i had my 2 angel fish from a really small size and as they got a wee bit bigger we decided to but neons as i love the colour from the night light on them, so we bought 30 of them and within the hour my angel fish had eaten every single one of them, so i returned the angels 2 the shop where we bought them 2 yrs prior and got 2 blood parrots but they had 2 go as they became aggressive to my danios 🙁 now i have 42 neons, gouramis, 2 aquatic frogs, a pleco, and 2 mollies in my tank and had no problems since. lovely fish.

Emmy's Fish August 14, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I have 4 Neons in a tank with my Betta fish & everyone gets along very well! My Dad named them: Argon, Krypton, Xenon & Radon! The Betta is Ceylon Spinel. Great fish! My Neons love Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp!!! Flake food, not so much.

A1LEN3 December 25, 2009 at 6:22 pm

thinking of getting more anyone know if theyll mix with tiger barbs?

Alexis February 5, 2010 at 5:10 pm

They could go with tiger barbs but it could go bad. Try getting other fish, barbs are very combatiable with tetras.

zixx April 3, 2010 at 11:11 am

They eat standard tropical aquarium flake food, and are usually the first fish on the scene as soon as new food arrives. Unfortunately they don’t seem to like looking for food on the bottom of the tank, so as the flake sinks it can accumulate on the bottom. For this reason it is advisable to find a bottom feeder tank mate that will eat the leftovers. They will also nibble at algae wafers

they get fater as female then male

Taylor Clarke June 3, 2010 at 8:00 pm

I just picked up 5 neons today and one has already died… Ive done everything normally.

Kim Jonathan July 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm

The trio does well in my three-gallon bowl with 11 white cloud mountain minnows and two algae-eating shrimp. They try to breed, then eat their eggs.

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