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Maximum size : 4 cm

Neon Tetra - Paracheirodon innesi : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) is a favorite among aquarium enthusiasts, captivating both beginners and experienced aquarists with its vibrant colors. Sporting iridescent blue and red stripes that sparkle under proper lighting, it's no wonder this species is so popular. Beyond their stunning visuals, Neon Tetras are hardy and affordable, making them an excellent choice for newcomers to the hobby.

These fish are inherently social and flourish best when kept in groups of at least six. However, larger groups of eight to twelve allow for a fuller display of their natural behavior. Observing these active creatures in a large shoal, their iridescent blue and red stripes shimmering against one another, is a sight to behold. Conversely, keeping Neon Tetras in isolation can lead to stress and increased susceptibility to illnesses.

When choosing tank mates for Neon Tetras, it's crucial to select non-aggressive species of similar size. Pairing them with other Tetra species can result in a beautiful, diverse community aquarium. However, they can also share a tank with various other fish species, provided there are no larger or aggressive fish that might bully or prey on them.

Within a community aquarium, Neon Tetras typically occupy the middle to lower strata, swimming and exploring their surroundings actively. They often shoal together with Cardinal Tetras, their close relatives. A shoal of Neon Tetras enhances the aquarium's beauty while also promoting a healthier, happier environment for these fascinating fish.

To fully appreciate Neon Tetras, it's beneficial to emulate their natural Amazonian habitat in your aquarium. Dense planting offers shelter and security, echoing the lush vegetation of their native environment. Driftwood roots and branches add to this environment, creating a natural backdrop for these luminous fish. For a more authentic look, consider incorporating dried leaf litter into the substrate, which provides additional hiding places.

In terms of lighting, a dimmer setting is optimal to mimic the dappled sunlight of their natural habitat. However, you can still include hardy aquatic plants that thrive in these conditions. Floating plants offer additional cover and foster a more immersive environment for your Neon Tetras.

Neon Tetras are easily recognized by their slender, torpedo-shaped bodies. Each side features a dazzling blue stripe that runs horizontally from nose to adipose fin, while a red stripe begins at the mid-body and extends to the base of the caudal fin. Except for these stripes, their fins and bodies are transparent, contributing to their distinct look.

Intriguingly, Neon Tetras' vibrant blue and red stripes turn to shades of gray or black as they rest during the night. This color change is a response to lighting conditions. In a light-adapted state, the stripe appears blue-green; when dark-adapted, it transforms to indigo. This phenomenon occurs due to guanine crystals in their cells reflecting light, creating a spectacular color display.

Aquarists can choose from several distinct varieties of Neon Tetras. The semi-albino Golden strain features a unique gold-colored body, while the rare Long-finned Neon Tetra is characterized by elongated fins. The Diamond Neon Tetra, with metallic scales gleaming on the upper part of its body, adds an alluring shimmer to its appearance.

3 other variants of the Neon Tetra

Below is a list of Variant/Colour Morphs of the Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

When it comes to sexing Neon Tetras, it can be quite challenging as this species doesn 't display any striking gender differences. However, there are subtle variations that can help distinguish between males and females. The female Neon Tetra tends to have a larger and more rounded belly, which creates a curved blue line, while the male 's line remains straight.

Featured Male
Featured Female
Male Female

Quick Facts

Scientific NameParacheirodon innesi
Year Described1936
Other NamesNone
OriginsBrazil Colombia Peru
Max Size4 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
LifespanUp to 10 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.0 - 7.5
GH2 - 10
68 - 80
20 - 26

Natural habitat

Neon Tetras come from the tropical parts of Northern South America, originating from Western Brazil, Southeastern Colombia, and Eastern Peru. Wild Neon Tetras can be found in the tributaries of the Amazon Rivers Tiger, Yarapa, and Napo. In their natural habitat, Neon Tetras can be found in both blackwater and clearwater streams, preferring soft acidic water with dense vegetation and roots. It 's within these tranquil environments where these stunning fish thrive amongst the lush vegetation and calm, clear waters. Recreating the perfect environment for Neon Tetras in your home aquarium requires a bit of effort, but the rewards are well worth it. With their vibrant colours and playful personalities, Neon Tetras are an excellent addition to any aquatic community. So why not take a plunge into the enchanting world of Northern South America 's aquatic life and discover the wonders of Neon Tetras for yourself?\r\n

How to breed the Neon Tetra

Breeding Neon Tetras can be a challenging yet rewarding experience for aquarists. The breeding process requires careful consideration of water conditions and the creation of a separate breeding tank with specific requirements. To begin, set up a breeding tank with dim lighting, good filtration, and plenty of live plants. You should also raise the water temperature by a couple of degrees to stimulate spawning. Live foods should be provided to the tetras before the spawning process. When the tetras are ready to spawn, the male will embrace the female, and she will release approximately 100 transparent and slightly adhesive eggs, which will stick to the available plants. After laying all her eggs, it is advisable to remove the parents to prevent them from consuming the eggs. It is essential to keep the lights low as the eggs and fry are sensitive to light. After 24 hours, the eggs will hatch into tiny babies, and they will feed off their egg sack for a few days. Within three to four days, the fry will become free-swimming, and you can begin to feed them appropriate food. Breeding Neon Tetras requires careful attention to detail, but the joy of seeing the tiny, new lives in your tank is a fulfilling experience.

Diet & feeding

A diverse diet is crucial to maintaining the health of Neon Tetras, and fortunately, these fish are not finicky eaters. Providing high-quality flakes and granules as their main diet, supplemented with live and frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia, is recommended to avoid malnutrition. Additionally, micropellet food can serve as a useful supplement to their diet. Opt for tropical sinking pellets that contain natural colour enhancers, as these can help bring out the vibrant hues of Neon Tetras.

1 tank mate idea for the Neon Tetra

Looking for some awesome tank mate ideas for your Neon Tetra? Look no further! Here are 1 of the most captivating and fascinating options that will liven up your aquarium!

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