Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)
Native Location: Amazon basin of South America
Size: 4 cm (1.5 inches)
Diet: Omnivore. Algae and things such as brine shrimps
Temperature Range: 22 – 24 ℃ (72 – 76 ℉)
Preferred pH Range: 4 – 4.8 (can tolerate 6.0 to 8.0)
Light requirements: Low
Minimum Aquarium Size: 75L (20 gallons)
Potential Tankmates: Kuhli loaches, Clown loaches, German Rams
Care Level: Easy
Neon Tetra belongs to the Characidae family and is widely popular for their bright colouring, making them visible in Blackwater aquariums. Their peaceful, non-aggressive and easy to care for nature make them perfect for beginners. They are great additions to any community tank.
These are not fussy eaters and will eat both meat and plant matter. Neon Tetras are schooling fish and will be much more active with at least 15 other members in their crew. Alone they feel intimidated, but together, do not mess with them! Since they are so small, it is best to keep them with other small, non-aggressive fish, that can’t fit Neon Tetras in their mouths. Consider small fish that will prefer to dwell at the bottom of your tank.
Neon Tetras are known to have an energetic temperament. These community fish will spend most of their time in the middle of the water column. And will enjoy it best if you try to replicate their natural environment in your aquarium. The Amazon river basin their native to flows through thick forest with dense canopies, blocking a lot of the natural daylight. Usually, there are many fallen leaves, vegetation and tree roots. This environment where they spend their life, is reflected in their vivid colourations, how else would they identify each other in lightless murky waters! An aquarium with Neon Tetras, it should be heavily planted and provide plenty of shaded areas for them. Use a substrate of a darker material that mimics the small rocks and pebbleds you would find on the riverbed. Neon Tetras are very sensitive to water changes, so they are not suited to newly cycled tanks.
Males tend to be slimmer where their flatter stomach means their blue stripe is straight. Females are rounder, meaning the blue stripe looks bent. Though their care is easy, breeding them can be difficult. There are required water conditions, to ‘trigger’, their mating season. They are not ideal for beginner breeders. They are also egg scatterers. The female will lay eggs and after the male will fertilise them. After this remove the parents from the breeder tank. They do not care for their young and are known to eat them.