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Keeping Neon Tetras in a Home Aquarium

Updated on February 25, 2012
The Neon Tetra is brilliant colored freshwater aquarium fish that is easily the most popular in the hobby.
The Neon Tetra is brilliant colored freshwater aquarium fish that is easily the most popular in the hobby.

One of the more popular options for having pets is getting an aquarium. Aquariums have their own varying levels of cost and extravagance, but depending on the fish they can also be very simple. One way to have a simple set up is to get a Neon Tetra. These freshwater fish are known for their brilliant colors, their ease of maintenance, and their availability. They are easily the most popular freshwater aquarium fish in the hobby today.

Setting up the Aquarium

There are around one million Neon Tetras imported into the United States each month, which makes finding one at a local pet store a fairly simple task. Getting a fish is just the starting point, however, because the aquarium and other supplies also need to be considered. A tank that is at least twenty four inches is the best environment for the Neon Tetra. Since they like to live in large schools, I suggest the tank is at least 20 gallons in size. They also do well in a tank that is densely planted with very subtle light getting through the water. The water temperature needs to be kept between 70 and 80 degrees to give them similar conditions as their natural environment.

It is important that the aquarium be fully cycled before adding any Neon Tetras. These fish can not tolerate the high toxin levels that are present in new aquariums. You should make certain that you test the water of your tank and ensure that a fully functional bio-filter has been established before you place these fish in your tank.

A Peaceful Community Fish

Neon Tetras are peaceful and will do well in a tank with other community fish. In the wild, they tend to swim in large groups and are more active when they are kept with many other Neon Tetras. They find security in large schools and should be kept in groups of eight or more. They also do well with smaller fish like Guppies, or various of other types Tetras. Cardinal Tetras and Black Neon Tetras are excellent tankmates. Since they are fairly small, it is not recommended to keep them with much larger fish, as larger fish might bully them or even eat them. When Neon Tetras are given the proper environment to live in, they will survive for five to ten years.

Feeding Neon Tetras

Neon Tetras are not picky and will accept most types of food. Most flake foods found in local pet stores work well, but because of their size, smaller flakes are better for them. They should also be given some supplemental food to add variety to their diet. This would include things like brine shrimp, bloodworms or tubifex worms.

Neon Tetras are great fish for a community tank. They are very peaceful and look amazing swimming together in a school of a dozen or more. When given the proper living conditions they will display vibrant colors and thrive in a home aquarium.

Reader Comments & Feedback

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    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      This is a good hub with plenty of details to help anyone with these fish or hoping to own them. I like these fish and may begin a small tank with them. Thanks for the info.

    • Web Gazelle profile image

      Web Gazelle 5 years ago from USA


      Although they are fairly peaceful, long fins can be targeted by them. Did your brother have a small or large school of Neons? Often aggression can be reduced by having a larger school. You can also reduce aggression by keeping them in a larger aquarium.

    • TylerSteele profile image

      TylerSteele 5 years ago from London, UK

      A really well written hub, with lots of useful info, Thanks for sharing.

      My brother keeps neons and did have a siamese fighting fish, but its fins were nipped, and within two days, it died. It was only neons in there with it, so they arent that tolerant of all tankmates. Anyway great hub again, voted up :)

    • Everyday Green profile image

      Everyday Green 5 years ago from Michigan

      It is exteremly important to keep a constnt pH level of between 6.5 and 6.8 for a neon tetra. If you are having trouble keeping your tetras alive and can't find a reason,this is the most likely culprit.

    • profile image

      susanm23b 5 years ago

      Excellent well-written introduction to keeping neon tetras. Voted up!