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Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) (1)

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Scientific name :
Paracheirodon innesi
Hyphessobrycon innesi

Tétra blue

Neon Tetra

Peru, Colombia, and Brazil
Habitat: Amazonian

nappemonde amazonian

Sexual dimorphism:
The male is more slender. His blue longitudinal line is straight, unlike that of the female which is ‘broken’

Water Parameters:
What are the water parameters for maintaining this fish?

Temperature: 68 to 75.2°F
pH: 6.5 to 7
Hardness: 10 to 15 °dGH.


What is the minimum tank size for this species?
26.4 gallons (100 L)

Difficulty (level of care):

What is the maximum size of this fish?
1.57 inches (4 cm)

What is the average lifespan of this fish?
5 years

Tank region:
In which region of the aquarium does this fish live?

Tank Region:
In which region of the aquarium does this fish live?


Tank region (1)

Group Size. Social nature of the species:


How do you feed the Neon Tetra?
Being carnivorous with a tendency towards insectivory, the primary diet should consist of live or frozen prey, such as bloodworms, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, or daphnia. However, they will accept all types of food.
To maintain their optimal weight, it’s a good idea to fast them once a week.


What behavior does the Neon Tetra exhibit?
Neon Tetras are not overly shy. They swim peacefully in the tank, scattering and regrouping based on whether they feel safe or threatened.

They are very peaceful fish.

Like all species of their genus, they have a pronounced schooling instinct and should be kept in schools. The school’s beauty becomes truly evident with a group of at least 20 individuals.

You can observe an active life in these small fish: they occasionally isolate in pairs, males chase each other and court females…

The dominant ones will lead the school.


Who can coexist with the Neon Tetra?
They are perfect for a community tank. They are very peaceful and won’t bother their tankmates.

Being calm and unobtrusive, you can keep them with more territorial fish, such as cichlids, without any issues. However, consider their requirements. For instance, they shouldn’t be paired with Guppies or Platys as their water needs are entirely different (acidic and soft for the Neon Tetra vs. basic and hard).

You can house them with other Characidae like Tetras, dwarf Cichlids (Ramirezi or Cacatuoides), Corydoras, or Ancistrus. As adults, they can also coexist with Discus and Angelfish. For such a setup, it’s advised to introduce very young Angelfish with the school. This way, as they grow, they won’t bother the small Neon Tetras.

Be wary of large fish (more than 5.9 inches) as they might prey on them.

Also, note that smaller shrimp will likely be eaten.


How do you breed Neon Tetras?
While breeding is feasible, it remains quite challenging.

Set up a spawning tank (about 5.3 gallons) equipped with a protective grid and fine-leaved plants (for the fish to lay their eggs). The tank should have low lighting, a temperature of 75.2°F, a pH of 6, and be filtered over peat.

Separate males and females (using a divider in the tank, for example) 15 days before spawning and feed them live prey. Keep them in cool water, 66.2/69.8°F. Then, introduce a pair to the spawning tank in the evening; spawning should typically occur the following morning. A spawning can produce up to 300 eggs, and incubation lasts 24 hours.

Remove the parents once the eggs appear. The fry is light-sensitive and should be raised in total darkness.

Fry food: infusoria, brine shrimp nauplii, and cyclops.

Tank Setup:

What aquarium setup is best for the Neon Tetra?
This species requires high-quality water (no nitrites and as low nitrates as possible, no chemical additives). Overly warm water can be fatal over time.

You can design your aquarium with lush vegetation and peat bog roots. However, they shine the brightest in Amazon biotope tanks. Typically, river sand will be the ideal substrate, and the decoration should be based around twisted branches or driftwood. For a natural effect, add a litter of dried oak or beech leaves. Renew these leaves regularly to prevent rot. These leaves, which slightly tint the water, provide excellent bacterial support, and their decomposition emits beneficial compounds for the aquarium. Lastly, for Amazonian biotope tanks, the lighting should be dim (use floating plants to filter the light). Choose your plants accordingly (Microsorum, Taxiphyllum, or Cryptocoryne, for example).

Good to Know:

Neon Tetra in its aquarium

This species is best suited for aquarists who have some experience due to its delicate health and stringent water quality requirements.

The Neon Tetra is among the most popular species in aquarium keeping, although it’s not suitable for all tanks. Due to its widespread popularity, years of commercial breeding have somewhat diminished its initial hardiness. As a result, the strains available for sale often display morphological defects and are more prone to diseases. For instance, this species has a particular vulnerability related to its heart. Care should be taken during its acclimation and any form of intense stress should be avoided as it can result in a heart attack. This would also help prevent the onset of the infamous “white spot” disease. Moreover, Neon Tetras are susceptible to a disease caused by a protozoan: Neon Tetra Disease, which is often fatal. In such cases, it’s crucial to quarantine the affected fish and administer the appropriate treatment.

Did you know that this Neon Tetra could change colors? Indeed, its colors darken at night, rendering it nearly invisible. You’ll also notice its colors fading when it’s stressed.

There are albino, gold, and long-finned varieties of the Neon Tetra, though they are less commonly available in stores.

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