How to Cross Neon Tetras: 14 Steps (with Images)

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How to Cross Neon Tetras: 14 Steps (with Images)
How to Cross Neon Tetras: 14 Steps (with Images)

It's easy to cross neon tetras, but the conditions have to be right. Before starting, you need to set up a special aquarium for breeding, prepare the water and control the light cycle. It is also important to know how to introduce the fish to each other and take care of the young after the eggs hatch.


Part 1 of 3: Creating the Right Environment

Breed Neon Tetras Step 1

Step 1. Set up the breeding tank

Breeding neon tetras takes more than an aquarium - if you don't have a spare, provide one. A 30 x 20 x 20 cm aquarium is enough to cross the neon tetras. It serves to host the couple during the mating period, incubate the eggs and shelter the fingerlings.

Set up this aquarium in a similar way to the main aquarium. Remember that water has to be low mineralized and kept at a specific level of temperature and acidity to make mating viable

Breed Neon Tetras Step 2

Step 2. Prepare the water

The water in the breeding tank needs to be 25°C, soft (ie low in minerals) and slightly acidic (with a pH of 5~6) for neon tetras to thrive. Such an environment would be similar to the natural habitat of this species of fish. If the water still does not meet these requirements, it is important that you:

  • Provide an aquarium thermometer to monitor the temperature;
  • Provide aquarium pH indicators (available at pet stores) to test the acidity of the water daily;
  • Mix one part tap water with three parts deionized water - you can replace this mixture with rainwater.
Breed Neon Tetras Step 3

Step 3. Provide an internal filter

A filtration system protects the health of tetras-neon, as it helps to remove excreta and bacteria, and guarantees the good appearance of the aquarium, as it inhibits microorganisms that could give the water an unpleasant appearance. The internal filter, which moves the water smoothly, is best suited for breeding aquariums.

Breed Neon Tetras Step 4

Step 4. Place the aquarium in a dark or low-light environment

Because they thrive in dark environments, don't put your tetras near a sunny window or any place that's brightly lit. While they don't need total darkness, they do need to stay where there is dim light every day.

It's a good idea to cover the back and sides of the aquarium with dark paper to block out excess light

Part 2 of 3: Introducing the Fish to Each Other

Breed Neon Tetras Step 5

Step 1. Identify the sex of tetras

This step is not essential, as you can put several in a tank and wait for the mating to take place. Anyone who wants to know the sex of their fish, on the other hand, can observe some characteristics that distinguish males from females:

  • Tetra-neon females tend to be wider and fatter than males;
  • Some breeders claim the stripe is straight on males and curved on females.
Breed Neon Tetras Step 6

Step 2. Place adult tetras in the aquarium

Since night is the best time for them to get to know the aquarium, plan to transfer after sunset. Remember that neon tetras used for breeding must be over 12 weeks old, or you may not be successful.

Let the fish stay in the aquarium for a day or two. This period should be enough for there to be a spawn

Breed Neon Tetras Step 7

Step 3. Adjust conditions if there is no mating

If the fish don't breed, check the temperature and pH of the water, lower the mineral content, and adjust the lighting. Reaching the right conditions for mating may require a certain amount of experimentation.

It is speculated that decreasing the hardness of the water causes spawning because it mimics the effect of rain. Try to add a good amount of soft water to the aquarium if the fish haven't spawned in the last few days

Breed Neon Tetras Step 8

Step 4. Remove the adult neon tetras from the aquarium

It's hard to see fish eggs, which are tiny and translucent, but you might be able to see them in the gravel or plants in your breeding tank. As soon as you notice them, remove the adults from the aquarium, or they will be able to devour the eggs.

Breed Neon Tetras Step 9

Step 5. Wait for hatching

There can be between 60 and 130 eggs, but not all of them will hatch. Hatching occurs approximately 24 hours after egg laying. Expect to have about 40 to 50 puppies at the end of the process.

Tetra-neon chicks will look like small pieces of glass swimming in the aquarium

Part 3 of 3: Taking care of tetra-neon chicks

Breed Neon Tetras Step 10

Step 1. Keep them in the dark

As newborns - the stage at which fish are called fry - neon tetras have to be kept in the dark for five days after hatching, as they are sensitive to light and only then can they thrive.

  • To keep the aquarium dark, cover it completely with dark cardboard or cardboard.
  • When feeding the fish, point a dim flashlight to the top of the aquarium, but be brief.
Breed Neon Tetras Step 11

Step 2. Feed the fingerlings with special food

You can't give tetra-neon chicks the same food that adults get. Buy a food whose label indicates that it is specific to fingerlings. If you have difficulty finding it, ask your questions at the nearest pet shop.

After a few days, you can also offer dehydrated brine shrimp, which are sold in pet shops

Breed Neon Tetras Step 12

Step 3. Introduce the fry to the adult neon tetras

After three months, you will be able to join the new tetras with the old ones. Do this only after this period, as they may end up being eaten, hurt or frightened by adults.

Remember: some tetras can die no matter what you do. Fingerlings are more likely to develop disease and more sensitive to any injury

Breed Neon Tetras Step 13

Step 4. Try to keep 5 cm of fish for every 8 L of water

This is a rule that helps determine the maximum population of an aquarium. Since adult neon tetras are about 5 cm long, you can divide the tank's capacity by eight to calculate how many individuals you can keep inside.

For example, if you have a 200 L tank, you can keep 25 tetras in it

Breed Neon Tetras Step 14

Step 5. Find homes for the surplus neon tetras

Since a single cross can give rise to many small fish, you may end up with more than you are capable of raising. Ask friends if they would like to keep the fish, provided they have the proper equipment and resources to care for the tetras.

One possibility is to call the pet shop and ask if they would like to buy some of the fish. Remember that these establishments usually pay between R$0.30 and R$0.90 per fish, so you will only earn significant money if you make a large volume of sales


  • Make sure adult fish are in good health before mating.
  • Keep the tools you use the aquarium clean to avoid transmitting bacteria and diseases to the fingerlings.

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