How to Care for Tetra Neon: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Care for Tetra Neon: 15 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Care for Tetra Neon: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

The tetra-neon is a small, tropical, freshwater fish, native to the Amazon basin regions of South America. It's great for anyone who has never ventured into the world of fishkeeping before. Even so, the species still needs care. It is important to keep the aquarium under proper conditions, take care of the tetra-neon's health and know how to deal with diseases so that it has a long and good life.


Part 1 of 3: Keeping your aquarium in optimal condition

Care for Neon Tetra Step 1

Step 1. Buy a large aquarium

The tetra-neon needs an aquarium that has at least 40 liters of fresh water. This space is enough for about 25 fish, ensuring they can hide and swim in comfort.

Care for Neon Tetra Step 2

Step 2. Cycle the empty aquarium

Before you buy your little fish, cycle for a few weeks to balance the ecosystem, clean the aquarium and remove all harmful bacteria that can kill the fish. Purchase a water test kit at a pet store and see if the ammonia (NH3), nitrite (NO2-) and nitrate (NO3-) levels are zeroed out before placing the tetra-neon in the aquarium.

To cycle, fill the aquarium with fresh water and turn on the filter. Add ammonia to bring the measurement up to 2 ppm. Test the water every day and see how long it takes for ammonia to break down into nitrite. As nitrite levels increase, add more ammonia to reduce them. At one point, such a process should encourage the proliferation of nitrifying bacteria (which are capable of neutralizing ammonia), causing the nitrite level to drop as well. Continue testing the water until all three compounds drop to 0 ppm

Care for Neon Tetra Step 3

Step 3. Protect the filter inlet

The tetra-neon is a small, delicate fish whose body can be sucked into the filter with tragic results. Use a mesh screen or foam to cover the appliance inlet, protecting the fish without impairing the filter's function.

Care for Neon Tetra Step 4

Step 4. Add organic matter

In nature, the tetra-neon tends to swim in waters with many plants. Buy aquatic or semi-aquatic plants at a pet store. In addition, decaying leaves and sticks also help to reproduce the fish's natural habitat.

Plants and branches also provide the hiding places that the tetra-neon is so fond of

Care for Neon Tetra Step 5

Step 5. Keep an eye on the pH of the water

This species does well in mildly acidic water, with an approximate pH of 5, 5 to 6, 8. Buy pH test strips at a pet store and follow the directions on the package to learn how to interpret the results. Test the pH whenever you change the water.

If you intend to breed fish, leave the pH a little lower, between 5 and 6

Care for Neon Tetra Step 6

Step 6. Place a bag of peat to lower the pH if necessary

Buy a pair of nylon pantyhose and a pack of organic peat (also known as sphagnum) at pet stores or supermarkets. After washing your hands well, place the peat inside one of the pantyhose feet, tying a knot and cutting the foot to separate it from the rest of the piece. Dip it into the aquarium and squeeze it to release some of the peat-filtered water. Then let the bag sink into the aquarium and change it every two to three months.

  • The peat bag also helps to reduce the hardness of the water, which is important for the survival of this species.
  • Peat can also slightly cloud the water, which is not a problem. Anyway, you need to do a partial water change from time to time, softening this effect and preventing the aquarium from turning into a swamp.
Care for Neon Tetra Step 7

Step 7. Lower the brightness

The tetra-neon fish lives in dark waters. Place the aquarium in a dimly lit corner of the house. Buy low wattage bulbs from pet stores to create a low-light effect. Plants and other hiding places can also help to darken the aquarium's interior.

Care for Neon Tetra Step 8

Step 8. Control the temperature

In general, the water should be between 20ºC and 25ºC. Purchase an adjustable heater, found in most pet shops and aquarium stores. To monitor temperature, buy an aquarium thermometer.

For fish to reproduce, keep the water at an average temperature of 24°C

Care for Neon Tetra Step 9

Step 9. Clean the aquarium regularly

Tetra-neon needs clean water, low in nitrates and phosphates, to be able to resist disease. Change 25% to 50% of the water every two weeks at a minimum. Clean the slime that forms on the aquarium walls, filter and decorative elements.

Part 2 of 3: Keeping the tetra-neon healthy

Care for Neon Tetra Step 10

Step 1. Add companions to the aquarium

The tetra-neon needs to live in a group of six or more so that it doesn't get stressed and sick. Avoid placing larger carnivorous fish, which can even eat them. Some reasonable companions are of the same species, as well as algae-eating fish such as glass cleaner fish, pepper coridora and African dwarf frogs.

Care for Neon Tetra Step 11

Step 2. Quarantine the newly acquired fish

You need to buy another tank to quarantine the new fish for at least two weeks. This measure prevents the spread of diseases such as neon disease.

Care for Neon Tetra Step 12

Step 3. Offer a varied diet two to three times a day

The tetra-neon is omnivorous and feeds mainly on insects in nature. Give live, dehydrated or frozen fruit flies or bloodworms. Also provide seaweed (live or in feed form), live or dehydrated shrimp and pellet feed. Buy these foods fresh or at a pet store specializing in fish.

  • From time to time he needs to eat shelled peas to improve his digestion.
  • The tetra-neon may be afraid to rise to the surface and eat it, or it may not even notice the food there. If the fish stops eating, use an eyedropper to place the food next to it.

Part 3 of 3: Caring for Disease

Care for Neon Tetra Step 13

Step 1. Quarantine fish with neon disease

This is the most common disease among this species. The first symptom in an affected fish is swimming away from its companions. It also loses the neon streak on the body and develops spots or cysts on the dorsal fins. As soon as you identify the initial symptoms, quarantine the affected fish immediately. This disease is almost always incurable, but it doesn't hurt to ask a veterinarian for advice.

It is normal for the tetra-neon to become opaque at night, which is due to the resting of special skin cells known as chromatophores. However, if the fish remains opaque during the day for several days in a row, it may be sick

Care for Neon Tetra Step 14

Step 2. Treat white spot disease (ichthyus) with environmental changes and remedies

This disease caused by parasites is very contagious and manifests itself in the form of small white spots on the fish's body, which look like grains of salt. To combat it, gradually raise the water temperature until it reaches 30 ºC for at least three days, which should kill the parasite.

  • If the stains do not disappear after three days, place the fish in a separate aquarium and apply a copper solution to the water, following the instructions on the label. Keep the copper level at 0.2 ppm by measuring it with a specific test kit found in fish shops.
  • Eliminate the parasite from the original aquarium with aquarium salts, found in pet shops or specific stores. Add 1 teaspoon (5 g) to every 4 liters of water every 12 hours for 36 hours. Let the salt work for seven to ten days.

    If you have plastic plants, the salts can melt them. For the sake of the fish, throw them away

Care for Neon Tetra Step 15

Step 3. Search for other illnesses

The tetra-neon that is in poor health can also develop skin worms, infections, and bacterial and parasitic diseases. Talk to a veterinarian or read books about the species, its diseases and treatments. In many cases, if you notice the first symptoms quickly and act immediately, you can save the goldfish's life.


  • When placing new fish in the aquarium, they may swim up and down near the walls, trying to get out, which is normal.
  • It is best not to put the tetra-neon together with angelfish or other long finned fish, as it sometimes nibbles on the fins of colleagues, causing local rot, a bacterial disease.
  • If the tetra-neon shows any signs of being ill, place it in the quarantine aquarium. Otherwise, the disease can affect other fish.
  • If you want to have this species, it is better to buy a group with six individuals or more.
  • Buy an aquarium with a capacity of 40 liters or more and do not place decorative elements such as pirate ships, castles and other artificial objects. Get some plants, pebbles and even a branch, recreating the wild environment!
  • Always let the fish float on the surface of the aquarium for a while in the plastic bag in which it was sold. Thus, there is no risk of thermal shock.
  • It is advisable to keep the tank covered, as the tetra-neon jumps out, which is a beauty.


  • Copper-containing drugs are often fatal to invertebrates.
  • Coarse salt and table salt cannot be used to replace aquarium salt.
  • Do not apply antibiotics unless necessary. Bacteria can develop resistance to them over time.
  • Never give fish cucumbers.

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