How to Care for Neon Tetra

Two Parts:Before You Bring Your Tetra Fish HomeCaring For Your Tetra

Neon Tetra are small fish that are great for aquariums. Bright with neon stripes, they are great pets for beginners. However, tetras don't care for themselves! It's important to set up the tank correctly, feed your tetra nutritious food, and protect it from disease so it lives a long and healthy life.

Part 1
Before You Bring Your Tetra Fish Home

  1. Image titled Care for Neon Tetra Step 1
    Since Neon Tetras are native to South America, namely the Amazon, Neon Tetras love lots of plants. Real plants work best, however fake plants work okay too as long as there are no sharp edges that the fish may potentially scratch his scales on.
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    Also provide plenty of places to hide, Neon Tetras love to hide.
  3. Image titled Care for Neon Tetra Step 3
    Shade your tank. Simply using floating plants, dimming lights, or taping black paper around the tank will all suffice to make the habitat for those little fellows a little more roomy.
  4. Image titled Care for Neon Tetra Step 4
    Consider the tankmates. Tetras don't like to be alone, and like to be with at least 4-5 other fish/aquatic animals. Some acceptable tankmates for your Neon Tetra include:
    • Other Tetras (of any kind; not necessarily Neon Tetras)
    • Cherry Barbs
    • Betta
    • Cardinals
    • Rummynose
    • African Dwarf Frogs
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    Cycle your tank once before adding the Tetras to avoid your Tetras dying due to tank problems.

Part 2
Caring For Your Tetra

  1. Image titled Care for Neon Tetra Step 6
    Tank Temperature
    • Generally, your tank should stay around 60–80 °F (16–27 °C).
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    • Neon Tetra feed on plant matter as well as
      • Crustaceans
      • Worms
      • Small Insects
    • However, they aren't very picky, and they will eat most commercial tropical fish food. Keep them on a varied diet, including both commercial food and live food.
  3. Image titled Care for Neon Tetra Step 8
    • Neon Tetra are also susceptible to a disease commonly known as Neon Tetra Disease. Researchers have not found a cure, so if your fish has it, it will most likely die. During Neon Tetra Disease, parasite spores enter the Tetra's body. It may show symptoms like restlessness and a dull color. If the fish shows the symptoms and looks like it may look ill, quarantine the fish immediately!


  • If you happen to watch your Tetra at night, you can notice the fact that they turn dull. That is normal for Neon Tetras to turn dull at night, and does not necessarily mean that your fish has Neon Tetra Disease. However, if the dullness proceeds to be presents for multiple days in a row even in the day, the fish may be ill.
  • When adding new tetras to your tank, they may swim up and down the walls, trying to get out, this is normal so you won't have to think that something is wrong with it!
  • Neon tetras are small delicate fish, so be careful with tank filters as they can get themselves stuck in the filter suction and will die.
  • Neon Tetras need to be in groups of 5 or more otherwise they will get stressed and become ill.
  • Neon tetras may be scared to come up and eat, or they may not notice the food. If they aren't eating, use a dropper to put the food near them.

Article Info

Categories: Fish