How To Care For Neon Tetras

How To Care For Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are small, vibrant fish that make a colorful addition to any aquarium. With their dazzling blue and red stripes, they are a popular choice among hobbyists. In addition to their beauty, neon tetras are relatively easy to care for, making them a great option for beginners in the fish-keeping world. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about keeping neon tetras happy and healthy.

Key Takeaways

Before we dive into the details, let’s highlight the key points to remember when caring for neon tetras:

  • Neon tetras require a tank size of at least 10 gallons.
  • Maintain a stable water temperature between 72°F and 78°F.
  • Feed them a varied diet of high-quality flake food, supplemented with live or frozen foods.
  • Keep the water clean by performing regular water changes.
  • Provide hiding places and plenty of swimming space in the aquarium.

Now, let’s delve into the specific aspects of care that will ensure your neon tetras thrive in their environment.

Tank Setup

Setting up a suitable tank is the first step in caring for neon tetras. As these fish are small, a tank size of at least 10 gallons will suffice. A larger tank is always better, as it provides more swimming space and dilutes any changes in water chemistry. Make sure to have a lid on the tank to prevent them from jumping out.

Neon tetras are shoaling fish, meaning they prefer to be in groups. Aim for a minimum of six to eight tetras in a single tank. More is even better, as they feel more secure in a larger group. Ensure that the tank is well-filtered and aerated to maintain good water quality. Roughly 25% of the tank water should be replaced every two weeks to keep the water clean.

Water Conditions

Maintaining proper water conditions is crucial for the health of your neon tetras. The ideal temperature range for neon tetras is between 72°F and 78°F (22°C to 26°C). Use a heater to maintain a stable temperature and a thermometer to monitor it regularly. pH levels should be slightly acidic to neutral, ideally between 6.0 and 7.0.

Regularly test the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels using a reliable test kit. Ammonia and nitrite levels should be zero, while nitrate levels should be kept below 20 parts per million (ppm). In addition to regular water changes, investing in a quality water conditioner will remove harmful chemicals and ensure the water is safe for the fish.

Diet and Feeding

Neon tetras are omnivores and should be fed a varied diet to keep them healthy and active. You can start with high-quality flake food specifically formulated for tropical fish. Supplement their diet with small portions of live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. These can be offered once or twice a week as a treat.

Feeding neon tetras twice a day, in small quantities that they can consume within a few minutes, is ideal. This prevents overfeeding and helps maintain good water quality. Uneaten food should be removed promptly to prevent it from decomposing and polluting the water.


When it comes to choosing tankmates for neon tetras, peaceful and non-aggressive fish are the best options. Avoid keeping them with fin-nippers or large predatorial fish that may prey on the smaller tetras. Some suitable tankmates include guppies, corydoras catfish, and small rasboras. Remember to research and consider the specific needs of each potential tankmate before adding them to the aquarium.

Common Diseases

Neon tetras are generally hardy fish, but they are still susceptible to certain diseases. The most common ailments include ich (white spots on the body), fin rot, and swim bladder disorder. Maintaining optimal water conditions, providing a balanced diet, and regular observation will help prevent these issues. If you notice any signs of illness, it is advisable to seek advice from a veterinarian experienced in fish health.


Caring for neon tetras may sound daunting at first, but with a little know-how, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Remember to provide them with a suitable tank setup, maintain stable water conditions, and feed them a varied diet. By doing so, you can ensure that your neon tetras live long and healthy lives, brightening up your aquarium with their vibrant colors. So, go ahead and dive into the world of neon tetras – you won’t be disappointed!