Green Neon Tetra Aquarium Care, Feeding and Native Habitat Information
The Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) is found throughout the backwater tributaries and flood plains of the upper Rio Negro and Rio Orinoco. Despite having the word green in their name, Green Neon Tetra exhibit both blue and green coloration depending on the lighting and the angle the light reflects off their neon stripe. The light reflecting off of their neon stripe allows for shoals of Green Neon Tetra to see each other and stay together in the leaf littered dimly lit waters in which they live. The slow moving blackwater tributaries where the Green Neon Tetra originate are known for their leaf covered substrates and dim, jungle canopy filtered sunlight. The peat and leaf littered creek beds keep the pH of the water in the 4.0 to 5.0 range and the shallow water depth allows the water temperature to rise into the 80's during the peak day sunlight. Overall Green Neon Tetra are not difficut to keep in the home aquarium, but they are sensitive to pH values over 6.5 and to water temperatures below the mid 70's. At an adult size of just about 1 inch in length, the Green Neon Tetra is only suitable for species biotope aquariums or community / planted aquariums containing only small peaceful tropical community fish species.
Despite the small size of the Green Neon Tetra, they are not very suitable for very small 3 to 5 gallon pico aquariums as they need both stable water parameters and plenty of swimming room. While they are a smaller species, the streams they originate from in the wild have a large volume of water passing through them which keeps the water parameters stable. They are also used to having plenty of room to dart in and out of the vegetation, and will appreciate having plenty of space in the home aquarium as well. A 12 gallon nano-cube or 20 gallon standard aquarium should be considered a starting point in regards to aquarium size for the this species. Their small size and shy disposition makes the Green Neon Tetra only suitable for very peaceful community aquariums that do not have semi-aggressive species like Angelfish, Catfish and Barbs. They will do well in a biotope setup, species only or when housed with only other smaller peaceful fish species. Green Neon Tetra are a shoaling species that should be kept in groups of at least 6 to 10 individuals, which will help make them more comfortable in the aquarium environment. Competition for females in the group will also bring out the males coloration and provide some interesting behavior as they compete for the females attentions.
A proper aquarium setup for housing Green Neon Tetra's should include a sandy substrate, plenty of vegetation and plenty of areas in the aquarium that are shaded or dimly lit. The aquarium should ideally be planted with plenty of ground cover plants and driftwood to provide hiding places and habitat that the Green Neon Tetra will feel comfortable in. Floating plants and plants that grow to the surface and then cover the surface are ideal for Green Neon Tetra aquariums as they filter the strong aquarium lighting and create areas within the tank that are more dimly lit. The tinted water and acidic water can be replicated by adding dried leaves, peat or products like black water extract to the aquarium to both tint and condition the water. Decaying leaves on the bottom of the aquarium will also provide a supplemental food source, as the decomposition of the leaves will provide food for micro-organisms that the Green Neon Tetra can then feed on.
In the wild Green Neon Tetra prey on micro-foods in the form of small insects, crustaceans, worms and zooplankton. As these foods are difficult to reproduce within the home aquarium, commercial foods ranging from frozen and freeze-dried worms and daphnia to crushed flake foods can be fed in their place. Green Neon Tetra should be fed a varied diet of flake, freeze-dried and frozen meaty foods that are small enough in size for the Green Neon Tetra to consume. Crushed quality flake foods, tubifex worms, cyclop-eeze, baby brine shrimp and similar food items should be fed a couple of times per day. Feed an amount that the fish will consume within a 3 to 5 minute period.