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Neon Tetra

(Paracheirodon innesi)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 1"
• Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons   • Water Conditions: 68-76° F, KH 4-8, pH 4.8-7.0
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Amazon, South America   • Family: Characidae
• Species: Tetras   • Aquarium Type: Community

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Species Information

Neon Tetra native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi) originate from the streams and flooded woodlands of South America. Their native habitats also range from areas with substrates covered in leaves, branches and tree roots to areas with clear water, sandy substrates and dense growth of aquatic and bog plants. Despite still being collected in the wild, their immense popularity within the aquarium hobby has led to extensive breeding programs that breed large numbers of specimens for the commercial trade.

They are a relatively small fish, but are very impressive when kept in medium to large schools. When kept in a good sized school, their bright colors and darting swimming motion are truly impressive to watch. Mixed groups of Neons and Cardinal Tetra will also readily school together, with the bigger the school, the better they tend to look. Neons do very well in most community tropical freshwater aquariums, where their tank mates are of similar calm disposition and are not large enough to see the Neon as food.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Neon Tetra in the home aquarium.

Due to their small size, Neon Tetra can be comfortably housed in smaller aquariums and even nano tanks. However, they should be kept in schools of 8 or more individuals and aquariums of at least 10 to 20 gallons or more. As is the case with most small fish species, stable water parameters are very important. Quick fluctuations of water temperature, pH, etc. can shock the fish and cause them to be more susceptible to stress related diseases or even cause death.

The ideal tank conditions for Neon Tetra will include: stable pH & water temperatures around 78° F, low to moderate water flow, plenty of both tall and ground cover vegetation, tree root or driftwood and peaceful community fish tank mates.

The Neon Tetra is one of the most peaceful species available within the aquarium hobby. They do well in any peaceful community aquarium containing small to medium community fish species and non-predatory medium sized Cichlids. Keys to successfully keeping Neon Tetra with larger community species include: keeping them in groups of eight or more individuals, providing plenty of vegetation or other suitable cover, providing adequate space in the aquarium (prevent over crowding) and keeping their larger tank mates well fed.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Neon Tetra and provide a healthy diet.

In the wild Neon Tetra feed on a variety of items including: small invertebrates, small crustaceans, insect larvae, filamentous algae and other similar fare. Being an omnivore, hobbyists should provide a mix of algae, vegetable based and meaty foods. Quality commercial flake, freeze-dried or frozen foods make an excellent staple diet.

Hobbyists should also mix in items like bloodworms, daphnia, baby brine, etc. in order to vary the diet and provide a balanced diet. It is best to feed small amounts of food 1 to 3 times per day and occasional abstain from feeding for a day or so from time to time.

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