Can Neon Tetra Survive In Cold Water?

Can Neon Tetra Survive In Cold Water

You want to read this article means you are interested in knowing whether you can keep Neon Tetras in cold water or not, right? Or are you a beginner in fishkeeping who wants to know about the standard temperature for your fish fries? Maybe you are a veteran and want to know if you could shift your Neon Tetras in your pond? All of these queries are based on one main question, can Neon Tetras survive in cold water?

Neon Tetras are Tropical fish found in the Amazon River Basin, where the climate is humid. Basically, Neon Tetras need a warmer water temperature and cannot survive in the cold water. 

In this article, I will discuss why Neon Tetras cannot live in cold water. Along with it, I will tell you some other related things that will help improve your fish keeping. So, stay tuned.

Why Can’t Neon Tetras Survive In Cold Water?

As I have already said, Neon Tetras are tropical fish. The natural habitat of this particular fish has a warm water temperature.

To be more specific, the water temperature in the Amazon basin is between 72°F to 80°F. Due to this, they find it hard to adapt to any temperatures below 72°F and above 80°F.

So ideal Neon Tetra temperature ranges from 72 degree Fahrenheit to 78 degree Fahrenheit.

In fact, except for the Bloodfin Tetras and Bueno Aires Tetras, all of the other Tetra family members, including the Neon Tetras favor warmer water.

But, it’s not like Neon Tetras will die instantly after you put them in the cold waters. For a limited amount of time, they will survive and try to adjust to the cold water.

Nevertheless, in time, cold water will take their toll on the Tetras as low temperature causes them stress. It is a result of damaged metabolism and probable diseases.

Furthermore, they will start showing various effects like fading of colors, sinking behaviors, growth on Neon Tetra’s mouth, and developing various diseases. Hence, Neon Tetras can not live in cold water.

How Does Temperature Affect Your Neon Tetras?

Neon Tetras are quite sensitive to the fluctuation of the temperature in their surroundings. It does not matter if it is a low temperature or high temperature. If Neon Tetras are exposed to any of them too much, it can turn fatal.

Neon Tetras In Low Temperatures

Neon Tetras don’t do well at low temperatures. They can survive at low temperatures for a limited time. This is mainly because their body tries to adjust itself to the water temperature.

Similarly, as already mentioned, cold water causes stress and probable diseases in Neon Tetras. As a result, their color fades away, they show sinking behavior, and tragically die in some cases.

Neon Tetras In High Temperatures

What about the high temperatures? Can Neon Tetras live in warmer water? Well, high temperature is no different from the low temperature as it also causes fatality to the fish. The Neon Tetras tend to show hyperactivity, increment in food consumption, fading of colors, and death.

As a result, the Neon Tetra fishkeepers need to monitor and maintain the standard water temperature inside the tank.

Can Neon Tetras Live Outside In The Pond?

If the climate of the location you live in is humid and the temperatures are around 84°F to 86°F, then you have an option of keeping Neon Tetras in your pond.

In contrast, let us suppose your locational climate is dynamic or even cold. Then, keeping your Neon Tetras highly depends on your ability to maintain the standard water temperature in the pond. But again, even if you can maintain the required temperature, it has high-risk factors.

Controlling and maintaining the temperature in the ponds is a difficult task. Moreover, it needs the installation of heating equipment inside the pond. Nevertheless, any malfunction of the heating equipment can prove fatal for your fish’s health.

Hence, if you can provide a continuous, suitable water temperature inside the pond, you can keep Neon Tetras in the pond. Otherwise, it’s highly recommended to keep them in the aquarium with a heater installed.

I would recommend AQQA Mini Submersible Aquarium Heater for neon tetra tank personally.

Is Sunlight A Reliable Option To Keep the Standard Temperature?

Sometimes some fellow fish keepers may have advised you to use sunlight for your tanks, right? And also told how using natural lighting in the tanks for maintaining temperature is a money-saving hack.

Well, in a technical sense, the sunlight does warm up the water temperature, and it’s free. It is not applicable for aquarium tanks containing not only Neon Tetras but all types of fish. Though, a sizeable pond can be an exception due to their size and depth.

The reasons you cannot place the aquarium containing your Neon Tetras under the direct sunlight are as follows:

Overheating Of Water Temperature

Sunlight can increase the water temperature above 72°F to 80°F, which is not suitable for the Neon Tetras. You cannot control the temperature as per your convenience while using natural light. Neon Tetras feel stress and uncomfortable in the water temperature above their standards.

Overgrowth Of Algae:

Neon Tetras are known to eat algae. But an overgrowth harms the live plants in the tank. Algae compete with the plants for resources and in time, with the lack of resources, plants can perish. Plants are important to Neon Tetras as they help in blocking additional brightness from lighting.

Exposure To Bright Light

Neon Tetras prefer subdued lighting instead of bright lighting in their aquarium. It is because bright sunlight can cause anxiety and stress.

Instead, use a heater and a lighting system for your aquarium inside. For lighting, I would choose Tetra Hidden LED Stick Light for Aquariums, Brilliant White.

Hence, I highly recommend using a heater instead of sunlight to maintain the temperature in the tank for Neon Tetras.

Why Is A Heater Important For Neon Tetras?

As of now, you may already know that the Neon Tetras need a standard temperature between 72°F to 80°F. In the Amazon Basin, the water is naturally warm with the mentioned temperature. But in the tank, a heater is required for maintaining the required temperature.

All types of fish obtain a better quality of life when kept in a place similar to their natural habitat. In this case, the heater helps to imitate the water temperature of Neon Tetra’s natural habitat. Hence, helping Neon Tetras to thrive in the tank.

Besides, the heaters can easily maintain the water temperatures in the aquarium according to your convenience. Due to which, you do not have to worry about any dynamism in the water temperature without your knowledge.

Find out more about “Do Neon Tetras Need Heater For Survival?”.

What Type Of Water Heater Is Suitable For Neon Tetras?

You will get various water heaters in the market like Submersible, Substrate, In-line, Hanging heaters, etc.

In the case of Neon tetras, I recommend the Submersible water heater. As the name suggests, the heater is installed completely submerged inside the aquarium.

Submersible water heaters consist of a built-in low voltage thermostat. The thermostat will automatically maintain the standard water temperature. You just have to set the temperature in the heater according to the needed temperature.

When the water reaches the desired temperature, it stops heating. The automatic feature of these heaters is extremely convenient in the case of Neon Tetras. Because Neon Tetras always need continuous maintenance of their standard temperature.

Moreover, the submersible water heater is considered the most reliable among other heaters by most of the veteran fishkeepers.

There are different brands of submersible water heaters. The current submersible water heater with the best user rating is Hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Tube Submersible Pinpoint Aquarium Heater

This heater consists of a digital thermostat for easy visuals. It also comes with a separate controller to set the desired temperature. As a result, the whole thermometer does not require to be removed from the aquarium.

However, if you want a cheaper one you can always go for AQQA Mini Submersible Aquarium Heater.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Know If A Neon Tetra Is Dying?

Neon Tetras are a small fish species that is very playful and active in the water. You can always see a school moving around in the aquarium. Due to which, you can easily know when something is wrong through the change in their behavior.

The following are the specific behavior changes that let you know if your Neon Tetra is dying:


Stress is the first thing you see in a Neon Tetra when they face sudden water chemistry or temperature change. Lack of proper cleanliness of the water causes toxicity in the aquarium water. Moreover, it is also enhanced due to the growth of bacteria.

Bacterial growth is the result of the bioload, remaining food, and an increase in ammonia level. Tetras will be stressed for a while until it finally succumbs to the stress.


Neon Tetras also show restlessness when the end is near. Usually, Neon Tetras are restless when they are in the process of adapting to a new environment. For example, when you introduce the fish to a new aquarium for the first time. If the fish is not able to adapt to the new water condition and chemistry, it dies.

Patternless Swimming

The unsynchronized swimming in a school, sinking behavior, or floating behavior, etc signifies something is wrong. When you see your Neon Tetras showing these swimming patterns, it’s a sign of stress, sickness, or their incoming death.

What Are The Types Of Fish Can Live In Cold Water?

The following are the fish species that can survive in cold water:

Final Words

Neon Tetras are those types of fish that do not compromise with cold water temperatures in any way possible. They need the exact warm conditions similar to their natural habitat to thrive inside the aquarium.

Otherwise, neon tetras tend to develop diseases that have no cure and prove to be fatal to their life. With the use of a heater, you can ensure their survival and good quality of life inside your tank.

Related Articles:

  1. The Lifespan of Neon Tetra – How Long Does a Neon Tetra Live For?
  2. Why Is My Neon Tetra Not Eating? – Here Is What You Can Do
  3. Neon Tetra Behavior: Are They Aggressive/Fighting or Playing?

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