Do Neon Tetras Eat Algae As Their Food? How Do I Prepare Algae Wafers

Do Neon Tetras Eat Algae

Are you planning to get Neon Tetra for your aquarium? Are you wondering whether to remove algae from the tank or not? And above all, the main question is, do Neon Tetras eat algae?

Algae are one of the main foods they savor in the wild, and it is no different in the aquarium. Provided that there are favorable conditions and adequate algae, Neon Tetras can feed off from that.

If you are serious about keeping the Neon tetra in the tank, then take a few minutes to learn the basics about its feeding habits and algae.

The Feeding Habit Of Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are tropical fish. Their feeding habit is as simple as it can be.

These tetras are known for their omnivorous nature, in the wild, they feed on microorganisms, floating organic matters, and algae.

Neon Tetras generally feed on some kinds of Algae, and the types include some green ones: Chlamydomonas, Conjugatophyta, and Volvocaceae, as well as Unicellular diatoms: Navicularia and Pinnularia.

Gather more information about “Why Is My Neon Tetra Not Eating? – Here Is What You Can Do”.

So, What Is Algae?

You must know about Algae before you know whether Neon tetras ingest it or not, and if they do, is it good or bad.

Algae (singular: alga) is a large group of simple, non-flowering aquatic plants, these plants are photosynthetic as they contain Chlorophyll; however, they lack true stem, leaves, roots, and vascular tissue.

They are unicellular or multicellular based on their types. Y. You may have heard about some of them, for instance, seaweeds, pond scum, etc.

Do Neon Tetras Eat Algae?

As algae are the major plants of the freshwater and neon tetras are omnivorous, these two are closely related.

So, the answer will be affirmative here, Yes, Neon tetras eat algae, not only in the wild but in the aquarium environment too. You can find more on ‘Do Tetra Fish Eat Algae? – Should You Add Algae To Their Diet?’ from here.

Neon tetras are fun to feed and in the case of aquatic plants, they unquestionably devour those small algae present in the aquarium.

Even commercial foods for Neon tetras like algae wafers have algae as the major ingredient. You can easily shop it and feed it to your Neon Tetras.

But, if you are talking about big gulps of these plants, then the answer will be No, as Neon Tetras are very small fish so the size of their food is smaller as well.

I have also written an article about Tetra Fish Diet | What do Tetra Fish Eat: A Complete Guide. Check it out!

Nutritional Value

These aquatic plants are way unique in their characteristics than we give credit to. Their cell wall is digestible, making nutrients easily available for fish.

And fish can easily ingest these simple plants, thanks to their small shape and size, Neon tetras need a small size of food which makes microalgae their easy diet.

In the aquatic food chain, Algae act as a primary producer, they offer many essential phytonutrients, particularly PUFAs (Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids) – e.g. DHA, arachidonic acid (AA), and EPA.

They also contain a high level of antioxidants, the concentration of proteins and carotenoids varies much between the algal types.

What are the Different Types of Algae Found in Your Tank?

You are quite familiar with the algal growth in your tank. Here is the list of a few of them you can find in the tank:

Gold Slime

Gold slime is the most common and the one you will abundantly see in your tank. Fish happily feed on Gold slime and helps to keep up the growth of them as well.

These types of aquatic plants mostly occur and thrive in the new aquarium and the low lit aquarium, but they are easily wiped out from the tank after the introduction of fish in the aquarium.

Green Slime

Green slime is common in both tanks and among the fish as food. They are less seen in the aquarium because fish eat them up as soon as they grow in the tank.

Moreover, green slime does not need specific algae-eater to control their growth as they are a popular food among every fish.

Green Water

One of the rarest types of algae is the Green Water ones, but “rare algae” does not mean they are beneficial for the tank. These are the headache for both fish and the owner.

They are toxic to the fish, and the owner gets a hard time cleaning it up. You have to get rid of the whole tank to completely remove widely spread Green Water.

Find out more about ‘How to Clean a Tetra Fish Tank? [Step-by-Step]’.

Thread Algae

You may have heard about hair algae as Thread algae. These algae look like thin wires or threads and float on the surface of the water in the tank. Likewise, they grow fast and are seen stuck on the different surfaces of the tank.

Brush Algae

Brush algae look like thick tufts of hair and stick to the plants and ornaments present in the tank. They are fondly eaten and savored by algae-eaters.

Green Dot

Green Dot Algae is another common type that is not quite preferred as food, and those who eat them, cannot control or end their growth.

These grow in the form of small dots and multiply pretty fast completely coating the aquarium glass.

Blue/Green Algae

The most heard or known types are Blue/Green Algae; they are, as their name suggests, either blue or green color.

These algae float on the surface of the water in the tank. But these are another type that most of the fish refuse to ingest as they are highly toxic.

Black Beard

You may have seen a few dark purplish or blackish algae in your tank, the name of those particular ones is the Black beard. They grow on aquarium plants, and algae-eaters fondly eat them.

What Type of Algae Do Neon Tetras Eat In The Aquarium?

In the case of algae, they show a zero difference compared to the wild in the types they feed on, they savor the same types in the tank as they do in the wild.

The types they ingest, include some green ones: Chlamydomonas, Conjugatophyta, and Volvocaceae and those unicellular diatoms: Navicularia and Pinnularia.

You may also like Do Tetra Fish Eat Shrimp? Do you Need To Worry?

Is Algae Good for Your Neon Tetras?

If you are talking about the feeding habit, then there is no doubt Algae is good for Neon Tetras.

Everything that has high nutritional value is a boon for everyone, Algae are full of nutrients that help in the growth and survival of the Neon Tetras.

But if the algal growth upright its limit, then there will be consequences you’ll not want in your tank, the increment in the algal growth brings on problems like the cloudy, unclear, and unhealthy aquarium.

You can also check out 4 Step Process on How To Keep Tetra Fish Happy And Healthy.

What are Algae wafers?

These small disc-like wafers are very popular among aquarists for their nutritional value, Algae wafers are made up of compressed different types of algae and many vegetables.

These wafers make it easier to feed the right quantity of algae to your aquarium fish. They are nutritionally enriched, reliable, and less chaotic.

There are large varieties of algae wafers you can buy from the store; however, Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers Fish Food is now the best wafers available in the market.

How To Feed These Wafers To Neon Tetras?

It is easy to feed wafers to any fish, let alone Neon Tetras. All you have to do is break one alga wafer into multiple small pieces and put them into the tank. These wafers sink in the tank and start absorbing water.

Neon Tetras can easily find algae wafers on the surface of the tank and this will feed them for a few days.

Some articles about tetras and food that you may like:

Can You Prepare Algae Wafers For Your Neon Tetras At Home?

Yes, it is quite a workload to prepare these wafers at home but that does not mean you can’t do it.

The step by step process of preparing them is given below:

  1. Collect algae that are preferred by Neon Tetras.
  2. Boil the collected plants in the container to kill off unwanted materials.
  3. Pre-heat the oven at 120 degrees Celsius.
  4. Make the paste of boiled algae with the help of a food processor or mortar and pestle.
  5. Add a little amount of plain flour equal to 5% of the algae used.
  6. The shape and size of the patties similar to the store-bought wafer.
  7. Put them in the oven and leave the door open as you do not want to cook them.
  8. Supervise them until they are dehydrated completely, they will go from being leathery to puffed up.
  9. Squish them down when algae wafers are ready.
  10. Let them dry a little more for a few days, they will turn into a dense leathery texture.

Does the Feeding Habit of Neon Tetras Affect the Algal Growth in the Tank?

As it is clear that Neon Tetras feed on algae as their food supplement; but their feeding habit makes a minimal effect on algal growth.

If your aquarium is well-lit and has the correct condition, these aquatic plants grow abundantly despite the Neon Tetras feeding off it, Neon tetras barely nip them; but not enough to make a difference to algal growth.

You can also get a better knowledge of the 10 best aquarium plants for your tetra tank.

How Can You Maintain Minimum Algal Growth In Your Neon Tetra Tank?

You can never get rid of these aquatic plants completely, and it is okay as they give a natural look to your aquarium. However, more is never good if it is not beneficial for your fish, not even unlimited algal supply.

There are some simple ways to reduce algal growth in the tank:

Aquarium Lights

Even direct sunlight or artificial lights give algae enough light to grow and spread. Once you keep up the lighting and time interval for illuminating your aquarium, algal growth is automatically reduced.

Tetra Hidden LED Stick Light for Aquariums and Brilliant White is a good option for neon tetra tank as they cannot live in extremely bright lights either.

No Overfeeding

Overfeeding your fish leads to the high excretion of ammonia which activates the algal growth as these aquatic plants consume and thrive on ammonia source.

Water Change

If you want your aquarium alga free, then it is better to change 25-30% of the water in the aquarium regularly.

Tap Water Test

Tap water is a great means of transportation for an alga to get into the aquarium, that’s why it is better to test tap water before introducing it into the tank.

For this, a test kit like API Aquarium Test Kit could help you out.

Maintenance Of Aquarium Filter Media

Algae thrive when they get the essential nutrients like ammonia and phosphates, filter media removes both the nutrients from the tank. That’s why it is better to check from time to time whether it is working or not. Cleaning the mechanical filter media daily helps a lot.

Do Neon Tetras Need Filter To Survive? and Types of Aquarium Filter For Tetra Fish and Filtration Methods could help you gain some idea about the filter media for neon tetra tank.

Cleaning Equipment

If you could not prevent the algal growth in the tank, then you can dive into the next technique. You can buy cleaning equipment like an aquarium gravel vacuum, etc., to get rid of extra growth.

I would suggest you to get COODIA Vacuum Gravel Cleaner Automatic Aquarium Sludge Extractor as it is affordable and works wonders.


In conclusion, Neon tetras will eat anything until it is in extremely small pieces. The case with algae is no different, Neon Tetras will savor them as long as it is small and non-toxic. But the uncontrollable algal growth brings about chaos and issues in the tank; that’s why it is better to choose the correct equipment and measures to make the tank as natural as possible. You can never fully get rid of these aquatic plants from the tank, so it is better to make a wise decision of letting a few algae grow. Algal growth gives natural look to the aquarium and free food for the Neon Tetras.

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