Best Tips On How To Take Care Of Neon Tetra Fish

care for neon tetra

You need your neon tetras to be sound and healthy and will probably try everything to keep them safe. So, how can you take care of neon tetras? What measures do you need to take to keep them healthy and happy?

Neon Tetras are quite easy to care for and are hardy, once they adjust well to the new environment. All you need to do is give them ideal water and tank conditions so that Neon Tetras can thrive in captivity.

There are a few measures you need to take before jumping to conclusions. And the list of what-to-do and what-not-to-do while taking care of Neon tetras is not long, so you need to spare a little time and look into it.

You can learn enough if you look thoroughly through this article.

Neon Tetras: An Overview

There are few basic things you need to know about neon tetras in wild. The climate and the condition there determine how you need to prepare your home aquarium.

Neon Tetras are tropical fish generally found amazon basin with a temperature of around 68-82°F. They live in acidic blackwater streams with pH between 4-7.5.

In the wild, neon tetras feed well on both plants and small insects, they eat from algae, floating detritus, and microorganisms.

Learn in detail about Neon Tetra from A Complete Care Guide For Beginners

Factors That Determine The Safety Of Neon Tetras

Some of the major things, if done right, change the fate of your neon tetras and guarantee their well-being.

Here is the list of factors that decides whether your neon tetras will be safe or not in captivity:

Tank Size

Well, this is the basic thing you need to start fish keeping with. The tank size and safety of the fish are directly proportional to each other.

Neon Tetras, at the very least, need a 10-gallons tank that can handle a small school of neon tetras easily.

Any lesser than this makes them suffocated in the small space as they can not swim freely and happily. Stress that results from the small tank can even be the death of neon tetras.

The best 20-gallon tank in the market at an affordable price is Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit, Includes LED Lighting and Decor.

Besides, you can get an idea about the Best Tank Size For Tetra Fish? Neon, Cardinal, and Other Similar Tetras from here.


Neon Tetras are omnivores and feed on anything you provide them. they do not make any fuss about the food and are easy going on this case.

They eat from meat to any vegetable as long as they are not larger than their mouth.

Some of the related articles about the neon tetra diet are:


Neon tetras are well-known for their schooling nature. They thrive only when they are kept in a school with more than 6 members.

The ideal school size of Neon Tetra is 10-13 members in a 20-gallons tank. Neon tetra gets stress and eventually dies if the ideal school size is not met.

Are Tetras Schooling Fish? – Easy Schooling Fish. Check out here!


Neon Tetras are small fish, so they easily become prey to larger fish. So, it is wise to keep the neon tetras with the fish of the same temperament, size, and water conditions.

Some relatable articles about neon tetra and tankmates are:

Water Parameters

The ideal water parameters that neon tetras ask for are:

pH – 5.5 to 6.8

Ammonia – Zero

Nitrite – zero

Nitrate – 20 ppm

Temperature – 72 to 81 °F

Alkalinity – 1 to 2 dKH

General Hardness – less than 10 dGH

To learn more about Water Parameters for Tetra Fish: Stable Water Condition, click here.


Plants give natural look to the tank and also acts as a biological filter that removes impurities from the tank.

They also providing playing and hiding space to these active and playful tetras.

If you are looking for the best plants for your tetra aquarium, I have mentioned it in another article here.


Ornaments not only decorate the tank but also makes neon tetras comfortable in their new home.

These things provide the substrate to algae and hiding space for scared tetras. Fear is one of the main reasons that stress and eventually kills the neon tetras.

Aquarium Placement

Any presence of direct sunlight in the tank can bring consequences you will not like or even think about. And the constant change in room temperature affects the temperature of the tank.

So, tank placement plays a vital role in the well-being of the fish. Neon tetras are quite sensitive to any change, and stress is the prime result while these changes occur.


Oxygen is a vital gas in the respiration process of most living beings. If there is not sufficient oxygen present in the tank, your neon tetras will have breathing difficulty.

They start moving towards the surface for oxygen and sometimes gasp while breathing. For this, you can use an air pump like Tetra Whisper Easy to Use AP150 Air Pump for Aquariums. It is one of the most affordable ones you will get on amazon.

How Can You Take Care Of Neon Tetras?

You can do certain things that will help your neon tetra to be happy and healthy. Some of them are mentioned below:

Cycling The Tank

Cycle your tank for a few weeks before keeping or adding neon tetras in it to make sure water is free from parasites and harmful bacteria.

School Size

If you genuinely care about your neon tetra, then never keep them alone. They tend to get lonely, upset, and stress if kept alone.

These tetras need a school of a minimum of 6 members to thrive well in the tank. It is even better to get 15-20 neon tetras in a tank with a capacity of 20-gallons.

Are Tetras Schooling Fish? Find out more about Easy Schooling Fish here.


You need to feed them on time and twice a day. And remember to feed them food not more than the size of their eye or what they can eat within 2 minutes.

You also need to make sure they are getting enough nutrients through the food you are giving them. Also, make sure you only feed them tropical fish food, not bread or food for cichlids or other large fish.

Do Tetra Fish Eat Algae? – Should You Add Algae To Their Diet? Check it out!


The slightest change in the temperature makes neon tetras stressed and upset. So, it is necessary to maintain the ideal temperature fore Neon Tetra between 72-78 degree Fahrenheit (22-25 degree Celsius) all the time.

You need to feel the water once in a while to see if the water is well-heated or not or you can use a thermometer to check it.

For the water heater, you can use AQQA Mini Submersible Aquarium Heater while for the thermometer, the best one would be Fish Tank Thermometer, Touch Screen Digital Aquarium Thermometer with LCD Display, Stick-on Temperature Sensor ensures Optimum Temperature in Terrarium.

Maintain The Ideal Water Quality

Any presence of ammonia or nitrite in the water brings diseases and stresses to the neon tetras. So, it is necessary to get a test kit from the pet store to check the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate level.

If you learn more about Tetra Fish Diseases and Treatments, you will be able to find out when your tetras are sick.

And, of course, the presence of physical impurities hinders the swimming of these neon tetras. You need to make no pollutants are present in the tank water.

Oxygen Level

Fish, too, need oxygen in the water for their respiration process. Neon tetras show stress and other behavioral change when the oxygen demand is not met.

You need to watch their actions carefully and make sure the oxygen level is sufficient in the tank. For that, you can use the air pump that I have mentioned above.

Well-planted Tank

When you want to take proper care of your neon tetras, you want to give them an environment that somewhat mimics their natural habitat.

Plants not only give tetras the homelike feeling but also act as a biological filter while clearing out ammonia and nitrite.

A well-planted tetra tank makes sure there is enough hiding space for neon tetras when they are stressed or scared.

Limited Light Time

In no way on earth, you can provide light in the tank more than it is necessary. If you keep the light bright and continuous in the tank, it can trigger the growth of algae rapidly and unnecessarily.

Covering The Tank

Cover the lid properly and make sure no fish can escape from the aquarium. Neon Tetras tend to jump out of the aquarium when the lid is open.

Every living being is curious, and curiosity leads these tetras to jump out of the tank and meet its death.

Equipment You Need To Take Care Of Neon Tetras

If you want your tetras to be happy and healthy in the aquarium, a few things will cause a hole in your wallet.

But these things are worth it when it comes to taking care of your neon tetras.


You need to attain the ideal temperature in the tank to take good care of the neon tetras. And here the heater comes along and acts like a hero.

The heater provides sufficient heat to the water till it reaches the optimum temperature that neon tetras ask for.

So, you need to get a good heater, even two heaters to make sure the temperature is ideal throughout the tank.

I suggest AQQA Mini Submersible Aquarium Heater for a neon tetra tank.


To get appropriate water quality, you need a device that can clear out all the physical and chemical impurities present in the water.

The filter with both mechanical and biological filter media works effectively to clear all the chemical impurities like ammonia, nitrite, etc. and physical impurities like dead plants, dead fish, etc.

The hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter, Comes with 2 Spare Sponges, and Tetra Decorative ReptoFilter, Terrarium Filtration are the two filters that I find useful for the neon tetras.

Air Pump

The oxygen level tends to fluctuate in the aquarium and an air pump helps to attain the oxygen demand.

An air pump also gives aesthetic look with all the bubbles and makes your aquarium more beautiful.

How Can You Make Sure Your Neon Tetras Are Healthy?

Your neon tetras show the following signs when they are healthy:

  1. They are active.
  2. The tetra is swimming happily in their school.
  3. These tetras feed properly.
  4. They are playful and happy.

I have also written about the Lifespan of Tetra Fish | Keeping you Tetras Healthy and Happy. Click here to read!

How Can You Know When Your Fish Is Hungry?

When your fish is hungry, they start showing the following behavior. If they show any of these signs, feed them as soon as possible.

  1. They start acting slow and sluggish.
  2. These tetras probably start digging around the substrate in search of food.
  3. You can notice the change in their body size and weight.
  4. They wait around the surface clearly showing the wait for food.
  5. Neon tetras tend to show aggression once they start to get hungry.

How Can You If Your Fish Is Sick Or Not?

There are certain signs that your fish shows when it starts getting sick. You need to be extra careful and even turn Sherlock Holmes when it comes down to your fish health.

Watch them closely to see if your neon tetras show any of the following symptoms:

  1. If they start acting lazy or sluggish
  2. They show loss of appetite (Do not rush to eat their food)
  3. Starts to swim erratically
  4. Fins are clamped to their body
  5. Sulking
  6. Scratching or scraping their body against the wall or other substrates in the aquarium
  7. White spots on their body
  8. If they are floating around the surface or swimming on the surface all the time
  9. Gasping for air or shows difficulty in breathing
  10. Change in the coloration

If they show any of these signs, it is wise to quarantine the fish showing these symptoms and consult a good veterinarian immediately.

Related articles about neon tetras sickness are:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Neon Tetras Hardy?

Yes, Neon Tetras are hardy but only after they get familiar with their new environment. Once they are comfortable in their new home tank, then it is quite easy for them to adjust to subtle changes.

Find out more on Are Tetras Hardy Fish? – Different Parameter Levels.

Are Neon Tetras Easy To Keep?

Neon Tetras are ideal fish for beginners for this very reason. Yes, these small, colorful tetras are easy to keep and easy to care for when you know what to do and when to do.

Will Neon Tetras Jump Out Of The Tank?

If you are careless enough to leave the aquarium lid open, then your small curious tetras tend to jump out of the tank. Curiosity gets the best every time and here neon tetra tends to lose their life with their curiosity.


In conclusion, Neon tetras are the ideal choice if you are new at fish keeping. The care, however, can be quite confusing when you start without general knowledge about your fish.

Neon Tetras are easy to handle and care for if the factors are well-managed. You need to make sure every ideal requirement is met, and in no time, you will have a happily floating school of neon tetras blessing your aquarium with their beauty.

Related article: Can Neon Tetra Live in a Fishbowl?

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