Neon Tetra

The Lifespan of Neon Tetra – How Long Does a Neon Tetra Live For?

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You might have heard about the Neon Tetra, also known as Paracheirodon Innesi, haven’t you? Neon Tetras are tropical, freshwater fish and belong to the Characidae family of the order Characiforms. These fish are one of the most famous and beautiful types of species due to their vivid colors. Neon Tetras are easy-to-care as these fish are peaceful beings with energetic temperament. Talking about their colorations, Blue, Red, and Translucent colored Neon Tetras exist to date. But do you know about the Lifespan of the Neon Tetra?

I’ve been really interested to know about the Lifespan of the Neon Tetra as well, so I’ve done a little bit of research. Neon Tetra generally lives up to 8 years and can extend up to 10 years depending upon the overall care you give to the fish. Care not only regarding dietary control but regarding the water parameters and tank conditions as well. Always remember that the fish are really sensitive to change in water conditions and it might lead to severe health problems. Furthermore, it’s not that hard to keep a Neon Tetra because they aren’t aggressive beings.

In this article, I will also share some of the best tips to improve the longevity of the lifespan of your fish. Before we start, let’s review the basic background of the Neon Tetra.

Origin of the Neon Tetra

Neon Tetras were discovered in 1934 and were native to blackwater and clearwater streams(Orinoco and Amazon river basins) of South American countries like Brazil, Peru, and Columbia.  Their inhabitant location was in such a place where only little light passed through. So, the tank-kept Neon Tetras naturally love a darker environment as well.


The popularity of the fish led them to breeding trade in Asian countries like Thailand, Hongkong, and Singapore. There are wide ranges of Neon Tetras available today as some hobbyists have bred the fish through the selective processing.

Now, the main question that comes to your mind is about the lifespan of the fish. Am I right? How long can the fish live? Where can the Neon Tetras be kept so that they live longer, and how? Read till the end to find out.

The lifespan of Neon Tetra

The average lifespan of the Neon Tetra is 5 to 8 years. However, the fish can live up to 10 years if you care about the overall diet, water parameters, and tank conditions.

Improve the longevity of the lifespan of Neon Tetra

Now that you know about the average lifespan of the Neon Tetra, you must know how to keep them healthy and ultimately increase their average lifespan. Even though the fish are very easy to care for, you must not be careless at all. I have mentioned some of the useful tips down below. I’m sure it will be helpful for you. So, let’s begin.

 Find the Best Neon Tetra Genetics

If you are a true hobbyist in Neon Tetra fish keeping, the first and foremost step is you must opt for the fish with good genetics. I mean, why would you risk your time and money? Isn’t it?

In other words, I would suggest you buy your Neon Tetra from an experienced breeder or a reputed fish store that focuses on breeding good genetic fish. However, some fish-keeping hobbyists claim that the fish-store Neon Tetras live comparatively less. So, you can buy your fish directly from an experienced fish breeder. It will prove to be the best start for you to improve the lifespan of your Neon Tetra.

Give your Neon Tetra a proper Balanced Diet

Just like you require a balanced diet in your healthy living, your fish requires the same as well. But, do you know which food can be the best for your Neon Tetras?

You may already know that wild Neon Tetra fish are Omnivores. They consume both vegetations and live beings.  The fish usually consumes algae, insect larvae, and extremely small invertebrates.

The tank-kept Neon Tetra would love all types of food like flakes/ pellets, live(Daphnia, Bloodworms, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex, etc.), and frozen food. However, readymade packaged food contains artificial ingredients and lots of chemicals. So, you can make homemade food for your fish as well. Homemade fish food is cost-effective and healthier. Although, you must carefully choose the ingredients because it is essential to match all the dietary requirements of your fish.

The most important part is to know that your Neon Tetra will consume as much food as you provide. But remember, overfeeding isn’t right because it will cause severe health problems.

It is best to feed twice a day to the younger ones but just enough to engage them for 3 minutes. As they get older, you can reduce feeding only once a day.

Also Read: How To Feed Tetra Fish Fry Properly

Check the Tank Conditions

Just like all other fishes, Neon Tetras are sensitive and fragile beings as well. The tank must match their natural environment because the fish need to adapt very well.

A newly cycled tank is not suitable for your fish as slight changes in the water can even kill them. So, you must understand that a pre-established, matured tank is the best option for your fish.

Keep the Right Size and Quantity Of Neon Tetra

Even if Neon Tetras are community fish and can live with a larger group, the fish require adequate space for themselves.  An uncomfortable environment leads them to stress and depression. So, you must be fully aware.

The size of the tank and the quantity of the water simply depends upon the total number of the Neon Tetra that you will keep, though.

The smallest size is 10 gallons of water.  However, if you intend to keep a minimum of 15 Neon Tetras together, then you must keep them in at least 20 gallons of water. It means that the community tank should at least be 50 cm(20 inches) long.

Also Read:

How Many Neon Tetras in a 10-gallon tank

Best Tank Size For Tetra Fish?

Maintain Water Parameters

Remember that Neon Tetras are sensitive. These fish need extra care in the water parameters as slight changes will be harmful to their health.

The ideal water temperature for the Neon Tetra is between 71 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, the PH level should be between 6.0 to 7.0. The Neon Tetra fish prefer soft water(less than 10 DGH).  Since these are freshwater fish, they prefer slightly acidic water as well. Neon Tetras can’t live in tap water as it may contain excessive salt. However, one or two tablespoons of salt will not cause any harm to the fish.

You can keep a water heater and a temperature testing kit to maintain the water temperature every time. Also, an automatic proper filtration system to prevent beneficial bacteria and to clean the water is the best idea for your fish tank.

Read Full Article On:

Water Parameters for Tetra Fish: Stable Water Condition

Are Tetras Hardy Fish? – Different Parameter Levels

Decorate and Keep Substrates In Your Aquarium

Like I said earlier, the tank must replicate their natural environment. The Neon Tetra needs enough darkness and adequate areas to hide/rest in, so make sure the tank is full of plants. The use of driftwood is the best option for the tank as it will create enough darkness and shades for your fish. You should also consider putting a dark-colored substrate for the tank because Neon Tetras love a darker environment.

Provide a Good Lighting System

Even though Neon Tetra prefers a darker environment, they prefer subdued lighting in their tank for 12 to 14 hours a day because it helps the fish maintain circadian rhythm. Furthermore, the fish look excellently glorious and radiant in the black light as well.

In short, providing the fish with suitable water parameters and a homely environment can be the best way to make the fish happier and stress-free.

Know The Best Tankmates for the Neon Tetra

You already know that Neon Tetras are peaceful beings and can live with a larger group of fish. These are a community fish, and keeping a school of them will add more vividness in your tank.  But, do you know which other types of species are the best suitable tankmates for your fish?

Remember that Neon Tetras are smaller in size(1-3 inches), so avoid larger and aggressive fish like Betta Splendens, Angelfish, and Cichlids. Some ideal tankmates for your Neon Tetra fish are Cardinal Tetras, Gouramis(except Giant, Pearl, and Opaline), Guppies, Barbs, Mollies, Small Catfish(Cory), American Dwarf Frogs, and Dwarf Cichlids, etc.

Read Full Article On Neon And Cardinal Tetra Tank Mates – Compatible Tank Mates

Also Read: 12 Best Tetra Fish Tank Mates And Fish To Avoid

Follow Systematic Breeding Process

The breeding process of the Neon Tetra is not quite easy as you think. I would not recommend you to experiment with the breeding of the fish if you are a beginner in the fishkeeping world. It isn’t impossible if you are patient enough, though.

The first step is to recognize gender. Males are slim with flat stomachs, which means the blue strips are straight. On the other hand, Females are fat with a round belly, so the blue stripes are bent. Once you have a male and a female, you should put them in a separate breeding tank.

Like I said earlier, the water conditions play a vital role in keeping Neon Tetra. Neon Tetras are fragile and can’t stand unstable water conditions. However, it is more necessary for the breeding process. You must make sure that the pH level in the water is between 5.0 to 6.0. Also, 72 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit temperature is suitable for your Neon Tetra while breeding.

Besides water stability and tank conditions, the lighting system also plays a vital role in the breeding process. These fish prefer no light while mating. However, you can increase the light the next day to induce breeding. On the other hand, keep some live foods in the tank for the breeding pair as well.

Spawning usually happens in the morning. The male embraces the female to help her push the eggs out.  Neon Tetra might even jump during the mating process, so make sure the tank has a cover lid.

Unlike other fish species, Neon Tetras are egg scatters. It means that the females lay around 100 eggs at a time, and the males then fertilize them. However, you must know that Neon Tetras don’t care about their young ones and might even eat the eggs. So, it is best to remove them from the breeding tank right after the mating and fertilization are over.

The fry hatches in a maximum of 2 days and requires extra care in their food intake as well as water conditions to avoid health problems.

You can feed the fry with small foods like egg yolk, infusoria, rotifers, or some specialized fry foods which you can buy from the reputed fish stores or in the department stores.  Once they start growing after a few weeks, you can feed them with Brine Shrimp.

Also Read: How To Feed Tetra Fish Fry Properly | Dos and Don’ts With Alternative Fry Food

Figure out the Neon Tetra Disease and Safety Precautions

The Neon Tetra was the first one to get the disease, hence the name. However, this disease can attack other Tetras and other fish species as well. The Neon Tetra disease is fatal, and there is no cure found to date.

Some of the most common symptoms of the disease are body discoloration of the Neon Tetra, swimming bladder problems, Cysts(close sac-like structure within a tissue) development in their stomachs, shrink, and loss of the stomach mass, etc.

The parasite starts to decay the muscles in and out once it reaches the intestines of the fish.  As the disease has no cure, the death of your fish is the only end. It usually takes a week for the Neon Tetra to die, but it might even extend to a month or so depending upon how fast the parasite is spreading inside them.

If any of the Neon Tetra in your tank has caught the disease, separate it immediately, so that the other fish remain safe.

It is true when people say that Prevention is better than cure. To prevent your Neon Tetra from getting the disease, you must pay extra attention to the water conditions and the dietary balance of the fish. Give proper guidance and care to your Neon Tetra so the fish won’t have to face stress or depression, and finally, catch the disease. Maintaining good health is necessary as it automatically increases the chance of living longer.

Read Full Article On Tetra Fish Diseases and Treatments

Female or Male Neon Tetra – Which Live Longer?

I have kept Neon Tetra for years and didn’t find any factors to claim that female Neon Tetras live longer than male Neon Tetras, or vice versa. From my experience, I can tell that both the male and the female Neon TEtra live longer if they are kept separately. Females will have a lesser lifespan only if they breed all the time. Likewise, a male neon tetra will have a short lifespan only if they mate like crazy all the time.


I hope that you have understood a bit about the Neon Tetra. The lifespan of Neon Tetra and the ways to increase their longevity can only be maintained by how well you take proper care of your fish. You won’t regret keeping Neon Tetra as your pet fish because they are peaceful and will add glory in your life. The Neon Tetra fish is comparatively cheaper as well, so you don’t even have to spend much on them.

Lastly, the most important things for you to remember are that Neon Tetra are vulnerable to water changes and the living environment. Besides that, If you provide your fish with a properly balanced diet, suitable water parameters, tank conditions, be sure that your fish will be stress-free.  Hence, Happy and stress-less life always equals a healthy life.

Also Read: 4 Step Process on How To Keep Tetra Fish Happy And Healthy


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