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? 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. But do you know about the Lifespan of the Neon Tetra? Let’s talk about it, shall we?

The lifespan of neon tetras varies according to the environment they are in. in the wild, you will find them living happily up to 10 years with nearly no issues whatsoever. However, this automatically shortens by 2 to 5 years when you bring neon tetras into the aquarium in captivity.

You can still make them live for 10 years if you manage to maintain optimal water parameters and diet neon tetras ask for.

Likewise, a school of 6 neon tetras tends to live longer together in tank size 10 gallons or more whereas alone neon tetra will die slowly due to loneliness and stress.

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.

Neon Tetra Overview

Scientific name: Paracheirodon innesi
Common Names: Neon tetra, neon fish
Origin: Southern Colombia, Western Brazil, Eastern Peru
Family: Characidae
Adult Size: 1-1.5 inches
Behavior: Peaceful and Schooling
Tank Size: at least 10-Gallons
Diet: Food Pallets, Food Flakes, Brine Shrimps, Larva (Omnivore)
Breeding: Egg Scatter
Ease of breeding: Easy
Substrate Type: Dark Preferable, Any
Lightings: Low to Medium (Need of complete Darkness for reproduction)
pH: 5.5-7.5
Water Hardness: 2dGH to 10 dGH
Water Movement: Moderate
Temperature: 74-82 °F
Breeding Temperature: 82 °F
Care: Easy

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

When you get a fish to make your home aquarium beautiful and accompany you, you want them to stay a little longer.

But will they live with you for your whole life? Not really, and we all know it, fish won’t live that long but they will definitely accompany you for a while.

So, let’s talk about the period your neon tetras will stay with you blessing your aquarium with their presence.

Well, the average lifespan of neon tetras is 10 years in the wild whereas this shortens to 5 to 8 years due to various factors in the captivity.

However, neon tetras will live up to 10 years if you are careful and attentive enough about their diet, water parameters, and few other tank conditions. You can learn more about The Best Water Parameters For Neon Tetras In The Tank here.

What Impacts The Lifespan Of Neon Tetras In The Tank?

From water parameters to company, there is a list of things that will affect the time you will have neon tetras in your tank.

And if you want to have them for long, you need to look at these things carefully and take the necessary steps for rest.

Let me make it easier for you by listing all the things that impact the lifespan of your neon tetras:

  1. Tank size
  2. Temperature
  3. Loneliness
  4. Stress
  5. Water parameters
  6. Diet
  7. Oxygen supply
  8. Tankmates
  9. School size
  10. Disease

How To Help Your Neon Tetras Live Longer? Improve Longevity Of The Lifespan Of Neon Tetra

Now that you know about the average lifespan of the Neon Tetra and factors that might affect it, 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, with no further ado, 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.

Neon Tetra usually consumes algae, insect larvae, and extremely small invertebrates. I have also written an article on

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, ready-made packaged food contains artificial ingredients and lots of chemicals. So, you can make homemade food for your fish as well. Learn more about How To Prepare Best Homemade Neon Tetra Food – DIY Fish Food

But remember, overfeeding isn’t right because it will cause severe health problems and hence you need to keep their food intake in check.

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. I have written an article on How To Feed Tetra Fish Fry Properly this will help you.

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 tank size for a school of neon tetras 10 gallons of water. Here is an article about How Many Neon Tetras in a 10-gallon tank.

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.

I have also written an article on Best Tank Size For Tetra Fish? Take a look!!

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) yet slightly acidic water.

Also. 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 API master test kit along with a thermometer to maintain and check the water temperature as well as water parameters every time.

Hitop Submersible Adjustable Aquarium Heater is your go-to heater when it comes to neon tetra tank.

Also, an automatic proper filtration system to prevent beneficial bacteria and to clean the water is the best idea for your neon tetra tank.

You can go for AquaClear Fish Tank Filter for your neon tetra tank, you won’t regret it.

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 its 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 driftwoods 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 ADA Aquasoil Amazonia to be precise for the tank because Neon Tetras love a darker environment.

You might like to read a detailed article on Best Aquarium Substrate For Neon Tetra.

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. NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light is an ideal light for the tank with neon tetras.

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 community fish, and keeping a school of them will add more vividness to 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.

I have written article about Neon Tetras And Betta Fish: Can You Keep Them Together? – Here Is How. Read it once.

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. Learn more about Neon Tetras And African Dwarf Frogs: Can I Keep Them Together?

You might like to read about Can Neon Tetra and Goldfish Live Together? – Are They Good Tank Mates?

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. If you do not give enough care and attention during the breeding period of neon tetras, it will result in the death of these tetras.

Here is what you need to do, give them a proper breeding environment and take proper care of the fry once they hatch.

Let me help you here, I have also written an article How To Breed Neon Tetras – A Complete Step By Step Guide. Have a look, I promise this will help you even if you are new to fish keeping.

A single wrong step can make you lose your healthy and happy neon tetra during the breeding phase. I am not scaring you, just hinting you to be careful!!

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 to 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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