How Long Is Neon Tetra Pregnant For?

Pregnant Neon Tetra

Are you planning to breed neon tetra? Are you curious when will they lay eggs? Neon tetra are themselves amazing in the first place and seeing them pregnant and waiting to see fry can be striking. But how long should you wait to see the eggs or fry? How long is neon tetra pregnant for?

Neon tetras are egg layers and hence the female carries eggs for 2 weeks before you will see them in the tank. The ovaries prepare the eggs and the female lays the eggs for external fertilization.

Let’s get into detail about the pregnancy of neon tetra and the period it lasts. Little knowledge can be dangerous so it is better to get into a whole lot of information.

How Long Are Neon Tetras Pregnant For?

As you already know, neon tetras do not get pregnant however they spawn eggs that are further fertilized by male neon tetra externally.

Unlike few tropical fish like guppies, platys, mollies, and swordtails, neon tetra is egg layers rather than livebearers.

So, the pregnancy of neon tetra is different than guppies or mollies as you will find eggs first in this case, not fry.

However, the gestation period can be somewhat similar to that of the above-mentioned tropical fish.

Although these neon tetras carry yet to be fertilized egg meaning unfertilized eggs inside them, these eggs can stay inside neon tetra for 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks of pregnancy when they finish courting after the male impresses her, she lays and scatters eggs.

You have a window of 14 days to look at your neon tetra carefully to know and confirm if she is pregnant or not.

How To Tell If Neon Tetra Is Pregnant?

There are few signs that clearly indicate your female neon tetra is pregnant or say she is carrying eggs in her belly.

Step 1: Differentiate The Gender

The very step is to look at your neon tetras and differentiate which one of them is female. Female neon tetras have a curved line that is neon-colored whereas male neon tetra has the straight one.

Furthermore, the vivid coloration slightly dull in females compared to the male neon tetra. Once you complete the identification, we can move to the next step.

Step 2: Look For Swollen Belly In Female Neon Tetra

Like most pregnant female species, you will see a swollen belly in neon tetra as well. This can be a main distinguishing factor during the breeding season to tell if she is pregnant or not.

Step 3: Observe The Courting Behavior

Look at the male neon tetra if he is dancing around female neon tetra or not. This swim of jerky movements in square motions with slight pauses by male neon tetras is to woo females to lay eggs.

Step 4: Start Preparations For Pregnant Neon Tetra

You see with all this if you are confirmed about the pregnancy of neon tetras, make sure the tetra fry tank is ready.

Also, make sure to get the correct diet for both parents and the newly born fry. Small details make a difference so, stay alert! Here is an article How To Feed Tetra Fish Fry Properly | Dos & Don’ts With Alternative Food to help you with tetra fry dietary needs.

You might like to read an article on Tetra Fry Tank Set-Up: Fish Tank Requirement For The Fry

How Many Eggs Do Neon Tetras Lay At Once?

Neon tetra spawns the eggs that further settle down on the bottom of the tank. These eggs are hence fertilized by male neon tetra as soon as the female scatters them off.

But the number is what matters here to prepare yourself mentally about the number of fish fry you are going to get.

Female neo tetras can lay and scatter around 60 to 120 eggs in a clutch on average each time.

But the mortality rate of eggs, as well as fry, is very high in the tank, so not every egg they lay will hatch.

Out of all these eggs, only 30% of the eggs will hatch and you will have very few neon tetras fries in the tank.

I have also written an article on What Do Neon Tetra Eggs Look Like? Have a look!!!

Do Neon Tetra Die After Laying Eggs?

No, most of the time your neon tetra won’t have shown any problem or symptoms that can be fatal after they finish laying eggs.

However, there is a marginal chance you might have messed somewhere along the breeding timeline.

Not that I am blaming but hey neon tetras are not supposed to die during breeding, spawning, or laying eggs.

The most probable reason for their death can be a disease that went fatal due to carelessness.

You see neon tetras are quite sensitive already and during breeding season they are weaker than you think.

That’s why it is suggested to feed them properly with nutritious food and give appropriate water parameter.

Laying eggs can be as weakening as it would be for any pregnant being, so if she is dealing with a disease, there is a high chance your neon tetra will die right after that.

Buy a good quality filter, maintain the proper temperature they ask for and look for any signs and symptoms of diseases prior to breeding your neon tetra.

Let me help you here okay? I will recommend you a good filter and a good heater to keep in the tetra breeding tank.

Here, go for  AQUANEAT 4 and Hitop Submersible Adjustable Aquarium Heater. These will be ideal while setting up a tetra fry tank or breeding tank.

Simple things make a huge difference and these are small fish, cut them some slack, will you? Care and give proper attention to them that is all they ask for most of the time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to a few FAQs you will find yourself wondering about. I hope this will help you clear your confusion.

Will Neon Tetras Breed In A Community Tank?

Yes, neon tetras will breed in a community tank if there are a male and a female neon tetra present. Not that all of them will actively participate in it, but some will.

If you see them courting or showing signs of spawning, then get ready to see some eggs in the community tank.

Spawning, Breeding, and egg-laying are natural processes and these will not be compromised just because neon tetras are present in the community tank.

Although, there is a very low probability of seeing any eggs hatching as other fish will eat these small eggs beforehand.

How Do I Know If My Neon Tetras Are Mating?

It is simple actually, look closely for spawning behavior. This will give you a clear hint to be prepared for seeing eggs and fry in the tank anytime soon.

Here is what you have to look for: the male neon tetra will swim around the female neon tetra in square patterns to court her.

This swimming phenomenon will be the somewhat jerky movements that are quite short along with the certain moments of pause or motionlessness.


In conclusion, as neon tetras are egg layers, not livebearers so they will not keep fry inside them. However, their gestation period will last few days and you will clearly see the swollen belly of your female tetra. You will have fry within 48 hours after the female neon tetra lays eggs and the male fertilizes it. Prepare the tetra fry tank and be careful while handling the baby neon tetras.

Follow the instructions carefully from this article and you will do just fine. Or else hit me up on the comment section, I’ll be here to help you in no time.

Good Luck!!!

Happy Fish Keeping!!!

Recommended Articles:

  1. 10 Reasons Why Neon Tetras Are The Perfect Pet
  2. What Do Baby Neon Tetras Look Like?
  3. Neon Tetra Fish Growth Stages Explained
  4. How To Make Tetra Fry Grow Quickly?

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