Neon Tetra

Neon Tetras Mating Behavior – Breeding Ritual

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When you get neon tetras for your tank, you can help but wonder what will their babies look like. I know the feeling and it is okay as well as quite easy to get neon tetras fry in the tank. And don’t get confused when you see a male acting weirdly or strangely once in a while. There is a high chance what you are seeing is the neon tetras mating behavior. But what exactly is the neon tetra fish breeding ritual?

Neon tetras breeding ritual is the combination of male neon tetra swimming around female neon tetras showing her the dance. Male neon tetra will swim around female neon tetra showing some short yet jerky movements in square motion with a period of pauses or motionlessness. If you see these movements in the tank, get ready to see neon tetras eggs.

While breeding during the breeding season, neon tetras will act strangely and that’s okay. But it can slightly be worrying as it often looks like one neon tetra is attacking another.

In this article, I will help you with the whole breeding process of neon tetras, their breeding ritual, their mating behavior, and caring of the eggs and fry.

With no further ado, let’s begin the learning process and dive into the details.

Neon Tetras Mating Behavior – Neon Tetra Fish Breeding Ritual

Well, if you are clever enough to distinguish male and female neon tetra fish beforehand, it will be easier for you to actually observe the breeding ritual of neon tetras.

Or if you don’t know how to differentiate male from female neon tetra then let me help you with that first.

How Can You Tell If A Neon Tetra Is Male Or Female?

Differentiating male neon tetra from the female ones is one of the easiest tasks that come with fish keeping. But you have to wait till they reach sexual maturity after 4 to 6 months of birth.

I am not contemplating; I am just stating a fact. Just follow my lead here and you will see what I am talking about.

Firstly, let me teach you the easiest way to distinguish between male and female neon tetras. Look at the size, body size, and structure of neon tetras. Now, sit back, and compare.

The larger one with a rounded belly is the female neon tetra whereas the slimmer one with a flat belly (not always) is your male neon tetra.

Furthermore, if you are familiar with neon tetra, then you know about their blue strip. This is the second clue to unsolved the mystery of the gender of neon tetra.

You see, the blue strip, their signature strip, is slightly curved in females while the male has a straight blue line throughout their body.

How Do I Know If My Neon Tetras Are Mating?

Now, you know which one of your tetras is male or female. And if you are still confused, I will let you in a secret.

During the breeding stage, these tetras show something weirdly different that will make it way easier to differentiate.

But knowing beforehand helps to decide and maintain the male is to female ratio in the tetra tank. Anyway, let bygones be bygones, let’s focus on the main topic here.

The mating behavior of neon tetras, let’s talk about this in detail so it will be easier for you to know when your neon tetras are about to breed or lay eggs.

The courting or mating behavior of neon tetras starts when the male neon tetra starts swimming around the females.

While swimming around female tetras, male neon tetra will show the famous mating dance of neon tetras.

This dance includes the jerky movements in square motions while swimming around female neon tetras. Male neon tetra will take a short pause once in a while during these dance movements for feeding purposes.

This dance by male neon tetra is the way to impress female neon tetra and woo her. These tetras will usually spawn in the morning so if you want to see the breeding and mating behavior of neon tetras, observe carefully in the morning after you turn the aquarium lights on.

How To Condition Your Neon Tetras To Breed In The Tank?

Neon tetras might be easy fish to breed but it can get tricky when it comes to breeding them in the tank.

I am not saying you’ll have a hard time, but yes you might have to give extra attention in this case.

Here is what you need to know, most of the time, store-bought neon tetras are bound to be infertile. So, you must have a good pair that are fertile and healthy.

Now, coming to conditioning them to breed as they will barely breed on their own. Not that they won’t breed, but they will need certain conditions to breed in the tank.

Firstly, place both female and neon tetras together in a separate tank where there is no other type of fish present.

Now, start to feed them food that is high in protein. You can go for bloodworms, daphnia, or any other options but make sure they are high on protein and are according to the diet neon tetra ask for.

Live food is the one you can actually rely on although there are many dry commercial food options to choose from.

You might like to learn more about How Much To Feed Your Neon Tetras And How Often?

Within a couple of weeks, you will start to see your female neon tetra getting fat or gaining weight.

At this point, your female neon tetra is gravid with eggs and can start showing the mating behavior anytime.

Breeding Requirements Of Neon Tetra In The Breeding Tank

As you have learned about the mating behavior of the neon tetras, you already know how neon tetras breed.

But there are few things you need to do for neon tetra while setting up the breeding environment for them.

Neon Tetras are quite sensitive during the breeding stage so you need to be careful with every step you take.

I have also written an article on Why Do Neon Tetras Die After Laying Eggs?

Let me take you to step by step guide of the breeding process of neon tetras. Follow my lead and you will have neon tetras breeding in no time.

Step 1: Setting Up The Breeding Tank

This is the most crucial step of preparing the neon tetra to breed. you can’t let these neon tetras lay eggs in the community tank or the tank full of neon tetras.

You need to keep them in a separate tank and it is quite necessary to prepare the tank before transferring them in it.

If you want to see the successful breeding of neon tetras, mimic its natural habitat. Take a 10-gallon tank and place a peat soil on the bottom of the tank.

Although neon tetras are hardy and can adjust in a huge range of pH, they prefer soft water during a breeding stage, and peat soil helps you achieve that.

Now place  Java moss, spawning mop, etc. in the tank which will give neon tetras space to hide their eggs.

Java Moss Portion in 4 Oz Cup – Easy Live Fresh Water Aquarium Plants is easily available on amazon.

Step 2: Water Transfer From The Old Tank

It is usually best to transfer the same water present in the previous tank these neon tetras were residing on.

You should probably skip placing the filter in this tank before the eggs hatch as it can suck up the eggs.

It is wise to pour the dechlorinated water and aquarium water from the already established tank.

Step 3: Maintain The Temperature And pH For Neon Tetras

You need to get a heater to maintain the temperature of the breeding tank. Although neon tetras can adapt to a huge range of water, they prefer 77 °F in the breeding tank.

And, this specific temperature should be stable throughout the spawning to fry development period.

Thus, it is necessary to get an aquarium heater like AQUANEAT 4 or Hitop Submersible Adjustable Aquarium Heater.

Learn More About Do Neon Tetras Need Heater For Survival?

And, as you have already used peat soil, the pH will stay stable at 5.5 to 6. Test the water time and often and take necessary steps if the water parameters are not ideal.

You might like to learn more about Does Water pH Level Affect Neon Tetras?

Step 4: Lighting Of The Neon Tetra Breeding Tank

If you want your neon tetras to spawn in the tank, then it is wise to use appropriate lighting so that they won’t get irritated or bother.

These tetras prefer dim light and will not do well if the tank has strong lighting. So, it is better to keep NICREW Single Channel LED Light Timer or All Glass Aquarium Fluorescent Strip Light.

Step 5: Filter In The Tank Only After Eggs Hatch

After the eggs hatch, you can filter the water in the tank using a sponge filter. There are many options to choose from but I highly recommend AQUANEAT Aquarium Bio Sponge Filter and Powkoo Double Sponge Filter.

You might like to read more about Do Neon Tetras Need Filter To Survive?

How To Tell If A Neon Tetra Is Going To Lay Eggs?

There will be various instances when you will see the eggs or fry in the tank before you notice anything strange.

Unprepared and unplanned breeding or egg-laying can bring stress and new things to take care of. So, you see it is necessary to know if your neon tetra is pregnant?

Here is how you will know your neon tetras are going to lay eggs:

Step 1: Swollen Belly Of The Female Neon Tetra

As you already know, female neon tetras are plumper and a little bit large on the belly area. But when they get pregnant or are gravid with eggs (neon tetras can’t get pregnant as they are not livebearers), you will feel and see clearly these females have gotten fatter.

Although it is a bad thing to call anyone fat, it is what it is in this case; your female neon tetra will have swollen belly and will look like they have put on some weight.

Step 2: The Courting Behavior

Once the mating or courting part is over, you will be seeing eggs in no time in the tetra tank. As I have mentioned above about the courting behavior, look carefully while they are courting.

The female neon tetra will leave a trail of eggs behind while swimming around along with the male neon tetra.

How Many Eggs Does A Neon Tetra Lay?

The number of eggs these neon tetras lay at a single time can vary according to the ovulation occurring in the female.

Let’s talk average number here okay. On average, neon tetra can lay about 60 to 120 eggs in a clutch each time.

And these tetras can lay eggs within the period of every 2 to 3 days. Hence, you’ll have a tank full of neon tetra fry in very little time.

But don’t worry and don’t keep your hopes up as only 30% of the eggs will be fertilized and give you fry in the tank.

Each spawn you might see nearly 120 eggs in the tank but only 40 to 50 of these eggs will hatch.

How Long Do Neon Tetra Eggs Take To Hatch?

You shouldn’t wait for a long time to see the fry coming out of the egg after neon tetras lay the eggs.

You might like to read about How Long Are Neon Tetras Pregnant For?

Within the next 24 hours, the eggs will hatch and you will see a very small and transparent neon tetra fry in the tank.

I have also written an article on What Do Baby Neon Tetras Look Like?

How To Care For Neon Tetras Fry?

Your work doesn’t end here after you see the fry in the tank. Your job actually gets a little tougher caring for these sensitive babies of neon tetras.

First of all, it is quite necessary to remove parent neon tetras immediately after the females lay eggs. These tetras will eat both eggs and fry as these will easily fit on neon tetras mouth.

Now, coming to caring neon tetras’ fry, you need to give them an appropriate diet such as Infusoria for the first few days. And afterward, you can switch to brine shrimps too.

You might like to read about How To Make Tetra Fry Grow Quickly?

You need to take care of the water parameters as these newly born babies are quite sensitive to fluctuation.

I have also written an article on  Tetra Fry Care – How to Care for Baby Tetras?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to few FAQs you might be wondering about as well. I hope this will solve your queries about these questions.

Do Neon Tetras Breed Easily?

Yes, actually neon tetras do breed easily but this can vary according to the place they are inhabiting.

Neon tetras breed with ease when they are in captivity but most of the captive-bred neon tetras are infertile.

Furthermore, the tetra tank conditions and water parameters also decide if your neon tetra will breed or not.

You need to set up a specific breeding tank and maintain the ideal water parameters while avoiding fluctuation to help and condition the neon tetra to breed.

Will Neon Tetras Breed In A Community Tank?

Yes, neon tetras will breed in a community tank. What can you expect when you keep both male and female neon tetras in the tank?

The female neon tetras start ovulating as soon as she hits sexual maturity which is 4 to 6 months after birth.

She can store these eggs for quite a long time. So, be it community tank or tetra tank only, these tetras will lay an egg if male neon tetra is impressive enough to woo her.

But the survival rate of eggs is quite minimal as they will be eaten by other fish present in the community tank.

Neon tetra, itself, will feed on anything that will fit in their mouth and they merely have the presence of any parental instincts.

And even if the eggs are fertilized male and further hatch into fry after surviving the predators, there is a high chance these fish fry will not survive further.

Any larger fish present in the tank will swallow the small neon tetra fry without a second thought. So, be careful if you plan to breed neon tetras in the community tank.

Do Neon Tetras Make Bubble Nests?

No, neon tetras don’t make bubble nests as they don’t have parental instincts like betta fish. Bettas are known to make bubble nests during the breeding phase but neon tetras are mostly away from making bubble nests.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, neon tetras mating behavior is quite evident and you can easily know when to prepare for fry. The breeding requirement might make your work a little but it will be worth it to see the small neon tetra babies in the tank. Just pay attention to the small details during the breeding requirements and you will have many healthy and active neon tetra fry.

If you still have queries related to this topic, leave a comment below in the comment section. I’ll help you as soon as I can.

Good Luck!!!

Happy Fish Keeping!!!

Recommended Articles:

  1. Neon Tetra Fish Growth Stages Explained
  2. The Lifespan of Neon Tetra – How Long Does a Neon Tetra Live For?
  3. How Long Can Neon Tetras Live Without Food

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