Step By Step Guide On How To Set Up A Tank For Neon Tetra

set up a tank for Neon Tetra

I can’t explain how much I love Neon Tetras! You surely have the mutual feeling to be here, don’t you? Why wouldn’t you, though? Neon Tetras are among the top ten freshwater fish that is famous for home aquariums, even for beginners. Even though it’s an ideal fish for beginners, many fail to set up the perfect tank for Neon Tetra. How about you? Do you know how to set up a tank for Neon Tetra? If not, don’t worry! I’ve got your back.

Firstly, it necessary to determine the number of fish that you will keep. Then, choosing the right tank size comes. Later on, the main point is maintaining the water parameters (water temperature, softness, filtration, etc.).

Additionally, the tank must also have enough substrates like that in the natural habitat of the Neon Tetra.

Well, setting up a tank for the Neon Tetra is an easy task, even if you’re a beginner. Aren’t you excited? Well, I’m way too excited!

We’ll discuss these things in detail later on. Stick till the end to find out. Let’s overview the Neon Tetra in brief before discussing the tank conditions. So, let’s begin, shall we?

Overview Of The Neon Tetra

As you already know that the Neon Tetra is one of the most popular aquarium pet fish. These fish are easy to pet and are loved by beginners as well.

The Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon Innesi) is a cute, beautiful, elegant, and tropical freshwater fish.

Furthermore, the super friendly and peaceful nature of the Neon Tetras will surely make you love these fish.

These fish are native to the blackwater and clear water streams in the Amazon Basin of South America.

The average size of the Neon Tetra is about 1.2 inches, and these are super peaceful fish species. The Neon Tetra has a colorful iridescent blue body with bright red-colored fins and tail.

So, petting the Neon Tetra will add more glory to your tank. As shoaling fish, Neon Tetra loves to stay in a group of 6-10 or more.

The average lifespan of the Neon Tetra is 5-10 years in an aquarium. Let us discuss the tank conditions and how to set up a tank for the Neon Tetra down below.

What Kind Of Tank Do Neon Tetra Prefer?

As described earlier, Neon Tetras are community fish. So, it’s clear that these fish prefer to live in a community tank.

Furthermore, Neon Tetra prefers a tank with soft water and moderate water temperature. Not to forget that these are tropical freshwater fish as well.

So, mimicking the natural habitat of the fish will be a great idea. Let’s discuss the steps to set up a tank for Neon Tetra now.

Steps To Set Up A Tank For Neon Tetra

Now, let’s go to the main topic of the article. After choosing the right size tank, there are other important things to consider. So, what are the steps to set up the tank for the Neon Tetra?

  • Analyzing the tank conditions
  • Choosing the right tank size
  • Maintain the water parameters (temperature, Ph levels, etc.)
  • Keeping decoration and substrates
  • A proper filtration system
  • Lighting and heating
  • Adding the right tankmates

Tank Conditions For The Neon Tetra

When you plan to keep the Neon Tetra, remember that the perfectly conditioned tank is the most important thing.

Just like we need a clean, healthy, and safe environment to live in, your Neon Tetra needs the same. The Neon Tetras are sensitive beings just like us.

Best Tank Size For The Neon Tetra

Can you guess the best tank size for the Neon Tetra? Well, let me give you a hint. Firstly, let me tell you something that you may or may not know.

The world’s professional fish hobbyists have said that per inch fish requires one gallon of water. Now, let’s assume that the Neon Tetra is one inch.

So, you can now guess the best tank size for the Neon Tetra. It will depend upon the number of Neon Tetra you desire to keep.

You can read a detailed article on Best Tank Size For Keeping Neon Tetra.

What Is The Minimum Tank Size For The Neon Tetra?

It’s best to keep a group of a minimum of 6-10 Neon Tetras together. So, remembering the above-assumed calculation, what might be the best tank size?

Yes, I think you’re right. It is a 10-gallon tank. Let me help you here to find a good aquarium, I highly recommend you to get All Glass Aquariums, Black, 10 Gallon.

What Is The Maximum Tank Size For The Neon Tetra?

Well, let me be honest with you. There isn’t the exact maximum tank size for the Neon Tetra.

Just remember to increase the tank size when you gradually increase the number of fish. For example, if you keep 15-20 Neon Tetras, then a 20-gallons tank is suitable. However, let’s be precise.

If you go for 20 gallons tank, then Aqueon Aquarium 20 Gallon Long will be ideal for you. Some fish hobbyists have said that the maximum tank size for the Neon Tetra is 55-gallons.

Keep The Adequate Number Of Neon Tetra In The Right Size Tank

I don’t have to tell you about the number of Neon Tetra in the right size tank again. Isn’t it? I hope that you’ve got a bit of an idea about it.

However, here’s a tip for you- Don’t ever let your Neon fish be uncomfortable. By uncomfortable means lack of space to freely swim around, unsuitable water parameters, and tank mates, etc. We’ll discuss it in brief later on.

Here is an article for you to help with the school size of neon tetras: How Many Neon Tetras Should You Keep In School Together?

Maintain The Nitrogen Cycle

Maintaining the Nitrogen Cycle is essential in fish keeping. It is because the Neon Tetras doesn’t like hardness in the water.

Furthermore, these fish are sensitive, so dirty water will harm them directly. You know that the fish waste will stay inside the aquarium.

Those waste will sink into the aquarium floor and decay. It will further result in the development of Ammonia (NH3), which is harmful to the Neon Tetras.

The chemical will burn the gills of the Neon Tetra, which will cause permanent damage or even death.

There are some beneficial bacteria, which will turn the Ammonia into Nitrite (NO2). Nitrite is harmful to the fish as well, so another beneficial bacterium will turn the Nitrite into Nitrate (NO3). The process of conversion from Ammonia to Nitrate is the Nitrogen Cycle.

Water Parameters For Neon Tetras In The Tank

Can you imagine your life without clean water? No, isn’t it? What would happen to you if you consume contaminated water?

You’d stress out and fall sick. Yes, just like you’ll suffer if you don’t get clean water, fish will face the same thing.

Every being on Earth are extra sensitive when it comes to water. You already know that the Neon Tetras are tropical freshwater fish.

These fish are native to the water streams with soft water and with moderate temperature or PH levels.

So, it’ll be best to mimic the natural habitat of the Neon Tetras when you keep the fish in captivity.

Make sure to check and balance the water parameters every time. It will keep your fish stress-free and healthy.


The ideal water temperature for the Neon Tetra is between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Learn more about Maximum Water Temperature and  Minimum Water Temperature For Neon Tetras.

PH And Hardness

The adequate PH level for the Neon Tetra is between 5.0-7.5. Like I mentioned earlier, Neon Tetras love soft water (1-10 degrees dGH).

I have also written a detailed article on Does Water pH Level Affect Neon Tetras?

Decoration And Substrates

The Neon Tetras are easy to care for as these are hardy fish. These fish don’t need much decoration and substrates in the aquarium.

It is because Neon Tetras spend most of their time swimming around the aquarium tank. However, remember that the Neon Tetras are tropical fish.

So, a lot of dense plantations will help, just like the natural environment of the fish. To be more precise, try to add lots of floating plants and gravel substrate like black soil.

I recommend you to use ADA Aquasoil Amazonia as aqua soil is the best for neon tetras any day.

I have also written an article on Best Aquarium Substrate For Neon Tetra. You might like to have a look.

I’ll mention some of the best live plants that you can keep in your Neon Tetra tank. They are Java moss, Amazon Sword, Dwarf Sag, Red Root Floaters, Brazilian Water Weed, Rotala, Vallisneria, etc.

Those will help to keep the aquarium dark at the required level, which will make the Neon Tetras happy.

Furthermore, you can also find a chemical acid named Tannins. It doesn’t have a side-effect. The purpose of adding this to the tank is to make the blackwater.

It will only keep the Neon Tetras happier and more comfortable. On the other hand, you can also add a few rocks, driftwoods, or some hiding places. It is for the Neon Tetras to rest peacefully.

Proper Tank Filtration

Filtration of the aquarium tank is one of the most important things to remember. The fish waste will not have a way of its own to filter when the fish are in captivity.

So, keeping an aquarium filter shall be useful for you to keep the water clean. Some experts have said that you must choose your aquarium filter based on the size of your aquarium tank.

For example, if you have a 20-gallon tank, then it’s best to keep a Hang-On Back (HOB) filter. But, if you have a tank with more than 20-gallon capacity, then use a Canister filter.

I have also written a detailed article on Do Neon Tetras Need Filter To Survive?

Furthermore, besides the filtration system, you should not forget to clean the tank at least once a week.

Changing the water up to 25% will be enough. It is to leave behind some essential bacteria behind as well.

Lighting And Heating For Neon Tetras

If you didn’t know, Neon Tetras prefer dim lighting in their tank. It’ll be even more awesome if you keep a timer of light in the tank so that the Neon Tetras make a habit out of it.

I’ve usually seen the fish hobbyists advising to light the tank for about 12-14 a day. It’s best to keep a LED dim light.

On the other hand, heating the Neon Tetra tank is essential to maintain the water temperature, especially in winters.

Slight changes in the water temperature might harm the health of the Neon Tetras because of their sensitivity.

So, you have to keep heater in the tank with neon tetras. I recommend you to buy Eheim Jager aquarium heater from

However, I’d recommend keeping one during summers as well. It’s just to ensure that the temperature stays in balance.

It shouldn’t be too warm or too cold because it might stress the Neon Tetras. More stress will lead the fish to catch some deadly diseases. Learn more about Can Neon Tetra Survive In Cold Water?

Is A Newly Cycled tank Suitable For The Neon Tetra? Why Or Why Not?

No, a newly cycled tank is not suitable for the Neon Tetra. It is because the new water tank will have some harmful chemicals.

The Neon Tetras will not be familiar with new water parameters and will stress out. Keep the Neon Tetras in a well-mature tank.

It will enable the fish to adjust well to the tank conditions. So, remember this thing before you keep the Neon Tetras in a new tank.

Other Things That You Need To Know While Setting Up Neon Tetra Tank

Well, I guess you’ve understood everything clearly till here. I’ll further add some main things that you need to consider before you set up a tank for Neon Tetra.

Adding The Right Tankmates For The Neon Tetra

Tankmates play a vital role in a community tank, and I guess you already know about it. We only choose tankmates for the specific fish after analyzing their temperament and natural behavior.

It is to keep the fish feel secure and safe. Don’t make the fish stress out inside the aquarium. Similarly, choosing the right tankmates for the Neon Tetra is essential.

You already know that the Neon Tetra are peaceful. So, you’d not keep aggressive tank mates like Cichlids and Gold bearers.

Keep the species that have similar requirements with the Neon Tetra. Those tankmates should adjust well with the Neon Tetra and vice versa.

Providing The Balanced Diet To Your Neon Tetras

When you keep the Neon Tetras in captivity, you must be extra careful in balancing the diet. It is because food is the second important thing after water.

Food is something that will keep living beings healthy and immune. You certainly know the importance of a properly balanced diet.

Learn more about How Much To Feed Your Neon Tetras And How Often?

For example, the lack of a healthy diet will make you weak and sick. Likewise, feed the Neon Tetras properly.

You must know that the Neon Tetras are Omnivores and will feed on both plantations and live food (Daphnia, Brine shrimps, frozen flakes, Bloodworms, etc.)

Here is an article you might be interested in Do Neon Tetras Eat Algae As Their Food? How Do I Prepare Algae Wafers?

If you are short in fish food and there is plus side you can look into. Your neon tetras will have some homemade foods too.

I think you might like to read about neon tetras having goldfish flakes or not as well.

Prevention Of The Diseases- What To Do?

Like they always say, prevention is better than cure. Maintaining a healthy life of the Neon Tetra might be a challenge.

But it is possible if you care about it since day one. You must know the good and bad things for the fish.

Neon Tetras are sensitive beings just like you are. Keep an eye on the fish to analyze their habitual patterns.

Like I said earlier, slight changes in the water and tank conditions will hamper the health of the Neon Tetra.

So, make sure it is always balanced. Additionally, the Neon Tetras will suffer from various freshwater fish diseases if you become careless about the diet as well.

Prevent the Neon Tetra from any level of stress to prevent the fish from the dreadful disease.

You might like to read about How to Prevent Neon Tetra Curved/Crooked Spine or Neon Tetra Disease?


To conclude this article, I’d like to say that it isn’t hard to set up a tank for the Neon Tetra. It is because these are easy-going fish. So, the Neon Tetras are one of the most popular ones among beginners. I’ve mentioned some of the easy things that you need to consider. I hope you understood them all. I promise that your fish will stay happy and healthy if you follow all the necessary guidelines. Happy Fishkeeping!

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