Step By Step Guide To Set Up A Glowlight Tetra Fish Tank

Set Up A Glowlight Tetra Fish Tank

Back in the days, when I was new to fishkeeping, I went to a fish store. As I was strolling through a fish store to set up a tank, my eye traveled to an aquarium containing a shoal of glowing fish. Although I didn’t know anything about fishkeeping, I knew from the very instant that I wanted to pet those Glowlight Tetras. So, I went on a mission to set up a Glowlight Tetra fish tank.

Glowlight Tetras are small Freshwater Tropical Fishes that have a glowing iridescent stripe from the nose to the tail. If you are a beginner at fishkeeping, Glowlight Tetra is perfect for you. Being hardy yet having a friendly nature, these fish can be kept in a community aquarium with relative ease. Therefore, setting up a Glowlight Tetra Fish Tank and rearing this fish is very easy even for a beginner.

Initially, for beginners to set up a Glowlight Tetra fish tank but with basic knowledge, anyone can set up a glowlight tetra tank easily. What is needed is a tank that can hold the required gallons of water, a strong stand, a heater to maintain the temperature of your aquarium, a filter to clean the water in the tank, and decor to make the aquarium look beautiful. However, maintaining the nitrogen cycle and water parameters is also important so the fish can have a healthy environment to live in.

To set up a Glowlight Tetra fish tank from scratch can be worrisome for some people. Even I was scared whether what I was doing was right or not. But don’t worry, reader, because I compiled all of the information in this blog so that you won’t have any trouble setting up a tank for Glowlight Tetras.

However, Glowlight Tetras need to be looked after well so that they have a healthy development in a healthy ecosystem. Let us read further to know the process of how you can set up a fish tank for Glowlight Tetras.

Attributes of a Glowlight Tetra

Physical Features

As you might have guessed, Glowlight Tetras have a glowing iridescent stripe extending from their nose to the tail. Their glowing stripe will make your aquarium glow too. Adult Glowfish grows to an average of 2 inches. Females are rounder and dimmer compared to males. Males are bright to attract females. Females are bigger to help during pregnancy. Isn’t nature beautiful? They live for an average of 2 years while some live for 5 years.


Glowlights are known for their peaceful nature. You will love to keep them in the aquarium with other tank dwellers like Neon Tetra, RCS shrimp, snails, Rasboras, Corydoras, Gouramis, etc. However, you can keep them in the same species tank, i.e, a tank filled only with Glowlight Tetras.

Glowlight Tetras are a schooling fish. Well, schooling fish are such fish that like to stay together in a tight-knit. If these schooling fish get separated, they get stressed. So, you must get your Tetras in a group. Buying a group of 10 or more is the best decision you will ever make.


Glowlight Tetra is a native tropical fish of the Essequibo basin of Guyana and resides in water areas with tannins in them. They thrive in acidic water and they like plants beside them.

Glowlight Tetras also thrive in blackwater. I don’t think that a clearwater will harm them but blackwater will surely feel like home to them. These beautiful fish love to stay beside aquatic plants, especially if they feel threatened.

Eating Habit

Glowlight Tetras are quite easy to feed. Prepackaged fish food and flakes, live food like insect larvae, fruit flies, algae, bloodworms, and even vegetable matter are their favorite.

Related Article: Glowlight Tetra’s Diet: How Often To Feed Them And Best Food?

Requirements And Tips For Setting Up Your Glowlight Tetra Fish Tank

Glowlight Tetras are pretty decent fishes and easy to care for. Not to forget, that they will light up your room. Even I, a novice, raised this fish with basic knowledge by searching for information online. For setting up a Glowlight Tetra tank, you need the following requirements.

A glass tank is available in any decent fish store. Choose a suitable tank for your fish based on the following.

Ideal Tank Size: How Big Should The Tank Be For How Many Glowlight Tetras?

Since these are schooling fishes, you must buy them in pairs of 4 or more. Buying only one fish or a pair will make them depressed and they will die from stress. Yes, fish also get stressed like you. Stress in fish causes diseases. Do you want your fish to catch diseases? If your answer is no, then go and buy 10 or more Glowlight Tetras. If you are planning on buying fewer fish, then don’t buy them at all.

Also Read: Tetra Fish Diseases and Treatments

Dear fish buddies, keep one rule in mind: The bigger the tank, the better. Suppose, if you are planning to buy 10 Glowlight Tetras, you need to buy a tank that can fit 20 gallons of water. Are you a beginner? If yes, then buy a 20-gallon tank. Here’s simple math on how you can calculate the number of tetras to keep in your tank. An inch of fish needs 1 gallon of water and they grow up to 2 inches. Decor can take up 1-2 gallon space. So, buy a tank that can fill suitable gallons of water for your pet fish.

If you are planning to buy more Glowlight Tetras, buy a bigger tank accordingly.

They are mid-level swimmers so buying a tall and wide tank where they can move freely is better. A bigger tank also ensures more good bacteria to live so the nitrogen cycle is maintained.

Also read: How Many Glowlight Tetras To Keep In A Tank?

Tank Lid

You should buy a tank lid to protect your fish from household pets, kids, etc. Sometimes, your fish might get nervous and try to jump out. A lid also prevents evaporation so that you won’t have to fill water again and again.

Location For Setting Up Glowlight Tetra Fish Tank

The tank shouldn’t be kept in direct sunlight as it may promote algae growth. This breed also lives in black water so you should keep them in dim light. Keep the tank close to electric circuits so you can attach heater, filter, air pump, etc to your tank. However, make sure that the electric circuit doesn’t touch the water in any way. You can keep the tank in a well-ventilated area.

Using Foam To Balance The Level Of The Tank

A sturdy tank stand should be bought to keep the tank horizontal. The tank is generally balanced on the perimeter. Styrofoam helps to balance the perimeter. More often than not, the tank might get imbalanced which slips the tank and breaks the tank. You don’t want that. So, a Styrofoam is better as it allows the asymmetrical edges of the tank to be uniform. This ensures that the aquarium doesn’t tilt. For rimless tanks, a Styrofoam is essential.

Cleaning The Tank

You should clean the tank before keeping anything in it. A dirty tank might contain dust and debris which might harm your fish. However, make sure that you use a wet towel to wipe the tank. Don’t even mistakenly use soap or any other detergent that is not suitable for fish.

Using Suitable Gravel Or Substrate

Fertile ground is necessary for your aquarium plants to grow healthily. So, you can use aquarium soil and add gravels bought from the fish store. If you want your plants to grow, then add a substrate rich in fertilizer. Keep the aquarium soil or substrate and then add the gravels on the base of the tank (totaling around 3 inches). Make sure to wash the gravels with clean water to remove any dirt before you place them in the tank. Your tank looks like a beautiful landscape when you level more substrate behind your tank than the front.

Decoration And Accessories Like Plants, Leaf Litter, Rock, Etc.

Your Glowlight Tetras will love it when your tank mimics the natural environment. So, you should keep a medium-sized driftwood log, aquarium plants like Vallisneria, floating pistia, Indian almond leaves to get tannins, rocks, etc in the tank. Aquatic plants help to maintain the nitrogen cycle. The floating plants like frogbit, dwarf water lettuce also provide a shady area where the fish can reside when they feel threatened. You can also add more aquatic plants. Plant the roots in the gravel using forceps or by hand.

Air Pump For Setting Up Glowlight Tetra Fish Tank

You might have noticed that sometimes fish swim on the top and gasp for air. This happens when the oxygen levels in water have become low. You should buy an air pump so your fish get oxygen and the pump also helps in throwing toxic gas in the atmosphere.


A filter is essential for a healthy aquatic ecosystem. It removes the biological fish wastes and kind of recycles the water continuously. You will not have to continuously clean the tank when you keep a filter.

Buy a filter rated for the volume of the tank. GPH (Gallons per hour) should be 4 times higher than your tank size. E.g., GPH of 40 is good for 10 gallons of water.

You should make sure to keep the filter path partially blocked so that the tiny Glowfish don’t get sucked into the filtration pipe. It is ideal to change the filtration cartridge every month or so.

Also Read: Types of Aquarium Filter For Tetra Fish and Filtration Methods

Lightning Condition

Since the native habitat of Glowfish Tetras is in a blackwater environment, you should keep them in dim light. I’m not forcing you and telling you that you should use blackwater. But, your entire room will look elegant if you use Blackwater for your Glowlight tetras. However, it doesn’t mean that you should keep them under complete darkness. If they like to see through the brown water, they can use the glow of their body. Use aquarium plants that grow in dim lighting too.  You should provide them dim lightning 8-10 hours a day.

Fry and egg of Glowlight Tetras prefer dark locations so you should keep them in a separate dark tank.

Heating For Setting Up Glowlight Tetra Fish Tank

Glowlight Tetras prefer warm water similar to their natural tropical habitat. You should buy a heater and maintain the temperature at about 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also Read: Can Tetra Fish Live Without Heater And Filter?

Filling In The Water

After keeping everything in the tank, you need to pour water into the tank. The water needs to be pure, free from ammonia and nitrites, and chlorine. Demineralized water is best for them. Even if you use normal water, you should drop fish-safe dechlorinator (1 or 2 drops per gallon checking your package) in it as Chlorine is toxic for the fish. This process is called conditioning.

You should let the heater, filter run for 2 weeks before you add your fish. You don’t have to fill the tank to its brim. Leave some space above.

The Nitrogen Cycle Maintenance

The important process of converting ammonia into nitrites and nitrates is called the nitrogen cycle. Setting up a tank is critical, and setting up a nitrogen cycle is even more critical as your new pet fish might die if this process is not done the correct way. Ammonia is harmful to Glowlight Tetra as well as other fishes so read the following to understand more about the nitrogen cycle.

A tank undergoing nitrogen cycle has 5 stages:

  1. The fish food has nitrogen in it and so you introduce nitrogen in the tank through the food.
  2. The fish digests the food and produces waste rich in nitrogen compounds including ammonia. Ammonia is fatal to the fish (Ammonia burns the gills). This ammonia needs to be removed.
  3. With the aid of helpful bacteria, Nitrosomonas, the ammonia is converted to nitrites.
  4. With the aid of another helpful bacteria, Nitrobacter, nitrite is converted to nitrates. Nitrates are not harmful to your fish.
  5. The nitrate is instead utilized by your aquatic plants and soil. The aquatic plants provide oxygen and shelter to your Glowlight Tetras.

It is an ongoing process and can be disrupted by some imbalance. So you must keep it in mind that the nitrogen cycle is persistent in a fish tank.

Initially, you can speed up the nitrogen cycle process by buying the helpful bacteria and keeping it in the tank. You can even add water from an old tank that has completed the nitrogen cycle. The cycle takes at least 2 months to complete so adding your fish before this time requires constant effort to make sure that they don’t die by ammonia poisoning. However, after this process completes its cycle, you can keep the Glowfish Tetra without thinking about whether ammonia might kill your lovely fish.

Water Parameters For Setting Up Glowlight Fish Tetra Tank

Since these Glowlight Tetras come from tropical waters, the water parameters should be adjusted so it mimics the tropical water.

Water Hardness: 6 dGH(<10 dGH), 1-2 dKH


Temperature: 72-76 degree Fahrenheit
Ammonia: 0 ppm

Nitrite: 0 ppm

Nitrates: <20 ppm

The water parameter balance is essential for the Glowlight Tetra to survive.

Learn about the best Water Parameters for Tetra Fish in detail.

Tank Mates

Although they are hardy, Glowlight Tetras are a friendly breed and social. They will love the company of another species of fish. But your Glowlight Tetras only shoal with its species. They can be kept with fishes of similar size like Neon Tetras, Black Neon Tetras, Rasboras, Gouramins, Danios, Corydoras, snails, RCS shrimp, etc. You can keep them with Neon Tetras because both fish swimming in shoals will make the aquarium glow beautifully. However, don’t keep Glowlight Tetras with aggressive or semi-aggressive fishes who can injure, bite, and kill them. Furthermore, it is best to keep them in groups of their same species so they don’t die of stress. 10 of Glowlight Tetras in a 20-gallon tank make a good group. I have already written an article on 7 Best Glowlight Tetra Tank Mates To Pick From, read the article to find out more about Glowlight Tetra tank mates.

Steps To Set Up A Glowlight Tetra Fish Tank

Once you collect all the required items, it is finally time for setting up the Glowlight Tetra tank. Are you excited?

Placing Your Tank

Choose a good flat location for your tank. The location should be near an electric circuit. Lift the tank carefully from its bottom with the help of a friend and gently place it on the tank stand. Be careful at this step and arrange the tank carefully as mistakes in this process might turn over your tank. Then wash your tank with a cloth and don’t use soap or any detergent.

Keeping Decor And Aquatic Plants

Before you keep any decor or aquatic plants, wash them under warm clean water until it is free of dirt. They might contain toxic chemicals and substances that might harm your fish. You should even wash your gravel with clean water. Boiling driftwood and rocks are better before placing them in the tank.

After you have washed these items, it is time for you to lay down the items. How much of gravel should be poured into your tank? Well, for a gallon of water, you can keep 1-2 pounds of gravel. Keeping more gravel at the back of your aquarium rather than the front creates a beautiful landscape. Also, it makes it easier to see your fish.

If you are planning on using real aquatic plants, use a well-fertilized substrate. The substrate should be 2 inches thick and should create space to fit your plants.

Lay down the rocks, driftwood, and almond leaf to make your aquarium beautiful.

Generally, you need a fresh aquatic plant. Using a dead and a dried aquatic plant is useless because it won’t thrive in the tank. Use a fresh plant and gently dig its root into the substrate. You can also add an artificial plant if you like.

Adding Water

You should add 1/3rd of the tank with water that had been dechlorinated (You can use 1-2 drops of de-chlorinator per gallon). It should be at room temperature. You can also use demineralized pure water. Pour the water slowly so it doesn’t disturb the soft substrate and gravel below. After you have decorated the tank with wood, almond leaves, and aquatic plants, fill the dechlorinated water again. But, keep in mind that you don’t need to fill the tank up to the brim. Leave some space above.

Using Filter, Heater, And Air Pump

You should start these only after filling water in the tank. And please make sure to let these run for at least 2 weeks before you add your fish.


Use a filter that has a low to moderate water current for your Glowlight Tetras. There are external (Hang on back and canister) and internal filters. I recommend external filters for beginners.

You can see the manual and set the filter accordingly. For the Hang on back filter, keep the filter tube as low as possible in the tank without touching the gravel. Open the filter lids and prime it. The filter works once the tank is full.


Your fish prefers to live in a warm climate of the temperature of 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit. For this, you should submerge the heater completely in the water. Keep the heater near the filter as the water that will circulate is always warm. Buy a thermometer to let you visually see the temperature every time you look at the tank. But don’t place the thermometer near your heater.

Warning: The glass tube can shatter if you use it before filling the tank so be careful.

Air Pump

Place the air pump above your aquarium so it doesn’t siphon water from the tank.


You need to buy an aquarium friendly light and it is better to buy a GFCI-protected outlet for safety. Since the Glowlight Tetras need dim lighting, you can use aquatic plants. A Glowlight Tetra tank with aquatic plants requires 1-5 watts per gallon of water for 8-10 hours.

After you have filled the tank with water leaving a bit of space on the brim, then you can turn on all of this equipment. The setting up of the Glowlight Tetra tank should be leak-free and all of the equipment should be checked to see if it is working properly.

Adding The Fish

Let the Nitrogen cycle and good bacteria to grow in the tank before adding your fish. Don’t add your fish for 2 weeks. It is best to add your fish after 2 months as the cycle is completed at that time. 

Don’t be scared when you see cloudy water in the tank for initial weeks. The cloudy water is a good sign that the nitrogen cycle is taking place.

Adding fish is tricky. Don’t add lots of fish at a time else you’ll end up losing all of them.

So, how will you put the fish in the tank after you get them? Here’s how. You get the fish in a plastic bag. Slowly acclimatize your fish by keeping 1 cup tank water in the plastic bag. And occasionally float the plastic bag in the tank too. Do this for 10-15 minutes. Then, gently lift the fish by using a fish net and place them in the tank. Don’t mix the plastic water in the tank because the plastic water may contain dirt and diseases.

What will happen if you keep a lot of fish at the same time? Too much of fish creates excess fish wastes that are rich in ammonia. If the good bacteria are present in less amount, the good bacteria cannot convert harmful ammonia to harmless nitrate. This can level up the harmful ammonia in the tank which is very harmful to your fish. So, please be careful before adding your fish to the tank.

Care After You Set Up A Glowlight Tetra Fish Tank

Just setting up a Glowlight Tetra tank is not enough, you should care for them daily.

Feed them ideally 3-4 times a day. Monitor how much they eat. Give your fish as much as they can eat under 3 minutes. Don’t overfeed or underfeed them.

You should check if the water parameters are alright and check the nitrogen levels weekly. Replace the filter cartridge every month or so. Also, replace 25-30% of the water every two weeks.

Observe your Tetras every day to see how they are so you ensure a healthy and happy glowing tetra.

What Not To Do When You Set up A Glowlight Tetra Tank?

Rearing a Glowlight Tetra is fairly easy. However, they need to be taken care of decently because everyone requires care. You have known what to do to set up a Glowlight Tetra tank but what should you avoid doing? Here are the things you shouldn’t do when you set up a Glowlight Tetra tank.

Buying Only Two Or Less Than 8 Glowlight Tetras

Glowlight Tetras are a schooling fish which means they swim in shoals and always stay together. Separating them or keeping only a few 2-3 Tetras in a single tank might make them stressed and kill them. So, if you are planning on buying Glowlight Tetras buy them in a pair of four or five so they are happy. Besides, they look beautiful in shoals too.

Using A Small Tank With No Plants For Many Tetras

Imagine what you feel during the quarantine. Being locked up in the room for days without any contact with the outside world is a horrific experience, isn’t it? Likewise, keeping the Tetras in a small tank where they can’t swim freely is horrifying for them. We have indoor hobbies to have fun and home to shelter ourselves from a threat. Likewise, the fishes should be provided with floating aquarium plants and logs to keep them happy and healthy. Otherwise, the fish will be stressed and die.

Keeping Them With Alpha And Aggressive Fishes

Since Glowlight Tetras are a friendly fish, you can keep them with other peaceful fish in a tank. And surely your Glowlight Tetras with love the company of other tank buddies. But keeping them with aggressive ones is dangerous as they might bite their fins, injure them, or worse, eat the Glowlights.

Putting The Fish Right After You Set Up A Glowlight Tetra Tank

Completing the nitrogen cycle is dire for the fish to thrive in the water. Immediately keeping your Tetras in the tank after set up will kill your Tetras. So you should wait for 2 months or a minimum of 1 month and check the ammonia levels. If ammonia is of optimum level, feel free to keep the fish in the tank. Otherwise, it is harmful both humanely (as you might kill fish) and economically (you have to buy fish again) if you keep the fishes before the nitrogen cycle has completed.

Ignoring Quarantine Tanks

Diseases in aquarium fishes are common so you might want to set up a quarantine tank for your Glowlight Tetras. If you suspect that your fishes are showing signs of disease, then seclude them in a quarantine tank. A doubtful looking fish deserves the quarantine tank. If they do have a disease and the disease has no treatment then euthanize them. Keeping the unhealthy fishes in a common tank will spread the disease to other healthy fishes as well.


Glowlight Tetras are one of the easiest fishes to rear for a novice because of its hardiness. I had a really easy time with them and I recommend you to get them too.

By setting the tank according to the instructions above, you can create a wonderful ecosystem and environment for your Glowlight Tetras to grow and glow. I hope you had a good time setting up the Glowlight Tetra tank.

Related Article

  1. How To Breed Glowlight Tetras – Step By Step Guide
  2. Albino Glowlight Tetra – Everything You Need To Know About

Image Credit: adam.gentle, Flicker[email protected]/

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