Why Is My Neon Tetra Hiding?

Neon Tetra Hiding

You want to flaunt the neon tetra you have in your tank, but somehow your tetras won’t cooperate. Above that, they won’t even come out of hiding sometimes. This can stress you and trust me I know the feeling. It is weird to see your neon tetra away from the limelight. And you will desperately search for the answer to why is my neon tetra hiding?

Well, neon tetras might be hardy but they are fragile too. So, whenever they sense environmental change, change in water parameters, stress, loneliness, etc. neon tetra will go into hiding.

Having a safe space and staying there for a while without disturbance help neon tetra calm themselves down and provide a sense of security.

But is it okay for neon tetra to hide all the time? Why is neon tetra hiding all the time? What can you do to make neon tetra life easier in the tank?

Let’s dive into this article to know further about neon tetra hiding and how you can help.

Why Is My Neon Tetra Hiding?

Whenever you look into the tank and don’t see your neon tetra swimming around or even insight, I know the fear. That fear lingers until you see them again.

But this rarely happens and neon tetra barely comes out of hiding. So, knowing the reason behind it seems quite important.

And hey, I am here to help. There must be something you are doing wrong if your neon tetra is hiding. Not that it is always bad, but you need to know the worst firstly.

So, here are few reasons why your neon tetra is hiding:

Environmental Changes

Whenever you were moved from one place to another while you still had a lot to figure out from the world, were you comfortable in the new environment immediately?

The same thing happens when you keep a neon tetra in captivity. For the first few days, they will seek spaces that will make them feel safe and protected.

Neon tetra will hide for few days till they get comfortable with the new environment they are put to. So, Just have a little patience, my friend. Your new neon tetra will come out of hiding soon.

Change In Water Parameters For Neon Tetra

Another reason, and this is a scary one, for your neon tetra to hide might have something to do with water parameters.

The constant fluctuation in the water parameters stresses your neon tetra and forces it to go into hiding.

Have you given it a thought, like what would you do when the surrounding around you starts to go south? You will hole up in your house till the atmosphere cleans up.

This will happen to neon tetra too, so make sure to clean the tetra tank more often and use the best filter for neon tetra for that very purpose. Or else you will be inviting death to your neon tetra, Be careful!!

Penn Plax Cascade 400 Submersible Aquarium Filter will be a great addition as a filter for your neon tetra tank.


The neon tetra is a schooling fish and you shouldn’t forget that ever. Keeping them alone in a tank or even keeping neon tetra in a fishbowl is level one cruelty.

Do not act like you don’t have a heart and go complaining about hiding neon tetra. For god’s sake, you need to understand loneliness and stress are common in fish as humans.

No living being wants to stay alone in this big wide world, so why torturing a schooling fish like neon tetra in captivity.

We have already seized their natural habitat to captivity so we can at least give them the family they want.

You will see them happily swimming and playing once you introduce a ideal school size of neon tetra in the tank.

Physical Trauma

Sometimes while swimming or playing, neon tetra might injure themselves or hurt themselves a little bit Give them some time to recover and you will see them getting back to normal after a while.


When there is a large fish in the tank, there is a high chance it will bully small fish like neon tetra. Neon tetra, as their natural instinct, seek a hiding place and stays there till they feel the threat is gone.

Be a good parent and give them enough company of other neon tetras and similar-sized fish. They won’t hide once they feel safe and secure in their school.


If you are kept in a confined space with many people, you seek safe space and space to yourself too. Neon tetra keeps hiding when they feel they have no space to swim around and play.

Neon tetra will be suffocated and feel stressed out when there are more numbers of fish in the tank than it is meant to be.

They will not come out till you manage the tank with an ideal number of fish. Sometimes, delay in the transfer process can lead to the death of neon tetra due to hypertension. So, Be wise and careful!!!

More Free Space

What do to in a big wide world alone without sharing the joy of being alive without a company? Neon tetra doesn’t like being alone in a tank that can fit more fish in it easily.

What exactly to do in the world alone rather than hide in the corner sulking for being alone? Think about it and calculate the exact number of neon tetras for the tank size you have.

Water Currents

Neon tetra doesn’t prefer high current or high-water flow rate. So, when your filter is increasing the water current, you might find your neon tetra hiding around the tank to avoid that.

Get a good filter appropriate for the tetra tank and don’t let neon tetra get stress over a simple thing.

Does Neon Tetra Need Hiding Places?

Oh Absolutely, the natural instinct of neon tetra makes them hide more often and you can’t help it.

A short break to their safe place can make neon tetra feel safer and more comfortable in their aquarium.

You need to make sure you are giving them enough space to rest and collect their strength back. Who doesn’t want a break once in a while?

What Can I Put In A Tank With Neon Tetra?

You are lucky if your favorite fish to keep is neon tetra. Here is why neon tetras are hardy and will adjust to a huge range of water parameters and won’t even mind the decorations.

Actually, neon tetra loves plants and decorations in the tank that gives them a natural vibe. Hiding behind the leaves of aquatic plants and other things present in their natural habitat is a trait that takes with them even in captivity.

So, it comes down to you to keep enough decorations and plants in the tetra tank.  Java moss, Java Fern,  Amazon Sword, and few other aquatic plants will be great for tetra tank.

Driftwood, rocks, pebbles,  spawning mop, etc. will be some ideal decorations along with the Aquasoil as substrate. Learn more about Best Aquarium Substrate For Neon Tetra

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to few FAQs you might be wondering about as well. Hope this helps.

How Can You Tell If A Neon Tetra Is Stressed?

There are few things you will start to see whenever your neon tetra is stressed and not ready to go out into the water swimming.

First of all, you will see them gasping for breath as if your neon tetra is having an anxiety attack. Next, your neon tetra will start to avoid food and shows loss of appetite clearly. Neon tetra starts to hide behind the decorations and act very sluggishly even when they are out and about.

They will also swim strangely, rubbing themselves on the decorations, crashing at the bottom, etc. And the biggest giveaway is when their body starts to show little white, signaling the disease Ich intervening.

Stress can kill your neon tetra remember that.

Why Won’t My Neon Tetra Eat?

Sometimes the lousy parameters and stressing factors like bullies, overcrowding, etc. can make a neon tetra lose the appetite.

Don’t worry these problems can be solved with simple adjustments in the water parameters and removing extra fish from the tank.

But if they are refusing to eat food after that too, then my friend you might be in big trouble.

Your neon tetra might be infected with certain diseases and you might need to treat them immediately.

Sometimes the reasons are very medieval like food being too large for your neon tetra’s mouth or they are still adjusting to life in captivity.

How Long Can A Neon Tetra Go Without Food?

Keeping your fish is never an ideal thing to do but if you are unable to feed them and worried if they will survive for few days or not, then here is an answer for your dilemma.

Neon tetra can live up to 3 weeks without food given that the water parameters and environment around them are ideal.

But they won’t last more than a week in the tank with poor water quality and maintenance. Do not experiment and starve your fish just for the sake of proof or evidence.


In conclusion, You need to understand how sensitive your neon tetra can be and go into hiding. Being careful with every step you take is what makes you a better fish parent. I know the struggle and I can understand the dilemma you will have while raising neon tetra. You will be doing everything right and still your neon tetra will play hide and seek with you. Sometimes, keeping them in the company helps and sometimes maintaining the water parameters. But remember to not blame yourself or your neon tetra for hiding. Just make sure you are giving them everything they want.

Trust me, they are fragile and very sensitive. All neon tetra needs are love and genuine care and you will be seeing them swimming happily in the tank.

Don’t worry my friend, I am here to help. Just drop a comment below if you still have a query.

Good Luck!

Happy Fishkeeping!!!

Recommended Articles:

  1. Neon Tetra Behavior: Are They Aggressive/Fighting or Playing? Find out here.
  2. How To Tell If A Neon Tetra Is Going To Lay Eggs?
  3. How Big Do Neon Tetras Grow In Size?

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