Portrait of Neon Tetra

When this fish was first imported to Europe in the 1930s, it caused a sensation. An aquarium fish with a light strip, one had never seen that before. He was even flown to the USA in a zeppelin. Today the neon tetra is widespread in domestic aquariums and is, therefore, anything but unusual, but it is still a beauty.


  • Name: neon tetra
  • System: Real tetras
  • Size: 4cm
  • Origin: Upper Amazon Basin in Brazil
  • Attitude: easy
  • Aquarium size: from 54 liters (60 cm)
  • pH value: 6-7
  • Water temperature: 20-26 ° C

Interesting facts about the neon tetra

Scientific name

Paracheirodon innesi.

Other names

Cheirodon innesi, Hyphessobrycon innesi, neon tetra, neon fish, simple neon.


  • Sub-strain: Actinopterygii (ray fins)
  • Class: Characiformes (tetras)
  • Order: Characidae (common tetras)
  • Family: Triopsidae (Tadpole Shrimp)
  • Genus: Paracheirodon
  • Species: Paracheirodon innesi, neon tetra


The neon tetra becomes about 4 cm long.


The blue-green stripe from which it is named extends from the eye to almost the adipose fin. From the end of the dorsal fin and the beginning of the anal fin another stripe in bright red runs to the base of the caudal fin. The fins are mostly transparent, only the front edge of the anal fin is white. There are now numerous cultivated forms. The best known is “diamond”, which lacks the blue-green neon stripe or is limited to the eye area. Albinos are flesh-colored with red eyes, but the red rear body has been preserved, with the golden variant all colors are missing except for the less pronounced neon stripe. A variant with elongated fins (“veil”) is also known.


Brazil, in the upper region of the Amazon.

Gender differences

The adult females are noticeably fuller than the males and are also a little paler. The sexes of juvenile fish, on the other hand, can hardly be distinguished.


Breeding the neon tetra is not that easy. A pair that is ready for spawning (recognizable by the waist circumference of the female) is placed in a small spawning aquarium with not too hard and slightly acidic water and the temperature is increased to up to 25 ° C, but 22-23 ° C is also sufficient. The water should be soft and slightly acidic, offspring from Southeast Asia have already spawned in tap water. In the aquarium, there should be a spawning grid and some tufts of plants (loose Java moss, najas, or similar), as the parents are spawners. Spawning usually takes place at night or in the morning. Up to 500 eggs are very small and transparent. They are somewhat sensitive to light, so you should darken the aquarium. After two days they swim freely and need the finest live food, such as infusoria and rotifers. After about two weeks, they take newly hatched Artemia nauplii and grow quickly.

Life expectancy

Neon tetra can live to be over ten years old.

Interesting facts about posture


The omnivore willingly accepts dry food of all kinds. Live or frozen food should be served at least once a week, and more often in preparation for breeding.

Group size

The neon tetra is only comfortable in a group of at least eight specimens. The gender distribution is irrelevant. However, their full behavioral spectrum can only be seen in an aquarium one meter or more with at least 30 neon tetras. The larger the group, the better the impressive colors of the animals come into their own. The pretty tetras are therefore always suitable for very large groups with the appropriate aquarium size.

Aquarium size

Eight neon tetra only need an aquarium with a capacity of 54 liters. A standard aquarium measuring 60 x 30 x 30 is therefore sufficient. If you want to keep a larger group and add more fish, the aquarium must be correspondingly larger.

Pool equipment

Some plants are good for water maintenance. By adding roots and a few alder cones or sea almond leaves, you can achieve a slightly brownish watercolor and a slightly acidic pH value. If a substrate is desired (it is not necessary for keeping this species), the choice must fall on a darker variant. Light ground stresses the neon tetra. Pale colors and, in the worst case, diseases and losses are the result.

Socialize neon tetra

The peaceful fish can be socialized well with much other fish of similar size, especially other tetras, for example. Armored catfish are particularly suitable as a company because neon tetra swims mainly in the central area of ​​the aquarium.

Required water values

The conditions of the tap water are well suited for normal maintenance. The temperature should be between 20 and 23 ° C, the pH value between 5-7. For breeding purposes, the water should not be too hard and as slightly acidic as possible. Regular water changes of around 30% every 14 days are important for keeping and for well-being.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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