site logo

Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > The Tetras > Neon Tetra
18 visitors reading profiles


This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the

South america


Neon tetra

Paracheirodon innesi


    A mainstay of the hobby the neon is colorful peaceful and readily available. Not one of the easiest fish to keep they do best in an established aquarium. Their bright colors and peaceful nature still make them one of the most sought after fish.

Quick stats:


    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 1.5" (4cm)
    tank: 20 inches
    Strata: Bottom, middle
    PH: 5.5 to 7.5
    Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 1.0 - 25
    Temperature: 68°F to 78°F (20-25°C)

    Order: Cypriniformes
    Suborder: Characoidei
    Super-Family: Characidoidea
    Family: Characidae
    Genera: Paracheirodon
neon tetras

Common name

    Neon Tetra
Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Western Brazil, Northern Peru and Colombia. Found in the Iquitos and Amazon rivers and some of their tributaries.

General Body Form
    A slender fish somewhat spindle shaped with little lateral compression. The nose is blunt and the belly area seems to be rounded in the females and concave in the males. They can reach a length of about one and one half inches (4cm)

    Starting at about the center of the body, there is a wide bright Red band extending to the start of the Caudal fin. Above this is a Blue band with a green sheen that runs from the upper part of the eye to the Adipose fin. The upper-side is Olive Green and the underside is Silver in color. The Anal fin is milky white to transparent. The striking contrast or the Red and Blue makes the Neon one of the most colorful and popular of the fish we keep.

    Neons are happiest and show off their colors best in a tank with subdued lighting and a dark substrate. The water should have a pH of 7.0 and the temperature maintained between 68° and 79°f, hardness to 20°. The tank can be small and decorated with live plants and some driftwood. Stock the aquarium with equally peaceful species and keep them in as large a school as possible. Neons are now bred in large numbers and are able to tolerate a wide range of aquarium conditions, however this mass scale breeding has weakened their natural robust-fullness and losses are usually high when first bought. Once established they are easily fed and cared for with flake and frozen food.

    Egg scatterer, requires soft, very clean water. Failures in breeding are in most cases due to unsuitable water conditions. To spawn them, you will need a small tank placed in a dark spot as the eggs seem to be light sensitive, a 2 inch layer of half inch rock and some bunches of fine textured live plants like Myriophyllium are suitable as the spawning medium. Only young fish should be used for breeding and at least 5 fish (with a ratio of 2-1 males) that have been separated (put the females in the tank that will be used for spawning) for 2 days and fed some live foods. The temperature should not rise above 75°(21 to 23°C) Keep a lid on this container as they will jump out. Keep the breeders together for 24 hours and then remove them. They usually spawn early in the morning. The clear eggs are laid among the plants and barely stick to them. In 22 to 26 hours the eggs hatch and the fry are very hard to spot, but appear 3-4 days later at which time they are free swimming and will need to be fed infusoria. The species is not very prolific and A good spawn would be 40-50 fry

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Matt
I have... I would like to say 8 neons in a 57 planted. They school happily. Its cool. But I think the more crowded with plants and decoration the tank has, the less neons are needed. I have never seen mine get scattered. I've noticed that when some get knocked off the group, they join other schools. I have about 12 rummy nose, and occasionally I see one neon in the group. I'm experimenting with some new variety, and would like to see how the schools work for them. If any one has ever heard of a south American leaf fish, I have put 2 into my tank, and they only eat live food. im hoping they keep my guppy population down... if they eat my schooling fish.. im taking them to my friends house. haha
From: Victor
I had bought 10 following the advice that they are great for starters. The advice was a mistake. I lost 4 through the cycling process. The cycling process is now complete, I just added 4 more. They seem to be very happy and confident. Since my aquarium is 150 gallons, I will bring the numbers up to 15 to create a happier environment for them. Its easy for them to drift apart in a large tank. I notice they often scurry and panic when they are on their own and swim frantically in order to find and join the group. Advice: Wait until you tank has cycled, and base the numbers on the size of tank, regardless, I think 6-10 should be the absolute minimum based on my experience.
From: Sushma
Neons are beautiful! I have 10 of them in a 10G tank, and contrary to some beliefs Neons can be great for beginners. I cycled my tank with fish food for 2 months first, landscaped with live plants and the neons are now thriving. I maintain a pH of 6-7, temp between 21 - 27 degrees, subdued light and dark substrate, and CO2 from a homemade injector. I actually switch the filter and light off at night to conserve energy, again contrary to belief that switching the filter off kills the helpful bacteria, but I get away with it as its a small tank with a small fish load :)
From: Stew
The neon tetra is one of the best fish for smaller aquariums (10 gal+) because they can be inactive and don't require the large swimming space of faster fish like danios and barbs. I could never keep neons alive until I placed a few pieces of natural driftwood into the tank that slowly leech "tannins". They do much better in softer water and this could be the reason why many newcomers to fishkeeping don't have success with neons. Also lots of water changes. I was reading in a book that they love 'fresh' or new water as it frequently rains in the amazon region where they come from. I change at least 25% of the tank water weekly and my neons love it!
From: Matt
Well, I have 26 Neons together in one tank. I have to say, they are amazing. It is important to understand that you really shouldn't have less then 10. This is because they get easily stressed out. I'd prefer you to get 10 first and then if you will want more, then add after the previous ones adapt. This really worked well with mine. I'm still planning to reach about 35 neons because the color is so bright and beautiful. Also, try not to over feed them, because they seem small, but they eat a lot. So its best if you feed them once per day with small amount. Over all I have to say they are one of the best fish there can be!!
From: cm
Make sure you buy a couple more then you plan to keep because these fish don't travel well and you'll almost always end up with some fatalities. The ones still alive after a month will likely stay that way. With that said, also don't buy these guys immediately after they arrive at the fish store because they are still stressed from the shipment and will drop like flies in your tank and/or develop an illness.
From: Mikey
Although keeping neon tetras in as a bare minimum of 6, 15 is definitely a better number or better more , the more tetras the closer they huddle and the more secure they feel 15 tetras will not hardly effect the space in the tank but just make it look prettier at feeding time when the tetras go wild. Only keep tetras with none aggressive small fish or even exotic snails :), I have a separate small tank it contains 15 neons and three guppies and in the tank I have a cave with easy access in and out providing shade as they swim in and out. My other big tank contains my bigger or more aggressive fish (spotted puffers, discus) So as a conclusion the neon tetra is a really easy fish to keep as long as you have lots of them and feed them small amounts of tetra food twice or better three times a day, do a weekly 50p ercent water change (in a small tank) or two weekly change in a big tank (240 litre) as they are happiest in purer water.
From: Tom Hastings
I have only just got into fish keeping and researched many fish to keep. I decided to start with neon tetras and wow. They are highly active, pretty, shiny funky little fish that look great on their own or with other fish. Make sure the fish they are with are not too much bigger than them or they will bully them (or even eat them)
From: Simon Cooper
These used to be a brilliant starter fish, hardy, inexpensive and look great in a good sized shoal. Unfortunately their popularity has been their downfall. They have been so overbred to meet sales demands that the quality of the once tough neon tetra has been hit hard. Buy 50 neons and within a few days your lucky if you have 5 left!! I have kept all manner of fish over the years, but never have any luck with neons anymore. The cardinal, a fish that was once quite expensive, but always nice and stocky and pretty hardy has been hit just as bad, tiny little cardinals can now be bought at very low prices but you get what you pay for. Only add neons or cardinals to mature tanks for any hope of keeping them alive.
From: Daniel
Beautiful little fish, easy to keep. Best kept in a shoal of 6. This makes them feel more secure. They only grow to 4cm at the most, and will make a tasty snack for any larger slightly aggressive fish, so be careful what you keep them with. Prefer a well planted tank, with shady spots as they don't like too much light. In the wild they live in shaded areas of the Amazon river.
From: anonymous
I have had my tetras for over 5 years. They have been through every possible scenario. They are very hardy fish.

From: Jimmy
I have had 6 Neons in my tropical tank for 2 years. I have found that they are very hardy but can get bullied by other fish. They look really good with good lighting and correct water. I keep them with cardinals which looks great.

From: Joe
I think these fish are the best you can get. There colour is amazing! I have 3 goldfish and 2 tropical fish (aquababies white cloud mountain minnows)and they are so peaceful.

From: Iain
I started out with 6 of these beautiful small fish. I lost the last 4 the other day unfortunately. All other bigger fish tend to go for them and eat them if they are semi aggressive. They are very easy to keep and grow pretty fast, but I did find that they were a bit docile and managed to get themselves trapped in the smallest of places. If you have any sort of catfish in there (I have pretty large a Pictus) the Neons will start to vanish. I put my Pictus in around 2 weeks ago and now my Neons have vanished, the guy in the aquarium did tell me however that virtually everything eats Neons.

From: Sam
I have had neons for about 5 mo now they seem to do really well with other fish. I keep them with a bala shark, a male beta and glow light tetras and have not had any problems with them they all get along great.





Privacy Policy | Contact Badman's Tropical Fish
Copyright ©
All rights reserved. Reproduction of any portion of this website's content is forbidden without written permission.