Neon Tetra
(Paracheirodon Innesi)

Neon Tetra

(Paracheirodon Innesi)

Size: 1.5 Inches

Temp Range: 70°F to 81°F

pH Level: 6.0 to 7.8

Lifespan: 3 to 10 years

Tank Size: 10 gallons

Diet: Pellet, Flake, Frozen

Difficulty: Easy

Geographic History

These colorful little fish come from black water and clear water streams in southeast Columbia, eastern Peru, and western Brazil.


Neon Tetra prefer dim light or light that filters through floating plants. Darker substrate will show off their colors very well. Provide plants along the sides and rear of the aquarium and put some driftwood or other cave decor in the bottom of the tank. Their natural habitat in still water and they prefer little to no current.


Neon Tetra look great and do very well in a community aquarium. They should not be kept with larger, predatory fish or they will become lunch. They are very comfortable with like sized fish and mix well with Guppies and other Tetra.


Females have a more rounded belly with their blue strip bending upwards. Males have a much flatter belly.


These active little swimmers like to school in groups of six or more. Groups of four or less will cause them to die off. They tend to stress a great deal in small groups.

These are good dither fish for small, shy predatory fish. They are also great fish for indicating the mood of a community aquarium. If they shoal in a tight clump, the tank is very aggressive and unhappy. They shoal in loose schools if the tank is calm and happy.


In the wild, breeding for these little guys takes place in the morning after a rainfall. To simulate this, do a 50% water change just before you turn your aquarium lights on. Using a 10 gallon breeding tank with marble substrate and some low, fine leafed plants is usually more effective than trying to simulate a rainfall in a larger community tank. The marbles also assist in keeping the adult fish from eating their eggs.

Place several males and females in the breeding tank 24 hours before you want to induce spawning activity. Feed them very well before you turn their lights out for the night.

When you turn the lights on, after you have done the water change, watch for spawning activity. The females will drop sand sized eggs all over the marble bottom. Remove the adults when you see the eggs, because they will try their best to eat them.

Keep the lights turned off in the breeding tank as much as possible. The fry prefer low light conditions. They also need very high quality water, which can be achieved with a small, in tank, sponge filter and daily 10% water changes.

The fry will hatch in 24 to 36 hours and be free swimming in about four days. Fry should be fed crushed flake and Inforusia.

Make sure to keep excellent water quality throughout the spawning and growth of the fry. When they become juveniles they are more hardy, like their parrents.

For more information, go to Wikipedia's Neon Tetra page.

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PetSmart - Fish