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Top Fin Aquatics

Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

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Overview of Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Common Names: Neon Tetra

Scientific Name: Paracheirodon innesi

Native Location: Southeastern Colombia, eastern Peru, western Brazil

Climate: Tropical

Size: 1.5 - 2 inches (3.8 - 5 cm)

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivore

Breeding: Difficult

Temperature Range: 68° - 80° F (20° - 27° C)

Preferred pH Range: 5.0 - 7.0

KH Range: 4 - 10 dKH

Minimum Aquarium Size: 10 gallons

Potential Tankmates: Other small, non-aggressive fish

Care Level: Easy


Neon Tetras are one of the most popular and colorful fish in the freshwater aquarium hobby. Known for their iridescent blue and red stripes, they add vibrant bursts of color to any tank setup. These fish are excellent for both beginners and experts due to their hardy nature and peaceful temperament.

Physical Characteristics

Neon Tetras have a distinctive appearance with a light blue back and a silver or white belly. A shimmering blue stripe runs along the top of their back, while a neon red stripe runs along the back and bottom of their bodies. Their eye-catching coloration makes them a standout in any aquarium.

Behavior and Compatibility

Neon Tetras are peaceful and thrive in community tanks with other non-aggressive fish of similar size. They are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of six or more. Their schools create a stunning display of colors in motion, especially in well-planted tanks with plenty of hiding places such as rocks, caves, driftwood, and live plants.

Diet and Feeding

Neon Tetras are omnivorous and readily accept most fish flakes and pellets. They also enjoy small foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, freeze-dried bloodworms, and tubifex. Providing a varied diet helps maintain their vibrant colors and overall health.

Tank Setup and Care

  • Tank Size: A minimum of 10 gallons is recommended.
  • Water Conditions: They prefer temperatures between 68° - 80° F (20° - 27° C) and a pH range of 5.0 - 7.0. A KH range of 4 - 10 dKH is ideal.
  • Substrate and Decorations: Create a natural habitat with dense plantings and hiding spots using rocks, caves, and driftwood. Live plants such as green cabomba, moneywort, and java ferns are ideal.
  • Acclimation: Slowly acclimate Neon Tetras to a new tank to prevent stress due to their sensitivity to changes in water parameters. They thrive best in well-cycled aquariums.


Breeding Neon Tetras in captivity can be challenging due to their need for specific water conditions. They require soft, acidic water and low light levels for spawning. During the breeding process, the bright colors of the fish may dim at night, which is normal and not an indication of illness.

What We Like About This Tetra

  • Coloration: Iridescent blue and red stripes add bright bursts of color to any aquarium.
  • Size: Small size makes them ideal for nano aquariums.
  • Plant Compatibility: Safe with live plants.
  • Disposition: Completely peaceful and suitable for community tanks.


Neon Tetras are a beautiful and lively addition to any aquarium. Their vibrant colors and schooling behavior make them a favorite among hobbyists. Easy to care for, they are well-suited for both novice and experienced aquarists. Providing them with a well-planted tank and a varied diet will ensure they remain healthy and colorful.

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