Do Neon Tetra Jump Out of Tank?

It is not uncommon to find a neon tetra on the floor after having jumped out of the aquarium. An aquarist’s first instinct will be to check the water quality since less than ideal water conditions can cause a fish to jump.

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If your water conditions are good, it may be puzzling to determine why your neon tetra jumped. Neon tetras are skilled jumpers, although they may be more inclined to jump out of a crowded or stressful space.

Why do Neon Tetras Jump Out?

Some of the reasons why your neon tetra may jump include:

– Stress

Neon tetras will look for an opportunity to jump if you keep them with incompatible tankmates. You want to avoid semi-aggressive and aggressive fish species like cichlids, angelfish, and bettas.

Neon tetras are quite small, and any larger and predatory fish will chase them for food. Even larger tetras are a threat to this fish.

When choosing tankmates, look out for peaceful varieties like the cory catfish, dwarf gouramis, barbs, and rasboras.

Neon tetras are also comfortable in a large school of about 15-20 individuals. Keeping only a few of them will lead to stress and cause them to jump out.

– Poor Water Conditions

Your neon tetras should be kept in the ideal water temperatures at all times. This is a tropical fish, and you need to maintain warm temperatures in the range of 72-76ºF. The fish likes soft water with a PH of 6.0-7.0.

Invest in a capable filtration system to keep the water clean and habitable. A good filter will keep the levels of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites down, although you still need to perform regular water changes.

Ammonia and nitrites are especially toxic to fish, and they can buildup in a tank with too much fish waste and organic matter. This waste needs to be regularly cleaned out by vacuuming the substrate.

Your neon tetras will struggle to breathe in poorly aerated water, and you can add plants to promote oxygenation. If the oxygen depletes in your tank, your neon tetra will jump out in search of a more hospitable environment.

– Small Living Space

It is easy to overcrowd neon tetras since they are small. If you are keeping them in a community set-up, invest in a large tank that will house all the inhabitants comfortably.

Do not keep neon tetras in an aquarium that is less than 20 gallons. Your neon tetra will be tempted to jump if they don’t have much room to explore.

You can add hiding spaces using rocks and decorations so that your fish can retreat when they feel crowded.

If you are keeping only neon tetras, they might get along in a 5 gallon tank, but keep a lid on the tank to prevent jumping.

– Want to Explore

If you leave the aquarium open, your neon tetra may be driven by curiosity to jump. Fish love to explore their surroundings as much as any living being, and neon tetras will jump out if given a chance.

– Fear Factor

The fear factor could be one of the reasons why your Neon Tetra is jumping out of the tank. This comes about as a result of introducing your fish to a new environment.

When you take a fish from its natural habitat and introduce it to a tank environment, it will freak out. The reason for it getting startled is just obvious.

Your fish is not yet used to its new living conditions within the tank. This problem occurs mostly on the fish that is bred in ponds and taken to the tank to spend their lives there.

A fish bred in its natural habitat has not experienced life in a glass tank yet.

Besides, certain factors will make the same fish uncomfortable during the first days of its stay in a new environment.

Factors such as bright light, confined spaces, consistent currents, and others can startle your Neon Tetra. In the process, this lovely fish will try to find a way out of captivity by jumping out.

That said, ensure that you set the tank away from traffic, bright light, or noisy places. Keep it in a quiet place where your fish will stay peacefully.

How High Can Neon Tetras Jump?

There is no scientific research on how high neon tetras can jump, but we can use the jumping behavior of other similarly-sized fish as a guide.

Bettas can jump to heights of 2-3 inches while guppies can jump to about 8-15 inches. We can, therefore, assume that neon tetras are capable of similar heights.

How Long do Neon Tetras Live Outside of Water?

A neon tetra will stay gulping for 1-2 minutes if they jump out of the tank. The time will primarily depend on the temperature and humidity in the room.

The fish will typically take some tank water with it, and they may survive for longer if they fall on a non-absorbent floor like wood or tile.

What to do if Your Neon Tetra Jumps?

The key to saving a fish that has jumped is a swift action. If you are lucky to spot the fish as it is jumping, place cardboard or thin paper to catch it. Gently place the tetra back to the aquarium.

It can be challenging to revive a fish that has jumped out of its tank. Some aquarists will place the fish in a separate tank with cooler water since it has more oxygen.

You can place the tetra in the main aquarium and hold it for a while on the current so that it absorbs a lot of oxygen. Hold the tetra close to an air bubbler or anywhere there is proper water circulation.

You can also add aquarium salt to boost the functionality of your tetra’s gills. Fish will quickly lose their slime coat when they are out of the water, and you can add a stress coat to revive it.

Can You Keep Neon Tetras in an Open Aquarium?

Although you can keep neon tetras in an open aquarium, it will be easy for them to jump out. The best practice is covering your tank or keeping the water levels lower.


When we think about fish that jump, bettas, and goldfish are likely to come up. Neon tetras can also jump as well as the two fish, and you have to keep your aquarium covered.

Ensure that the water conditions are ideal because fish are more likely to jump because of poor water quality.

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