10 Fun & Interesting Facts About Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are one of the most common fish sold by fish shops. They are amazing choices for first-time keepers, as they both are hardy and require tiny living space.

But they are at the same time a wonderful insertion to community tanks, thanks to their peaceful temperaments and their ability to escape attacks. All in all, these fish are such a suitable pet for basically anyone, and they are probably often not getting all the attention that they certainly deserve.

In order to compensate for that injustice at least a bit, we have carefully selected 10 fun and interesting facts about neon tetras. And who knows, maybe you decide to adopt some, too.

1. Neon Tetras are one of the Smallest Fish Species one can Own

Even though they can reach a maximal size of approximately 2,5 inches across their natural habitats, neon tetras rarely manage to exceed 1,5 inches when held in captivity aquariums. This makes them one of the smallest fish species one can ever own. Can you even imagine such tiny, adorable creatures?

Such small size allows them to be kept in super-small tanks, which is a great advantage for those looking to adopt them. However, we recommend to always start with 20-gallon solutions at least.

This will ensure that you can keep the water parameters stable at all times much easier. Keeping stable water values is vitally important for neon tetras, as they can be overly sensitive to any oscillation.

2. Neon Tetras have a surprisingly Long Lifespan

If we take in consideration their tiny size, neon tetras have a surprisingly long lifespan. In the wild, they can live for as long as 10 years. How amazing is that?

When held as pets, however, these beautiful creatures can usually not survive for a longer time than 5 years, with 2 to 3 being a general average.

3. Females can Lay a Lot of Eggs

For such a tiny female body, these ladies can lay a lot of eggs. And by a lot, we mean anywhere from 60 to 120 at once.

Neon tetras are egg scatterers, meaning that females spread their eggs all around the tank surfaces, and not being particularly picky while doing so. At a later point, the male will fertilize them from distance, and then the waiting games are to begin.

4. Their Body Coloration Fades during Nighttime

Neon tetras feature spectacularly bright red and blue stripes along their body lengths, and that is exactly where they get their name from.

This is already a quite common fact, so it is probably a good choice to be listed among the 10 most fun and interesting. However, the fact that their stripes fade during nighttime certainly is.

When there is no light source present, the cytoplasm layers of the chromatophores will expand, causing their usually vivid coloration to temporarily become dull.

5. Neon Tetras are Extremely Playful

It is of common knowledge that neon tetras make one of the most peaceful fish pets one could ever own. As long as they have their safe group around, they will spend hours and hours cheerfully playing. These creatures love chasing each other around, and they occasionally even nip on each other’s fins while doing so.

Moreover, observing them while synchronically swimming as a school is a quite spectacular scenario to the eye of the observer, with the golden rule being the more neon tetras there are, the greater will they dance be.

6. Neon Tetras can Die if Kept as Individuals

These adorable fish are a schooling type of animal. That means that they must be kept in groups of at least 6 specimens to thrive. Fish that are kept as individuals can soon start developing too high levels of stress, causing their immune system to turn into a weak one, and making them an easy target for various diseases and parasites.

This is also valid for groups of tetras which are too small to function, such as those with only 3 or 4 fish.

7. When Feeling Insecure, they will Nip on Fins

Oh yes, neon tetras can sometimes turn into quite the irritable fin nippers, both to their own species as well as to their tank mates. Being extremely fast and agile, it is no issue for them to quickly nip on a fin and to get away with it unpunished.

This is extremely enhanced when their water parameters are unstable or when they feel insecure among their captivity home.

8. Their Striking Stripes do have a Purpose

Their colorful and brilliant horizontal stripes are not here just to make them prettier. Instead, their main purpose is making them easier to be recognized by their own species. With their wild habitats mainly consisting out of blackish and heavy planted waters, such striking colors make them super-easy to spot and to stay together as a school.

9. There are also some Long-Finned Varieties available

During recent times, neon tetras have become such a popular pet species that professional breeders have decided to create some morphs. So, for those who love their precious having long fins, there are some captive-bred types available to be adopted.

10. Neon Tetras have a Disease named after Them

We have saved the saddest fact on neon tetra fish for last. The neon tetra disease or NTD is caused by a specific type of parasite. It is usually not curable, so this is certainly something that every single neon tetra owner wants to avoid.

The disease is deadly, and it can make the entire school sick if not isolated on time. Therefore, please ensure to monitor your colorful little fish carefully.

Tetra Fish   Updated: September 2, 2021
avatar Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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