If you are looking into breeding your adorable neon tetras in order to enlarge their school with new, young additions, you will need to be attentive about a couple of things.
First of all, these iridescent little fish are not livebearers but egg scatterers. That means they can be slightly more difficult to breed when compared to other species, as the eggs get fertilized outside of their bodies.
However, it is still possible to achieve, even for inexperienced owners. To ease the process out, we are sharing our complete guide on neon tetras egg-laying.
Before we begin, here is a tiny spoiler alert: there will be a lot of eggs for you to care about.
How Many Eggs do Neon Tetras Lay?
A healthy female can produce many eggs during her peak life stage. Therefore, if the breeding process is successfully guided, you can expect anywhere between 60 and 130 eggs all over your mating tank.
Not all of the eggs will get fertilized, so there is a super-low chance of all released eggs to actually hatch. The most realistic ratio of hatched eggs to expect is around 40 to 70.
How Often do Neon Tetras Lay Eggs?
The frequency of neon tetras laying eggs depends a lot on their keeper’s efforts, but also on their general wellbeing. Indeed, seeing them breeding in an established tank with no influence is almost impossible.
Therefore, they need to be conditioned and placed into a breeding tank for being able to lay some eggs. But not only. If your adults are not entirely healthy anymore, if they are stressed or feel like there is not enough food around their home, they will simply choose not to breed.
The aquarium conditions really do need to be carefully achieved to make these fish wanting to reproduce. In the wild, where they feel extremely safe and protected, they can lay eggs every 2 weeks or so.
However, it is substantially hard to keep such a perfect environment in captivity, so you can most likely expect your fish to breed less often.
Where do Neon Tetras Lay their Eggs?
There is no preferred area across an aquarium where these fish like laying their eggs. Instead, they are scatterers, meaning that they basically release their eggs following no pattern.
Most of the eggs will obviously end up at the bottom of the tank, but many of them can also find their way onto plant surfaces. Indeed, their eggs have a somehow adhesive outer surface, so they can literally stick on wherever the mother decides to release them.
Java moss is often suggested as a good bottom base for breeding tanks. It offers healthy yet soft bedding for them, but it can also temporarily hide the eggs from their parents to avoid becoming food.
Your neon tetras, being so small, can produce minute eggs that are sometimes hard to spot across the various tank surfaces. Additionally, they are basically transparent, making them even harder to notice.
Neon Tetra Breeding
If you are keen to properly breed your favorite tetra couple, you should first setup their breeding tank. This does not have to be exceptionally large following their established home, as there will only be 2 adults in there. However, a 10-gallon tank is recommended to provide stable enough water parameters.
When it comes to water parameters, these need to be carefully set to the ideal values, or you are risking otherwise of your pets simply refusing to breed. Make sure to provide them with a temperature of about 77-degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, water should be soft and the pH levels need to be between 5 and 6. If the water is not warm enough or is not enough acidic, no basic breeding requirements will be met.
– Egg Hatching
Once your conditioned couple has decided to spawn, the female can release anywhere from 60 and 130 eggs for the male to fertilize. Not all eggs will be able to hatch though, but rather about half of them.
From this point, you must remove both adults back into their established tank, deprive the breeding tank of any light source, and wait for approximately 24 hours for the eggs to hatch.
Once they do, the tiny transparent babies will have to feed for a couple of days on their own egg yolks, until they are able to swim.
– Egg & Fry Care
You basically have nothing to do prior egg hatching, other than isolating all eggs from any neon tetra adult. However, once they start swimming around the tank, you will have to greatly care about the little babies.
Indeed, they require lots of highly nutritious food in order to grow. Therefore, you can feed them with either homemade or purchased infusoria at least twice daily.
During such life stages, they are extremely sensitive to water quality, so please make sure to remove all visible debris and maintain stable water parameters.
– Growing Out Neon Tetras
Your babies should feed on infusoria until they start resembling to little fish. This usually takes a couple of weeks. After that, you can start offering them more solid food, such as baby brine shrimp.
At this stage, your fry will grow amazingly fast and will become adolescent after several weeks only. When you feel they are large enough not to get eaten by other adults, you may carefully place them into your established tank.
Do Female Neon Tetras Lay Eggs Without Males?
Yes, female neon tetras lay unfertilized eggs without their male companions being even present. More precisely, they simply release them into the water.
Females produce eggs occasionally during their entire fertile stage. However, if they have nobody to breed with, they will just release the eggs and probably eat them afterward.
If you are eager to expand your neon tetra school by breeding your favorite couple, it is not a mission impossible.
With the ideal water requirements and with lots of attention from your side, you may be soon facing dozens of iridescent babies.