Pregnant Neon Tetra – Is Your Fish Going to Lay Eggs?  

The Neon tetra has always been a favorite of many novice aquarium hobbyists. And there is a good reason for that. First, they are bright colored species that enjoy the company of others.

Socially speaking, these little gems possess not only a peaceful, easy-going temperament, but they are also fairly easy to care for. But they tend to be pretty fussy about waiting for the right conditions.

Pregnant Neon Tetra

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Pregnant Neon Tetra

In fact, they may decide not to breed at all. In this article, we will explore different questions you may have about Neon Tetra. Let’s get started.

Breeding Requirements for Neon Tetras

Breeding Requirements for Neon Tetras

Breeding Requirements for Neon Tetras

Neons often give the best outcome when you separate the breeding pair. And as we mentioned earlier, they need to have just the right conditions. For the best outcome, you need to set up a tank with a couple of inches of rock on the lower side to make a good landing place for the eggs or babies.

A lid may be necessary to control parents from jumping out during their euphoria moments. To avoid eggs sticking on the leaves, avoid putting plants in the tank.

With that said, keep in mind that newly set tanks might not be ideal for neons tetras since they will not withstand the changes that occur during the initial startup cycle. You should only add tetras to the tank is fully mature with stable water chemistry.

In most cases, neons like soft water with about 1 to 2 dH indicator. You can get a test kit from your local pet store to measure the ideal dH indicator. As for the pH, keep it around 5 or 6. You also need to maintain a water temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit or even less, as long as it doesn’t drop below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other than this, you can change half the water more frequently to encourage spawning. It is also a good way to trigger your fish to action if the above factors seem not to motivate them. Also, don’t forget to as a sponge filter in one of the corners, as it keeps the water clean for the young fish.

Last but not least, you need to keep changing the light to trigger spawning. Naturally, neon tetras lay their eggs the first thing in the morning. So, you need to keep them in the dark for at least 12 hours, then introduce some small amount of light into the tank.

Light usually makes them to react like it is daybreak. In most instances, males will dance around their loved ones in preparation for the big event. Depending on the intensity of light, these brilliant creatures could take about 15 – 60 minutes to get underway.

Difference between Male and Female Neon Tetra 

Male vs Female Neon Tetra 

Male vs Female Neon Tetra

Sexual differences are not immediately apparent in neon tetras. Even so, you can still be able to know whether a neon tetra is a male or a female using any of these two ways.

Males are generally more slender with a straight blue line. A female neon, on the other hand, is rounder and has a bent blue line. On top of this, females are usually bigger than males. Especially when females carry eggs, their belly is more rounded and bigger.

How Do You Know If a Neon Tetra Is Pregnant?

When determining whether a neon is pregnant, please follow these steps:

  1. First, differentiate where a neon tetra is a male or a female. Use the criteria we discuss above to differentiate between the two genders.
  2. Secondly, check for belly swelling. Pregnant neon tetras tend to have enlarged or swollen belly because they carry a lot of eggs. Undoubtedly, this is the best indicator that a neon tetra is ready to spawn.
  3. After that, observer their courting behavior. Check the tank if the males are displaying any courting behavior. In most cases, male tetras dance to attract females. Here, dancing consists of swimming in a square-like pattern, while moving back-and-forth. There could be breaks in between, where the males will just remain motionless, but it often doesn’t last long.
  4. Finally, get prepared to receive the babies once you have confirmed that a female tetra is indeed pregnant.

How Long Does it Take for Neon Tetras to Lay Eggs?

When a female is ready to breed, she will scatter a lot of eggs for the male tetras to fertilize. The eggs are transparent and somehow adhesive, so it could easily stick to plants.

Once spawned and fertilized the eggs will take about 24 hours to hatch, producing tiny fry that will feed entirely on their egg sacks for the first few days. In about 4 days, the fry will begin to swim freely.

In this stage, they should be fed with small amounts of foods, such as rotifers, infusoria, and egg yolk.

How Many Eggs do Neon Tetras Lay at Once? 

On average, a female tetra will spawn about 60 -120 eggs for fertilization. But as often the case, not all these will hatch.

For instance, if a female tetra lays 60 eggs, at least 20 of these will result in viable fry.

Do Neon Tetras Eat Their Babies? 

The short answer to this is yes. Immediately you can see the eggs, remove the adult tetras from the breeding tank; otherwise, they will eat the eggs.

Moreover, baby tetras are prone to diseases and usually sensitive to physical injuries. So, they may not survive if you put them together with adults immediately they hatch.

Feed the fry with special food and keep them in the dark for about five days after they hatch because they are light sensitive.

You can place the baby tetras in the same aquariums as the adults after three months. At this moment, they will have developed sufficient survival skills to live harmoniously with the adults.


Neon tetras do not necessarily get pregnant per see. They spawn eggs for the males to fertilize. So, if your female fish have enlarged bellies, chances are they are carrying eggs.

However, you should be careful not to confuse it with a neon tetra disease or too much food, which exhibit the same sign.

The good thing is that tetras are easy to maintain since they demand minimal care. It will only take a few weeks for the young tetras to survive on their own.

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