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Fish Files - Neon Tetra

The Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi), has a long history among hobbyists. The fish was first collected and kept back in the 1930’s when not much of it was known. Although it has been kept in aquariums for over eighty years now, it is still among the favorite and most popular fish. This is attributed to its salient physique and calm temperament.

Neon Tetra quick statistics • Minimum Tank Size: 40 Litres • Size of the fish: 4cm • Temperature: 20 to 25° • Temperament: Peaceful fish • Latin name: Paracheirodon innesi

• Best kept in groups of 6 or more

• Will live in most water conditions, but prefer low pH 6.5 - 7.0 being ideal

• Will eat pellets, flakes or frozen food so long as it fits in their mouths

Background The fish was first initially located in Southern American countries such as Brazil, Peru, and Colombia and it inhabited clearwater as well as black water streams.

Description and Size The Neon Tetra is a small bodied fish extending to a length of about 4

cm It has a lifespan of 5-8 years in an aquarium, although it can live up to 10 years.

This fish species is not endangered. Naturally, this fish is usually found in slow moving river tributaries. These are areas with waters running beneath thick canopies which prevent the entrance of light. This fish has a normal behaviour of living in shoals in the middle parts of the waters. Their main food in this type of environment is small crustaceans and water worms. More recently, almost all Neon Tetras are captive-bred with few being in their natural habitats. Most of these captive-bred species come from Eastern Europe and others from the Far East. Biology of the Fish The Neon Tetra resembles the Cardinal Tetra although these are two different types of fish. They both have two bright stripes that run on their bodies horizontally. The attractive red and blue colours on their bodies give them a magnificent physical characteristic. However, the Neon Tetra has its red stripe running half way its body while the Cardinal Tetra has its red line on its full body length. The Neon Tetra lays eggs but will be tempted to eat its eggs if given the chance.

Deliberating which one among opposite sexes of the fish is male or female can be a difficult task. The male has a slender body as compared to the female fish. The female will have a rounder belly which might be more distinct if she is carrying eggs. This rounded body makes its blue line a little bent than the male fish which has a relatively straight blue stripe.

Popularity among Aquarists This species is popular among fish keepers primarily because of its nature and abilities. It is hardy, meaning it can withstand harsh climatic conditions such as frost. It is also a peaceful type of fish as it can co-exist with its kind and other species in a community tank without causing any trouble.

Keeping Conditions Neon Tetra is comfortable living in a shoal of six or more of its kind in an aquarium. This will make it active for growth and development. The aquarium will need to have 40 litres of water to accommodate the shoal comfortably. They can also be kept in a Nano tank with moderate lighting. This kind of lighting will bring out the best colouring of the Neon Tetra. The water needs to have a temperature of between 20.0 to 25.0° C and a pH of 5.0 to 8.0. They do not require brackish water but will need hard water ranging between 3 and 25 dGH.

Breeding Technique Breeding the Neon Tetra is considered a difficult task but possible with the right conditions. Breeding conditions require a different set of conditions than regular keeping; intense sterilization of the tank plus all its linked equipment, and soft acidic water. After nine months, the fish will be ready to lay eggs, and a small group should then be transferred into the breeding tank. In the tank of reproduction, there needs to be at least five fish with a 2:1, female to male ratio.

The breeding tank’s internal environmental should have; a temperature of 24°C, pH between 5.0-6.0, and water hardness range 1-2 dGH. The females spawn early in the morning and will hatch almost 130 eggs. The scattered eggs will need to be moved to avoid being eaten by the parents. In about 24 hours the eggs will hatch and will begin swimming freely in 3-4 days. The little fry can be fed on liquid fry food before they are big enough to feed on baby brine shrimp.

Compatible Tank Inhabitants Neon Tetras can coexist with other aquarium communities. However, they should not be kept together with other large fish which are more aggressive. They are ideal in a community with other small tetras, crabs, shrimps, snails, Corydoras, hatchet fish and small Rasboras.

Fish Diseases One of the health threats of the Neon Tetra is the Neon Tetra Disease. This is a highly contagious and incurable disease that has an unknown cause or origin. The Tetras begin having body lumps, swimming difficulties and fading colours. It is advised that any newly acquired tetras should first be quarantined and monitored before mixing them up with the healthy ones.

Most fish are prone to parasites, skin flukes, worms, and bacterial infections and the Neon Tetra is no exception. To prevent this health issues, it is recommended to always keep the tank clean and reading on common signs for any disease and taking an action within the early stages.

The Neon Tetra is one of our best selling fish, and we always have plenty of stock here at Friends In Soggy Homes, "the best aquatics store in Leicester"


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