Neon fish

The neon fish is a well-known inhabitant and very present in freshwater aquariums around the world. Who hasn’t ever gawked at one of these little guys? If you want to learn all about it, we will tell you all about it.

Where does the neon fish come from?

The Paracheidoron Inessi or neon tetra is a small tropical freshwater fish from South America. It is usually found naturally in schools or schools of fish, in waters rich in organic matter in the Amazon basin. It was discovered in the 1940s and after a few years of study and selection it managed to sneak into homes around the world thanks to its beauty.

Physical appearance of neon fish

This striking creature stands out for its colors and small size, but being small has not prevented it from being part of elegant aquariums with dreamy backgrounds and landscapes, created by great aquarium lovers:

  • Silver body with a mixture of blue and red.
  • Blue stripe extending to the caudal fin.
  • Ventral red line.
  • Size not exceeding 4 cm

At first glance it is easy to confuse it with the Cardinal tetra. However, if you take a closer look, you will see that they are similar, although not the same:

  • The neon tetra has a red line running from the middle of its body to the caudal fin.
  • In contrast, the cardinal tetra presents this stripe along the entire ventral part of the body and extends to the tail.

Sexual dimorphism, how can males and females be differentiated?

There are really not many variations between male and female neon fish. However, once sexually mature at around 12 months of age, females tend to become more corpulent and with a more rounded belly area than males.

Types of neon fish

It has certainly become very popular and thanks to that it has been bred and selected to obtain several varieties or types of neon fish. Some of its rare variants are these:

Neon fish “Black diamond

The Black Diamond Neon Tetra is a very new variant of the Neon Tetra and is not easy to find. It tends to adapt very well to planted aquariums. Be careful when identifying it, as it has nothing to do with the common Black Neon Tetra.

Tetra Neon “golden

It does not have any reddish coloration but, it keeps the iridescent blue line from the eye to 3/4 of its body. It has been achieved through selective breeding in captivity.

Neon fish “bright white”.

The Brilliant White Neon Tetra is usually placed in the middle and upper areas of the tank and adapts easily to coexist with other small fish.

Neon fish “albino”.

The albino Neon Tetra Neon has hardly any blue color and its body is rather whitish-transparent. In addition, it may have red eyes, something that serves to differentiate it from the bright white variety.

Tetra Neon “diamond head”.

The Blue Diamond Neon Tetra is the bluest variety of the species and very easy to identify by its “diamond” marking between the forehead and dorsal fin. Suitable for all types of owners and very calm.

Veil Tetra Neon

It has a red stripe from the ventral fins to the tail and its size is a little smaller. It is a variety very appreciated by aquarium lovers.

Main neon fish care

The Inessi neon will need careful maintenance and care on your part to keep your aquarium looking full of color and vitality for a long time. These are the essential points to control:

  • Water
  • Feeding
  • Type of aquarium
  • Acclimatization and aquarium maintenance


  • Temperature: 20-25 ºC
  • pH: 5-6.5
  • Water hardness: low (1 and 2 dGH). This point is essential because too hard water can cause intestinal problems and lowered defenses in the fish.
  • Maintain a good level of filtration: It is essential to avoid the accumulation of nitrogenous compounds and waste substances.

Food What does the neon fish eat?

In order to keep it healthy and energetic, its diet must be well controlled and varied. The neon inessi is an omnivorous species that feeds on:

  • Live or frozen maggot larvae or mosquitoes
  • Live bait
  • Dehydrated food

In addition, it is advisable to provide vegetable food to avoid possible intestinal diseases such as, for example, obstruction.

Type of aquarium

For your neons to be comfortable and adapt to their new home, you have to get an aquarium of a good capacity and create an environment as natural as possible for them. This way you will be able to enjoy their beauty for a long time, although unfortunately, their life expectancy does not usually exceed 7 years. The ideal aquarium will be the one that meets these requirements:

  • Aquariums with minimum filter size of 60 liters
  • Low illumination
  • Plants and abundant vegetation

In addition, you must ensure that the aquarium has several of these elements:

  • Sandy substrate or dark gravel
  • Some driftwood branches
  • Dried leaves, such as almond leaves, to simulate a more natural environment.
  • Aquatic plants such as Microsorum or Cryptocoryne spp.

Preparation and maintenance of the aquarium

It is generally recommended to have a school of about 6-8 fish of this type that you will introduce in your aquarium once the water is cycled and ready to ensure the survival of these in perfect conditions. To do this, always follow the indications of all the specific products to mature the water and generate an ideal environment.

Fish compatible with neons

It is truly essential to keep neons in a group or else they will become lazy and dull and you will not be able to enjoy their beautiful coloring and behavior. What’s more, they may become unprotected and consequently aggressive. As for their coexistence with other species, they hardly show incompatibilities except that our small neons may be attacked by other bigger fish. That is to say, the presence of large fish that can feed or harm the neons should be avoided. Finally, it is essential for survival that all fish introduced in the aquarium need the same type of water parameters.

Some of the fish compatible with neons are:

  • Surface: Clown Killi Fish, Marble Axe Fish.
  • Middle zone: Cardinal fish, Glowlight tetra, Harlequin fish.
  • Background: Panda Catfish, Bandit Corydoras
  • Algae-eating fish: Otocinclus zebra, Locha ventosa, Gobio arcoiris.
  • Shrimps and snails: trumpet snail, neocaridine shrimp, devil snail.

Reproduction of Tetra Neon fish

The truth is that the breeding of Tetra Neon is quite complicated, especially in aquariums where several species live together. Therefore, it is essential to have a well planted aquarium to prevent the clutches from being eaten. The ideal is to have a lot of moss and plants that can protect the newly hatched young so that they can survive and get ahead. If, on the other hand, you choose to breed in an aquarium dedicated exclusively to reproduction, it is also best to introduce a large amount of moss to secure and protect the clutches.

Egg laying

A pregnant female tetra neon usually lays between 100 and 300 eggs, although many can be eaten by the parents. To avoid losing many offspring, it is best that once they have filled the moss with eggs, they are removed and placed in a separate urn, in which an aerator and a few drops of methylene blue (optional) will be placed to protect them from light the first days, as they are very sensitive to it. Because they hatch in 2-3 days, food infusion should be prepared for the fry in their first days of life and until they are able to eat brine shrimp nauplii or microworm.

Finally, for the correct development and growth of the young, it will be necessary to carry out continuous water changes, which will also serve to maintain the habitat in the best possible conditions. In summary, one of the most relevant aspects for your fish will be the quality of the water. Therefore, we must ensure ideal parameters for breeding: an acidic pH (above 6) and a fairly low hardness. For this you can help yourself, for example, with peat, alder cones, cattapa leaves, which will serve to reduce the pH and will also generate tannins so that the state of the water is ideal.

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