Native to the cool clear streams of Colombia, South America, the colorful fish prefers low lighted areas with densely planted systems to hide. Some driftwood and rocks placed among the plants as areas of refuge best recreate the natural habitat of this tropical fish. These fish loves to swim in schools or remain suspended in the water column creating a spectacular display of color. Extremely peaceful, the fish should be kept in your aquarium with similarly non-aggressive fish of the same size.
WHAT IS A NEON TETRA?
A freshwater fish belonging to the characin (CHARACIDAE) family of the Characiformes order, the Neon Tetra is common in clearwater or blackwater streams particularly in southeastern Colombia, western Brazil, and eastern Peru, including the Solimes tributaries where water temperature is 20 to 26 degrees Centigrade. Its bright, almost artificial bright coloring make the fish visible in the dark black water streams which is also the reason for its extreme popularity among aquarium fish hobbyists.
The neon tetra has a silver-white abdomen under a light-blue back. The fish has a striking iridescent red stripe that starts at the middle and extends to the caudal fin, and a likewise iridescent blue stripe that stretches along both sides of the fish beginning from the nose to the adipose fin. Sometimes they develop a slight olive-green sheen lining marked conspicuously on their backs. The fish is totally transparent except for the markings which become black or gray while resting and reactivates once the fish becomes active again in the morning. It grows to a length of approximately 3 cm. The iridescent stripe of the female neon tetra is bent in contrast to the straight stripe of the male. Recently, a long-fin variety of the neon tetra has also become available.
SIMPLE AQUARIUM BREEDING TIPS
Most neon tetras available today are commercially fed and more delicate compared to the original wild species. For this reason, they should be safely housed preferably in a 10-gallon aquarium to afford substantial space and better quality stable water. Simple filtration methods available upon purchase of the fish and should be followed to ensure longer survival lifespan.
In the wild, this fish have been observed to be omnivores and eat insect larvae, small invertebrates, and algae. This wild diet can be more or less reproduced in the aquarium with blanched zucchini medallions, quality flake food, and various frozen foods. They include daphnia, bloodworms, and brine shrimp. Live food is also recommended such as fruit flies and blackworm.
To trigger spawning, male and female species should be transferred to an aquarium that has a short light cycle or kept in darkness. Once they have spawned, see to it that the adults are immediately removed from the tank, as they will willingly eat all their newly laid eggs. These eggs will hatch after a day or 24 hours more or less and because they are so tiny, these tiny fish should be fed infusoria. After a few days, they can already be fed with baby brine shrimp, or any available commercial fry products .
The neon tetra has been collected by hobbyist since the 1930’s. Until now it remains one of, if not, the most sought after and most popular aquarium fish. The reasons are simple - the tiny fish is unique and the striking iridescent colors make the neon tetra a perfect aquarium species even if kept alone or together with some other fish in the aquarium.
Truly, the neon tetra is a perfect choice for your aquarium. If you take all appropriate and necessary care, the fish can live up to a maximum of ten years. That's quite a long time even for a home aquarium fish and the satisfaction you get is certainly worth it.