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Neon Tetra
(Paracheirodon innesi)

neon tetra, Paracheirodon innesi

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Neon tetras or Paracheirodon innesi are members of the family Characidae. Characidae are commonly referred to as Characins. Neons are natives to southeastern Columbia, eastern Peru, and western Brazil, including the tributaries of Solimoes. They can be found in black water or clear water streams.

Neons and cardinal tetras look very similar in appearance. Put them in the same aquarium together and most people wouldn’t be aware they are two different species. Both have metallic neon blue upper bodies and a brilliant red stripe in the center of their bodies. This stripe is found mid-body running to back the tail in neons. The stripe runs the entire length of a cardinal’s body.

Both neons and cardinals are a favorite among the freshwater aquarist who prefers smaller aquarium set ups because of their intense color palette. They really brighten up a desktop aquarium.

Neon tetras make good community fish as long as the other members of the community are all smaller varieties. Neons are slender bodied fish that only reach 1.5 inches fully grown. A large adult fish can swallow one whole as a snack. They tend to be a shy species so give them with plenty of plants and aquarium décor to hide in. This will also provide sanctuary from more aggressive fish.

Water in South America is slightly acidic, around pH 6.8. Water temperature ranges from70-79°F. Your neons will thrive in similar conditions.

Neons are mid-tank swimmers. They are shoaling fish. Shoaling fish do not cope well when isolated from other members of their own species. Many will not survive in solitude. It is advisable to have at least four neons in your aquarium.

Neons are omnivores. They are perfectly cable of surviving on common tropical fish flakes.

Males and females look pretty much the same. The female’s body tends to be a little fuller. This is more apparent when she is carrying eggs.

Breeding Neon Tetras

Neons are egg layers. They will spawn in captivity. Feeding them a diet high in protein will help initiate the spawning cycle. Brine shrimp, tubifex or bloodworms will help achieve the desired results. Neons will not breed in hard, alkaline water. Slightly acidic water between pH 6.0-6.2 is conducive to spawning.

If you are unable to sex your neons, place the entire group in a properly prepare breeding tank. Water filtered through peat or a small layer added to the substrate will simulate optimum breeding conditions. Make sure there are no chemical additives or fertilizers on the peat.

The breeding tank should have an abundance of floating plants. Hornwort will work just fine. Keep the breeding tank in a dimly lit room.

Neon tetras will scatter their eggs. Once spawning is complete all the adults should be promptly removed from the tank. Egg layers are known to feast on their un-hatched eggs.

Fry will hatch in about 24 hours. They will be free swimming in a couple of days. Once they are free swimming they, can be fed infusoria or some other liquid fry food formulated for egg layers. When they get a little bigger switch their diet to newly hatched brine shrimp, powdered fry food or powdered eggs.

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Tropical Freshwater Aquarium
Fish Care & Breeding Guide
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