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Paracheirodon innesi
Neon Tetra

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neon2.jpg (26kb)
Photo Credit: Marcos Avila

Name: Paracheirodon innesi
Size TankpHTemp
Origin: Peru
4 cm 40 L 6.8 24C


The neon tetra is by far one of the best community fish there is on the market. Kept in a school of 6 or more, these little guys are an awesome spectacle swimming around the aquarium and chasing each other back and forth. Neons are extremely peaceful and rather small, therefore shouldn't be kept with very large fish which might find it an appetizing meal. In my experience with neons they tend to be an adaptable fish which can tolerate a pH of 5.0 but it is best to have pH of about 7.0. Also, they feed on the basic flake food but should also get occasional feedings of tubifex worms and frozen brine shrimp. A feeding of live foods once in a while is also suggested but not neccessary. When kept under good conditions the neon tetra is a beautiful and awesome addition to any community aquarium.

Contributed by Patrick Larkins

Neon Tetras are a great addition to the community aquarium and are fascinating to watch as they dart around the aquarium as a group. Once they have adapted to their environment they will be quite hardy fish. This is, however, solely dependant upon your practice of proper water maintenance and the population of your aquarium. They are very sensitive to changes in their environment and will not do well if they feel insecure. Neons will only survive within certain parameters of water conditions. If the temperature in the aquarium exceeds 29C they will suffer and likely die. The pH level is not so much of a concern but any presence of ammonia or nitrite will be intolerable to this fish and will lead to their demise. Given these facts, consider the following advice:

When buying fish, inspect them closely and look for any signs of weakness or ailment. Sick fish may appear listless or labored. They may fail to group with the other Neons, hiding or evading the others. Diseased fish will often be harassed by other fish and may even be killed by them. If you see a fish that appears to be singled out and chased by many of its own kind it is likely not healthy.

Neon Tetras will not tolerate dramatic changes to their environment. With that in mind, you will need to introduce these fish to their new home patiently. Open the bag that you brought the fish home with before placing into the aquarium. Fold down the bag to help it retain shape. Allow the bag to float in the aquarium and replace ten percent of the water from the bag with water from your aquarium every five minutes for a period of at least forty minutes. After this period of acclimation, submerge the bag and wait for the fish to swim out freely. You may need to hold the bag open during this process to allow them space for exit. By tempering them to their new environment with this method your fish will adjust with less mortality.

When kept with other fish, consider the aggressive behavior and size of potential tank-mates. Neons cannot be kept with predator type fish or anything that is large enough to eat them, including the innocent looking Angelfish. They will also not do well with fish that will harass them, such as Barbs, Danios, or Gouramies. If you want to keep them with other schooling fish it is best to let them outnumber any of the other group(s). Neons, generally, are better off when kept in shoals of seven or more.

Neon Tetras inhabit the dense waters of the Amazon region. Their environment should not be very bright, as their natural habitat is marshy and shaded from the sun by heavy plant growth and soiled water. Supply them with plenty of shelter (plants, rocks, caves etc.) and use a dark substrate. With a dark substrate and someplace to seek shelter from light and/or predators they will feel much more secure. Without these conditions they will be shy and vulnerable to harassment from other fish as well as disease.

Do not add these fish to an aquarium that has not gone through the process of cycling. Use a thermometer along with your tank heater to regulate the water temperature in your aquarium. You will want to keep tabs on the conditions of your aquarium's water and change it weekly (25%). Follow this formula and you will have healthy fish. You should also have some experience with keeping fish and be familiar with diagnosing disease before considering the Neon Tetra as a member of your aqua-family.

Neon Tetra Disease: Fish infected with Neon Tetra Disease will show signs of becoming pale in color (white patches beneath their skin). The fish will not school with the others and become listless. Through the latter stages of the disease the fishs body will begin to degenerate. Usually the tail end of the body will seem dwarfed and becomes useless, this will cause the fish to have trouble swimming. Upon witnessing these symptoms, death is imminent, consider euthanasia. To my knowledge their is no cure for the disease. I have seen the disease many times and have yet to see it become an epidemic. The disease will however continue to infect your fish until the cause has been remedied. Neon Tetra Disease is usually caused by stress due to poor water conditions, shock (dramatic change of environment), or being harassed by other fish. The disease is fatal but it will not kill them that quickly. It is a degenerative disease that goes through many phases and may take weeks before they will die, the actual amount of time depends on the general health of the fish. The disease is borne of a cyst and it will migrate to the digestive system and eventually the muscles of the infected fish.

Contributed by Michael J. Urmann

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