The neon tetra is a freshwater fish of the characin family of order Characiformes. The type species of its genus, it is native to blackwater and clearwater streams in the Amazon basin of South America.
The Neon Tetra is often described as the jewel of the aquarium hobby. It is easy to see why it is one of the most popular freshwater tropical fish. With its iridescent blue body and bright red tail, Paracheirodon innesi creates an exciting splash of color in any aquarium, especially when kept in schools of six or more.
Native to the clear water streams of South America, the Neon Tetra prefers densely planted systems with plenty of low light areas to hide. To best recreate its natural habitat, place rocks and driftwood amongst the plants for added areas of refuge. Though the Neon Tetra appreciates a sheltered environment, it will tend to swim or remain suspended in the water column in schools to create a breathtaking display of color. Extremely peaceful, the Neon Tetra should be kept with similarly non-aggressive tankmates of a similar size.
This member of the Characidae family thrives in slightly acidic water with stable water parameters. To breed Neon Tetras, separate a pair into a “breeding tank” with no lighting at first, and gradually increase lighting until spawning occurs. Water hardness should be less than 4 dH and live foods such as mosquito larvae are great inducers. Be sure to remove the adults after the eggs have been laid, as the adults will eat them. The eggs should hatch within 30 hours.
Neon Tetras will accept many small foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia, freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, micro pellet food, and a high quality flake food.