Neon tetra breeding is very easy. All you need to do is follow the instructions you are given to live long and healthy. Setting up a breeding tank is the first thing that should be taken care of before you start breeding neon tetras, then prepare the water, and finally control the day and night cycle. Most importantly, you also need to learn how to care for and raise baby tetras after they hatch and introduce adult tetras.

1. Creating the right environment

(I) Setting up the tank:

Breeding neon tetras require more than one tank.

Therefore I recommend you get another one if you do not have one on the ground. You can use a 30 x 20 x 2cm tank for breeding your tetras. This tank will be used to bring together both the male and the female tetra together for breeding. It will also serve as a place to incubate the eggs and baby tetras.

Note that you can set up the tank similar to the same way you do your regular tank set up. Just make sure that the water is kept at a specific temperature and acidity to complete the breeding.

(II) Prepare the water:

When breeding neon tetras, you are to ensure that the water in the breeding tank is kept at about 77°F.

Most importantly, the water needs to have shallow mineral content and must be slightly acidic with a pH of 5-6 for the neon tetras to survive. This is the best possible environment you can give your neon tetras. If the water in your tank is below these requirements, then I suggest you carry out the following steps:

(A) Get a tank thermometer to monitor the water temperature.

(B) Test the pH level of the water daily using pH test strips. (You can get them at any pet store close to you)

(C) Mix one part tap water with three parts reverse osmosis water to make soft water for your tank OR use fresh rainwater.

(III) Get a corner box filter for your tank:

Getting the right filter for your tank is very important.

A filtration system helps remove waste products from the tank, thereby protecting the health of the tetras. A filtration system also aids in eliminating bacterias from the tank, thereby making it look its best. Corner box filters are preferable for breeding tanks because they are very gentle.

(IV) Place the tank in a dark or low-light place:

For your neon tetras to survive, they need an environment free from sunlight. Therefore, I recommend avoiding placing your tank near a sunny window or any other place exposed to direct sunlight. Neon tetra breeding tanks are best placed in a dark environment. However, this does not mean that you should completely isolate your tank and put the tetras in total darkness. No. Tetras do not need total darkness either. They need to be placed in a place that gets only a minimal amount of light each day. You can even cover the back and sides of the tank in dark paper to block out excess light.

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2. Introducing neon tetras for breeding

(I) Sex your tetras:

It is not all that necessary to sex your neon tetras before breeding. This is so because you can put several into the tank, and breeding should occur. However, if you choose to sex your neon tetras, the male and the female tetras have their differences that can help you tell which ones. The female neon tetra tends to be broader and fatter than the male neon tetra. According to the report, some breeders claim that the male tetras have a straight stripe, whereas the females have a crooked strip.

(II) Place adult tetras into the tank:

The best time to introduce your adult tetras into the tank is in the evening. Therefore, I advise you to plan to put your adult tetras into the tank after the sun has gone down. It is important to note that the tetras you use for breeding must be at least 12 weeks old. Otherwise, breeding might not be successful. You must allow the fish to stay in the tank for a day or two. This is so because tetras tend to spawn after being kept in the tank for about one to two days.

(III) If your neon tetras are not breeding, adjust the conditions:

If you pay close attention to your neon tetras and notice that they are not breeding, I advise you to check the water’s pH and temperature. You are to soften the water a little bit more and adjust the lighting if required. It may take some time and experimenting to get the right conditions for your neon tetras to breed. Most importantly, you should know that changing the water softness triggers spawning. This is because it mimics rainfall.

Therefore, I recommend you try adding a large amount of soft water to the tank if you notice that your tetras are not spawning after a few days.

(IV) Remove the adult tetras from the tank:

Generally, fish eggs are hard to see because of their translucent color and the fact that they are tiny, but you may be able to see them in the gravel or on plants in your breeding tank. Now, as soon as you notice eggs in the tank, be sure to remove the adult tetras from the tank to prevent them from eating the eggs.

(V) Wait patiently for the baby tetras to hatch:

Adult tetras can lay between 60 and 130 eggs, but not all of them will hatch. Eggs take about 24 hours to hatch after they have lain. Only approximately about 40 to 50 baby tetras will hatch from the eggs.

After they hatch, the baby tetras will look like small fragments of glass swimming around the tank!

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3. Caring for baby neon tetras

(I)Keep the baby tetras in the dark:

(II)The baby tetras, also known as “fry,” will need to be kept in the dark for nothing less than five days after they hatch. This is so because baby tetras are very sensitive to light. Hence, they need a dark environment to thrive. To keep the tank dark, move it away from direct sunlight. You can also use a piece of cardboard or cover the entire tank in dark construction paper to block out the light. Whenever you want to feed the fry, you can use a dim flashlight to look from the top of the tank, but you should be very brief.

(II) Feed your baby tetras with special foods:
Baby tetras do not eat the same food as adult extras. Therefore, you will need to provide them with special foods intended for baby fish. Ensure that the foods are labeled as appropriate for fry. And if you are not sure of the suitable foods, you can make inquiries at any local pet store around you. After a few days, you can then start to feed the fry with baby brine shrimp. Brine shrimps can also be purchased at local pet stores.

(III) Introduce the fry to the adult neon tetras:
After about three months, you are now free to place the new neon tetras into the tank together with the adult neon tetras. You are not allowed to put them into the tank for three months. This is so because the baby tetras may be eaten, otherwise injured, or bullied by the adult neon tetras. Most importantly, it would help if you kept in mind that no matter how they are taken care of, some of the neon tetras may still end up dying. This is so because baby fish are more exposed, making them sensitive to injuries and prone to disease.

(III)Limit the tetras to 2 inches of fish for every gallon of water:

This is a general rule for fish tanks. This rule will help you determine how many tetras you can keep in the tank at a time. Adult neon tetras are about 2 inches long, so, therefore, you can divide the gallon size of the tank to find out the number of neon tetras you may keep in it. For instance, if you have a 60-gallon tank, you can have 30 tetras in your tank.

(IV)Get homes for extra neon tetras:
Since many neon tetras can be produced from just one breeding attempt, there is an 80% possibility that you might find yourself with more neon tetras than you can accommodate. Therefore, you should call any local pet store around you to see if they are interested in buying some of them. Just keep in mind that pet stores do not offer much money for neon tetras unless you want to sell in large quantities. Otherwise, you can ask your loved ones if they are also interested in breeding neon tetras.

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Supervise them to ensure that they have the necessary equipment and resources to make the fish survive.

How long do neon tetras live?

(V)Neon tetras can live for 5 to 8 years if they are kept in optimum living conditions.

The lifespan can even be increased up to 10 years, most especially if kept in a tank that is at least 15 gallons.

The lifespan of a neon tetra can be increased by doing a few simple things. They are as follows:

a.Get the right side of the tank. The bigger the tank, the better the chances of increasing its lifespan.

b. Get the right amount of water parameters.

b.Provide the fish with the ideal water temperature. Pay close attention to water quality.

c.Make sure the water is well oxygenated. Use an aquarium filter and heater.

d.Keep your tank clean at all times.

e.Provide the right diet for both the baby tetras and the adult tetras. Also, make sure to feed them at the right time.

f.Giving them a companion (tank mate) that best suits them.

g.Prevent disease by quarantining new fishes before they enter the tank.

i. Provide the right decors like natural plants to help reduce stress and boredom.

Neon tetra tank mate

Once you have successfully set up your neon tetra breeding tank, it is time to pick out some fantastic neon tetra tank mates to share the beautiful aquatic world you just created. I’ll be giving you some ideas on the perfect tank mates for your neon tetras so you can end up with a happy and healthy aquatic world that is fun to watch and easy to care for.

  1. Guppies

Guppies are gorgeous with scales that shimmer with rainbow colors, which makes them very beautiful.

They come in different varieties of skin color ranging from blue, orange, silver, etc. Guppies are good neighbors to their tank mates. They are very peaceful. They love to feed on both plant and animal foods.


Angelfish are a beautiful addition to your neon tetra breeding tank. They have long fins, which gives a dramatic performance for onlookers as they move about the tank. Angelfish are not aggressive, but it is advisable not to put them in the same tank with baby fish because sometimes, they feed on smaller fishes in the aquarium. Generally, they love to feed on frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp.

3. Corydoras catfish

Corydoras catfish make one of the best tank mates for your neon tetra breeding tank. They are very pleasing to the eyes with their tiny whiskers. They are generally peaceful and do not tend to harm the other fishes. They tend to live long (maximum of 20 years) when provided with the requirements to thrive. They are happy fishes, and they tend to keep the aquarium lively.


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