- Scientific Name: Paracheirodon innesi
- Family: Characidae
- Size: 1¼ inches
- Temperature: 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
- Alkalinity: Acidic and soft
- pH: 6.2 to 6.8
- Origin: Amazon basin (headwaters)
The neon tetra was the first wild-caught fish that really set the tropical fish hobby into a dither, and contributed much to establishing the “tropical” fish hobby. When the neon was first introduced in Europe and then America, this fish commanded incredibly steep prices. Now that it is produced in huge quantities in the Far East the fish is a common staple and always available.
The ideal water condition for the neon tetra would be rainwater — pH around 5.5 to 6.2 and a virtually immeasurable hardness. Fortunately, because almost all neons in local fish store are commercially raised, they can take higher readings for both pH and hardness, although anything above 7.2 and 12 to 14 DH is less than ideal for these little gems. Keep them in good-sized schools, at least 10 to 15 fish and preferably more, and give them plenty of thickets of plants to hide in.
Breeding the neon tetra requires clean water with a pH no higher than 6.5 and with as little hardness as possible. Both the breeders and the eggs are sensitive to bright light, so it is best to keep only a dim light on the tank for breeding, and after the fish have spawned the tank should be covered with a blanket or the like to make it totally dark. After two days of darkness use a flashlight to look for any newly hatched babies, which look like tiny glass splinters. For the first two weeks of their life the babies should not be exposed to any bright light.
Although this fish appreciates live or frozen foods, especially when being conditioned for spawning, the neon tetra will do very well on just flake foods. Make sure this fish gets enough to eat if housed in a community tank, as the neon tetra is not very aggressive about feeding.