Useful Tips

Aquarium fish Neon or Neon Tetra


Black neon (Tetra Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi) is a beautiful and energetic aquarium fish. Place the black neons in an aquarium with a dark background, soil and living plants, and get a beautiful dynamic aquascaping. These fish have their own individual character, they are suitable for keeping other friendly species in the community.


This species was found in South America and described in 1961. Most often, black neon tetras are found in the Paraguay River basin, Rio Tacuari, in Pantanal Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil. All black neons currently on sale are grown in captivity. Albinos are found.

In the wild, black neons prefer small tributaries, streams, areas of flooded forests and sandbanks. In their natural habitats, as a rule, they live in very acidic water, painted brown due to decomposing organically decomposed materials (“black waters”). They live in packs, the natural diet is made up of small invertebrates, crustaceans, filamentous algae, fallen fruits and plants.

Black neon is a small tetra with a thin body, in length, as a rule, reaches 4 cm, the life expectancy in the aquarium is from 5 to 10 years. Outwardly similar to blue neon, but these are different fish. Along the gray body of black neon runs a white-greenish neon strip, contrasting with black velvet underneath. Sometimes there are albinos. These aquarium fish easily adapt to almost all conditions, therefore they are suitable as a first fish for beginner aquarists.

Despite the presence of an aquarium fish with a similar name - blue neon, these are completely different species. It’s very easy to distinguish them, because blue neon has a blue neon strip along the body, and below it a red one reaching half the body (or across the whole body of relatives of blue neon - red neon), black neon has a strip of enamel-white color along the body to greenish-neon, below which the fish is painted black velvet.

Maintenance and care

These fish like to actively swim, so the aquarium should be long, preferably from 50 cm in length, ideally the volume of the aquarium is 75 liters. The tank must be covered on top - these fish not only swim well, but also actively jump, so they can jump out of the water.

Black neons are schooling fish, therefore it is better to contain them in quantities of 6 pieces in a group. It can also be kept in a nano aquarium with a volume of up to 30 liters, but the flock in a small volume will be cramped.

Black neon will feel good in a variety of conditions, but soft water is best suited for it, especially for reproduction. For black neons (as well as for all fish originating from the same region), filtration through peat is excellent: peat granules are placed in the filter, for example, filter filler Dajana Active Peat Granules. Peat slightly reduces water hardness and pH, creating a natural environment for characins, enriches water with humic and tannins, as well as valuable trace elements.

Black neons also love dark soil and a lively plant carpet, moreover, against the background of plants and with a dark aquarium background, they look more impressive. If you want aquarium fish to really show their worth, create a biotope for them (an aquarium with conditions as close as possible to the wild): add dark sand, soaked roots and driftwood, dried leaves (oak, alder, ketapanga), dry, slightly boiled alder cones - all this will help to color the water in a light brown color. The created "black water" will slightly absorb light, but this will only contribute to better coloring of neon tetras. The leaves in the aquarium will need to be changed regularly.

Temperature: 24 to 28 ° C
Dilution temperature: 24 ° C for several days, and then raise the temperature to 27 ° C to stimulate spawning.
pH: 5,0-7,5
Total hardness: 6 - 15 dGH
Aquarium Swimming Levels: everything

Caring for black neons is not difficult, but the water must be kept clean. Water changes of approximately 25-50% of the total volume are required every week, especially if your aquarium is densely populated.


Tetra are the best neighbors for the common aquarium community of peaceful fish, and black neons are no exception. These aquarium fish will be pleasing to the eye, especially when kept in a flock, as well as other tetras, for example, blue and red neon, parsing, viviparous fish, zebrafish, galaxy microparsing, corridors, ancistruses and ototsinklusy, and other peaceful catfish, and other most peaceful labyrinths: gourami, laliuses.

Feed and feeding

Black neons are omnivorous, in their natural habitat they feed on small invertebrates, crustaceans, fruits that have fallen into the water, filamentous algae and plants. All kinds of live, frozen and dry foods are eaten in the aquarium. In order to keep the aquarium water clean, feed your fish daily with high-quality dry food, in the form of flakes or granules, adding live food: artemia (live or frozen), bloodworms and other worms.

Aquarium Neon Content

These fish are peaceful fish, therefore they should not be kept together with predatory fish, otherwise the neons will necessarily turn into prey and will be eaten. Keep aquarium neon only with species of fish of a peaceful nature. Great neighbors are guppies, mollies, various species of catfish, swordsmen, thorns, fire barbs, cockerels, gara-rufs, acanthophthalmus, distichoids.

It is not recommended to keep neon together with territorial fish, especially with scalars and goldfish. In a small aquarium, these fish can kill neons in the fight for territory.

The most optimal water temperature for neon is 18-24 C °. Higher temperatures contribute to their rapid aging. The water in the aquarium with neon should be soft and peaty. As for the soil, it is better that it be dark in color, then the color of the neon becomes brighter. In nature, these fish hide in thickets of aquatic plants, fleeing predators and other dangers, therefore, in the aquarium with neons, the presence of vegetation is necessary.

Aquarium fish Neon. What to feed?

Neon tetras are omnivorous in the wild, and feed on algae, small invertebrates and insect larvae. In an aquarium, this diet can be reproduced by live and frozen food as a treat. Of frozen foods, neon teters prefer bloodworms, fruit flies. For many smaller neons, bloodworms may be too large a feed to swallow whole, and you will see them swimming around in an aquarium with a bloodworm as if with a cigar in their mouth. The most suitable is cereal feed. The feeding regime for neons coincides with almost all of the above types of fish, with which they are compatible - 2-3 times a day. In order for the fish to be healthy and playful, it is necessary to diversify the diet. One day a week, it is recommended to unload and do not feed at all.

Breeding aquarium fish Neon

Reproduction of a neon tetra is rather complicated. To do this, the water in the aquarium must be very soft. In order to cause spawning in neons, they should be placed in a separate aquarium and provide a very short light cycle. Some aquarists even claim that they should be in the dark. But the reduction in daylight is enough. Frequent replacement of water in the aquarium (approximately 50%), which mimics the precipitation of seasonal rainfall in their natural habitat, is good for spawning. The sexual difference in neons is almost imperceptible. The female abdomen is larger than that of the male and the iris strip is more curved.

After the neon teters have spawned, adult individuals should be removed from the aquarium, as they will eat whole eggs with pleasure. The eggs hatch after about 24 hours, and because of their tiny size, the ciliates should be fed for the first few days. After the fry are a little older, they can be fed artemia, or other food. Nowadays, in pet stores a wide variety of food for fry.


Black neons have long been bred in captivity and are not imported from the wild, so all the aquarium fish that you find on sale have been bred at home or in nurseries.

Tetra lay eggs, and can eat both laid eggs and fry, so reproduction is carried out from a separate tank.

A capacity of 30 liters is sufficient for breeding. Spawning water must be soft and acidic, otherwise the fish will refuse to spawn. Ideal water parameters pH 6.0 and a total hardness of 4 ° dGH and lower. It would be nice to add plants floating in the water column that will obscure the light. At the bottom, it would be nice to put a shallow net to protect laid eggs from eating.

At first, there should not be any light in the tank, then they start turning on the light until spawning begins. The eggs are sensitive to light, therefore, after spawning, the aquarium must be shaded. In spawning, you can install an airlift or canister filter with a very weak current. If you add peat pellets as a filter material, this will help stimulate spawning.

Before breeding, it is advisable to feed producers with live food for some time to improve their health and the quality of their eggs. For spawning choose more rounded females and the most colorful males.

Manufacturers are launched into spawning and the temperature is set at 24 ° C, and after a few days the temperature begins to gradually increase to 27 ° C. Caviar throwing usually occurs in the morning, the female lays up to several hundred tiny, transparent and sticky eggs.

Larvae begin to hatch after 22 - 26 hours, fry will begin to swim on 3-4 days. The fry are very small, and it is very difficult to raise them. In the early days, they are fed with infusoria and liquid feed, like an egg yolk, and when they grow up they give an artemia nauplia. The fry should be isolated until they are large.

General information

Aquarists appreciate neon not only for their ability to get along with most species in a common aquarium, but also for the unusual color of these underwater inhabitants. A distinctive feature of all neons is the presence of a special shiny strip along the body, which in the reflected light flashes like a light. It is so bright that it resembles the lights of neon signs in a night city. For this, the fish got its name.

Neons often become the main inhabitants of aquarium landscapes - aquascapes.

Aquascape with blue neons

Professional designers are very fond of neon for its small size, not distracting from the main picture, the activity that gives liveliness to the whole design, and indifference to plants that retain their shape and beauty. Flocks of neons themselves look very impressive against the background of dense green vegetation.

The question of why such a bright color is needed for a small defenseless fish, neon, remains unanswered. Perhaps this is necessary to establish a hierarchy in the flock, perhaps confusing predators who decided to attack a flock of neons. There is a theory that such light effects allow neons to find each other in the darkened water, typical of typical biotopes. Some aquarists believe that neons are able to glow themselves, but, unfortunately, this is a fallacy: strips of neons only reflect and refract the light rays incident on them.

The content of neon in the home aquarium is not difficult, the main thing is to create optimal water parameters for the fish, regularly maintain the aquarium and feed it with high-quality food.


All neons are small flocking species. The size of the fish rarely exceeds 4-5 cm. Neon males are smaller than females. The body is elongated and slightly flattened on the sides. The mouth is small. Neon fins transparent, anal longer than dorsal. Like other haracin fish, neon has an extra fat fin. This is an unpaired organ located behind the dorsal fin. It has no bone rays and it consists of adipose tissue. On the body of each fish there is a longitudinal neon strip that reflects light and creates a glow effect. It is formed by special cells - chromatophores - located under the scales.

The neon strip in females of neon has a small kink in the middle, in males it represents a straight line.

Appearance of blue neon (Paracheirodon innesi)

History of appearance / discovery

The history of the discovery and appearance of neon in amateur aquariums is closely connected with the French explorer and adventurer Auguste Rabo. It was he who first discovered the small luminous fish in the Putumayo River (Peru). He was simply mesmerized by the beauty of these creatures and decided that by exporting such a miracle he could make a lot of money. In 1935, the first copies of neon were sent to the United States and Europe. The aquarists of that time really liked the fish, the demand for it skyrocketed, and now Rabo is already becoming the only neon supplier to the Old and New Worlds in the world. For a long time it was not possible to propagate neon in captivity, therefore the monopoly lasted a relatively long time. One of the first copies was presented for advertising purposes to William Innesi, an amateur and popularizer of aquarium art. He, in turn, handed over the fish to his friend George Myers, who made the first scientific description of the new species - blue, or ordinary neon, which he named in honor of his friend Hyphessobrycon innesi. Later, the species changed its name to Paracheirodon innesi.

Red neon (Paracheirodon axelrodi) was discovered only in the middle of the 20th century. The descriptions were made in parallel by two scientists - Myers and Schultz. But the latter published his work earlier, so the name that he gave to the fish in honor of his friend aquarist Herbert Axelrod was fixed in the nomenclature.

In 1963, another type of neon was discovered by Jacques Gehry - the emerald neon, or neo-simulator. The sample he caught was very similar to red neon, but its further study led to the isolation of these fish in a separate species. Geri also conducted a systematic revision of neons and assigned them to the genus Paracheirodon, as they are called to this day.

For the first time managed to get offspring from neon in captivity in Germany. This happened by a coincidence, and was due to the fact that in this country there is very soft water, which was used to contain neons. In the beginning, spawning of neons was called the “German miracle”, but the first studies revealed the mechanisms of the influence of water parameters on the reproduction of these fish. From this moment on, neons become available to all aquarists in the world.

Nowadays, fish are massively grown on special farms in Southeast Asia. Although occasionally there are also supplies of savage neon caught in the natural environment.


The homeland of neon is South America. It is here, in the area of ​​the river basins of Paraguay, Rio Takuari, and Brazil that you can meet these amazing fish in their natural habitat. Neons do not like fast currents and prefer to live in slow-flowing tributaries of large rivers, the waters of which are rich in humic substances, which gives them a brown tint. These rivers usually flow under a canopy of tropical rainforest, which creates twilight in the water. Rotting leaves, regular rains, a large layer of silt make the water soft and acidic.

Blue Neon (Paracheirodon innesi)

Blue neon is the most popular member of the genus that can be found in an aquarium. It was this species that was first brought by Auguste Rabot to Europe, which caused the “neon boom”.

You can also find other names for this fish: neon ordinary, neon tetra. They have a memorable color: a longitudinal neon iridescent strip running along the entire body, under which there is a bright red strip stretching from the middle of the body to the tail. The average size of blue neon in the aquarium is about 4 cm. The fins are colorless.

An aquarium of 30 liters or more is suitable for keeping a minimal flock of blue neons.

Blue neon

The optimal parameters for the content:

Temperature: 23-27 ° C
pH = 6.0-6.5
Hardness - up to 12 dGH

Blue neons love established aquariums with stable water parameters. With a sharp change, they may get sick. They can tolerate gradual temperature drops to 18 ° C. Reproduction occurs in soft and acidic water, close to natural. High stiffness is dangerous for neon caviar (the membrane becomes impermeable to sperm) and bright lighting, which is detrimental to eggs.

Neon Gold (Paracheirodon innesi var Gold)

It is a color variation of ordinary neon. The body is golden in color with a metallic sheen. The shiny band characteristic of neons in reflected light looks golden. Eyes with turquoise trim. Gold neons look very impressive in aquariums with dim lighting in a pack of at least 8-10 pieces. The maximum length of the fish in the aquarium is 4 cm. Not aggressive, suitable for keeping in other peaceful species in the general aquarium. Content and reproduction are similar to blue neon.

Neon golden

Neon diamond or diamond (Paracheirodon innesi diamond)

Another breeding form of blue neon. Тело умеренно вытянуто в длину и уплощено с боков. Голова с синим оттенком. По бокам на уровне спинного плавника имеется красная матовая полоска, тянущаяся до хвоста. Основная часть тела алмазного неона серебристая с синеватым отливом. Максимальный размер в аквариуме – 4 см. Половой диморфизм не выражен.

For maintenance, you need an aquarium of 30 liters, having both dense thickets of plants, and open spaces for swimming.

The optimal parameters for the content:

They are distinguished by territoriality, they are able to drive away uninvited guests from their favorite place.

Neon diamond

Neon veil

Another form of blue neon. In nature does not exist, bred by careful selection. A distinctive feature is the presence of highly developed fins, similar to a thin veil. Fish are quite rare and are much more expensive than regular neons. The conditions of detention do not differ from blue neon with one exception: when keeping fish with such long fins in the aquarium, it is better not to use decorations that you can catch on. It is also necessary to more carefully approach the choice of neighbors, many (even peaceful) fish are able to bite the fins of veil neons. Ideally, fish should be kept in a species aquarium.

Blue neon (Paracheirodon innesi) with veil fins

Neon Red (Paracheirodon axelrodi)

Of all the representatives of the genus, red neon stands out as the most vivid color. Unlike blue neon, under a characteristic luminous greenish-blue strip is a wide raspberry, stretching along the entire body.

The body is slightly elongated and flattened on the sides. The color of the shiny back is olive green. Large scales of red neon stand out well in the luminous strip. The eyes are bluish green. All fins are transparent. On the dorsal and anal fin, you can find a blue and white trim.

Red neon

The average size in the aquarium is 4-5.5 cm, with good care they live up to 5 years. Like other neons, the fish are schooling and non-aggressive. They can swim in all layers of water, suitable for keeping in a general aquarium.

The minimum aquarium for the flock is 50-60 liters. Dense vegetation is planted along the back and side walls, leaving a place for free swimming in front. They do not like bright light.

The optimal parameters for the content:

When keeping it, it is important not to forget about regular water changes. For breeding you need an aquarium with a volume of about 30 liters. It should have very soft and acidic water. As a substrate for caviar, you can use ferns or cryptocorynes. Spawning must be protected from direct sunlight.

Black Neon (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)

Black neons first appeared in our country in the mid 60-ies of the XX century. These are very beautiful and calm fish.

The shape of the body is not different from that of other neons. The maximum size in the aquarium is about 4 cm. The female is noticeably larger than the male. The body is black-green, the abdomen is light. There are two bands along the body: the upper one is narrow and silver, the lower one is wide and black. Fins with a yellowish tinge. The upper half of the eyes is reddish. Schooling fish, it is recommended to contain from 10 to 15 black neons in the aquarium. They are extremely accommodating with other peaceful inhabitants of the common aquarium, in which they prefer the upper and middle layers of the water.

Neon black

The optimal parameters for the content:

In content they practically do not differ from the content of other representatives of the genus. They do not like bright light, prefer darkened areas. It is better to choose the soil and the background in dark color, then the fish look more spectacular. Living plants, such as ferns, echinodorus, cryptocorynes, etc. are best planted along the back and side walls of the aquarium. The reproduction of black neons is possible throughout the year. A spawning aquarium of about 20 liters is needed, where 1 female and 2-3 males are planted. It is desirable that the water hardness does not exceed 12 ° dGH. Be sure to darken on all sides so that the caviar and fry do not die.

Neon Green (Hemigrammus hyanuary)

Another popular name for this fish is Costello. In nature, green neon is found in the Amazon. The body is greenish-silver, gill covers with a golden tint. An iridescent green stripe runs along the body. At the base of the tail is a dark spot, above which there is a noticeable golden dot. The fins are colorless. Color depends on the emotional state of the fish and its well-being. Under stress, a bright streak instantly fades. The size in the aquarium is 4-4.5 cm.

Green neons are moving flocking fish that love the flow. They look especially impressive in water rich in humic substances, similar to natural “black water”. They occupy the middle and lower layers in the aquarium.

Neon green

The volume of the aquarium is best selected at the rate of 15-20 liters of water per couple of fish. They are very sensitive to the chemical parameters of water, so it is necessary to achieve their maximum stability.

The optimal parameters for the content:

Puberty occurs at the age of about a year. Reproduction is similar to other types of neon.

Neon shroud (Hyphessobrycon stegemanni)

One of the hardy types of neon, which is well suited for maintenance in a general aquarium. The fish got its name from the habitat. Neon savannah lives in the waters of a special steppe area in South America - Serrado. This is a territory of vast forest pastures, which is famous for a huge number of endemic species. The fish received the Latin species epithet from the filing of the famous Amazon explorer Harald Schulz, who named it after his good friend, baker Carlos Stigmani.

The maximum size of the fish is 2-3 cm. The body color is gray, a luminous strip stretches from head to tail. Sexual dimorphism is not expressed. For keeping you need an aquarium of 50 liters.

Sensitive to water quality, it is therefore necessary to strictly control its hydrochemical parameters.

The optimal parameters for the content:

Reproduction is possible all year round. For neon, parental care is not peculiar, after the end of spawning, producers need to be jailed.

Neon blue

A typical habitat of blue neon is the Columbia River. The fish does not differ in large size, in aquariums it barely reaches a length of 3.5 cm, while the females, like other neons, are a centimeter more males. In appearance it is very similar to blue and red neon. A luminous bright blue stripe runs along the entire body. If you look closely, under it you can see a very dull, barely noticeable red strip.

The optimal parameters for the content:

Blue neons are schooling, peaceful fish. They like to actively swim in the open spaces of the aquarium, and in all its layers. In general, the content of blue neon is completely identical to blue and red.

For breeding, a small-sized spawning aquarium (from 20 l) is required, the walls of which must be darkened. For successful reproduction, water must be very soft and acidic. Comfortable temperature in the depositor 25-26 ° С. Males chase females for a long time, after which the latter lay eggs on the leaves of plants. The first fry appear in 5-6 days. Coloring begins to appear by the end of the first month of life.

Neon Orange (Orange)

An extremely rare variety of neon. It is considered a mutant form of red neon. At a young age, they are very reminiscent of the golden variation of blue neon, but with age, interesting features in coloring appear. The body of the fish is painted in a pleasant yellow-orange color. The luminous strip is located in the usual place, but not as bright as other neons. Under it there is not even a hint of the red zone near the caudal fin. The species is not an albino, since the pupils of the eye are black. An interesting coloring feature is the presence of a large number of dark blue spots scattered throughout the body, mainly near a luminous strip, which at certain viewing angles can disappear from sight. Caviar in fish is also colored in orange.

False Blue Neon (Paracheirodon simulans)

It is found on sale less often than ordinary neon, although it has no less bright color. It comes from the lower and middle reaches of the Rio Negro River (Brazil). A typical biotope is slow rivers with a high content of humic substances in the water, which makes it brownish. The bottom is sandy, covered with rotting leaf litter.

In appearance, it is very similar to blue neon, but rarely grows larger than 2 cm. The red stripe is less pronounced, but blue shades are predominant. Perhaps if the species had been discovered earlier, then the prefix “false” would have received Paracheirodon innesi. Sexual dimorphism is not expressed.

False Blue Neon (Paracheirodon simulans)

A peaceful school of flocks, an aquarium of 40 liters is suitable for keeping. They look best in aquariums with dense vegetation and biotope aquariums. They are favorable for creating “black water” in the aquarium with the help of air conditioners, for example, Tetra ToruMin.

Like other neons, they are sensitive to changes in water parameters. Breeding is similar to blue neon. When spawning, caviar is randomly scattered around the aquarium, there is no parental instinct - the eggs will be eaten if necessary.

Care and maintenance

All neons are schooling flocks, so you need to keep them at least 6-8 pieces each - this is how they feel comfortable and look spectacular. When solitary or paired, the fish may lose their tone and color, and the life span will be significantly reduced. For so many fish, an aquarium of 50 liters or more is needed.

A flock of neons in an aquarium

You can choose any soil you like, for example, dark sand or dark pebbles, against their background the fish will look very beautiful. A lid in an aquarium with neons is optional; they rarely jump to the floor. Neons love dim lights, it is advisable not to put particularly powerful lamps on them aquarium - this can cause a feeling of stress and a desire to hide in shelter.

It is not recommended to release neon in a freshly launched aquarium, they prefer an already established balance. Optimal water parameters:

Temperature - 23-25 ​​° С
Acidity - 5.5 - 5.7
Hardness - 8 - 10 (although more hard water survives)

The higher the temperature, the lower the life expectancy of the fish. On average, neons live in an aquarium for 3-4 years.

The aquarium should be equipped with a filter of appropriate power, due to which mechanical and biological water purification will be carried out. A compressor is also welcome.

To maintain optimal water quality, 25-30% must be changed weekly, together with a soil siphon. To create the effect of "black water", similar to natural, you can add Tetra ToruMin conditioner to the water.

In the aquarium, it is recommended to make areas with dense vegetation - a variety of long-stemmed plants (elodea, wallisneria, hornwort, cababa, etc.). Snags drilled to the bottom and pottery shards will look good. Shelters are very necessary for small fish to hide there in case of danger.


Despite the fact that aquarists for a long time could not reveal the secret of successful breeding of neons, now there is access to a lot of information about correct spawning, so with a little preparation, everyone can reproduce neons.

Neon breeding should be accompanied by strict controls so as not to endanger caviar. Producers need to be put in separate containers for several weeks and intensively fed with high-protein feed.

Weakly expressed sexual dimorphism in ordinary times gives way to more distinct sexual differences: females are rounded in the abdomen, and in males, the swimming bladder shifts to the anus.

Before you put a couple of neons to spawn, it is advisable to arrange a few short dates for them to get the fish accustomed to each other. The female is able to postpone the game weekly, while the male is ready to fertilize it 2 times less.

The minimum aquarium volume for neon spawning is 30-50 liters. Soil is optional. For maximum caviar survival, stable water parameters are needed. The temperature must be raised to 25-26 °. The water used is mild (2-4 ° dGH) and slightly acidic with pH = 6.5-7. As a spawning substrate, you can put several branches of Javanese moss.

Ready to spawn neon is best run in the aquarium a few hours before turning off the backlight. Two males are usually planted to the female, which begin an immediate attack on the female. A more agile male will participate in the breeding. The pair whirls over the leaves of living plants, where the female randomly lays eggs, which are fixed on parts of plants. After spawning, producers must be removed so that caviar does not suffer.

Not every egg is destined to leave fry. Many of them will not ripen, some will suffer from a fungus. After 9-10 hours, all spoiled eggs must be removed from the aquarium with a pipette. You can also use antifungal drugs to save as much caviar as possible.

Incubation ends in a day. Larvae emerging from eggs within a few days are already able to swim in the upper layers of water. Cyclops, ciliates, high-quality dry food (TetraMin Baby) are used to feed the fry.

When the fry grow up, it is necessary to relocate them to a more spacious aquarium with a slightly higher rigidity and a temperature of 24-25 ° C.