Pregnant Neon Tetras

Pregnant Neon Tetras: Is Your Fish is Ready to Reproduce?

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Many aquarium hobbyists fall in love with the neon tetra. This brightly colored fish species is comparatively easy-going. When you get used to keeping one neon tetra in your tank, you will want to breed them to have a collection of these beauties. How do you find whether there’s a pregnant neon tetra in your tank? 

As neon tetras are so adorable, many fish keepers are happy to figure out that their neon tetra is about to have babies. However, the reproduction of neon tetra fish is quite distinct and does involve strict steps for smooth fertilization. This post will bring you everything you need to know about a pregnant neon tetra, so you can handle them better. 

Neon Tetra Overview 

Neon Tetra

  • Family: Characidae 
  • Origin: Southeastern Colombia, western Brazil, eastern Peru 
  • Characteristic: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Breeding: Egg scatterer
  • Tank level: Mid-dweller
  • Minimum aquarium size: 10 gallons
  • Care: Intermediate
  • pH: 7
  • Temperature: 68 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 26 degrees Celsius) 
  • Hardness: Up to 10 dGH

Neon tetras often live in the clear water and blackwater tributaries and streams in the Orinoco and Amazon rivers in Columbia, Brazil, and Peru. These are areas of blackwaters beneath thick forest canopies that let very little light get through. Neon tetras live in shoals primarily in the middle water layers and eat small crustaceans and worms. 

Neon tetras are usually captive-bred, with most coming from Eastern Europe and the Far East. Some types of captive-bred specimens are available, including long-finned neon tetra, although it is quite scarce, and a golden strain that is typically a semi-albino variety, or a diamond neon tetra that looks sprinkled with metallic scales along the top part of the body. 

The neon tetra owns a slender torpedo-shaped body that grows no more than 1.5 inches in length. What this fish lacks in size, it compensates for in color. The neon tetra owns a bright neon blue stripe from the top of its nose to the adipose fin. This shining stripe makes them more noticeable to each other in blackwater conditions. 

Below the blue stripe, the fish features a white-silver belly. Pass the belly, a shining red stripe prolongs all the way to the tail. The brilliant red, white, and blue mixture make the neon tetra one of the most favorite fish in the aquarium trade. It is only mistaken by its cousin, the cardinal tetra. The main difference between these two fish is the red stripe. In the cardinal tetra, the red stripe extends all the fish, from snout to tail. Meanwhile, in the neon tetra, it only runs from the middle of the body to the tail. 

Similar to colorful fish, the bright colors of the neon tetra will become paler at night when it is resting, when it is sicked, or it becomes alarms. At the pet store, you should pick specimens that are active and strongly colored because faded colors can be a sign of poor health. 

How Do You Know If Your Neon Tetra is Pregnant? 

Is your neon tetra pregnant?

Is your neon tetra pregnant?

Before you explore whether or not you get a pregnant neon tetra in your tank, you should know the fact that neon tetra fish cannot get pregnant. The female neon tetra will reproduce by spawning eggs and laying them at the bottom of the tank so that they can be fertilized by male ones.

Hence, this might make you wonder whether your female fish is about to spawn eggs. If you think that your neon tetra is going to reproduce, here is how you can find out. 

Identify whether the neon tetra is female

To identify if a neon tetra will reproduce, you must determine its gender. Neon tetra fish have some physical features that will allow you to know if they are male or female. The male neon tetra fish are often smaller and feature a more slender body with a straight blue line. 

Check their belly 

When you have identified which fish females are, you can observe their bellies to find whether they are about to lay eggs. If the female neon tetra is going to lay eggs, her belly will start swelling. It will appear more enlarged than normal. 

Take notice of the male fish behavior

As the male begins exhibiting courting behavior, chances are the female is ready to reproduce. One of the behaviors that you might see from the male is a certain dance he does to attract the female. As they are doing this mating dance, the male neon tetra often swims around in a square pattern while jerking back and forth. Sometimes he might stop and remain still for a moment and get back into the rhythm of the dance. 

What To Do If Your Neon Tetra is Pregnant?

Prepare for your pregnant neon tetra

Prepare for your pregnant neon tetra

If there are some signs that your neon tetra is pregnant, then you should get ready. It’s crucial to conduct some research and improve your knowledge of these stunning fish. There are several things you can do to prepare for the arrival of neon tetra fry. 

Separate tanks 

When your female neon tetra is about to breed, you had better bring her and the male fish to a different tank. This will be the tank you are going to hatch the neon tetra fry in. The eggs are adhesive, so it’s important to ensure this tank has plenty of plants and moss for the eggs to stick to. 

Ensure the breeding tank has a lid to dodge your pregnant neon tetra fish from jumping out as they become too excited during the breeding time. 

A smaller, 5 to 10-gallon tank will work. You need to keep the water temperature from 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (recommendations fluctuate by one or two degrees, but generally fall in this range)

Set proper water conditions 

As your neon tetra is ready to lay eggs, you should prepare the best environment for it. This type of fish thrives as they live in a water temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Besides, you also ensure that the fish lives in soft water with a low mineral amount. Ideally, it should be slightly acidic with a pH balance of 5 to 6. You can use pH testing strips to have a precise reading. 

Pregnant neon tetra fish need clean water, so you need to change the tank water on a regular basis. As changing the water, you should change out only half of the water at a time to prevent fish shock. 

Improve filtration 

It is suggested that neon tetra keepers should have a corner filter for their tank. Pregnant neon tetra fish need an environment with good filtration that helps eliminates all the waste and bacteria from the tank. It is necessary to get one to protect the neon tetra fry’ health. 

If the water tank is not clean, a white substance could appear around the eggs. This is a poisonous fungus that might infect the eggs and possibly kill the embryos. Therefore, to prevent the infestation of fungus and bacteria, you need to ensure the aquarium has a proper filtration system. 

Provide sufficient lighting 

Too much light or too little light might be harmful to pregnant neon tetra fish. You should not let them be exposed to full light or leave them in complete darkness. These fish need a small amount of light in the day. 

Provide hiding spots 

Place some items like plants, moss, and rocks in the tank so that the female neon tetra has a hiding spot. When the fish is about to reproduce, she tends to be shy and prefers to lay eggs in the darker areas of the tank. 

Plan for Adequate Tank Space 

Make sure you have enough space to raise the fry to adulthood. 

A 10-gallon aquarium is proper for raising a lot of newly-hatched abies, but they will require more room eventually. 

About 20 to 30 babies can be successfully kept to adulthood in a 10-gallon tank. 

When they reach maturity, you can move the baby fish into the community tank or give them away. 

How Long Do Female Neon Tetras Take to Lay Eggs?

As a female is about to breed, she will scatter a number of eggs for the male tetras to fertilize. The eggs are translucent and adhesive, so it can easily stick to plants. 

When spawned and fertilized, the eggs will need about 24 hours to hatch, producing tiny fry that will consume their egg sacks for the first few days. 4 days later, the fry will start to swim freely. 

At this stage, you should feed them with small amounts of food, including infusoria, rotifers, and egg yolk. 

How Many Eggs Will a Neon Tetra Lay?

A female neon tetra can lay anywhere between 60 and 120 at a time. When the eggs have bên laid, it depends on the male fish to fertilize them. On average, only 30 percent of the laid eggs will hatch successfully. 

Do Neon Tetras Eat Their Fry?

The answer is yes. As soon as you see the eggs, remove the adult tetras from the breeding tank, or else they will eat the eggs. 

Besides, young tetras are easy to get diseases and often sensitive to physical injuries. Thus, they may not survive if you let them be together with adults. 

Provide the baby tetras with specialized food and keep them in the dark for about 5 days after they hatch as they’re also light-sensitive. 

Wrapping Up 

Pregnant neon tetras spawn eggs for the males to fertilize. Therefore, if your female fish have enlarged bellies, they are likely carrying eggs. 

Nevertheless, it would be best if you were careful not to mistake it with a neon tetra disease or too much food, which exhibit the same sign.

The good news is that pregnant neon tetras are easy to maintain as they require minimal care. It will take several weeks for the baby tetras to survive on their own. 


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