Mike’s Fish Tank – Neon Tetra

Posted by  //  September 20, 2013  //  Articles, Mike's Fish Tank

The neon tetra is a freshwater fish of the characin family. It is native to blackwater or clearwater streams in  southeastern Colombia, eastern Peru, and western Brazil. The neon tetra has a light-blue back over a silver-white abdomen.  The fish is characterized by an iridescent blue horizontal stripe along each side of the fish from its nose to the base of the adipose fin, and an iridescent red stripe that begins at the middle of the body and extends to the base of the caudal fin. Most, if not all, will  develop an olive-green sheen lining their backs. The fish is completely transparent (including fins) except for these markings. During the night, the blue and red become silver as the fish rests擁t reactivates once it becomes active in the morning. It grows to approximately (1.2 in) in overall length. The female having a slightly larger belly, and a bent iridescent stripe rather than the male’s straight stripe. They have recently become available in a long-fin variety.

Most neon tetras available in the United States are imported from Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand, where they are farm-raised, or to a  lesser extent from Colombia, Peru, and Brazil, where they are collected from the wild. During a single month, an average of 1.8 million neon  tetras with an estimated value of $175,000 are imported into the United States for the aquarium trade. With the exception of home aquarists and a few commercial farms that breed neon tetras experimentally, captive breeding on a commercial scale is nonexistent in the United States. Neon tetras are considered easy to keep in a community aquarium. They tend to be timid and, because of their small size, should not be kept with large or aggressive fish which may bully or simply eat them. Fish that mix well in an aquarium are guppies, other types of tetras, such as the glowlight tetra, corys, small danios, platys, smaller swordtails and dwarf gouramis to name a few. Neon tetras are omnivores and will accept most flake foods, but should also have some small foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex worms. A tropical sinking pellet is ideal, as most brands of these include natural color enhancers that bring out the color in neon tetras. Some frozen  foods, including frozen blood worms, add variety to their diets.

Neon tetras are occasionally afflicted by the so-called “neon tetra disease”. Despite being a well-known condition, it is currently incurable and often fatal to the fish. Symptoms include restlessness, loss of coloration, lumps on the body as cysts develop, difficulty swimming, curved spines as the disease progresses, and secondary infections, such as fin rot and bloating.

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