Breeding Neon Tetras

Breeding tanks

While Neon Tetra are not the easiest fish to breed it is possible for the home aquarium enthusiast to have success. In the wild Neon Tetra's are extremelly prolific breeders capable of doubling their population in less than 15 months. Most of the fish found in the United States are imported from breeders in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand.

Breeding Tank Setup

A good sized breeding tank for Neon Tetra's is around 10 gallons. The tank should contain a few fine leaf plants as fish often like to lay their eggs on them, make sure these plants are free from snails as snails will eat fish eggs. The bottom of the tank should be covered with small pebbles that have been sterilized in boiling water. Lighting for the tank should be dark at first then gradually increased to encourage spawning. Water for the tank should be aged and conditioned, many people recommenced using rain water. Water temperature should be between 70 to 72F with a pH 6.8 - 7.0.


Female tetras will become noticeably larger in the belly when they are carrying eggs, at this point the female can be transferred to the breeding tank with your selected male specimen. The males selected should be your brightest and best looking specimen so as to produce the best looking offspring possible.

Methods to encourage spawning

Neons more often than not spawn in the morning. When spawning is about to commence the males can be seen performing a dance like movement around the female and chasing the female through the tank foliage. The male and female will then come together, the female will lay up to 120 eggs that are then fertilized by the male in the water. After the eggs have been laid remove the adult fish from the breeding tank as they have a tendency to eat the eggs.

Eggs are sensitive to light so avoid direct sunlight on the tank and turn off any tank lighting until eggs have hatched. Excessive lighting can lead to the eggs being infected with bacterial diseases.

Neon Tetra Eggs

Neon Tetra eggs on a leaf.

Care of Tetra fry

Eggs will hatch a few days after being laid, a couple of days after hatching the fry will become free swimming. Fry should be fed infusoria a microscopic aquatic creatures, until they are large enough to feed on live brine shrimp or ground up fish flakes. It is important to maintain the water quality in the early stages of the fishes life by doing regular water changes and monitoring the pH levels.