Friday, September 3, 2010

How to breed neon tetra

     First you have to know that is difficult to reproduce neon tetras. But if you are tempted to do it, I advise you to try first to breed Hemigrammus erythrozonus (pink neon), which is much easier. In case you succeed, you can try to breed neon tetra then. The main problem at reproduction is that they were kept in water with excessive hardness. In this case, females have deformed ovaries and are incapable to breed. It was found that if females neon tetra are kept in water with 8dH, chances of reproducing decrease to 0%.
     So one of the essential conditions is to purchase fish when are babies and to grow them in a water with 4-5dH, a pH of 5.5-6 and a temperature of 22 degrees C. After a period of about 10 months neon tetras are apt for breeding. Usually, an immature pair, will make a few eggs, 20 to 30, but getting used to a regular cycle, at 30 days, will be obtain between 100 and 200 eggs. Another problem is feeding the parents, which must be done with live food: tubifex washed and sterilized, cladocere, copepode, etc., with at least one month before beginning reproduction.

     Arrangement of a breeding tank. A tank of approximately 10 liters (3 gallons) with a water column height of 12-15 cm is sufficient. A net placed on a frame at 2 cm high from the bottom of the tank is essential to protect the eggs, not be eaten. The frame must fit exactly in the tank, so not to exist any risk for the fish to enter between frame and tank glass and can not escape. Above the net you put a "ball", not too dense, made of green synthetic fibers where practically neon tetras will make the deposit of eggs. Some authors recommend the use of Vesicularia dubyana bushes instead of green synthetic fibers, but natural plants are more difficult to be sterilized. The water tank will have the following characteristics: 1.5-2 dH, 5.8-6.5 pH and temperature between 20 and 22 degrees C and will need to have a slightly brownish tinge which is done by gentle filtration through carbon and to be very clear. The breeding tank will be illuminated with a small power incandescent bulb, max. 15W. The tank and all materials used will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, this represent one of the basic conditions for successful breeding.

     Reproduction. The breeding tank must be prepared with 7-8 days before adding the parents. The best period to breed is September - March. All tank sides will be cover with black paper, less the front side which will be cover later. The neon tetra parents will be added in the breeding tank in the evening.  Normally, the reproduction should occur within 1-3 days, if not you replace the pair with another. Usually,  reproduction take place in the evening, and when they start, the light must be turned off. Right after they lay the eggs, the pair will be removed and the front side and the top of the tank will be covered with black paper, to obtain total darkness. The tank will stay covered for five days and then begin to gradually uncover. The eggs and the fry are very sensitive to light. However, to satisfy our curiosity about the appearance of juvenile, we can light with a small flashlight and for short period inside the tank, but is not recommended. 
     The hatching occurs after 24 hours and the other four days the fry will feed exclusively from the yolk sac. Since the 5th day you begin the feeding. There is special food in stores for them, JBL Novo Baby for example. Starting with the 10th day, the black paper can be removed all. In this period food will be given in very small portions and tank cleaning will have to be rigorous. After 15 days may be given food as a powder or other suitable feed size. After about three weeks they begin to color, but the hard period pass only after three months when it begins a gradual adaptation to shift them into another tank. Adaptation will be slow, with small exchanges of water between the main tank and breeding tank, until the water parameters are equal.
     I wish you good luck on breeding neon tetras!


  1. I found your website perfect for my needs. It contains wonderful and helpful posts. I have read most of them and learned a lot from them. You are doing some great work. Thank you for making such a nice website. Freshwater Aquarium

  2. That is actually incredibly interesting.
    I've been wanting to breed tetra for a while - neon and cardinal are my favourites :)

  3. really great

  4. Thanks for sharing this great info. For feeding the neons

  5. Will neon tetras breed on their own?