Green neon tetra Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The green neon tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) is a small freshwater fish that is popular in the aquarium trade.

These fish are known for their bright green body and red eyes, which make them a beautiful addition to any freshwater tank.

Green neon tetras are relatively easy to care for, and can be kept in a community tank with other peaceful fish.

In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know about green neon tetra care. This includes their diet, tank mates, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

The green neon tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) is a freshwater fish that’s native to the Amazon Basin in South America.

They are typically found in blackwater rivers and streams that are stained with tannins from decomposing leaves. This gives the water a dark, tea-like appearance.

Green neon tetras are very small fish, only reaching about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length when fully grown.

Despite their small size, they are very popular fish in the aquarium trade. This is because they are very peaceful and easy to care for, and their bright green coloration is very eye-catching.


Green neon tetra

As the name suggests, the Green Neon Tetra is a very brightly colored fish. They’re a beautiful green color that almost looks iridescent.

This coloration is very uniform all over their body with the exception of their belly which is a little bit lighter.

The fins on this fish are very thin and delicate. The dorsal fin is short and starts about two-thirds of the way back on their body.

The caudal and anal fins are both forked and symmetrical. The pectoral fins are very thin and begin just behind the gill covers.

The Green Neon Tetra has a very distinctive appearance thanks to the black stripe that runs from their nose all the way to the base of their tail. This stripe is bordered by a thin white line on each side.

This fish is a very small species that only grows to be about two inches long at most.


The average lifespan of a green neon tetra is between three and five years. However, there are a number of factors that can impact their life expectancy.

For example, if they’re kept in a suboptimal environment then their lifespan will be significantly shorter.

On the other hand, if they’re well cared for then they can easily live for five years or longer.


The average size of a green neon tetra is around 2.5 centimeters, which is just under an inch. Some green neon tetras may grow to be a little bit larger, but this is rare.


Tank Size

The minimum tank size for green neon tetras is 10 gallons. This is assuming you’re keeping them in a school of at least 5 or 6 fish (which you should).

We personally recommend a slightly larger tank if you can accommodate it. Every extra space will make a big difference and allow you to keep a larger school or more tank mates if you’re interested in a community tank.

Water Parameters

Green neon tetras are very sensitive to changes in their water parameters. Because of this, you need to be very consistent with your water quality.

You should test your water frequently and do partial water changes as needed to keep the nitrate levels low. Ammonia and nitrite are extremely dangerous to fish and even in small amounts can prove fatal to green neon tetras. Always keep these levels at 0 ppm.

  • Water Temperature: Between 68°F-74°F
  • pH Levels: 6.0-7.0
  • Water hardness: between 5 and 15 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 2-10 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Green neon tetras are a schooling species, which means they feel much more comfortable when they’re in the company of their own kind.

We recommend a minimum of 6 tetras for a single aquarium, but more is always better. These fish like to have a lot of room to swim, so a larger tank is going to be better for them.

The inside of their tank should have some hiding places for them to feel secure. Plants, driftwood, and rocks are all great options. Just make sure that there are plenty of places for them to hide and that the plants aren’t too tall (neon tetras like to stay close to the surface).

A soft, sandy substrate is going to be the best choice for these fish. They’re not known to be heavy diggers, but a softer substrate will be easier on their delicate fins.

Common Diseases

Green neon tetras are relatively hardy fish, but they’re not immune to disease. The most common illness that affects this species is ich.

Ich is a very common freshwater parasite that can quickly become deadly if it’s not treated. The most obvious symptom of ich is a series of white spots that cover the body of your fish.

If you notice this, it’s important to act fast. There are plenty of ich treatments available, but the sooner you start the treatment the better.

Other potential diseases include infections, parasites, and various fungal infections. As with ich, it’s important to catch these early so you can start treatment immediately.

The best way to prevent your green neon tetra from getting sick is to maintain the quality of the water in their tank. A tank with clean and stable water conditions is always the best way to keep your fish healthy.

Behavior & Temperament

Neon tetras are one of the most popular freshwater fish for beginners, and it’s easy to see why. They’re relatively easy to care for, they’re beautiful to look at, and they’re very peaceful.

Green neon tetras are no different. These fish are gentle and make great tank mates for other peaceful fish. They’re schooling fish, so they do best in groups. In the wild, they can often be found in shoals of hundreds of fish.

In captivity, they’re just as social. They’ll stick close to their tank mates and school together. They’re not aggressive, so they won’t bother other fish. The only time you might see some aggression is when they’re spawning.

When it comes to food, green neon tetras are not picky eaters. They’ll eat just about anything you give them, as long as it’s small enough for them to fit in their mouths.

Tank Mates

Neon tetras are one of the most popular freshwater fish for beginners. They’re small, colorful, and relatively easy to care for.

Green neon tetras are a beautiful addition to any freshwater aquarium. They’re a great choice for community tanks because they’re peaceful and get along with most other fish.

When choosing tank mates for green neon tetras, it’s important to consider the size of your fish. These little guys only grow to be about 1.5 inches long.

That means you need to choose fish that won’t see them as a meal. Smaller fish are generally best since they won’t outcompete the neon tetras for food.

Some good green neon tetra tank mates include:

  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Other Neon Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Mollies
  • Platies
  • Swordsplants


Green neon tetras are one of the easiest fish to breed in captivity. If you’re interested in breeding fish, this is a great species to start with. They’re also one of the most popular fish in the aquarium trade.

Green neon tetras reach maturity at around 6 months of age. Once they’ve reached maturity, they will start to breed readily in the right conditions.

To breed green neon tetras, you will need to set up a breeding tank. The breeding tank should be at least 10 gallons in size. It should also have a sponge filter and plenty of hiding places.

The water temperature should be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0. The water hardness should be between 5 and 10 dGH.

When the breeding tank is set up, you will need to add two males and two females. The males will chase the females around until they are ready to spawn.

Once the females are ready to spawn, they will lay their eggs on plants or other surfaces in the tank. The males will then fertilize the eggs.

After the eggs have been fertilized, the parents should be removed from the tank. The eggs will hatch in 24 to 48 hours.

The fry will be very small and will need to be fed infusoria for the first few days. After a week or so, they can be fed baby brine shrimp.

As the fry grow, you will need to gradually increase the size of the food you feed them. Eventually, they will be able to eat the same food as the adults.


The Green Neon Tetra is a great fish for beginners and experienced fishkeepers alike. They’re relatively easy to care for and make a beautiful addition to any freshwater aquarium.

If you’re looking for a brightly colored fish that is sure to stand out in your tank, the Green Neon Tetra is a great option.

Just be sure to do your research before adding them to your tank, as they do have some specific care requirements. But as long as you’re prepared, we’re confident you’ll be happy with these little fish.