Neon tetras are shoaling fish and generally prefer heavily planted aquarium with driftwood, which provides hiding place for its propagation. Because of their size, they should only be mixed with other smaller fish such as rummy-nose tetra or zebra danio and usually they are the most preferred community aquarium tank mates. Never under any circumstances should they be mixed with Goldfish, which creates a lot of waste and fouls the water easily or Koi, which is notorious for eating smaller fish. Pleco should also be avoided at all cost.
Aquarium maintenance for neon tetra is not that difficult because only small amount of waste is generated and provided that the tank is not overstocked. If you have a good filtration system which is able to treat large volumes of water and coupled together with heavily planted setup, that should create a stable natural environment that can sustain itself without much intervention. Just be sure to periodically check on the water quality, in case there are unforeseen fluctuations in water parameters.
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Reasons why people fail with their numerous attempts to keep Neon Tetra Fish
Though generally this species does not have any special requirement for their survival in aquariums, there are still conditions whereby owners report of whole batch of their neon fish suddenly dies for no apparent reason. There is actually a valid explanation to this; as most people do not understand that in order to keep this small group of fish, the tank must be fully cycled (at least for a month) with ammonia level not detected while nitrate and nitrate are at low levels.
Food for your neon fish is also another area that you should focus on. Basically what you feed your pet will determine the health of them in the long run. Usually commercial fish foods are used as the basic diet but somehow if you keep feeding them the same thing, sooner or later you will realize that their colors could fade away easily. That is why, the best and ideal solution is to introduce and mix some feed of live foods such as daphnia (water flea) and microworms so that they get the best nutrition that will help them to stay healthy. One word of caution though, just makes sure that you obtain your supply of live foods from clean water source, or else you might introduce disease that could kill them instead.
Despite their small size, do not buy into the idea of getting your neon fish a small tank. Most people often made this mistake thinking that why would a little fish that measures less than few inches require such a big aquarium for them to swim around? Anyway, my recommendation is that in order to successfully keep neon tetra fish and breed them, one must have at least a large tank and never mind if it’s a 50 or 100-gallon size because this will allow you to grow as many live aquatic plants as possible for your fish to hide and with larger aquarium, pH and ammonia fluctuation would not be that high or significant until it reach that harmful level that could threaten the lives of your neon fish.