Green Neon Tetra Care: Are They The Perfect Choice For You?

Last Updated on 2023-08-05

If you’re wondering how to care for green neon tetras, then you’ve found the right article. In this article, not only will you find out how to care for green neon tetras, you’ll also learn how they act, how to set up a tank for them and much more!

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

Are Green Neon Tetras Easy To Keep?

Green neon tetras are easy to keep, as long as you’re providing them with nutritious food, keeping the water quality in the tank high, and making sure they’re not being stressed by other fish, you will have no problems with them!

If you’re still curious, I also saw what other fish keepers had to say on how easy they were to keep! Here are the answers.

are green neon tetras easy to keep?
are green neon tetras easy to keep facebook discussion
NameGreen Neon Tetra, False Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans)
OriginSouth America (Upper Orinco & Rio Negro)
Care LevelFairly Easy
Lifespan2-3 Years
Tank Size15-20 Gallons
FeedingFish Flakes, Blanched Vegetables, Algae, Daphnia, Mosquito Larvae
Community TankYes
Tank LevelMid Level
PlantsLudwigia Repens, Brazilian Pennywort, Frogbit, Cryptocoryne, Cabomba
Tank MatesMollies, Guppies, Neon Tetras, Platies, Swordtails
Breeding Difficult
Breeding TypeEgg Scatterers


Green neon tetras look similar to normal neon tetras, hence their other name false neon tetra, asides from the fact, they’re slightly less vibrant, giving them a green tint in their stripe. Since their green coloring makes them look neon-like, this is how they get their name.

Another thing you’ll love about green neon tetras is how see-through their fins are. People don’t notice this because they’re too busy looking at their colorful stripes!

green neon tetra


When they are fully grown, most green neon tetras are about 1.4″ (3.5cm) long. This makes them smaller than some of their close relatives.

Oftentimes, their size can be affected by their genes as well as how well they’re cared for (especially during their developmental years).


Green neon tetras are peaceful, friendly fish, which make them great tank mates. They tend to avoid disturbing the tank and generally stay with fish of their own kind. In the company of a more active or aggressive species, however, these small fish can become easily frightened.

It’s best to keep green neon tetras in schools of 6 or more to ensure they remain happy. If you don’t keep them in schools that are big enough, then they may even start to become aggressive to fish in the tank, as well as amongst themselves.


Green neon tetras can live for up to 3 years in ideal conditions, although anything between 2-3 is normal. You can help your tetra live longer by keeping the water conditions good, making sure they’re not stressed, and making sure you’re feeding them a high quality diet!

Water Parameters

Tank Size15 Gallons or Larger

Consistency is vital to keep in mind when dealing with green neon tetras and their tank parameters. Although these nano fish are hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, they may be adversely affected by sudden changes in temperature, pH, or ammonia.

The pH in your green neon tetras tank should be between 3-6.5, the temperature should be between 74–82°F (23–28°C). On top of this keep the ammonia and nitrite levels at 0ppm, and the nitrate levels at 20ppm or less.


In the wild, green neon tetras prefer a moderately acidic environment with pH levels between 3 and 6.5. Tank-bred species can adapt to a more neutral pH, although a pH of 5-6.5 is generally the best choice. 


The green neon tetra does well in a temperature range of 76.3-95.3 °F (25-35 °C), which is close to the temperature of its natural habitat. But you should try to stay between 75–84°F (24–29°C).

Water Hardness

Green neon tetras should live in water with a general hardness (GH) between 8-16 and a carbonate hardness (KH). They originate from extremely soft waters, so monitoring your mineral content is essential.

Tank Size

The ideal size tank size for green neon tetras is 15 and 20 gallons, however, bigger is always better. In larger tanks, they’re going to have enough space for themselves, and it’s less likely a fluctuation in the water parameters will occur.

Green Neon Tetra Care Sheet

What Do Green Neon Tetras Like In The Wild?

Green neon tetras are tiny, vivid freshwater fish that can be found in the wild in the Amazon Basin of South America. They are known to be shy fish because they prefer to swim in areas that are heavily vegetated and have many hiding spots in their native habitat.

They forage for food in the water column, where they eat small insects, crustaceans, and zooplankton. Green neon tetra has evolved to survive in a complex and diversified ecosystem that makes up most of their native habitat.

Green Neon Tetra

How To Setup A Tank For Green Neon Tetras

Setting up an aquarium for a green neon tetra is less intimidating than it may appear! Once you understand the basics of creating a natural habitat environment for your green neon tetra, you can enjoy decorating your tank and watching your fish swim around their new home. 

Fortunately, replicating the natural habitat of the Tetra, such as water temperature, substrate depth, types of plants, and decorations you’ll use is incredibly easy! And once these elements all come together, they’ll make a fantastic environment for your green neon tetra.

Creating the perfect tank starts with knowing what your green neon tetra needs, so make sure you’re including the following in your green neon tetras tank:

  • Make sure the tank is big enough. Before anything you need to make sure that the tank is big enough for your green neon tetras. While they can live in 15 gallon tanks, bigger is always better, and try to aim for length over height. Ideally, you’ll give them at least a 20 gallon however.
  • Start with a sandy base that is light in color. Green neon tetras contrast well with a sandy substrate, this way the colors of the fish will stand out more. If you’re keeping your green neon tetras with bottom dwellers, they’re going to love this too! However, if you have a planted tank you can also use aquarium soil.
Fluker’s All Natural Premium Hermit Crab Sand Substrate, Sand Mixture with Coconut Fiber, For Hermit Crab Tanks, 6 lbs.
  • Hermit Crab Bedding: Natural Sand Substrate is the perfect bedding, offering a mix of sand, coconut fiber, sea salt, calcium carbonate and natural probiotics to replicate their natural environment
  • Water Retention: This hermit crab sand substrate contains coconut fibers which aid with water retention, crucial for maintaining a healthy and comfortable hermit crab soil environment
  • Promotes Natural Behavior: The Fluker’s sand substrate encourages burrowing and natural digging in your sand for hermit crabs, essential behaviors during the molting process
  • Added Probiotics: Our hermit crab coconut fiber bedding includes added probiotics to breakdown organic waste This makes it an ideal hermit crab gravel, ensuring a clean and healthy habitat
  • Replicates Natural Sand: Resembles natural sand, including sea salt and calcium The perfect play sand for hermit crabs, it’s also ideal as hermit crab dirt or green sand for hermit crabs
  • Give the tank a light with a medium amount of brightness. Green Neon Tetras have duller, darker colors when it’s dark, but when the sun comes back out, their colors get brighter again. This is to help them avoid being eaten at night. With that in mind, make sure that the light in your tank isn’t overpowering.
  • Try to spread this light out by using natural plants. Look for plants, like moss and ferns, that can survive in a green neon tetra tank. If bigger fish are in the tank, rocks or driftwood can be put in to give the tetras places to hide. You can also put some leaves in the aquarium to make it look more natural. Remember to leave space between the rocks so the fish can swim freely and not feel crowded.
  • Keep the flow of water low to medium. Green neon tetras are native to calm rivers. Therefore, any rapids in your aquarium’s water will put a significant amount of strain on your fish.
  • Keep The Tank Filtered. Of course, it goes without saying you should also keep the tank well filtered for your green neon tetras. If you’re going to keep your green neon tetras in a 15 gallon tank, then a sponge or HOB filter will be dine.

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  • Keep The Tank Heated. You should also make sure that you’re keeping the tank heated for your tropical fish too! For a 15 gallon tank you’ll need a 100 watt heater, and you should also add a thermometer to ensure the tank is always warm enough.
Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater,100W Adjustable Fish Tahk Heater with 2 Suction Cups Free Thermometer Suitable for Marine Saltwater and Freshwater
  • ★100W aquarium heater is suitable for 10 to 20 gallons aquariums,Length – 9″,voltage 110-120V, power cord is 6ft, please choose the right wattage aquarium heater according to our size chart.

Males Vs. Female

Green neon tetras are mostly the same color, and both males and females look similar. But the size of these fish is the most reliable way to tell if they are male or female. The males are smaller than the females, and the females tend to look rounder and more bulbous, especially when they are full of eggs during the spawning season.


Green Neon Tetra Diet Pin

Green neon tetras eat a variety of foods. In the wild, green neon tetras eat small crustaceans, insects, zooplankton, and plants. Keep your fish happy and healthy by simulating their natural diet as closely as possible in their aquarium.

Green neon tetras will consume fish flakes, fish pellets freeze-dried, live and frozen food. Some great choices include daphnia, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms to the tetra to make its diet more varied and complete.

Since the green neon tetra is a very voracious species, you must be careful not to overfeed them. Give your fish food twice daily, but only enough for them to eat in a few minutes.

TetraMin Nutritionally Balanced Tropical Flake Food for Tropical Fish, 7.06 oz (pack of 1)
  • TROPICAL FORMULATION: Highly digestible ingredients for use as staple food for your top- and mid-feeding tropical fish.

Tank Mates 

Since they are calm and don’t cause any problems, you can keep them with other fish that are similar to them. 

When looking for the best tank mates, the size of the possible tank mate should always be the most important thing to consider. Most invertebrates, like snails and shrimp, are harmless, so green neon tetras will not pay much attention to them.

And while green neon tetras are fast fish, you should try to avoid adding predators as green neon tetras aren’t aggressive.


guppy care sheet

Guppies get along well with green neon tetras, just as they do with so many other species of tetra! They have the same water requirements as well as the same feeding habits. One thing to note about guppies however, is that they’re prolific breeders, so you may end up with more than you bargained for.


Swordtail Care Sheet

Swordtails, are a lot larger in size, so you’re going to need to keep them in tanks which are slightly larger than what a green neon tetra needs. Apart from this, they have the same water parameter requirements and feeding habits, so they make great tank mates.


platy care sheet

Another great livebearing species that go well with your green neon tetras are platies. They’re also great beginner fish so if you’re new to fishkeeping, I’d definitely recommend putting these in the tank with your green neon tetras.

Neon Tetras

Neon Tetra Care Sheet

Neon tetras and green neon tetras get along great with each other, and you may even notice them starting to school with each other when they’re put in the same tank. As well as neon tetras you can also keep all manner of tetra in your tank with neon tetras.

Good tank mates include platies, guppies, mollies, minnows, and snails. They will get along well with other tetras, such as neons, glowlights, rummy-noses, and cardinals. Adult dwarf shrimps and small danios could also live in the same tank.


molly fish care sheet

Mollies also make great tank mates for green neon tetras, so you can also consider them. In fact, keeping mollies, guppies, platies, and swordtails with your green neon tetras can make an excellent community tank! Just make sure the aquarium is big enough.

Other great tank mates include:


It’s best to give your green neon tetras both open swimming space and lots of plants to hide behind. When they feel safe, they’ll go to school together in open areas. When they don’t feel safe, they’ll run into plants.

They like tall plants and vegetation like Ludwigia repens, Brazilian pennywort (which can also be used as a floating plant), vallisneria, cabomba, or Cryptocoryne wendtii. Green Neon tetras also like floating plants like frogbit, dwarf water lettuce, and red river floaters. They enjoy exploring the roots that extend below the surface.

Live plants also help eliminate nitrates from your water, which is a nice bonus. So they are both useful and pretty. If you don’t like natural plants, you can use tall fake plants instead.

You can also add Indian Almond Leaves to your tank, as they’ll provide some nice leaf litter to the substrates and release tannins into the water which your Green neon tetras will love!


Breeding green neon tetras is a long, difficult, and time-consuming process. Many aquarists tried but failed to breed them. 

As an example of how it works, a female tetra usually lays about 130 eggs that hatch in about a day. To fertilize her eggs, the male must constantly follow her around. Conditions like low light levels, low pH, high temperatures, and so on are required for this to happen.

After the eggs hatch, the adults must be removed to prevent them from devouring the eggs, and the lights must be turned off because the eggs are light-sensitive. Breeding green neon tetras is a lot of work because the adults have certain needs, and the young have even more specific needs.

Common Diseases

These green neon tetras are a rare and delicate species in the aquarium industry. So, chances are your fish were caught in the wild. They’re more prone to stress and tank infections. Your green neon tetras will be healthier if you know how to treat common diseases like the ones below.


The parasite that causes ich often grow in places with unstable water conditions and changing temperatures. Ich is most easily recognized by white spots all over the fish’s body, clamped fins, loss of appetite, and constant gasping. 

Ich needs to be treated with both medicine and a change in the water parameters in the tank. The parasite can be killed with Malachite Green, aquarium salt, and copper sulfate.

Neon Tetras Disease

Neon tetra disease, which is common in this species and has no known cure, is the biggest threat to the health of your green neon tetra. Neon tetra disease can be spread by live food and diseased fish. Neon tetra disease can be hard to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to other bacterial and parasitic infections. 

Even so, fish with this disease show the following signs:

  • Restlessness – In the early stages, infected fish will become restless and change how they swim. This is easier to see in groups of fish or in fish that are moving around. You’ll also see that your fish swim in strange ways.
  • Hiding – When your fish get sick, they will run away and hide in plants or caves. As they try to regain their energy after being sick, they will spend less time with other fish. Also, fish that have been infected will have trouble swimming around the tank.
  • Dull Colors – Neon tetras that are sick will also start to lose their color. They will look pale, meaning the neon disease has attacked the muscle tissue. But your fish might not have neon tetra disease just because they are losing color. When fish are upset, they often get pale.
  • White bumps – As the disease worsens, sick neon tetras get white cysts and bumps. After the parasite attacks the intestine wall, it moves to the muscles, which causes cysts to form. The cysts could also get lumpy.
  • Fish’s Spine Is Curved – Over time, a sick fish’s muscles and other parts break down. At this point, the straight blue line on your neon tetras will start to curve into an “S.” The tail of the fish will also curve down.
  • Secondary infections – Also, your fish will get other infections, like getting fat and having their fins rot. Neon tetra disease weakens a fish’s immune system, making it more likely to get other diseases.

How Many Green Neon Tetras Can You Keep Together?

Green neon tetras should always be kept with others. Try to get at least six, but if you have room in your aquarium, they will be happier in larger groups. These fish naturally form schools, or groups, and swim around the tank together. This power in numbers gives them confidence near other tank residents.

Stress can shorten the lifespan of a lone green neon tetra. Keeping a big group is a good idea because it shows off their colors and behaviors.

green neon tetra care guide


Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about caring for green neon tetras

Green Neon Tetras vs. Neon Tetras

Green neon tetras and neon tetras are both popular freshwater fish often compared to each other. Both species are tetras with brilliant colors and similar body shapes.

But there are a few things that make them different. Neon tetras have a brilliant red stripe down their bodies, while green neons are bright green and blue. Also, green neon tetras are a little bigger than neon tetras. 

How Many Green Neon Tetras Can You Put in A 10-Gallon Tank?

In a 10-gallon fish tank, you can typically keep 4-5 green neon tetras. More than this can cause overcrowding which results in poor water quality and stress in your fish. However, ideally, you should keep them in a 15 gallon tank.

Should Water Be Soft or Hard for Green Neon Tetras?

The hardness range for green neon tetras is between 8-16 GH. Green neon tetras thrive in soft water but can survive in medium-hard water with high quality.

How to Tell if Your Green Neon Tetra Is Male or Female?

Both male and female green neon tetras look alike. Their size is the best indicator of their gender. And believe it or not the males are smaller than females.

Is Feeding a Green Neon Tetra Once a Day Okay?

Green neon tetra should be fed food twice a day, and when you’re feeding them make sure you’re not adding too much food to their tank at once. Give them the quantity of food they can eat in two minutes.

Do Green Neon Tetras School?

Green neon tetras are schooling fish, and they’ll feel safer when you’re keeping them in schools of 6 or more. In fact, in some cases, if you put more than one type of tetra in the tank, they may even school together.

What’s the Best Food for Green Neon Tetras?

Green neon tetras are omnivores. They can get by on almost any food source they come across, however, you should feed them high-quality fish flakes as well as live food when possible. 


Green Neon Tetras are stunning fish that can brighten up any tank. They’re not the most finicky when it comes to caring, but to ensure they thrive, you need to give them an environment that resembles their native habitat as precisely as you can. They also prefer living in groups which makes them very social fish if you have enough space in your tank for them to explore. 

Getting the right food and compatible tank mates for your green neon tetras is also going to be beneficial for their health! Just remember any tank mates you plan on adding before you add them! After all, these gorgeous green fish will give you years of entertainment with proper care!

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