Pregnant Neon Tetra? (The Answer Is Likely No)

Everyone loves neon tetras, and when you have a school in your tank, you may begin to notice some look a little bigger than others, so it’s only natural to ask “is your neon tetra pregnant?”

In this article, you’ll find out how to tell if your neon tetra is pregnant, what to do if they are pregnant as well as having any other frequently asked question answered as well!

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

Can Neon Tetras Get Pregnant?

So you may be wondering whether or not your neon tetra is pregnant, well the truth is…

Neon tetras can’t get pregnant. Female neon tetras spawn eggs and lay them around the aquarium, where they will then be fertilized. That’s not to say they can’t be eggbound, which gives them the similar bloated appearance of pregnancy you may be noticing.

How To Tell If Your Neon Tetra Is Eggbound?

Now you know that female neon tetras can be egg bound you may be wondering whether one of your neon tetras is ready to spawn eggs. If you believe that your neon tetra is ready to reproduce, here are the signs to look for:

1. Determine If The Neon Tetra Is Female

In order to determine whether or not a neon tetra will reproduce, you must know its gender. Neon tetra fish have physical features that will let you know whether they are male or female. Male neon tetras are generally smaller. They have a more slender body with a straight blue line. 

Female neon tetras are usually bigger than males. They are more round in shape, and the blue line on their body will appear more bent. 

Check Their Belly

Once you have determined which fish females are, you can observe their bellies to determine whether or not they are ready to lay eggs. If the female neon tetra is ready to lay eggs, her belly will appear swollen. It will look more enlarged than normal. This is the biggest clue that she is ready to lay eggs.

Pay Attention To The Male Neon Tetra Fish Behavior

It’s not just the females you should keep an eye on when trying to determine if they are ready to reproduce. The behavior of the males will also be a straightforward sign that she is ready to lay eggs. When the males start to exhibit courting behavior, it’s likely because the female is ready to reproduce.

Some of the behavior that you may notice from the males is a particular dance they do in order to attract the females. When they are doing this mating dance, the male fish usually swims around in a square pattern while jerking back and forth. Sometimes you may notice him stop and remain still for a moment, then get right back into the rhythm of his dance.

And in some cases, you’ll notice a male and a female swimming together constantly. A clear sign the male wishes to fertilize her eggs.

What Should You Do If Your Neon Tetra Is “Pregnant”?

If your neon tetra has given off the signs that they are pregnant (eggbound), then you will need to get prepared. So start by doing the following:

Separate Tanks

Once your female neon tetra has given the signs that she is ready to breed, it’s best to put her and the male fish in a separate tank. This will be the tank you plan to hatch the baby neon tetra fish in. The eggs are adhesive, so it’s a good idea to make sure this tank has plants and moss for the eggs to stick to.

Make sure the breeding tank has a lid to prevent your neon tetras from jumping out when they get too excited during the breeding process. It’s a good idea to put the fish in this tank during the evening because that is when the breeding takes place. Everything else in the process will happen once the sun comes up.

The breeding tank should be at least 10 gallons (38 liters) to get the right tank conditions for successful breeding. When you focus on creating the right breeding conditions, they are likely to produce more eggs. 

Ideal Water Conditions

When your neon tetra is preparing to lay eggs, you will want to do everything you can to create the right environment for them. These fish thrive when they are living in water that is 77°F (25 Celsius), so it’s important keep your tank at this temperature.

On top of the temperature, you should also make sure they are living in soft water with low mineral content. Ideally, it should be slightly acidic with a pH balance of 5 to 6. This is how you can best recreate their natural habitat. You should use a pH testing kit to ensure that the pH is perfect!

Neon tetra’s need clean water too, so it’s important to keep on top of the water changes. If this gets neglected, they may decide not to breed. Neon tetra’s need the right conditions to be encouraged to breed, and they are very particular about the water.

It’s recommended to change the tank water more frequently when you’re trying to encourage your neon tetras to breed. However, it’s important that you only change out half of the tank’s water at a time to avoid putting the fish in shock. While you want to give them the right conditions, you have to change the water gradually.

Improve Filtration

You should get a corner filter for their aquarium too. Neon tetra’s need an environment with good-quality filtration to help remove all of the waste and bacteria from the aquarium. Doing this will help ensure the baby neon tetra grow up in a clean and healthy environment.

If the water in your tank is not kept clean, then a white substance may form around the eggs. This fungus can infect the egg and possibly kill the embryo.

Adequate Lighting

Your new-born neon tetras must have an environment that’s as close to their natural habitat as possible. This includes lighting as well. So move the aquarium to a place where it’s not exposed to full light. Neon tetra’s will always do better in a slightly darker environment. While their aquarium doesn’t need to be in complete darkness, it should only receive a small amount of light in the day.

Hiding Spots

It’s important that you place plenty of hiding spots like plants, moss, and rocks in the aquarium for your female tetra. Once the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will become very on edge. Adding plenty of hiding spots will make her feel more comfortable.

Adding Fish

Breeding neon tetra’s is a lot different than how cats and dogs breed. Instead of being a one-on-one occasion, neon tetra fish breed in groups. If you notice the male and female aren’t spawning on their own place an additional 6 to 8 male and female fish in the breeding tank in the evening and leave them there for at least 2 days.

Pregnant Neon Tetra_ (The Answer Is Likely No)


When you place a male and female neon tetra fish together, they could breed and start their own family of beautiful colored fish. While you won’t ever see a pregnant neon tetra in your aquarium, you could be lucky enough to have a neon tetra that is ready to lay eggs. These are some of the most frequently asked questions about when neon tetra fish reproduce.

What Do Neon Tetra Eggs Look Like?

Neon tetra eggs are small and round lke tiny pearls that area about 1mm in diameter. They are clear but will often have a white or yellow tint. They are a similar consistency to jelly and will stick to the leaves and plants in the aquarium.

Since they are clear and incredibly tiny, it’s very difficult to see these eggs. To get a glimpse, you will have to look very closely. Many people are guilty of cleaning the eggs up because they mistook them for waste. 

How Many Eggs Do Neon Tetras Lay?

Once a neon tetra is ready to lay eggs, she could lay anywhere from 60 to 120 at a time. While this may seem like a lot, most of the eggs won’t hatch or survive. Once the eggs have been laid, it’s up to the male neon tetra fish to fertilize them. On average, only 30 percent of the eggs end up hatching. 

What you may not have known is that there’s a way to check whether or not one of the eggs has been fertilized. An egg that has successfully been fertilized will have a black dot inside it.

How Long Will It Take For Your Neon Tetra To Lay Eggs?

When the female neon tetra is ready to breed, she will scatter the eggs throughout the aquarium, giving males the opportunity to fertilize them. The female will generally lay the eggs in the morning, and the amount of light will determine how long it will take for the female to lay eggs.

Usually, a female neon tetra will take 15 minutes to an hour to lay the eggs. After the eggs have been laid, the process usually takes 24 hours for them to hatch. It’s important to remember that the babies will need to stay in a separate tank with minimal light for at least 5 days.

How Long Do Neon Tetras Stay Pregnant?

Neon tetras stay “pregnant” or eggbound for around 14 weeks. however, once she’s ready to lay eggs she may do so on and off for 2-4 weeks. At which point the male will fertilize them.

Do Neon Tetras Eat Their Babies?

It’s very common for neon tetra’s to eat their eggs as well as their babies once the eggs have hatched. Most babies won’t survive the attack from their parents, so it is best to keep them separate and give the babies a chance to grow. 

Ideally, you should wait for at least 3 months before introducing a baby neon tetra fish to an aquarium with other adult fish. If they are introduced too early, they are likely to get eaten. It’s also a good idea to keep them separate because baby neon tetra fish are more prone to disease.

They are also more sensitive to injuries, making it more difficult for them to survive in a community tank.

Is It Easy To Breed Neon Tetras?

Neon tetras are quite difficult to breed, however, it is possible. Just make sure you’re getting the water harness right (1 to 2dGH) a pH between 5.0-6.0 and the temperature of the tank at 77°F. You should also provide plenty of hiding places for your neon tetra to spawn.

Final Thoughts

Now you know that neon tetras don’t get pregnant, but in fact, they lay eggs. If you’ve noticed your neon tetra is “pregnant” then the chances are she’s simply eggbound.

To encourage your neon tetra to breed you should make sure that the pH, temperature, and harness in the tank are all perfect!

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