Neon Tetra “Paracheirodon innesi”
Maximum size 3 centimetres
- Temperature range 21–27 °C
- Prefers softer slightly acidic water.
- Lifespan 5–10 years
These fish originate from the streams in Colombia, Peru and Brazil in South America.
They have a bright blue stripe that runs along the top of their body with a silver abdomen and a red stripe that runs below from their abdomen to their caudal fin. Their colouring becomes much duller or paler at night. They are placid in nature and best kept in groups of six or more as they are a shoaling species. They cohabit peacefully with other Tetras and small fish but larger fish will bully or prey on them.
They are omnivores enjoying a wide range of foods such as flake food, bloodworms, daphnia and brine shrimp.
They like subdued lighting, dark gravel or substrate, floating plants and bogwood helps darken the water and simulate their natural habitat.
Males are slimmer with a very straight blue line whereas females are plumper with
a slightly bent blue line. They are difficult to sex until they reach maturity around 9 months.
Breeding is not particularly easy in the home aquarium as they are egg layers and the eggs are photosensitive. Covering a separate breeding tank is the best method, Adults will also eat their own spawn and fry so it is recommended they be removed from the breeding tank after spawning takes place. Adults can spawn every two weeks and are more likely to do so in water that is good quality and slightly acidic at a temperature of around 24°C They will spawn tiny clear eggs barely visible to the naked eye on fine leaved plants. Observing the breeding pair for spawning behaviour and the female having less of a girth is usually an indicator that spawning has taken place. The eggs can take up to 30 hours to hatch. They will survive the first few days feeding from their yolk sac and should be kept in darkness. When the fry become free swimming they should be fed infusoria for around ten days and can later be fed crushed flake food or brine shrimp. They will develop their colouring about a month later and mature anywhere between four to nine months.