Are Neon Tetras Hardy?

Neon tetras fall into the hardy fish category, as they can live in a wide range of water conditions. That said, sudden fluctuations in water conditions can stress them out.

With their neon blue-red coloration and peaceful temperament, Neon Tetras are one of the most popular freshwater fish for beginners.

The trick is to give them a few days to adjust to their new surroundings. Once established, Neon Tetras can be some of the hardiest fish in your tank.

So, read on to learn more about what makes the bright Neon Tetras such hardy fish, as well as the ideal conditions for them to thrive.

Group of Neon Tetra

Are Neon Tetras Hardy?

Neon Tetras are well-known for their ability to adapt to changes in their environment. They can take from a few hours to a few days, but Neon Tetras eventually settle into their new environment.

That’s one of the reasons why Neon Tetras are easy to care for and suitable for beginners.

The only changes that Neon Tetras may react negatively to are water changes. To thrive, neon tetras require ideal water conditions. As a result, any changes in temperature or chemistry can cause stress, diseases, and infections in Neon Tetras.

As long as you provide your Neon Tetras with ideal water conditions, they’re unlikely to become ill or stressed.

Water Conditions That Keep Neon Tetras Hardy

Even if Neon Tetras aren’t finicky about their living conditions, that doesn’t mean they don’t have certain requirements to stay healthy and thrive.

So, here are the factors to consider when it comes to Neon Tetra water conditions:

Water Salinity

Native to the Blackwater and Clearwater streams, Neon Tetras prefer fresh water. Rainwater is also perfect for those freshwater fish.

It’s worth noting that Neon Tetras can tolerate brackish water. However, it doesn’t provide them with any benefits, so it’s best to avoid such water conditions.

Water Temperature

Neon Tetras can live in water temperatures ranging from 68°F to 83°F. The ideal temperatures for them to thrive, however, are between 73°F and 77°F.

While temperatures above 78°F aren’t life-threatening for Neon Tetras, they can be harmful to their health and quality of life.

Colder temperatures, on the other hand, can increase the chances of Neon Tetras contracting diseases like Neon Tetra Disease.

Most importantly, you need to ensure that the temperature doesn’t fluctuate frequently, as Neon Tetras are sensitive to temperature changes.

pH Level

The most ideal pH levels for Neon Tetras range between 5.5 and 6.2. In their natural habitat, Neon Tetras prefer the slightly acidic Blackwater stream, but they can also thrive in the slightly less acidic Clearwater stream.

That’s why those hardy Tetras can adapt to water conditions with pH up to 6.8. They can also survive in pH levels as low as 4.0, but there’s no reason to do so in your Neon Tetra tank.

It’s also important not to keep them at pH levels higher than 7.0, as it can endanger their health.

Neon Tetra Fis


Neon Tetras come from soft water, but they can adapt to slightly hard water as well. Any hardness above 10 dGH can stunt their growth and expose them to a variety of health risks.

What’s more, keep in mind that water hardness can increase or decrease pH levels. While very soft water can crash the pH levels, hard water can increase pH levels.

What Happens to Neon Tetras If Water Conditions Aren’t Met?

Because of their hardiness, Neon Tetras can tolerate minor changes in their water conditions every once in a while.

However, if the water conditions in your Neon Tetras tank are constantly and drastically changing, they can become stressed. Stress in Neon Tetras can lead to poor health and endanger the fish.

Drastic Temperatures

If the temperature drops in a Neon Tetra tank, the fish may become sluggish and slow. It can also stunt their growth and cause permanent damage.

Higher temperatures, on the other hand, increase the fish’s metabolism. High metabolism causes the fish to become hyperactive and breathe in more air, lowering the oxygen levels in the tank.

Poor Water Chemistry

High acidity levels can be life-threatening to any fish, including the hardy Neon Tetras. However, low acidity levels can cause a series of damage to Neon Tetras, including:

  • Stress
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Severe skin burns
  • Gill damage

Water hardness fluctuations can also cause stress in Neon Tetras. Stress can cause irritability, which can lead to aggression. It can also lead to them becoming inactive. All of these factors make Neon Tetras more prone to disease and infection.

How to Boost the Hardiness of Your Neon Tetras

Providing your Neon Tetras with their needs will automatically boost their hardiness. Still, there are some things you can do to actively improve their health and overall hardiness.

Provide Enough Space and Plants

Because neon tetras are active swimmers, they need plenty of room to swim around. In addition, these Tetras are shoaling fish, so they need to be in groups of at least six Tetras.

It’s difficult to achieve these conditions in a small tank. That’s why it’s best to ensure that you put your school of Neon Tetras in a tank large enough to accommodate their size.

When you give your Neon Tetras enough room to grow, they can thrive. However, in confined spaces, they’re prone to stress and aggression.

With more space, you can provide your Neon Tetras with a lot of plants. Those rambunctious fish like to swim in and out of the plants, as well as hide in them to rest and relax.

Neon Tetras’ favorite plants include:

  • Moss
  • Cabomba
  • Frogbit
  • Vallisneria
  • Dwarf lettuce

Provide High-Quality Food

In their natural habitat, Neon Tetras feed on small invertebrates and crustacea. So, live food can be a good source of nutrition, such as:

  • Baby brine shrimp
  • Daphnia
  • Fruit flies
  • Grindal worms

If live food isn’t an option, freeze-dried bloodworms, crushed flakes, and small granules are more than satisfactory for Neon Tetras.

Add Compatible Tank Mates

Because Neon Tetras are social and friendly fish, they get along with each other. They also get along with other small, peaceful fish, such as Guppies and Hatchetfish.

You should avoid large, more aggressive fish such as Cichlids and Bettas. These species can bully, attack, and eat the more docile Neon Tetras.

In Conclusion

Neon Tetras are quite hardy if you provide them with the proper water conditions. Luckily, these bright and colorful fish don’t require any complicated conditions.

Your Neon Tetras need fresh, warm, slightly acidic water to thrive. They also thrive in tanks with plenty of space, high-quality food, and compatible tank mates.

As long as the environment of your Neon Tetras doesn’t fluctuate frequently or drastically, your Neon Tetras should live a long, happy, and healthy life!