Yes, neon tetras jump. This can happen when the fish are stressed, sick, curious, need more food, need more oxygen, live in polluted water, live in unfavorable water conditions, live in a too-small tank, have aggressive tankmates, or are simply scared of a new environment.
Below, we’re discussing each reason and how to resolve it, as well as answering common related questions. Let’s get started!
Why Do Neon Tetras Jump?
Neon tetras are skilled jumpers, to the point that their leaps can get them outside of the tank! Here’s a breakdown of what could drive a neon tetra fish to jump:
1. They’re Stressed
If something causes your neon tetras to be stressed, they’ve very likely to jump. Stress can be fatal to these fish and lead them to go missing.
Many factors can contribute to a stressed neon tetra, from hostile tank mates and poor water conditions to lack of food and diseases.
In such cases, your neon tetra will try to leave the stressful environment. Jumping can be their means to achieve this goal.
2. They’re Sick
You may think that neon tetras jumping is a sign of their good health, but that’s not necessarily true.
In many cases, it’s a disease that causes your tropical fish to jump out. This is especially true if the sick neon tetras can’t find a suitable spot to recover inside the tank, so they try to find it outside by jumping out of desperation.
Ill neon tetras may also jump to escape becoming prey or a bullying target for healthy tank mates.
3. They’re Curious
Much like most living things, neon tetras are curious about their surroundings. They love to explore their environment, and if the tank is open with the water level almost at its top, they may literally jump at the chance to satisfy this natural urge.
4. They Don’t Have Enough Food
If a neon tetra doesn’t have enough food to thrive, there’s a good chance it’ll look elsewhere for it. Out of starvation, this fish may jump out of the tank to find more food without realizing it could very well die because of such an action.
5. They Don’t Have Enough Oxygen
Not only can neon tetras get stressed due to lack of oxygen, but they may end up dead if the insufficiency continues beyond a certain limit.
If your neon tetra starts to experience suffocation while inside the tank because of low oxygen levels, it may try to solve its breathing issue by jumping out of the tank.
6. They Live in Poor Quality Water
If the water inside the tank is poor quality or somehow contaminated, your neon tetra may try to jump out in hopes of finding a better environment.
Increased concentrations of nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia in the tank water lower its quality and make it less hospitable for neon tetras. The same goes for pollution due to insufficient filtration, not enough water changes, overcrowding, or overfeeding.
7. They Live In Adverse Water Parameters
Unfavorable water parameters inside the tank are another common reason why neon tetras may jump out as they get uncomfortable and stressed. These parameters mainly include improper water temperature and pH level.
8. They Live in a Crowded Tank
If the tank where your neon tetras are residing is too crowded, they may resort to jumping to go somewhere more spacious.
Due to their small size, it’s easy to overpopulate neon tetras. This will prevent them from swimming and exploring freely, putting the fish under stress and discomfort.
Additionally, a cramped tank means there’s a lack of hiding places. Without a spot to retreat to, your neon tetra may jump as a desperate response.
9. They Live With Aggressive Tank Mates
Neon tetras are mostly a peaceful species, so pairing them with aggressive tank mates can turn them into targets for bullying. In turn, your neon tetras will become stressed and they may end up jumping out to escape the situation.
10. They’re Scared
If your neon tetras are unfamiliar with their surroundings, they may become anxious and stressed. For example, if you change their tank or introduce them to a tank directly after bringing them from the wild.
The sudden change in environment can lead neon tetras to jump out of stress. Similarly, if there are loud noises, bright lights, or high currents, your tropical fish may jump.
How High Can Neon Tetras Jump?
There’s no exact answer to this question because it varies from one neon tetra to the other. For example, small neon tetras such as Bettas can only jump 2 or 3 inches high, whereas larger neon tetras can jump up to 15 inches high.
How to Keep Your Neon Tetras From Jumping
Here are some tips to prevent neon tetras from jumping:
- Provide compatible tank mates.
- Make sure the tank is big enough.
- Provide adequate amounts of food.
- Allow for proper filtration.
- Keep the water temperature between 72 and 80 degrees F.
- Keep the water pH level between 6.8 and 7.8
- Keep the tank closed.
- Change the water regularly.
How Long Can Neon Tetras Live Outside of the Tank?
If a neon tetra jumps out of the tank, it can survive for about 2 minutes. However, this can differ according to the environment it lands in.
What to Do if a Neon Tetra Jumps Out of the Tank?
Act as fast as possible and immediately put the fish back into the water using a thin paper or cardboard to easily handle it.
If the fish has been out of the water for more than 2 minutes, reviving can be difficult. Your best bet is to place it in a separate tank with cooler water and hold it on the current to absorb more oxygen.
Is It Safe to Keep Neon Tetras in an Open Tank?
We don’t recommend keeping neon tetras in an open tank because of how easily they can jump out if anything causes them stress or discomfort.
As such, it’s best to install a lid over your tank to ensure the safety of your fish.
Neon tetras jump in response to a variety of factors from stress and fear to curiosity and lack of food. Be sure to monitor the conditions of the tank to make it as favorable as possible for your neon tetras.