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Green Neon Tetra Care Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Green Neon Tetra Care Guide: Everything You Need To Know

The distinct coloration and long fins of the Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) make it a popular choice for fish hobbyists. Although it closely resembles the Neon Tetra, its smaller size and the reduced red patch make it easy to tell them apart.

These freshwater fish are great for an aquarist that wants some challenge without going too wild. They’re hardy and quite easy to care for, although they require specific parameters to thrive. In this guide to the Green Neon Tetra, I’ll go over all the basics, including tank set-up and fish diet.

Green Neon Tetra Overview & Origin

Green Neon Tetras are a popular freshwater fish species that belong to the family Characidae. They are native to the South American continent, specifically found in the upper Orinoco and Negro River basins, which span across Venezuela, Brazil, and Colombia.

  • Common name: Green Neon Tetra
  • Scientific name: Paracheirodon simulans
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: One inch (2.5 cm)
  • Life Span: 2-3 years
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Group size: Minimum of 6
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons (56.8 L)
  • Water temperature: 72-82 °F (22-28 °C
  • Water pH: 5.5-6.0
  • Water hardness: 1-2 dKH

In their natural habitat, Green Neon Tetras inhabit slow-moving waters of small streams, tributaries, and flooded forest areas. These environments are typically shaded by dense vegetation, and the water is often stained with tannins, giving it a dark appearance.

Green Neon Tetras are schooling fish, and they prefer to live in groups to feel secure and reduce stress. They are known for their peaceful nature, which makes them suitable tankmates for many other community fish species.

Green Neon Tetra Appearance & Size

Knowing the Green Neon Tetra basics is essential when considering whether this fish is right for your aquarium.


These fish have a unique, iridescent green-blue color on their bodies and fins. They have a red stripe running from their tail to the middle of their body, where it tapers off. Their bodies shimmer with a beautiful rainbow of colors in the light. 

Their eyes are quite large and have small black dots that look like pupils. The red stripe in Green Neon Tetras is less pronounced than in the Neon Tetra. Taking care of these fish is a rewarding experience, and they will bring a lot of beauty to your aquarium. 


These fish are relatively small and usually grow to a maximum of one inch (2.5 cm) in length. Females tend to be slightly larger than males. You can easily fit a few Green Neon Tetras into your aquarium without worrying about overcrowding.

Difference Between Male and Female Tetras

You can easily differentiate between the male and female Green Neon Tetras. Here are some ways you can tell the difference:

  • The male fish will usually have a slimmer body, and the females have a more rounded body.
  • The female also tends to be larger than the male.
  • Males will have brighter colors and a more vibrant pattern, while females tend to have duller colors.
  • The male’s tail is pointed, while the female’s tail is more rounded.
  • The blue stripe in the males is straight, while in females, it curves slightly.
  • The male will have a larger dorsal and anal fin than the female. Both fins are usually red. 

This is a good way to tell the difference, although it can be difficult to distinguish in juveniles. Juvenile tetras are much smaller than adults, and the coloration is not as prominent, making it hard to tell them apart. 

Green Neon Tetra Personality & Behavior

Green Neon Tetras are a peaceful species known to swim in groups. They can be kept with other similar-sized, peaceful fish. These fish are outgoing and social but may nip the fins of other fish if there isn’t enough space in the tank for them to school and swim.

If there’s enough room for them to go to school, they will form tight schools and remain active throughout the day. They constantly move around, explore their surroundings, and interact with each other. 

They may become timid and shy if they’re in the company of aggressive fish. They’re not a very aggressive species and will usually flee rather than engage in combat. 

This can cause the fish to become stressed and lead to health issues. Ensure the tank is large enough for them to school comfortably and to provide enough hiding places. 

Green Neon Tetra Average Lifespan

These fish have a maximum lifespan of around 2-3 years when kept in ideal water conditions. To achieve this, they need plenty of space and high-quality filtration. 

Regular water changes will also help keep their environment clean, extending their lifespan to 4 years. Monitor the water parameters closely and take immediate action when you notice any changes.

Green Neon Tetra Care & Tank Set Up

When keeping Green Neon Tetras in captivity, it is essential to recreate their natural habitat conditions as closely as possible. Providing them with a well-planted aquarium, dim lighting, and water parameters similar to their native waters will help them thrive and display their most vibrant colors.

Tank Size

When it comes to tank size, the Green Neon Tetra needs a minimum of 15 gallons (56.8 L), but the more space you can provide them with, the better. A 20-gallon (75.7 L) tank is usually the maximum recommended size for these fish.

They prefer living in groups. You should have a minimum of six if you want them to show their full range of behaviors. A school of 8-10 is ideal, and these fish are certainly not shy when socializing.

The more Green Neon Tetras you have, the larger tank size you will need to provide for them. Keep in mind that you can keep one fish for every gallon (3.8 L) of water. In that case, you can safely raise up to 15 Green Neon Tetras in a 15-gallon (56.8 L) tank.

The aquarium should also have a tight-fitting lid or cover to prevent fish from jumping out. They are an active species, requiring enough space to swim around and explore.

Water Parameters

You should try and mimic the water conditions they come from in the wild. They need soft, warm, and slightly acidic water to thrive and remain healthy.

Keep these parameters in mind:

  • Water temperature: The range should be between 72 and 82 °F (22 and 28 °C).
  • pH levels: Between 5.5 and 6.0.
  • Water hardness: Between 1 and 2 dKH. 

You can test the water to ensure the parameters are correct, and regular water changes should also be carried out.

Adding driftwood to the aquarium will darken the water and increase tannins, which can help to reduce the pH levels. As the water becomes more acidic due to the tannins, the condition becomes more suitable for these fish. 

However, ensure that the water doesn’t become too acidic. Anything below 5.5 can cause uneasiness among your fish, causing them to behave erratically and aggressively. Left unattended, it can eventually lead to fish death.

The water should also be well-oxygenated. You can use a good aquarium filter and an air pump to help maintain the correct levels.

What To Put In The Tank

The tank should be well decorated with plenty of hiding places and plants. Here are some things to consider when designing your tank set-up.

  • Substrate: The substrate should be dark colored to create a darker environment and help show off the bright colors of your neon tetras. A good choice for the substrate is sand with a darker tone. 
  • Decorations: Adding some driftwood and rocks gives the tank a more natural look. This will also create additional hiding places and provide the Green Neon Tetra with a sense of security. 
  • Plants: Plants provide shade for fish and food in the form of algae. Live plants are also beneficial as they produce oxygen and absorb any excess waste or pollutants in the water. Hornwort, water wisteria, and taxiphyllum are all good options. 
  • Lighting: Keep lighting at a moderate level. Green Neon Tetras are a low-light species. Too much light can be stressful, so try and stick to a dimmer setting. Dense vegetation is also helpful as it will reduce the amount of light reaching the water and make the aquarium look more natural.
  • Filtration: Avoid strong currents if you can. These fish are not powerful swimmers and will struggle in moving water. Slow-moving water is ideal for them.

Filtration and Maintenance

You should do partial water changes of around 25% once a week to keep the water fresh and clean. Good filtration helps to remove any excess waste and pollutants from the tank. Pick a filter suitable for your tank’s size, as too strong a flow can harm Green Neon Tetra. 

Ensure the filter is regularly cleaned and the media is changed out as needed. 

Green Neon Tetras are also sensitive to ammonia, nitrite, and other toxins that can accumulate in an aquarium. Monitoring the levels of these elements is important to ensure they remain at safe levels. 

Adding a water conditioner to the tank during a water change can help keep toxic levels low by removing these harmful chemicals.

Test strips can help you get an idea of the pH and hardness of the water. If needed, you can adjust these levels with proper additives. Regular testing and maintenance will help ensure that your tetras stay healthy and live long lives. 

Ideal Tank Mates for Green Neon Tetra

The Green Neon Tetra is a peaceful species and should be kept with other similarly sized and non-aggressive fish. As aggressive species may scare or intimidate them, they should be kept with fish that will not harm them. 

Some good tank mates include other tetra species, danio fish, platies, and cory catfish. Avoid keeping them with larger fish that may view the neon tetras as a potential meal.

When choosing tank mates, ensure they come from similar water parameters and can tolerate the same conditions as your neon tetras.

You shouldn’t keep these fish alone, as they are a social species and need to be with other fish of the same or different species. Keeping other tetras with your fish will add sparkle to your aquarium, as the colors of each fish will contrast nicely.

You can always choose to have a tank with only Green Neon Tetras. Imagine a school of iridescent green-blue fish swimming in your tank, they are just stunning!

Green Neon Tetra Food & Diet

Green Neon Tetras are omnivores, feeding on various types of food, including small invertebrates, plant matter, and algae. They should be fed a balanced diet of plant and animal proteins. Live or frozen foods, such as Daphnia, are particularly beneficial. 

They should be fed two to three times daily, with only as much food as they can consume in a few minutes. Never overfeed your fish, as uneaten food can quickly contaminate the tank.

Flake or pellet foods can be used as a staple diet but should be varied with other live or frozen foods to ensure that the tetras receive all the nutrients they need. Ensure the flake or pellet is crushed or ground up to a size suitable for the fish to consume. 

Large chunks of food may not be eaten, resulting in water pollution and health problems for your fish. Additional vitamins can be added to their diet, such as spirulina or a high-quality fish food supplement. 

Green Neon Tetras are highly sensitive to sudden environmental changes, including diet. When introducing a new food type, do it gradually over time to allow them to adjust. 

This will also help them avoid digestive problems or stress from sudden changes that can harm their health.

Breeding Green Neon Tetras

Breeding Green Neon Tetras is not a walk in the park. It takes patience and dedication to make it successful. Maintain the proper water parameters for spawning.

Prepare a tank with lower pH levels (between 5 and 6) and a slightly higher temperature (81 °F or 27.2 °C). 

The tank should be dimly lit and have plenty of natural hiding spots. You can add a spawning mop or some live plants like Java moss for the female to lay her eggs in. Once the conditions are ideal, you can introduce male and female tetras into the tank. 

The male will then start to pursue the female and spawn with her. The eggs will be released from the mop or plants shortly after spawning, and the male will fertilize them. 

After fertilization, you should remove the parents from the tank to prevent them from eating the eggs. 

The eggs will hatch after 24-36 hours, and you can feed them high-quality powdered food. The fry can also be fed newly hatched brine shrimp and micro worms for a more nutritional diet.

Common Health Issues

Green Neon Tetras are usually very hardy and don’t suffer from too many health issues. However, they can become sick if the water parameters are incorrect or the tank is not clean. They may be prone to parasites, ich, and bacterial infections

Common signs of health issues include:

  • listlessness
  • clamped fins
  • loss of appetite
  • white spots on the body

In case of any signs, you should immediately take action to diagnose and treat the problem.

Good water quality is essential for keeping your Green Neon Tetras healthy. Stay on top of water changes and use a high-quality filter. 

Green Neon Tetra FAQs

What Is The Difference Between Neon Tetra & Green Neon Tetra?

The Green Neon Tetra is smaller and has a slimmer body. The red stripe on Green Neon Tetra is less pronounced, while the blue-green iridescent color is more striking than the Neon Tetra.

Are Green Neon Tetras Hardy?

The Green Neon Tetras are hardy, they are found in slow-moving blackwater that is acidic and warm. They originate in South America, in the upper Orinoco and Negro rivers.

What Colors Are Green Neon Tetras?

Green Neon Tetras are an iridescent green-blue color on their bodies and fins. They have a red stripe running from their tail to the middle of their body, where it tapers off. Their bodies shimmer with a beautiful rainbow of colors in the light.

How Long Do Green Neon Tetras Live?

The lifespan of Green Neon Tetras is around 2-3 years when they are kept in ideal water conditions, they need plenty of space and high-quality filtration.

As with any fish, the lifespan of a Green Neon Tetra can be extended by its quality of life. Well-maintained water parameters, a suitable tank setup, and a good diet will help them thrive and could extend their lifespan to 4 years.

Final Thoughts

Green Neon Tetras are a peaceful species that is great for community tanks. They can be kept with other small tetras, livebearers, and small fish. They’re social and active fish that will form schools if provided with enough space to move around and explore. 

Breeding them is not an easy task, but it can be done with the right set-up and dedication. To differentiate between male and female tetras, you should look for physical differences like body shape, size, and coloration.

I’m Elle, the founder of FishHQ. I created this website to share knowledge, tips, and inspiration for beginner hobbyists to help them create a healthy, happy, and vibrant environment for their fish to thrive. Read more...