Information, Characiformes (Characins), Freshwater fish, Species, Tetras

Green neon tetra: Complete Species & Care Overview

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by Jason Matthews



The Green Neon Tetra is a vibrant and active fish popular among beginner and intermediate keepers. Its deep green and blue hues add a lively touch to any tank. Aside from its eye-catching appearance, the Green Neon Tetra has distinct behavior and needs regarding tank conditions, diet, and tankmates. 

This article will delve into the fascinating world of the Green Neon Tetra, exploring its origin, appearance, size, gender, behavior, and much more. Whether you’re considering adding this species to your tank or already have one, this article will provide valuable insights and tips to help your Green Neon Tetra thrive.


Scientific Name: Paracheirodon simulans
Common Names: Green neon tetra
Life Expectancy: 5-8 years
Adult Size: 1.5 cm (0.59 in) maximum length


HabitatAmazon Basin
OriginSouth America
Care LevelEasy
TemperamentPeaceful, shoaling
DietOmnivore, flake and small frozen food
Tank LevelMiddle
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons
Water pH6.0-7.0
Water Temperature23-27°C (73-81°F)
Water HardnessSoft to medium
Tank MatesPeaceful community fish

Fun Fact Corner

Green Neon Tetras have the unique ability to change color depending on the lighting and their surroundings. In the wild, their vibrant green coloration helps them blend in with the foliage and avoid predators. 

In captivity, they can appear more blue or turquoise in color under certain lighting conditions. This color change is caused by the presence of pigments called iridophores and leucophores in their scales, which reflect light differently in different environments. This color-changing ability adds an exciting dynamic to owning a Green Neon Tetra, as their appearance may differ in separate tanks or lighting setups.


The Green Neon Tetra is a freshwater fish that is native to the tributaries of the Amazon River in South America. It can be found in the Orinoco and Negro River basins of Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela. These areas have clear, slow-moving waters with a pH range of 4.5 to 7.5 and temperatures ranging from 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The Green Neon Tetra has also been introduced to other parts of the world as an aquarium fish.

The Green Neon Tetra belongs to the Characidae family, including popular aquarium fish like the Noen Tetra and the Black Phantom Tetra. Its scientific name, “simulans,” is derived from the Latin word for “simulating” and refers to the fish’s resemblance to the closely related species, the Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi).

It is worth noting that the wild population of Green Neon Tetra is known for its vibrant green and blue hues, a coloration not found in other Characidae family species, making it quite unique and valuable for aquarium hobbyists.

Appearance & Size

It has an elongated body shape and a dorsal fin that is slightly curved. The upper half of the fish is a bright green color, with a blue-green iridescent sheen on the lower half. The dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are also bright green with a blue tinge. The fish is named “Green Neon Tetra” because of the bright red-orange color on the edges of its dorsal and anal fins and its caudal peduncle.

This fish species has a transparent body, which allows light to pass through and enhance the fish’s colors. It also has a small black spot on the base of its caudal fin, a characteristic of the species.

The Green Neon Tetra is a small fish that can grow 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) long when fully grown. They usually mature at around 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length. Because of their small size, they are suitable for a wide range of tank sizes, including smaller and community tanks. They are also an excellent choice for nano tanks. While their small size may make them appear low maintenance, providing them with a spacious tank and appropriate tank conditions is critical to promote their well-being. 


The Green Neon Tetra is a species in which the males and females look similar, making it difficult to tell them apart unless they are breeding. There are, however, subtle differences that can be seen with a trained eye. Males, for example, have a more slender and pointed dorsal fin as well as a more pronounced black spot on the base of their caudal fin. Females, on the other hand, have a slightly rounded stomach and a less prominent black spot.

It’s also worth noting that during breeding season, both sexes develop more intense coloration, and the female plumper as she develops eggs.


The Green Neon Tetra is a calm and active species that works well in a community tank. They are social fish that prefer to be kept in groups of at least six individuals to feel more secure and exhibit more natural behaviors. They are most active during the day and enjoy swimming around in the tank’s open areas.

Their neon-like coloration, which is most intense when they are happy and healthy, is one of their most noticeable behaviors. They will also exhibit shoaling behavior, swimming in tight groups with their neon coloration flashing in unison.

In terms of compatibility with other fish species, Green Neon Tetras get along with other small peaceful fish like tetras, rasboras, and livebearers. They should not be housed with larger or more aggressive fish that may bully or prey on them.


The Green Neon Tetra is a calm fish that can be kept with a wide range of tankmates as long as they are calm and small. It should be noted that these fish should not be kept with larger or more aggressive species that could bully or harm them.

Some suitable tankmates for the Green Neon Tetra include:

Before adding any potential tankmates to the tank, it is always best to research their compatibility. It’s also worth noting that Green Neon Tetra should be kept in a school of 6 or more to display their behavior and color better.

Tank conditions

The Green Neon Tetra is a tropical fish that requires a well-maintained aquarium with the appropriate water conditions. They thrive in aquariums with temperatures ranging from 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and pH levels ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. They also require a moderate water flow and a good filtration system to keep the water clean and healthy.

Green Neon Tetras prefer a well-planted tank with plenty of hiding places such as caves, rocks, and wood. They also like a well-lit tank, and a full-spectrum LED light will help bring out their vibrant colors.

It is important to remember that Green Neon Tetras are sensitive to water quality, so any changes in water chemistry should be done gradually. Regular water changes and maintenance are required to ensure your fish’s long-term health.


The Green Neon Tetra is an omnivorous fish that will accept various food types. They eat primarily small insects, crustaceans, and worms in the wild. They can be fed different commercial fish foods in captivity, including flakes, pellets, and frozen or freeze-dried options. To ensure proper growth and health, providing a balanced diet that includes both protein and plant-based foods is critical.

The following foods are suitable for the Green Neon Tetra:

  • High-quality flake or pellet food specifically formulated for small tetras
  • Frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia
  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, such as blanched spinach, peas, or lettuce
  • Live or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia

To provide a balanced diet and avoid boredom, it is important to feed a variety of food types. It is also critical to prevent overfeeding, which can lead to poor water quality and health problems. It’s best to feed them small amounts 2-3 times per day.


It is important to note that Green Neon Tetras are egg scatterers, which means they release their eggs into the water column rather than depositing them on a specific surface. Providing these fish with optimal water conditions and a varied diet is critical to successfully breeding them. It is also advised to separate the breeding fish into their own tank to provide them with a more controlled environment. 

The ideal water temperature for breeding should be between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5 and a hardness of 4 to 15 dGH. Green Neon Tetras are also seasonal breeders, so the best time to breed them is during the warmer months when the water temperature is higher. 

Once the eggs are laid, the adults must be removed from the breeding tank because they have a habit of eating their eggs. The eggs will hatch in 24-36 hours, and the fry will swim freely in 3-4 days. As the fry develop, they can be fed small live foods like infusoria and brine shrimp.


When it comes to disease prevention and treatment for Green Neon Tetras, it is important to maintain proper water conditions and provide them with a balanced diet. Nonetheless, despite these precautions, fish can become ill.

Ich, Finrot, and Columnaris are common diseases to be aware of. Ich, also known as white spot disease, is a parasitic infection that causes small white spots on the fish’s body. Finrot, on the other hand, is a bacterial infection that causes deterioration of the fins and tail. Columnaris is a bacterial infection that affects the fish’s mouth, fins, and body.

Maintaining good water quality and performing regular water changes to prevent and treat these diseases is critical. In an outbreak, a quarantine tank should be established, and a veterinarian or a fish expert should administer medication as prescribed.

It’s also worth noting that excessive medication use can lead to antibiotic resistance and harm beneficial bacteria in the tank. As a result, it is critical to consult a professional before administering any medication. Keeping an eye on your fish’s behavior and appearance can also aid in early disease detection, making treatment more manageable and effective.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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