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Water Conditions for Neon Tetras

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Neon tetras (Paracheirodon innesi) are family Characidae freshwater fish who come from the Amazon river of South America, specifically the countries of Peru, Colombia and Brazil. These tropical fish are widespread in aquariums, where they thrive in schools of a minimum of five individuals of their same type -- as long as their water conditions are right.

About Neon Tetras

Neon tetras possess vivid blue physiques and, in stark contrast, intense crimson tails. These wee creatures generally grow to around 1.5 inches. Visually, they are similar to cardinal tetras (Paracheirodon axelrodi). Both fish have lustrous blue streaks that run along the sides of their bodies. Right underneath these blue streaks are red ones, those of cardinal tetras are markedly lengthier than those of neon tetras -- a handy way to distinguish between the pair. They also are generally tougher and more robust than cardinal tetras. Neon tetras flourish in community aquariums. They often can stay alive and healthy for between four and five years.

Water in Nature

In nature, neon tetras tend to occupy streams amidst forests -- specifically clear-water settings. The water in their natural environments usually is a tad acidic and often is brownish in coloration because of the presence of decaying organic substances that cause the acidity. However, the water in their habitats isn't always dark; even with tannins it sometimes appears totally clear.

Water Conditions in Aquariums

Optimal aquarium temperatures for neon tetras are between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainwater is perfect for keeping neon tetras in strong working order -- these fish like pH levels between 5.5 and 6.2, though anywhere between 5.5 and 6.8 is appropriate. Hardness of between 2 and 10 degrees dH is recommended. Although soft water is undoubtedly favorable for neon tetras, these fish can manage in medium-hard water if it is of a high grade. While they can handle hardish water for minimal spans of time, extended exposure to hard water could have negative effects on their life spans. For reproductive purposes, neon tetras require pH levels of no more than 6.5, also with extremely minimal hardness.

Take Things Slowly

Neon tetras easily pick up on any shifts in their water, so always make any adjustments in a gradual and measured manner -- you definitely don't want to shock the poor things out of nowhere, after all. This includes water temperature -- make sure the temperature is steady, regardless of where in the appropriate range you keep it.