Green Neon Tetra: Care, Breeding, Diet & Behavior

Green Neon Tetra is a freshwater fish that originated from the Negro and Orinoco rivers in South America. It comes from the Characidae family. This fish is very similar to the Neon Tetra in terms of looks and size, however they are different. Paracheirodon simulans is the scientific name of Green neon tetra.

Green Neon Tetra is easy to maintain and is a good addition to your aquarium. In this guide, we talk about its habitat, tank Requirement, tank Mates and breeding.

Green Neon Tetra Overview

Green Neon Tetra Overview

Family: Characidae
Origin: Upper Orinoco and Negro Rivers in South America
Temperament: Peaceful
Size: Up to an inch
Minimum Tank Size: 10 Gallons
Diet: Omnivore
Care: Easy
pH: 5.0 – 6.5
Alkalinity Levels: 3 – 10 dGH
Temperature: 75°F – 85°F

Habitat & Appearance

Green Neon Tetra comes from South American region, mostly in the Negro and Orinoco rivers and some parts of amazon river. This fish loves to be in calm blackwater area which has thick vegetation and having large trees. So, they basically love water which is slightly acidic in nature and they don’t like too much light as well.

When it comes to appearance, the Green neon tetra is very similar to another fish from the same family called Neon tetra.  The neon tetra has more reddish color patch than this fish and is slightly larger than green neon tetra. This fish is little slim when compared with neon tetra. This fish is not popular when compared to neon tetras or even cardinal tetra.

This fish has more bluish – green looks and hence the name green neon tetra. In fact, some of the fishes have more red patches than other and this becomes even more difficult in identifying it as a green tetra fish. If you find a group of fish and if the group appears of to be more of a greenish color, then it is definitely a group of green tetra fishes.

The size of Green Neon Tetra is around 1.4″ or 3.5cm of a full-grown fish and hence makes this fish smaller than most of the fishes. Again, the size depends upon the genetics, the environment it lives in. Even while buying Green Neon Tetra, make sure the length of the fish is good and healthy.


Green Neo Tetras are very peaceful fish. They always stays in groups for their safety. So, it is better to have a group of fishes in the fish tank to prevent the stress they take when they are alone. Most of the time they won’t harm any other fish and they do mind their own business.

Tank Requirement

Regarding tank requirement, it is better to have at least 3 pairs of green neon tetras in the aquarium. As already said, they always love to be in groups and we don’t want to stress a single fish in the aquarium.

We suggest you to have a minimum 20 gallon fish tank for 3 pairs of green neon tetras with other similar fishes. If planning to keep more, it is better to go with fish tanks which are 30 gallons and above. Below are the few criteria to be met inside the tank.

  • Water temperature: 75 to 85 °F
  • pH levels: 5.0 to 6.5

You don’t need to change the water frequently, for green neon tetra a 25% water change per week is enough.  We always recommend to use a water monitoring kit as it always helps you in keeping the tank healthy. This kind of monitoring will always help and avoid a bigger damage at a later point.

In the wild green neon tetras stays in areas with thick vegetation and places where it doesn’t require too much light. So even in the aquarium, it is better to have a low light condition. Another thing to observe is the shiny part glows only when there is light. In the dark places, the shiny body can’t be noticed.

With any fish, it is advisable to mimic an environment in the aquarium which closely resembles the wild so that the fishes can thrive, leave peacefully not causing any problem to other aquatic creatures in the tank.

Another thing which helps if the environment is mimicked is w.r.t to breeding. Since we have mimicked the wild, these fish will start their breeding process as well.

Even though this fish is small and you might think of adding it in a Nano tank, but the problem is you can’t add just one fish in the tank as already discussed they live in groups and keeping just one fish is a not at all good. You are simply stressing the fish. If you add few fishes in the Nano tank, the space becomes an issue. So better to go with a bigger tank and keep few green neon tetras.

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This fish is prone to few ich as well as parasites diseases. Usually then get this when the water quality is not maintained properly. So better to prevent this than finding a solution later.

In the tank you can have some driftwoods, the substrate should be soft and filled with sand/gravel. You can also add dried leaves on the bottom of tank. This is close to mimicking the wild.

Since this fish is very small, it is better to have a sponge pre-filter which covers the inlet of the filter there by protecting this fish from getting swallowed inside the filter.


Feeding green neon tetras is not a big deal. You just need to understand the food and diet in their natural world and replicate the same in your tanks. You can feed them small zooplanktons, small worms, insects as well as small crustaceans. Commercial food which can be given to them are dried flake, frozen food.

Since this fish is small in size, better crush the food into tiny pieces. Also remember if you put too much food in the tank, some of the uneaten food will start harming the water quality inside the tank as these fishes are not hungry eaters.

If you like to have variation of food for green neon tetras, you can definitely give mosquito larvae, common water fleas like daphnia and bloodworms. Try to mix up the food, so that they don’t get bored with the same kind of food every day.

Green Neon Tetra Tank Mates

The main disadvantage of green neon tetra is its size. It is very small when compared even with medium sized fishes. So, if you are already having some bigger fishes in the tank, it is better to avoid green neon tetras as they are scared of big fishes and won’t survive with bigger fishes like Bettas and African Cichlids.

Few compatible fishes with green neon tetras are:

  • Barbs
  • Rasboras
  • Dwarf Gouramis

You can also combine this fish with bottom dwelling fish like a small cat fish as they won’t even come in contact most of the time.

Some aquarists even prefer keeping around a dozen green neon tetras, so that they all can rely on each other in a medium to large tank.


The male green neon tetra fish is actually small when comparted to females. To breed the green neon tetras as already said we need to re-create an environment that is almost similar to the wild. Always have the water temperature slight warmer than the allowed level and decrease the pH level slightly. Reduce the lighting to say around 40%. The water hardness level also should be dropped to 2dGH.

If you have me the right tank condition for breeding, you should be able to see some changes in the behavior of both male and female green neon tetras. They stay very close to each other make frequent contacts.

The female starts to lay the eggs and the male which stays closely with female immediately starts to fertilize the eggs. The female usually lays around 100 eggs at a time. Within couple of days, the tiny fry fishes starts to emerge out of the eggs. During this time, it is better to remove the adult green neon tetras as they sometimes eat the tiny fishes.

In the initial days, the baby green neon tetras eat the egg sack itself, after few days you can feed them some brine shrimps.


Do green neon tetras eat shrimp?

Yes, they do eat small shrimps and for eating larger shrimps they form a gang to take the big shrimp.

Are green neon tetras hardy?

They are hardy fish.

How long do green neon tetras live?

They live for 2 to 3 Years if proper care is taken.

Difference between neon tetra vs green neon tetra?

– Neon tetra is little large when compared to green neon tetra
– Neon tetra has more reddish color than the green neon tetra
– Neon tetra doesn’t have the greenish color

What is the green neon tetra size?

It can grow Up to 1.4″ or 3.5cm in length.

What is the cost of green neon tetra?

It usually costs around $4 for a fish.

Green neon tetra tank size required?

Minimum 20 gallon fish tank is required for couple of green neon tetras.

Are green tetra reef safe?

Yes, they are reef safe.

Where can I buy green neon tetras?

You can buy them from your local fish store or online.


Green neon tetras are an awesome addition to your aquarium as they are easy to maintain and this fish has a very distinct and shiny look. Since you have to keep at least half a dozen green neon tetras, they even enhance the way your aquarium looks.