Glowlight Tetra: Ultimate Guide (Care, Breeding, Diet & Breeding)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

Glowlight Tetras are gorgeous freshwater fish and a magnificent addition to any aquarium. They are surprisingly easy to care for and thrive with different tank mates in captivity.

We love them for their easygoing personality, and can’t help but recommend them to any fish lover looking to light up their tank with a beautiful, hardy, and reasonably active freshwater species.

If their low maintenance trait doesn’t appeal to you, their semi-transparent bodies certainly will. But, even then, you can never be sure of what appeals to Glowlight Tetras themselves if you don’t understand their habits in the wild.

For that reason, we have compiled a detailed guide to address Glowlight Tetra care. Below, we review the fish’s general appearance, lifespan, tank size, diet, behavior, tank mates, breeding, and more!

Species Overview

The sparkling Glowlight Tetra is exactly what you need to brighten your boring aquarium. It goes by the scientific name Hemigrammus erythrozonus and has been many aquarists’ favorite Tetra species since 1933.

It is not just their beauty that stands out in captivity. Also, they are reasonably active, peaceful, and easy to care for.

As a shoaling community fish with a colorful appearance, anybody who goes for Glowlight Tetra is certain to get two things; a low-maintenance species to brighten their aquariums and a peaceful community fish to complement their tanks.

From their early days, the Glo Neon Fish has been an endemic species in the Guyana Rivers of the South American continent. Here, they occupy the natural streams and black waters with tightly packed vegetation.

ColorTranslucent with a silvery base coloration
LifespanUp to 2-4 Years
Care LevelEasy
Behavior & TemperamentPeaceful
CompatibilityPeaceful, schooling fish
Food and DietOmnivores
SizeUp to 1.5 Inches
Tank SetupFreshwater
Tank Size (Minimum)10 Gallons


Glowlight Tetras will reach around 2 to 4 years with quality care in captivity. However, because the actual growth rate depends on the existing conditions, everything can go south easily if you don’t protect them from unhealthy living conditions.

It’s clear these fish belong to the lower side of the growth spectrum, but you can do enough to sustain their health by maintaining a balanced diet, clean water, and suitable tank mates.


Glowlight’s given name should tell you everything you need to know about these Tetra varieties. A naturally beautiful freshwater species with a glowing appearance.

Like most Tetra species, they assume a torpedo-shaped body and resemble the famous Neon and Cardinal Tetras. But unlike the two species, Glowlight Tetras have semi-transparent bodies with a silvery hue as the base coloration.

In addition, they have a red-orange stripe running the length of the body from the head towards the tail. And as you may already know, such a stripe also exists in the Cardinal and Neon Tetras but takes on a red-blue tinge.

Now, the given name comes from the appearance of this stripe, which has been likened to a glowing light bulb filament.

Such a stripe readily reflects bright light and will give a shiny luster, if you look at it closely. What’s more, Glo Neon Fish have transparent fins except for the dorsal fin that assumes reddish-orange shades.

You won’t notice significant differences between the two genders except that female Glowlight Tetras appear larger and plumper compared to slender males.


So, how big do Glowlight Tetras get? That’s an interesting question.

In general, a fully grown Glo Lite Tetra only measures about 1.5 inches in captivity. Therefore, they are justly classified among the small freshwater Tetras and are perfect candidates for Nano tanks with their decorative element in mind.

Under rare circumstances, these fish will grow slightly larger to reach about 2 inches in full length. While their small size might be the biggest disadvantage to many aquarists, Glowlight Tetras’ shoaling ability is almost incomparable. They will instantly transform the tank into a super colorful aquarium, almost like a work of art.

Glowlight Tetra Care

The captive-bred Glow Tetras have straightforward care requirements. They are naturally hardy in captivity, given the tough environmental conditions they are familiar with in the wild.

For the same reason, they make excellent choices for first-time aquarists or anyone looking to experiment with a beautiful Tetra species for the first time.

In the next section, we highlight everything you should know to provide quality care to these fish;

Tank Size

As expected, Glowlight Tetras do well with small tanks at home. A 10-gallon tank capacity alone is enough to keep up to six species in the same habitat.

But just like with any freshwater fish, more is always better if you keep Glowlight Tetras at home. And, even with their small-sized bodies, we are happy to recommend a minimum tank capacity of 20 gallons if you plan to keep a few species in the same territory.

Don’t be misguided by their small sizes because GlowTetras will want an ideal habitat with enough swimming space, plenty of vegetation, and suitable companions to evade loneliness.

Water Parameters

As a committed aquarist, your priority should always be to give your fish pets the best possible living conditions at home. And this should be clear from the start, especially, if you keep a highly active species like Glowlight Tetras.

You see, with their resilience in captivity and the wild, there’s a big chance you might ignore the Glowlight Tetras’ most vital care requirements at home. And, that’s where real problems begin.

So, to save time and effort, try to imitate the actual environmental conditions in the wild as highlighted below;

  • Water Temperature: 74°F-82°F
  • Water Hardness: Up to 15 dGH
  • pH Levels: 5.5-7.5

To help you maintain these parameters and monitor them frequently, investing in a high-quality aquarium testing kit should be a no-brainer. It is the easiest way to ensure you are giving your Glowlight Tetras the best possible environment for survival.

What to Put in Their Tank?

A naturally-looking aquarium is everything your Glo Lite Tetra craves to thrive in captivity. But what exactly should you include in their tanks?

To begin with, introduce a fine sandy layer at the bottom of the tank to mimic the natural riverbeds in South America. After that, you will want to add small rocks and driftwood to enrich their new habitat and provide the safest environment for the ultimate comfort.

As you conclude, don’t forget to add the right plants. Ideally, you should target a compact habitat while leaving just enough swimming space at the center of the tank.

A combination of floating plants and fine-leafed types is perfect for a typical Glowlight Tetra’s habitat.

Some aquarists have had great success with leaf litters at the bottom of the tank. And, even though this is not mandatory, you can consider it during planning to produce the all-important tannins as the plant matter decomposes. Remember, healthy tannins are important to your Glowlight Tetras.

Common Diseases

Glow Tetras are quite a hardy species in the wild. However, they are at risk of suffering from common ailments associated with freshwater fish in captivity.

You will want to keep away the common parasitic, fungal, and bacterial diseases from a healthy community.

Speaking of the common ailments, Ich is an infamous name that many fish lovers might have come across in different contexts from time to time.

It is a highly contagious parasitic infection that will always bother most Tetra species, and even the harmless Glowlight Tetras won’t be spared.

If you spot visible white spots on the fish’s body and gills, they are probably suffering from Ich disease.

And in that case, you will have to quarantine the affected fish immediately to save the healthy community.

No matter the size of the aquarium, freshwater Tetras are always vulnerable to common fish diseases like Ich, dropsy, and fin rot.

Eventually, every effort to keep a healthy community depends on how well the aquarist is prepared to tackle such conditions.

For Glowlight Tetras, most of these conditions will never worry them if you maintain ideal tank water conditions throughout their lives. This implies you must cycle the tank water weekly or biweekly, provide a balanced diet, and only consider the most suitable tank mates.

What Do Glowlight Tetras Eat?

Glowlight Tetras are omnivorous species. So, it’s best to provide a balanced diet to cater to their nutritional requirements.

Their tiny mouths present the biggest challenge to aquarists during feeding. Accordingly, small flakes and micropellets would be the perfect meal for your Glowlights Fish in captivity.

Typically, Glowlight Tetras will want multiple meals throughout the day. However, it’s important to control their dietary habits by only providing lighter meals at any given time.

Plus, they should take a few minutes to complete a standard meal. Try as much as possible to avoid excess food that would only sour the tank water besides exposing your Tetras to different health concerns.

Behavior & Temperament

Glowlight Tetras are peaceful, social fish that enjoy their own company in the aquarium. They are a perfect shoaling community fish that are best kept in small groups of up to 6 or more species.

The fish’s social behavior doesn’t allow them to stay alone in captivity, and that’s when chronic stress will set in and even cut short their lives.

Any form of isolation can leave you with a skittish fish that will want to hide in the midst of the live plants, with no joy or confidence to swim anymore.

Glowlight Tetra Tank Mates

As their behavior suggests, Glowlights Fish are peaceful community fish that will never pay attention to other species. Therefore, they are perfect for spicing up your tank if you are looking for a beautiful social fish to cohabitate with most other peaceful species inside your aquarium.

When introducing new companions, avoid large or aggressive species that will constantly hunt down your beautiful Tetras as conventional prey.

To be more precise, large, aggressive species like the African Cichlids and Angelfish don’t belong to a Glowlight Tetra’s habitat.

Regarding the most suitable tank mates, these are some of the best options to consider for your Glowlight Tetras;


Glowlight Tetras are more likely to breed in captivity if you maintain the right conditions. Like in the wild, the spawning conditions are best achieved under low lighting conditions, with plenty of protein-rich foods and the correct decorative elements.

You should have a separate breeding tank to keep the mature fish from the start. Also, fill this tank with spawning mops and plenty of fine-leafed plants to protect the eggs.

Glowlight Tetras generally prefer soft waters during breeding, so the water hardness shouldn’t exceed 6 dGH. Also, to get your fish in the mood for mating, feed them on enough proteins as you frequently monitor their behavior.

Unfortunately, the Glowlight Tetras aren’t the best at caring for the new eggs. And it’s not uncommon to see the adult fish eating the new fry immediately after fertilization.

Consequently, you should Remove the adult Tetras from the tank to save your fry as soon as spawning is complete. Under ideal conditions, the eggs will hatch in just a day, with the new fish happy to feed on the egg sacs for the first few days.

Then, they will start to feed on powdered food and infusoria as soon as they are ready to swim. As maturity continues, you can slowly introduce them to brine shrimp and other high-quality fish food and observe their reaction.

Final Thoughts

Glowlight Tetra care is just as straightforward as their feeding habits. As long as you’ve mastered the basics, you should be ready to give your beautiful Tetras the best experience at home.

Their resilience in captivity is unmatched, and we can’t get enough of their faultless look when combined with other species in the same environment.

Ready to give it a try? There’s no doubt this could be one of your best experiences ever with beautiful freshwater Tetras at home.