Green Neon Tetra: Ultimate Guide (Care, Breeding, Diet & More)

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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.

Green Neon Tetras are stunning, blue-green nano fish that are perfect for home aquariums. Like the conventional Neon Tetras, these fish are colorful and can add beauty and a lot of interest to any aquarium, no matter the tank mates.

Strangely enough, these species haven’t earned plenty of attention from fish lovers around the world. There’s not so much hype around them compared to their Neon Tetra relatives, not even with their matchless beauty.

So, we’ve compiled a detailed guide to help you understand why Green Neon Tetras are among the most underrated freshwater fish in the aquarium community.  

Here, we discuss the fish’s care guidelines, including what they eat in captivity, their appearance, size, behavior, tank mates, breeding, and more.

Species Overview

Green Neon Tetras, sometimes called Paracheirodon simulans, occupy the Amazon River basin in South America. They’ve been located in this region’s famous tributaries and water bodies, including the Orinoco and Negro rivers.

These fish prefer pure backwater with plenty of vegetation, large trees, and other debris in the wild. And with that in mind, it’s easy to see why they love slightly acidic waters with low lighting and sandy substrate in captivity.

The tank-bred varieties have acquired unique monikers, including the False Neon Tetras, owing to the apparent similarities to the actual Neon Tetras.

ColorGreen/Blue and Red
LifespanUp to 2-3 Years
Care LevelEasy
Behavior & TemperamentPeaceful
CompatibilityPeaceful Community
Food and DietOmnivores
SizeUp to 1 Inch
Tank SetupFreshwater, live plants with open swimming spaces
Tank Size (Minimum)10 Gallons


The average lifespan of a mature Green Neon Tetra is between 2-3 years. Certainly, this could be shorter than what you would expect with most freshwater fish. But in fairness to the Green Neon fish, this is almost the standard lifespan you should expect from most other Tetra varieties.

Besides, little Green Neon Tetras readily compensate for their small body sizes with a matchless beauty that will completely transform your aquarium.

As usual, you can maximize Green Neon Tetra’s lifespan by providing sustainable living conditions at home. This entails the water parameters, tank setup, and diet.


If you thought standard Neon Tetras were beautiful, you’ve probably haven’t seen the Green Neon Tetras. In fact, for some aquarists, no Tetra species can match the sparkling Green Neon Tetras when it comes to natural beauty.

At first sight, their dazzling appearance will have you questioning your knowledge of the Tetra varieties.

If you don’t confuse them with the equally beautiful Cardinal Tetras, you will probably think they are just ordinary Neon Tetra. But if you squint hard enough, you will notice just the slightest difference in color pattern.

While the characteristic red color is present in both Tetra varieties, it is less pronounced in the Green Tetra fish.

Instead, these fish have a more pronounced blue-green coloration all over their bodies. Also, the Green Neon Tetra name results from the more pronounced green shades separating it from its closest relatives like the Cardinal Tetras.

But it doesn’t end there. Sometimes, it gets even more confusing to discern the two species if the Green Neon Tetra variety assumes vibrant red patches instead of the standard green coloration.

In that case, you will have to rely on the fish’s swimming abilities to distinguish them from the standard Neon Tetras.

And Green Tetras are shoaling fish that create an outstanding green pattern when swimming.


A fully grown Green Neon Tetra will reach just about 1 inch in length. Obviously, this can be disappointing if you are interested in keeping larger fish at home.

Even with their small sizes, the average body length will be influenced by a range of factors, with genetics taking center stage.

Also, the level of care will determine how big Green Neon Tetra grows in captivity. Often, it helps to assess the fish’s overall health before making your purchase to be sure it’s an ideal fit for your aquarium. 

Green Neon Tetra Care

Caring for Green Tetras is relatively easier compared to many Tetra varieties. As usual, everything depends on the tank water conditions and diet, but that shouldn’t be challenging if you follow the correct guidelines.

Below, we discuss every care guideline in detail;

Tank Size

At only 1 inch long in maturity, Green Neon Tetras would be perfect for biotope aquariums or small-sized tanks with other small, peaceful freshwater fish. But, they need stable water parameters and sufficient swimming space at home, all of which will be unfeasible in a small tank.

That’s why a 15-20 gallon tank would be the most suitable option from the start.

As tempting as it may be, keeping these fish in a 10-gallon tank is never a great idea because they are a shoaling species. They thrive in small groups of up to 8 species, so limiting them to a small habitat is as good as inhibiting their growth.

And how disappointing would it be to hinder their development when they are already limited to just about 1-inch length in full maturity?

Water Parameters

A lot of things matter when setting up Green Neon Tetra’s habitat, but the most important of all is stable water parameters.

Given their resilience, you can adjust the tank water conditions depending on what’s best for your Green Tetras. But you shouldn’t view this as a long-term strategy.

Instead, be sure to maintain the parameters within these levels to keep healthy fish at home;

  • Water Temperature: 75-85 degrees F
  • Water Hardness: Soft (Less than 10 dGH)
  • pH Levels: 5-6.5

Like we’ve mentioned, maintaining stable water conditions is the most significant aspect of caring for Green Tetra fish.

And the easiest strategy you can adopt to achieve the best results is to cycle and change at least 25% of the tank water every week.

Moreover, it would help to test the water status regularly using the most suitable aquarium testing kit.

What to Put in Their Tank?

“Can you replicate the actual conditions in the fish’s original habitat?” That’s probably the most important question when setting up the Green Neon Tetra’s habitat.

In South America, these fish are wholly attached to slow-moving, murky waters with smooth sand substrate.

In captivity, you should maintain the same conditions, with fine sandy substrate right at the bottom of the tank. Gravel is not an ideal choice in this case because it may injure your charming, little Tetras.

As you endeavor to mimic the environmental conditions in the Amazon River basin, you will want to reduce the stress levels as much as possible. And that means adding the right decorations and enough vegetation to the aquarium.

Green Neon Tetras use vegetation and other debris as hiding spots, and driftwood, water wisteria, rocks, and hornwort are some excellent choices to accomplish that.

Avoid fast-moving current because Green Neon Tetras come from slow-flowing water bodies in South America. And fast-flowing water would put them under so much stress in captivity.

Common Diseases

Green Neon Tetras are susceptible to common diseases affecting tropical freshwater fish. And if you keep these fish at home, you must protect them from Ich, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections that could potentially shorten their lives.

Naturally, you will want to manage the Ich disease using common over-the-counter medications, but you can do a lot by providing the right water conditions in the first place.

The likelihood of your Green Tetra fish succumbing to freshwater diseases depends on the actual conditions inside the aquarium. So, the three important factors to keep in mind all the time include water quality, diet, and tank mates.

Isolate the infected species right away, even if you are unsure of the disease symptoms, to save the entire community from a harmful outcome.  

What Do Green Neon Tetras Eat?

Many things will worry your Green Neon Tetras, but the choice of food is certainly not one of them.

They are natural omnivores who want to satisfy their hunger with whatever food they can find inside the aquarium.

They feed on small insects, zooplankton, and crustaceans in the wild but develop a huge appetite for flakes and freeze-dried foods in captivity.

Just like quality, the size of the food matters a lot to Green Neon fish. If it’s too large and difficult to swallow, these fish will take a lot of time to complete just a single meal.

But what should worry you most, in such a case, is the probability of having reduced tank water quality from leftover fish food and other decomposing matter. So, ensure you crush the provided food to fit the fish’s tiny mouths.

Occasionally, you can supplement the fish’s diet with protein-rich foods such as daphnia, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms.

Overfeeding in Green Tetras can be a nuisance, threatening to turn a one-time fun-filled experience into a tedious activity with a potentially lethal outcome.

For that reason, you should create a suitable dietary plan to provide just the right amount of food within a standard duration.

Behavior & Temperament

Like many Tetra varieties, Green Neon Tetras are just as peaceful as you would want your favorite pet buddy to be.

In captivity, they prefer to stay towards the middle or at the bottom of the tank, casually minding their own business. They can be helpless when kept in the same tank with large, aggressive species that may quickly become dangerous bullies.

Furthermore, Green Neon Tetras enjoy each other’s company and, being a natural schooling community, will feel secure in groups of up to six or eight species.

Living in isolation will increase the stress levels inside the aquarium, and your beautiful Tetras may ultimately lose the battle, succumbing to the effects of chronic loneliness in the long run.

Green Neon Tetra Tank Mates

For the sake of their safety, comfort, and security, Green Neon Tetras are best kept together with other peaceful species in the same space.

With their calm demeanor, the list of the most suitable tank mates for Green Neon Tetras is almost endless. Usually, the chosen companion must be a non-aggressive species of at least a similar size.

Such examples include the Cherry Barbs, Corydoras Catfish, Danios, Dwarf Gouramis, and other Tetra species.

Like any other small fish, larger species will distress your Green Neon Tetras and can even snack on them at the slightest opportunity.

You can make Green Neon Tetras the center of attraction by keeping them as the only species in the home aquarium. Also, this practice alleviates any worries regarding the choice of the right tank mates.

And if you intend to diversify the activities inside the community tank, you will want to consider suitable invertebrates like snails and shrimps. Again, they should live peacefully with your beautiful Tetras.


Breeding Green Neon Tetras in captivity is possible, but there’s a caveat. Usually, it requires patience and efficiency, regardless of your experience level.

We encourage aquarists to set the least expectations when breeding these fish at home if it’s the first time.

As you begin, try to lower the pH levels while increasing the water temperature to a slightly higher level. This way, you will be mimicking the exact conditions in the fish’s natural habitat just before the breeding season.

Also, you should adjust the lighting levels because Green Neon Tetras will require low light during spawning. Patience will pay off at this point, but you will have to monitor your fish closely for any strange behavior during mating.

As they pair up, you will notice an increased contact between the male and female species, which ends with the females laying their eggs on the mops and other surfaces inside the tank.

After fertilization, you should immediately remove the adult fish from the breeding tank to limit the likelihood of feasting on the fry.

The young fish will eat the egg sacs as soon as hatching is complete. Then, you can feed them powdered food and wait until they are ready to eat brine shrimps or other high-quality fish food.

Final Thoughts

You can never regret the decision to include Green Neon fish in your home aquarium. They are beautiful freshwater fish whose admiration in the broader fishkeeping community is there for everyone to see.

Unsurprisingly, these fish are slowly gaining popularity in the aquarium community. But we feel they deserve as much attention as any other popular Tetra variety like the Neon Tetras.

If you choose to give it a try, be ready for an electrifying experience with Green Tetras at the center of everything.