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FAQs on the Neon Tetras 1

Related Articles: Cardinal Tetras; A School of Beauty, Part II,  by Alesia Benedict, Neons, Cardinals & Their Kin; Selection, Maintenance & Healthcare by Neale Monks,  Characid Fishes

FAQs on: Neon Tetras 2,
FAQs on: Neon Tetras Identification, Neon Tetras Behavior, Neon Tetras Compatibility, Neon Tetras Stocking/Selection, Neon Tetras Systems, Neon Tetras Feeding, Neon Tetras Disease, Neon Tetras Reproduction/Breeding,

Related FAQs:  Cardinal Tetras, Characid/Tetra Fishes,

Question about Bettas and neon tetras, incomp.    7/1/10
I was wondering if it is ok in the long run to keep a Betta in a twenty gallon long with 16 neon tetras?
<No. Neons need cooler water (22-24 C for Neons, versus 26-30 C for Bettas) and in any case Neons view Betta fins as food.>
The Betta has been in there for two weeks now and the Neons are not nipping him,
<So far...>
also the Betta is ignoring the Neons. He is a timid Betta and never flares nor blows bubble nests. I am thinking that the Neons would probably need cooler temps than the Betta
<Indeed. Neons have a notoriously short lifespan when kept either too warm or in water that is too hard, and problems with Neon Tetra Disease seem to be an epidemic among farmed Neons. I've basically given up with them, and I consider myself an expert fishkeeper!>
Also I am wondering if the Betta may freak out one day weeks or months from now and go after them even if he is timid??
<Possibly. You can keep Bettas in community tanks, but it's hard, and requires very careful planning. I'd be concentrating on species that feed from the substrate, such as Kuhli Loaches or Dwarf Corydoras, perhaps Cherry Shrimps or Dwarf African frogs if you want oddballs. Neons and other schooling fish tend to work poorly with Bettas.>
Thank you!!!
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies and Neons, env. incomp.   6/18/10
Sorry for bothering you again.
<No problems.>
I have a tank with two guppies and eleven Neons and I was just wondering if I should give the guppies away since the tank temp is usually about 73-74 F?
<Indeed, and Guppies also need hard water which Neons can't abide. I'd tend to look at your water chemistry first and see what you have. If you have soft water, the Neons are the obvious fish to keep. If you have hard water,
the Guppies will do better. Once you have the right fish, it's easy to set the heater up or down as required.>
I remember you mentioning that guppies would rather around 82 F and I am worried that they are stressed.
<"Stressed" isn't perhaps the right word here, but fancy Guppies at least are more prone to diseases when kept towards the cooler end of the temperature range. If yours are fine, then you needn't worry, but if you find you're constantly battling Finrot and Fungus, then temperature may be an issue.>
Thank you!!!
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Breeding Neons in distilled water  6/13/10
I have a 20 gallon long tank with a couple of guppies and 11 Neons.
<Not the best combination! Neons and Guppies have very different water chemistry requirements, and Neons also need to be kept somewhat cool, 22-24 C, whereas Guppies -- at least the farmed fancy varieties -- do better at
25-30 C.>
I was thinking of trying to breed the Neons.
<Very challenging. Have you tried breeding egg scatterers before? If not, you'd be better off with, say, Zebra Danios or Bronze Corydoras, both of which spawn readily and produce relatively large eggs from which sizeable
fry emerge. Neons are far more picky about water chemistry, and their fry are rather small. Whereas you can rear Danio and Corydoras fry on liquid fry foods, even finely powdered flake, Neons will need suitable live foods,
specifically infusoria to begin with (they hatch about 3-4 days after spawning), and then Microworms and brine shrimp nauplii perhaps a week later.>
My husband suggested distilled water.
<Not by itself, no. You're aiming for 1-2 degrees dH, pH 5.5-6.0, at a steady 24 C. If you have hard tap water, that's going to be something like 1 part tap water to 9 parts distilled, RO or rainwater. But use your pH and hardness test kits to be sure. The tank needs to be filtered with an air-powered box filter containing Zeolite since biological filtration won't work reliably at such a low pH. Since the carbonate hardness will be close to zero, you will need to perform regular water changes to avoid pH drops through acidification -- likely 5-10% daily.>
I have a one gallon jar
<Too small.>
and I was going to put no more than six Neons in there for a day or two in the distilled water and leaving it out of the light. I was wondering if that is the right way to try to breed Neons??
<No. You need to first condition the Neons elsewhere, e.g., with lots of live foods. Once you have obviously "ripe" females and males flirting with them, introduce pairs into a well shaded 5-10 gallon aquarium with a killifish-style spawning mob placed on the bottom of the tank. Feathery plants like Myriophyllum and Cabomba work, too. Spawning is often triggered by early morning sunlight, a trait common among egg-laying fish. Eggs are scattered about, not in great numbers, usually less than 50 at a time.
After spawning, remove the parents promptly because they will eat the eggs.
Repeat as required. If you don't already own a book in fish breeding, do track one down. 'Fish Breeding' by Chris Andrews is excellent, and can be picked up second hand for pennies.>
Thank you
<Cheers, Neale.>

Hiding Neon Tetra  6/8/10
I have a 25 gallon tank (fully planted and cycled). It currently homes 5 neon guppies (1 male, 4 female), 5 panda Platies (1 male, 4 females), 3 cherry shrimps and 9 neon tetra (new). You have previously informed me that I was misguided by the aquatic shop about the tetras being ok in a tank with a high water hardness (London water).
I've had the tetra about a week now and I have noticed that one now hides in the corner at the bottom of the tank under the plantation and rarely comes out. Is it normal?
<Perhaps. May be bullied, but hiding is also an early symptom of Neon Tetra Disease, an epidemic among farmed Neons.>
All ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are normal/safe.
<Unfortunately Neon Tetra Disease is very common, and it is also highly contagious. There's no cure. Infected fish become shy, lose their colour, don't feed, swell up, and eventually die. Possibly infected fish should be isolated in a hospital tank and extreme precautions taken to make sure water doesn't mix with the water in the main tank, e.g., by sterilising nets and buckets. If the suspected fish develops further symptoms of NTD, it should be euthanised; see WWM for more on this.>
Many thanks, Patrick
<Cheers, Neale.>

Aggressive Neon Tetra  6/6/10
Good morning from the UK
I have a 25 gallon tank (fully planted and cycled). It currently homes 5 neon guppies (1 male, 4 female), 5 panda Platies (1 male, 4 females), 3 cherry shrimps and 9 neon tetra (new).
<Not a bad combination, provided the water isn't too hard. But Guppies tend to want warmer water (around 25-30 C) than either Neons, Platies or Cherry Shrimps (22-25 C). In theory Guppies should be fine in water that cool, but many of the fancy Guppies are delicate and become prone to diseases when kept that cool.>
I've had a few fry appear (some have been moved to a nursery tank).
However, I wanted to check the behaviour of a couple of the Neon Tetras.
They are the largest of the nine and appear to hover around the planted areas where the fry are and aggressively chase away any of the other Neon Tetras. Is this normal?
<Can be.>
Is there anything I can do
<Not really, beyond adding a few more.>
or should I just let them carry on (I don't see any fin nipping yet)?
<About all you can do.>
Many thanks
<All schooling fish are hierarchical, and within that group a certain amount of aggression is "par for the course". Isolating the dominant fish in a bucket, moving the rocks and plants about, and then reintroducing them into what they perceive as a new environment can help. Adding more Neons can also help by altering the social structure and spreading out any aggression. But usually schooling fish settle down eventually. Cheers, Neale.>

Bariatric Neon Tetra   5/4/10
Thanks for the great site I have found it very helpful for both marine and freshwater tanks
<Good to know.>
I have searched your FAQs and other pages but cannot find an exact match for the problem.
We have a neon tetra that is significantly larger than normal i.e. at least twice the size of the tankmates While I have managed to find numerous references to bloated or swollen stomachs the associated pictures and
descriptions speak to very distended stomachs and bulging - this fish is large all over.
<Are you sure he's a Neon? Cardinal tetras are similar but a bit bigger all around. Conversely, Paracheirodon simulans, the so-called Green Neon, is somewhat more slender than the Common Neon Tetra, Paracheirodon innesi.
Also is he longer than the others, or just fatter? If the abdomen is substantially bulkier, but the length of the fish is the same as the others, that can imply a variety of things, including dropsy, intestinal worms, even a female filled with eggs and ready to spawn!>
My question is does dropsy sometimes produce this overall swelling?
<Just the abdomen. By definition, oedema/dropsy is retention of fluid within the body cavity. The head, back, tail should all be the same as usual, since the muscles aren't much affected.>
Could it be some sort of water exchange/retention issue? What would you recommend as a treatment?
<For now, nothing. If the fish is happy and healthy, I wouldn't worry too much.>
There is no signs of eyes popping or pine cone/fluffy scales
The fish has slowly increased in size over 4-5 weeks. Diet is a mixture of flake and blood worms. We have tried a pea with no success (in case of constipation)
The fish has now stopped eating - or eats very intermittently
<Again, the key thing is whether the fish is bigger around the belly, or longer and the larger more generally, from head to tail. If the belly alone is swollen, and this fish is the same length as the other Neons, then you may well be dealing with constipation, dropsy, Neon Tetra Disease or something.>
Water parameters are good -nitrate less than 10. Ph is 6.9 and although a small tank it has good filtration, weekly 30% water changes with a mix of RO/dechlorinated water (to maintain hardness) and the substrate is vacuumed weekly. The remaining 6 tetras (the only other fish) are doing fine
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Bariatric Neon Tetra   5/4/10
Thanks for the great site I have found it very helpful for both marine and freshwater tanks
<Good to know.>
I have searched your FAQs and other pages but cannot find an exact match for the problem.
We have a neon tetra that is significantly larger than normal i.e. at least twice the size of the tankmates While I have managed to find numerous references to bloated or swollen stomachs the associated pictures and
descriptions speak to very distended stomachs and bulging - this fish is large all over.
<Are you sure he's a Neon? Cardinal tetras are similar but a bit bigger all around. Conversely, Paracheirodon simulans, the so-called Green Neon, is somewhat more slender than the Common Neon Tetra, Paracheirodon innesi.
Also is he longer than the others, or just fatter? If the abdomen is substantially bulkier, but the length of the fish is the same as the others, that can imply a variety of things, including dropsy, intestinal worms, even a female filled with eggs and ready to spawn!>
My question is does dropsy sometimes produce this overall swelling?
<Just the abdomen. By definition, oedema/dropsy is retention of fluid within the body cavity. The head, back, tail should all be the same as usual, since the muscles aren't much affected.>
Could it be some sort of water exchange/retention issue? What would you recommend as a treatment?
<For now, nothing. If the fish is happy and healthy, I wouldn't worry too much.>
There is no signs of eyes popping or pine cone/fluffy scales
The fish has slowly increased in size over 4-5 weeks. Diet is a mixture of flake and blood worms. We have tried a pea with no success (in case of constipation)
The fish has now stopped eating - or eats very intermittently
<Again, the key thing is whether the fish is bigger around the belly, or longer and the larger more generally, from head to tail. If the belly alone is swollen, and this fish is the same length as the other Neons, then you may well be dealing with constipation, dropsy, Neon Tetra Disease or something.>
Water parameters are good -nitrate less than 10. Ph is 6.9 and although a small tank it has good filtration, weekly 30% water changes with a mix of RO/dechlorinated water (to maintain hardness) and the substrate is vacuumed weekly. The remaining 6 tetras (the only other fish) are doing fine
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

gouramis (advice)   4/25/10
Hi I just have a quick question.
I have recently bought a 70L tank, about a week later (as per store person instructions) I decided to buy some fish, namely: 2x dwarf gouramis (both males 90% sure one flame coloured and the other blue and red stripes) and 5 neon tetras.
<Neons and Dwarf Gouramis make poor companions. Neons need fairly cool water, 22-24 C/72-75 F. Dwarf Gouramis must be kept warm, around 28-30 C/82-86 F. Any conditions good for one will be stressful for the other. This is clearly stated in any aquarium book, so as always, read up on the needs of your fish prior to purchase.>
All the water was tested beforehand and was fine, my PH however was a little bit on the high side- 7.2 /7.4
<This pH is fine. More aquarists cause problems by adding those often-lethal pH up and pH down potions they convince themselves they need. Both these species will be fine at 5-15 degrees dH, pH 6-7.5.>
I have noticed that males can get a bit territorial , and do nip and chase each other a little bit. As well as- they do funny swimming up and down ( looking over previous articles, I see this almost a normal behaviour....)
<Yes, your aquarium is too small for two male Colisa lalia.>
My question is , can I add a 3rd fish - another Gourami ?
And if I can, should I the fish be a male? or should I get female?
<A male and a female might be okay in this tank, possibly a male and two females. Two males is risky, and two males and one female would end up with some poor female pestered to death by the aggressive males.>
Or should I get a 3rd different kind of Gourami, I'm not sure if this make any difference?
<Your aquarium is too small for any more Gouramis. Males of all species are territorial.>
Or perhaps another different species altogether?
Your aquarium is already badly stocked and badly overstocked. Instead of randomly adding fish and hoping for the best, choose livestock that will be compatible in the long term.>
Alex N
<Cheers, Neale.>

Mystery Spot on Tetra   4/13/10
Hello! I've perhaps got a bit of a dilemma and am hoping you can help me, depending on what this turns out to be. I apologize if I include too much information, I just want to make sure I get all the bases covered in case some obscure detail can give you a fuller picture as to what could be going on.
<Fire away!>
About 10 days ago I got 9 green neon tetras and put them in an already cycled tank for quarantine. They're all varied in size from as little as 1.5 cm to about an inch. The first few days I was mostly looking out for big signs of something wrong (dead fish, listlessness, Ich, etc.) but they all seemed to be schooling happily.
<Very good.>
By day 3 I noticed an Ich spot on the adipose fins of the two largest Neons and started a treatment of Quick-Cure and raised the temperature to 84 F.
However, this isn't the thing I'm worried about as the Ich is clearing up fine. One of the smaller of my tetras has a black blotch interrupting the neon stripe down its side.
<I see it.>
The spot is only on his right side. It doesn't seem to protrude or bulge from its side at all, and isn't the same as the small speckles I've seen in pictures of the "black spot" disease.
<"Black Spot Disease" really isn't any one thing, but a name given to a variety of similar complaints. These range from true parasitic infections, as seems to be the case with at least some marine and pond versions of the disease, through to ammonia burns. Fortunately, in all cases Black Spot Disease doesn't appear to be either contagious or deadly, at least not under good aquarium or pond conditions, and usually clears up by itself.>
The "spotted" fish doesn't shoal as much with the other Neons, and tends to wander off alone to hide in the fake plants. Other than the spot, all of his colors are vibrant. As far as I can remember, the black spot was there at least since I took him home, but I was watching out more for Ich than anything else that I can't remember quite straight. I'm a research junkie, and tried searching everywhere for what this could be but came up mostly blank. I am entirely frightened that this could be "Neon Tetra Disease", but I read that that usually appeared as white patches, though I did see one person on some obscure forum claim that black spots were a sure sign of the disease. I am now worried sick and can't stand to lose any of these little fish. What could this be?
<Doesn't look like Neon Tetra disease to me.>
I tried to take a photograph of the fish, but the camera was too slow to capture them. Instead, I found a photo of a green neon tetra online and "Photoshopped" on what the black splotch looks like. It's not his photo, but it looks exactly like my fish and his spot.
<Right. Well, assuming the fish is swimming and feeding normally, I wouldn't worry unduly. Isolation will do more harm than good. For now, observe and ensure optimal conditions. If these are Green Neons, Paracheirodon simulans, that means a temperature around 26-28 C and soft, slightly acidic water; in short, similar to what Cardinal Tetras need. Note that common Neons, Paracheirodon innesi, require cooler water, around 22-24 C, and do fairly well in moderately hard water. Cheers, Neale.>

Female Betta and neon tetras, incomp.   2/16/10
I have a 10 gallon tank with one female Betta in it at the moment. The Betta is almost totally white, which I guess is rare. She is also very passive and barely even moves around. I was thinking of putting a few neon tetras in there, but I am wondering if she would go after them. Would this set up be safe?? Thank you!!
<Neons and Bettas aren't a good combination. For one thing, Neons prefer cooler water, around 24 C, whereas Bettas need things comparatively warm, around 28-30 C. So anything "just right" for one species would be stressful for the other. Bettas are also nipped by Neons. Yes, this is normally observed with male Bettas, but why risk it? There are many better choices for female Betta tankmates out there. Cherry shrimps, Kuhli loaches, perhaps even Boraras spp. Dwarf Rasboras. Cheers, Neale.>

Worried for my fish. Molly-Neon mis-mix, no reading, full moon stuff...   11/18/09
I have one Dalmatian Molly, one gold molly and 4 neon tetras together in a large tank, it has plenty of plants.
<Do understand Neons and Mollies are not compatible. Neons need cool (around 22-25 C) water that is soft to moderately hard, and not too basic (5-15 degrees dH, pH 6.5-7.5). Mollies by contrast need much warmer water (around 28 C) and the water must be very hard (15+ degrees dH) and very basic (pH 7.5-8). They almost always do better when some marine salt mix is added, at a dose of between 3-9 grammes per litre depending on the tankmates and plants. All of this will be quoted in aquarium books, which is why we recommend you read a book before buying any fish.>
I have recently found out that both my mollies are male (thank goodness) My concern is, for a few weeks now my gold molly has been getting fatter very ball like and can no longer swim, he sits in one spot all the time on the bottom of the tank, my Dalmatian molly appears to be fretting for the gold as he is always going over to him and trying to lift him off the bottom of the tank, he is continuously trying to push him up, and when he gets the gold up so far the gold just sinks straight to the bottom of the tank again,
<He is not "fretting" but being aggressive.>
His breathing has become more erratic and I've noticed his fins are getting faster in movement but he's still not getting anywhere. He has also stopped eating now and I'm worried he is going to starve as it has been a few days.
<What are the water conditions? As stated above, Mollies need very specific conditions to do well.>
I have medicated the tank with a multi purpose treatment but it has had no affect on him.
<Useless approach. Diagnose the problem, then treat. Imagine if your doctor couldn't be bothered to check your symptoms, and just gave you the first pot of pills he pulled from a drawer!>
I separated him from the others but he looked panicky and was constantly pushing up against the side, while he was in the other tank I noticed his anus was very white and looked like it was protruding out of his body like a hemorrhoid.
<Is not this.>
I'm concerned for my other fish as my Dalmatian molly is more active then usual in what looks like a concerned manner. and one of the Neons seams to be becoming rounder in the tummy and becoming slackish in its movements.
<Check water quality and water chemistry. For both species, 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite are critical. But since Neons and Mollies need completely different water chemistry, it's unlikely (i.e., impossible) to keep both species 100% successfully in the same aquarium.>
Id appreciate any advice you could give me as I don't want to loose any of my fish.
<I'm afraid they're doomed. You've thrown two non-compatible species together, and without giving me any actual data in terms of water quality, water chemistry, or temperature, I have no idea what precisely is going on here.>
I have looked all over websites trying to find an answer but nothing that I can find displays any of his symptoms together.
<These sound like generic "get me out of here" symptoms exhibited by fish being maintained in a poor (or the wrong) environment.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Neon tetra. Hlth.   9/21/09
we have a neon tetra that looks poorly, it has frog eyes is very bloated.
<Indeed, seems very swollen.>
what is wrong ,water has been checked with API master kit and seems fine.
<Define "fine". Let's recap what Neons need. Firstly, the water shouldn't be too hard. Neons come from fairly soft water habitats, and above around 10 degrees dH, they simply don't do reliably well. Secondly, Neons come from relatively cool streams, and normal tropical temperatures can be a bit high. You're aiming for between 22-24 degrees C, which is ideal for Corydoras catfish by the way, which also prefer fairly cool conditions.
Finally, Neons are intolerant of ammonia and nitrite. You need consistently zero levels of ammonia and nitrite. There's no "safe" level above zero, whatever you might (mistakenly!) assume from some test kits.>
could it be pregnant
<No. This Neon is in a very bad way. While this doesn't look like Neon Tetra Disease (which usually causes fish to lose their colour) this fish certainly appears to have some type of infection. Broadly, it has what aquarists often call "Dropsy", which is really nothing more than a symptom rather than an actual disease. For fish that are this small, treatment is usually pointless, and euthanasia is required.
Certainly, isolate the fish (in another tank, not a floating trap) if you want try using an antibiotic, and while medicating, remember not to mix anything like nets or buckets between the display tank and the hospital
tank. Neons seem particularly prone to infecting one another, and very many people have experienced Neons dying off one at a time, a few weeks apart, until there are none. Poor environmental conditions in your tank may be part of the problem, but given the fact Neons are farmed very intensively to keep them cheap, if you bought these Neons within the last month or so, it's quite possible the blame rests with the retailer, wholesaler or the fish farmer. Personally, I don't rate Neons terribly highly because of this, and when only cheap farmed Neons are available, I recommend 6 weeks quarantine, without fail. Incidentally, the plant in the foreground looks like Acorus, a type of plant that won't live long underwater in a tropical
aquarium. Do review any plants you buy carefully: many inexperienced aquarists are sold non-aquatic plants such as Acorus, Dracaena, Spathiphyllum, Selaginella and others. It's such a common con that it's beyond a joke.
Cheers, Neale.>

Dying fish, FW.... Neons...  4/18/09
Hello again! It's me, L.L. (please call me Kiara) again.
<Hello Kiara,>
My Neon Tetras are hanging out near the surface nearly vertical, and one refuses to eat.
<Please, check two things. Firstly water quality. You should have a nitrite test kit at minimum, and you should detect zero nitrite. Secondly, check water chemistry. You should have a pH test kit at minimum. For Neons the precise value doesn't matter -- anything between 6 and 7.5 will do -- but the pH should be stable, i.e., the same thing, week-in, week-out. Neons need a tank not less than 10 gallons in size, and that tank needs a heater and a filter. Usually when Neons get sick it's either because of Neon Tetra Disease (which has very specific symptoms different to what you're describing) or poor water conditions (the symptoms of which match precisely what you're describing).>
The other keeps picking on it.
<When one Neon gets sick, it's common for the others to turn on it. The reasons for this are complicated and don't really concern us here, but suffice it to say that this allows infections such as Neon Tetra Disease to get from sick fish to health fish.>
It's showed interest in freeze-dried bloodworms, but the other gets to it first :(.
We recently found our years-old Mini Bow 2.5-gallon aquarium. It has a stand, hood with lighting (after I turned it off the filament kept flashing and the bulb exuded an "old plastic" smell- :)!), colored gravel, 2.5 Whisper Power Filter, 1 cartridge, carbon...you get the idea. (No air pump or heater, but my old thermometer says the water stays at 76 degrees.)
<Neons do prefer around 24 C/75 F, and one way people shorten their lives is to keep them too warm. That said, unless you house is kept centrally heated to 24 C all day long, an unheated tank isn't suitable. Thermometers are not terribly reliable, and more to the point, just because it's warm in the daytime doesn't mean it'll be warm at night, or when there's a draught from an open window. Tropical fish are tropical fish, and unless you live in the tropics, your house temperature will be too low.>
It also has a plastic plant and a little cave. I am currently using my male Betta to cycle the filter, but my swordtail (or whatever it is; it's black but its scales have a green shimmer and the fins are transparent. Its chest not its stomach is white. The anal fin was once rounded but over the 4 or so months I've had him/her it's become a pointy triangle, NOT a gonopodium!) has outgrown its ½ gal tank (it's 2" long now!).
<You're keeping a Swordtail in a 1/2 gallon tank? I'm surprised it's still alive, to be honest.>
It once spent at least 5 minutes drying out in the sink but miraculously survived and only lost one scale and a little of its tail. Could I use him instead to cycle my tank?
<Not unless you wanted it to get sick.>
And could I also add my male guppy? When would it be safe to remove them and add my guppy fry?
<You can move fry from the rearing tank to the display tank when they're too big for the fish in the display tank to eat. There's no simple answer to that because some community fish have bigger mouths than others. You have to be sensible. Around 3 months usually works out all right, but things like Angelfish can eat a 3-month Guppy without any hassle at all.>
Thanks a lot,
Kiara a.k.a. Livebearer Lover.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dead (and dying?) fish 4/27/09

Hi, thanks for such a cool site! (Yes, it's me again, Kiara. I'm such a pain, I know...)
<Hello again,>
Whoo, one of my Neons died horribly today (the fat one). He was in a 2.78 L Betta bowl with Oop, my thin tetra who is now eating again (Sorry, but I CANNOT get something bigger!) and my ever-pregnant guppy.
<Look, fish have a certain amount of space they need. 2.78 litres isn't going to work for anything much. Not even a Betta, let alone a Neon, or for that matter, a school of Neons. This isn't negotiable; if you don't have space for at least 10 gallons/37 litres, you shouldn't be keeping Neons.
Any further discussion on treatment, diseases, etc is a waste of everyone's time, because these fish can't live in the tank you've put them in. It would be as if you'd brought an Elephant home and wanted to keep it as an indoor pet. No matter how much you might love than Elephant and promise to look after it, there's no way on Earth it could be kept inside your house.
It's the same thing here: there's a difference between loving animals and looking after animals, and frankly animals don't want to be loved, they want to be looked after properly!>
He had still been eating but yesterday was swimming head down at a slant. I did a 100% water change today (which I never do but felt I had to.)
<100% water changes are rarely a good idea; normally one does 25% weekly, or 50% in emergencies.>
He was floating upside down in a corner, horribly bloated, with black spots on his stomach, and his eyes had actually popped out of his head!
<Blah, blah, blah... seriously, the aquarium is too small, and discussion of symptoms irrelevant. Neons need a bigger aquarium, with a heater and a filter. A 10-gallon tank would be acceptable.>
The other fish seem fine now. (My Guppy, Fatty, gave birth 3 weeks ago but now she is fat again and I can (just barely) see eyes in her stomach.
:):):)!!!) What do I do?
<Buy a bigger aquarium.>
Please help! I've researched Neon Tetras and had never heard of anything like this... :(...
<Perhaps because no-one has been misguided enough to keep Neons in such a small aquarium?>
Thanks again,
P.S. Maybe a WWM Forum could help you guys (and other people) out?
<We have one, here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dead (and dying?) fish, Neon Tetra Dis.  5/4/2009

Hi I am Kiara's Mom.
<Hello Kiara's Mom!>
We've got a bigger aquarium. 28 gallons.
But the filter came broken, so we only have the thermometer and heather, some plants. we saw her neon tetra discolored and with a bump in his tummy.
<Oh; what kind of "bump"? Fish don't tend to bruise easily, or rather, anything that would bruise something like a Neon would probably kill it first. So I'd be a bit open minded here. The two most likely problems are
these: Firstly, Neon Tetra Disease. This may in fact be more than one specific disease, but we'll pass that by for the moment. Neon Tetra Disease makes the Neon look like it's lost its colour, and it also tends to become lethargic and often hides away from the other Neons, as if scared. Its body becomes swollen, and eventually, this can look as if the fish is severely bruised. There's no cure, and these fish usually die within a few days.
Since the disease is contagious, it's important to remove them from other Neons; what happens is if the healthy Neons peck at the sick/dead Neon, they can catch the responsible parasite. Next up is what we might call "secondary bacterial infections". These are caused by a variety of things, but most commonly poor water quality or physical trauma. You can cure these using antibiotics, for example Maracyn, but this does assume the background reason is fixed; e.g., if water quality was poor, the fish is provided with better conditions as well as the medicine. I actually don't recommend Neons for beginners at all, and think a wide variety of other fish make much better (easier!) choices; see here:
So we decided to put him on a Tupperware floating on the aquarium for 30 min.s.. and then leave him there.
<Ah, this might not help much. A floating container of water will keep warm, yes, but it won't be filtered, so the ammonia the fish releases (equivalent to urine in humans) collects and gradually poisons the fish.
There's no reason to isolate a fish like this; either leave it in the tank, or move to another, heated and filtered, aquarium.>
Because of your email. We hope we made a good decision.
<Possibly not. I know this all seems frightfully complicated, but this is why we stress the importance of preventing health problems rather than curing them, and part of that is using a nice, big aquarium. Contrary to what the guy at the pet store might suggest, keeping fish isn't "child's play" and actually takes a little work. Maybe not so much as a dog or cat, but some work nonetheless.>
My daughter just turned 12 and she really take loves and take care of her animals.
<Quite right too!>
Is there an advice you can give us?
<Read! There is a nice primer, here:
<I hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Male molly, sore eye, oh my. Ongoing, child, mis-mix with Neons  02/19/09 Hi, I am just writing to say my Neons are now in my big tank (2ft tank) with my other fish and seem to be doing fine my small tank has my to tiny baby guppies in it for the minute. My male molly has been nipped on the eye by a neon <Mmm, not compatible... behaviorally or environmentally. Please read re the water quality needs of these two species> because he got in its way when it wanted food it has swollen and looks so sore but I was given some Myxazin to treat it none of my other fish seem to have any other problems and seem to get on fine with my Neons I'll just remind you what fish I have, I have 3 guppies (1 adult very pregnant female and 2 unknown babies), a breeding pair of Dalmatian mollies, a breeding pair of platies, 6 Neons and 1 Sailfin Plec. Thanks alot <No such word> ,Alishia. <Neons should be moved elsewhere>

Keeping Rams and Neon/cardinal tetras. Sel., sys. mostly  1/24/09 I have a basement tank, 36/ 18 by 14, 52 gallons. I plan on using a river sand bottom, <Soft sand will be appreciated; the name Mikrogeophagus means "little eartheater", and like the true Geophagines cichlids, these fish (in the wild) sift the sand for algae, invertebrates and decaying organic material.> my tap pH is around 6.8 to 7. but I plan on using RO water (With a ph of 6.0), they make for you at World of fish, (its voted best LFS in twin cities). At the store they sell blue angel rams, $30 a pair, from a local breeder. These fish look much better, more vigorous and brightly colored then the regular rams they also sell (blue/German) they keep the angel rams in RO water but the others they do not. <Locally bred fish infinitely better and worth the expense. Farmed Mikrogeophagus ramirezi are of variable quality and often "juiced" with hormones and antibiotics; consequently their survival rate after shipping is dismal, even though they look nice in the shops.> The tank they are in is labeled NFS, as they are treating for Ich, but all fish on the mend, no signs of Ich on the rams at all (Corys had it), rams are showing territorial/natural behavior and they use the same RO, water I'll be using if I get them, at the shop. <If you have locally bred fish available, buying farmed specimens would be dumb.> I'm planning on buying a high intense light, and planting with live plants and driftwood. What kinds of plant do Rams like or that grow well in their water? <In the wild they live in sun-baked shallow pools with mostly amphibious vegetation that mostly grows above the waterline. So there's not really much "authentic" you can go for. Instead, concentrate on species that will tolerate the conditions in the aquarium. The very high temperature (minimum 28 C/82 F) will stress some plant species, while the necessary soft water will stress others. To be honest, I'd probably go with floating plants initially, such as the Limnobium, and leave rocks and hollow ornaments across the bottom for the fish. If you wanted rooted plants, buy species in pots that you can easily fertilise with tablets since the sand itself will contain no nutrients (unless you put a layer of pond soil or whatever underneath the sand). Cryptocoryne species would be ideal.> What are good foods for these guys? <These are quite fussy fish that tend to have favourite foods. I've never seen Mikrogeophagus show much interest in flake or pellets, though I dare say some will eat the stuff. Mostly they seem to require a varied diet of live or (wet) frozen foods: bloodworms, glassworms, mosquito larvae, daphnia, etc. Remember to vary the diet; if they get just bloodworms, you're setting them up for a vitamin deficiency in the long term.> I talked to the staff at the LFS and they said add tetras first after cycling then wait a month or more before aiding rams/ change like 5 to 10% of the water a week. <Likely far too little in terms of water changes. Mikrogeophagus ramirezi are acutely sensitive to nitrate, and tend to develop things like Hexamita at the first sniff of high levels of nitrate. In part this is surely why they die so quickly in most community tanks. So rather than estimating a water change, grab a nitrate kit and keep track of the nitrate level each week for the first few months. You'll get a picture of how quickly nitrate levels rise, and can act accordingly. You're aiming for under 20 mg/l nitrate, and ideally 0-10 mg/l. Part of this is avoiding overfeeding: these fish need only small amounts of food to do well.> I was think 1 or 2 pairs of rams and 12 to 15 tetras in a school. <Ok.> I was wondering if a school of neon, rummy nose or cardinal tetras would be good dithers ? Are there any other good tetra-like fish to keep with them or is it best to keep the Angel rams separate? <Neons need cool water, so they're not an option for use alongside the warmth-loving Mikrogeophagus ramirezi. Cardinals can work well, and probably make the best bet. Rummynose tetras would be good in some ways, but they're hyperactive fish, and need to be kept in a decent sized group to school properly; if they just mill about looking nervous, that'll have the reverse effect on your Mikrogeophagus. If you don't mind switching continents, Harlequin Rasboras work well too.> I do understand the fancy type of rams are less hardy but I will be moving in five years + anyway.( though I am planning on taking the tank with) <You'd be lucky if most of the farmed specimens last 5 months, to be honest. They really are abysmally poor fish. I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole. Like pouring money down a drain.> thanks <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Keeping Rams and Neon/cardinal tetras. 1/24/09
Thanks I will research more, I'll also make a video of it- the tank I mean. <Sounds good. Look forward to hearing/seeing more in due course. Do try and pick up one of the books on Dwarf Cichlids, there are many. Even the old TFH one by Jörg Vierke (used, less than two dollars on Amazon) will be a useful read in terms of understanding the ecology of these fish in the wild and their specific requirements in captivity. Mikrogeophagus ramirezi are nice fish, but the reality is most people fail to keep them alive for more than a few months, at best. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Keeping Rams and Neon/cardinal tetras. 1/24/09
When/if I get them should I use jungle parasite clear on them when they go into the main tank, or should I use a separate, tank.? <"Scattergun" approaches to healthcare rarely work. Quarantine all new livestock, and if signs of illness appear, diagnose and treat as required. The main killer with Mikrogeophagus ramirezi is Hexamita, and it is likely latent in all specimens, certainly those produced on fish farms. Hexamita becomes a problem when the fish are kept too cold, exposed to high nitrates, given a poor diet.> Also is it better to use fake plants then live? <No difference so far as the fish are concerned. Use whichever you want.> I know if I did so it would save on lighting and help reduce care in an already "Demanding" setup. <Cichlids would prefer tanks without lights at all, so do whatever you want so long as there are shady places for the fish to swim. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Keeping Rams and Neon/cardinal tetras, Ram sel.    1/28/09
Do you know of any local Ram breeders that sell decent/or excellent quality rams? I'm going to wait a few years before getting them, but I wanted to look for breeders. I live in St Paul MN. <Well, since I live in Hertfordshire, England, I'm afraid I can't comment on the local fish breeders in Minnesota. Obviously the first step is to find your city or state fish or aquarium club, and get in touch with them. There is certainly a Minnesota Aquarium Society for example: http://www.mn-aquarium.org/ Join up and attend their meetings. They'll surely be able to get you in touch with people in your area who breed fish. One of the great things about this approach is that the people in aquarium clubs are typically advanced hobbyists, and so are likely to be breeding fish you've never heard of, or don't see in aquarium shops. There are lots and lots of lovely dwarf cichlids that rarely get traded, so you might find some real treasures this way. Cheers, Neale.>

Neon Tetra with Ich and Pop/Cloudy eyes  8/30/08
I have a neon tetra with 1-2 spots of Ich and pop and cloudy eyes.
<Treat promptly for Whitespot and Finrot/Fungus. Here in England I'd be using eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT, medications for these complaints that are safe to use together. In your country the range of options may be different.>
I can also see white extended patches on his body.
<Well, if this is Neon Tetra Disease (Pleistophora) there isn't much you can do, but a combination Finrot/Fungus medication like eSHa 2000 would be if something less else.>
The fish is pretty strong, eats normally, swims normally and does not rub against rocks or plants. I isolated the fish in a hospital tank, but I'm wondering how I should treat it. I bought Melafix and a remedy for Ich,
<Melafix... largely useless.>
but I'm not sure which one I should use first. I'm also planning to buy food with antibiotics so that I can treat the intestines too. What do you suggest?
Thank you,
<Not a big fan of randomly treating for internal parasites unless there's evidence the fish is genuinely sick from them, and that's very difficult to judge. Antibiotics obviously have ZERO effect on the internal parasites that aren't bacteria, such as Pleistophora (a protozoan) and Camallanus (a Helminth) so again, you need to know what you're dealing with rather than randomly pulling stuff from the shelves and hoping for the best. Cheers, Neale.>

Tetras (Neons & cardinals) dying one by one in the dark in a planted aq.  8/7/08 I hope you can help. Please forgive the length, but I wanted to give you all the info I could think of. <OK.> 30g L, been up for about 8 weeks (cycled with seed filter from friends established tank), custom hood with AHsupply 96w CF bulb (3.2W/gal), eco-complete substrate mixed with fine gravel. Fluval 205 filter. Stealth 100W heater. <All sounds good.> Tank has the following plants (most of which are thriving): Cabomba (2 bunches of 5 stems each), Moneywort (4 bunches of 3 stems each), Melon Sword, Chain sword (just a baby), Microsword (2sq in patch), Ruffle plant, Wisteria (just finally establishing its fine submerged leaves - 1 bunch of 3-4 stems), Broad Ludwigia (1 bunch of 3-4 stems), small Java fern, small Anubias nana, and a large bunch (about 15-20 long stems) of Anacharis (from a friends established tank). Sounds crowded, but you'd be surprised how open it really still is. <At least some get pretty big -- Echinodorus osiris for example will quickly take over a 30 gallon tank if it thrives; mature plants can be 50 cm tall and 30 cm across! Echinodorus martii likewise.> To this there's the following fish: 5 spotted Corys, 6 Otos, 3 "mystery" snails, 6 zebra Danios, and originally 8 each Neons and cardinal tetras. <Right, well one issue here will be temperature. To wit, Neons prefer cool water, 20-24 degrees C; Cardinals need warm water, 25-28 C. There's no "happy medium" at which both can be expected to do perfectly well. Corydoras, Otocinclus and Danios are also cool-tropical fish, and will thrive at 20-24 C (I'd go for 22 C). But that's too low for the Cardinals. So one way or another, at least some fish are going to be heat or cold stressed.> The light is on a timer to cycle 6 hours on in the morning, followed by a 3 hour off break mid afternoon, then another 6 hrs on in the evening. Then off for the remaining 9hrs overnight. <OK.> All was well, the plants are thriving, the fish too. <Good.> Then I added the Anacharis about 2 weeks ago. Suddenly I'm missing cardinals and Neons overnight, just 1 or 2. at a time. Never noticed any trouble with the actions/attitudes of the tank mates, everyone pretty much sticks to their schools. But the losses continued. Everyone looked fine when the lights are on... healthy, active, feeding. It was great. Well it's a great mystery alright. <Well, Neons and to a lesser extent Cardinals can be plagued with "Neon Tetra Disease" and will drop off one by one until the cycle of infection is broken. But it is also possible the new plants brought in a predator, such as a Dragonfly nymph.> I finally started watching closer at night and I found that after the lights been off for about 90 minutes (+/- 15 minutes) I notice a gradual and frightening change. Both the cardinals and Neons lose nearly all coloration going nearly white/clear. <Quite normal.> Then one or two of them start going bonkers and lose their equilibrium swimming upside down, backwards and on their sides, barrel-rolls, tumbling end-over-end, etc., then death. <That is odd.> Turn the lights back on and gradually (within 20-40 minutes) all coloration has returned and activity resumes normally. <Ah, now, this is curious. Have you checked how pH is affected by photosynthesis? When plants photosynthesise they remove CO2 from the water, allowing the pH to rise. When they stop, CO2 accumulates and pH goes down. Alternatively, some (but only the minority) can perform "biogenic decalcification", and I believe Anacharis is one of them. What this means is that they remove carbonate and bicarbonate from the water as the source of carbon for photosynthesis instead of CO2. This is why these plants prefer hard water. Anyway, in the process the water loses its carbonate hardness and consequently its pH buffering capacity. The net result will be that pH will drop while these plants are photosynthesising, and the water pH will also become less stable with regard to other pH altering processes.> My water parameters have been rock solid since the beginning: Nitrite 0; Ammonia 0; Nitrate "nearly" 0; kH 5deg; GH 12deg; pH 7.6; chlor. 0. I've even tested right before and after a light cycle and saw no appreciable difference. Temp stays between 78.5 and 80.5F. <Do check the pH and carbonate hardness through the day to test my hypotheses above.> My thought were CO2 poisoning - but the zero change to pH leads me to believe the CO2 isn't reaching toxic levels. Second thought - The plants are using up all the available O2 (I'm not aerating) at night thereby starving the smaller, more sensitive tetras. So I added a small airstone to the corner of the tank and set a small air pump to kick on when the lights go out (my timer has day/night outlets). It didn't seem to help. <Leave CO2 off for a few days and see what happens. Won't harm the plants.> Last Saturday night was the worst, within 2-1/2 hours three tetras gone (down to 6 now, 2 cardinals & 4 Neons left), and all the fish (except the 5 Corys, 2 largest Danios, and 3 largest Otos) were pale. Even with nighttime aeration. <Hmm...> So as a stopgap measure I retooled the timer to cycle the light and dark to 3 hrs light, 2 hrs dark ('round the clock). Two nights of success now with no casualties... but even though there is the requisite "amount" of light and dark I cannot imagine the rapid time cycles are any good for either the fish or plants long-term. <It isn't good for the plants; they need a certain length of time simply too start photosynthesising, and 3 hours won't be enough.> My next attempt will be to get a larger air pump and drive an 18" bubble wand across the back of the tank rather than the small airstone driven by the smaller air pump. I know this will drive out more CO2 to the detriment of the plants (though probably not too much), but it should eliminate the worry of CO2 poisoning, and should add O2 in the dark for the plants and fish to (hopefully) share. Also, I'll be raising the filter spout up closer to the surface to provide a little more surface agitation (currently its about 2in below with no agitation). <Not sure this is the issue.> Finally, since this all started after adding the fastest grower in the largest number/mass plant-wise (the Anacharis). It's possible that plant addition might've pushed the balance over the edge with respect to CO2 and O2 respiration. So I'll be pulling that out and trimming it back to a more manageable (2-3 bunches of 4-5 "short" stems each) size. <Hmm...> Hopefully then I can gradually return to slowly extending the light/dark cycles to a more natural rhythm and keep my fish healthy and my plants growing. Any thoughts? other suggestions? etc? Anything I missed? Mark <Cheers, Neale.>

Borrowing Trouble(d Neon Tetras)... ...Or actually Purchased!   7/31/08 <Intriguing title> Hi I have been using this site for years when a question I cannot answer or am unsure of arises. However this is the first time I have found the need to inquire for help. I have been keeping freshwater fish for nearly eleven years. Started out breeding Fancy Yellow Guppies for my LFS, then graduated to breeding Bettas. After years (nearly six) of steady "work" tanks I decided to just have "pleasure" tanks. I currently have a fully planted 40 gallon with 7 Juli Cory Cats, 13 Rummy Nose Tetras, and 9 Tiger Barbs. This tank is great has been running for nearly three years with no problems. So the trouble. I decided to get a smaller tank and purchase a single Betta and just enjoy his beauty. I bought a 5 gallon eclipse tank from craigslist that was, I quote "fully stocked". This tank was Over Stocked. There are 9 Neon Tetras, 2 Juli Cory Cats (my interest!) and a single female Guppy, and does have live plants and a Lot of (pests) snails. Even having some clue as to what I was buying I decided that $20 was a great deal and took everything. <Ok> Now I have 9 Neon Tetras with varying degrees of tumors or lumps and all of whom have a dark reddish line along the bottom of their bodies. These Neons appear to be at least a year old as they are all 1"+. I have done lots of reading and think they may have Neon Tetra Disease, but do not want to rush such a dyer diagnosis. <Mmm, likely is this (Pleistophora hyphessobryconis) and possibly some other protozoan issue/s> The Julis' and the guppy look great and have been moved to my 2.5 gallon Quarantine tank. I plan to introduce the Juli Cory's into my 40 Gallon and take the female Guppy to my LFS as I have no desire to see her lonely or give birth! I had planned to keep the Neon's in the Community Tank also but now I do not know if they are curable. <Mmm, not as far as I'm aware> For now they are still in the 5 Gallon Hex I bought them in as it is the largest aquarium I have. The parameters are: pH 7 Ammonia about 1 (not 0) -after two 50% water changes in as many days. <Needs to be zero... Very toxic... though not likely a determinant issue here> Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10 What would you recommend I do about the Neons? <Mmm, please see below> I do not know if the 5 gallon will be large enough to safely treat them and do not know what they have. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you, DB <I do hope/trust that your stated years of using our site will attest to our not being heartless concerning aquatic life welfare, but I would summarily euthanize this group of Neons... to prevent spreading the disease... as they are very likely untreatable. You could take a cursory scan on the Net to see if others have some potential cure... Bob Fenner> Re: Borrowing Trouble(d Neon Tetras)...   8/1/08 Thanks Bob, I was anticipating that answer. I have never had to euthanize nine fish at once before...I have only had to do this twice in my years keeping fish. <Never easy...> What is your personal preference to euthanize? <Likely Clove Oil... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm> I realize there are many ways, I'm just wondering if you have a "painless" method for both me and these poor Neons. Thanks again, DB <Welcome. BobF>

Ick/Whitespot  7/22/08 Hi Guys, I added five new baby neon tetra's to my tank recently - it seems the neon's have all developed Ick/Whitespot. I already had 6 Neon's 2 guppies and a Sailfin Molly - these all appear to be fine. <So far at least... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm Do review the needs of Mollies, and also be warned Neons may nip the fins of fancy male Guppies.> I have read your articles regarding ICK and just wanted to confirm your recommendation for best way to treat. <Promptly!> I was just going to buy meds and treat the tank with meds and regular water changes. However from reading through your site would you recommend increasing temperature and treating with Salt instead? <Makes no odds either way. I tend to use commercial medications such as eSHa EXIT (a brand I find works well even with sensitive species like puffers) because it's easier. But if you want to use salt/temperature, go ahead.> I have added salt before but never with the neon's only with mollies/guppies can my neon's tolerate salt? also my temp is at 80f already is it safe to increase the temp further? <Neons should tolerate the very low salt concentration required, particularly if you build up the salinity across a few days. As for raising the temperature, I wouldn't. Temperature is about speeding up the life cycle of the parasite; in itself it isn't a "treatment" as such. The idea is that the salt only kills the free living parasite, so the sooner that phase begins, the better.> Thanks in advance Scott <Cheers, Neale.>

The Bloated Clown Loach and the Gluttonous Neon Tetras, env. dis.    6/18/08 Hello, <Ave Maria> I've read related posts, and I did see something about separating the loach and feeding him frozen or fresh foods to correct the problem, but I'd just like to make sure that this is correct for my situation, and to ask about another problem with our tank population. <Ok> To give a bit of background, we are currently recovering from a HUGE nitrate spike and battling high temperatures. Our nitrate level has gone from just over 100 to around 30. We know this is still way too high, but it's taking time to get it down with water changes. I'm so afraid we'll shock the fish. This is a 160L tank with quite a few plants, 5 angelfish, 15 neon tetras, 1 Hillstream loach, 1 rainbow shark, 1 plecostomus, and 4 clown loaches. We had 5, but one got very listless and soon died. Our tank stats currently are: pH: 6 KH: 5 GH: 14 NO2: 0 NO3: 30 <Still a bit too high> The current problem loach became very bloated overnight. The other three will cuddle with him from time to time, but when they go off to play, he just stays on his side in a little cave or next to a wall. He is breathing rapidly, and his gills seem a bit red. <Good description, clues> We don't have money for a quarantine tank right now, <Don't need this... just to fix the one they're in now> but we did put him in a clear plastic container with water from the tank. He was difficult to catch. We've also given him some thawed bloodworms. He looks healthy, aside from the bloating, which makes him look kind of pregnant. We've just noticed that he seems to have a little hole in his side, too. Is this the right treatment, or is he lost? <Not lost... not really a treatment... I'd return this fish to the main tank. Being in the container is worse> The other issue involves our neon tetras. We were told that our loaches would benefit from getting some frozen food once a week. My husband thaws the block in warm water, then adds it to the tank. The problem is that our loaches get none of it, since the tetras eat it ALL. Every single one ends up looking impossibly bloated and like they might explode. We've tried adding a bit more, but they just keep eating! Any ideas? <Try other sinking type foods, or placing in an inverted "blackworms feeder" on the bottom> Thanks for taking the time to read this. You guys are always so informative and quick to respond. Thank you! Maria and Ola <Fix the nitrates... the process of doing so will save your loach and other livestock. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwnitrates.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: The Bloated Clown Loach and the Gluttonous Neon Tetras   6/18/08 Thanks! We were very worried about the little guy. We'll keep up our dilution plan until we get to an acceptable nitrate level, and then stick to a schedule of weekly quarter changes. The fish seem so much happier and more active after them. Thanks again! <Dilution is not the only, even likely best route to go. Please read where you were referred to. RMF> Re: The Bloated Clown Loach and the Gluttonous Neon Tetras   6/19/08 We've already adjusted food amounts and begun vacuuming more often as well. We have a lot of plant life. We'll get to the LFS this weekend and see what we can do to implement the other recommended methods. Thanks again! <Ahh, welcome! Do please make it known how you progress here. Bob Fenner>

Re: The Bloated Clown Loach and the Gluttonous Neon Tetras 06/28/08 Hi, Just an update. I've been sick, so there was a bit of a delay in going to the LFS. We have started treating with Tetra's Nitrate Minus, and more importantly, we bought and set up an external filtration system that has five stages of filter media. The fish are already looking more lively. Sadly, Bloaty didn't make it. We should know how well this is working by Monday. <Thank you for this update. Do take care. BobF>

Possible Disease? - 06/15/2008 To the crew of WetWebMedia: <Hello, Soojeong. Sabrina with you today.> I have had neon tetras for about a year (probably a bit more, but nonetheless); however, a problem stubbornly plagues my humble 20 gallon aquarium. When I first bought eleven neon tetras, seven survived after two weeks to be transferred out of the temporary tank and into my "main" tank. I had no problems so far; I figured that the companies churning out neon tetras in mass quantity had something to do with the near 40% mortality rate (maybe it was even a good deal considering some of the horror stories). <Though I'm sure there's tons of mass neon production, I believe some are still wild-caught as well.> I feel it necessary to mention here that the main tank had already been cycled (I cheated a bit and jump-started with a handful of gravel from my old 10-gallon tank) <Perfect.> and had its water treated and tested, as was the temporary tank. I put in some plants in to help deal with fish waste. A few weeks later, a bamboo shrimp and a candy striped Pleco joined the group. Everything seemed well and fine, save a few algae here and there. Life was good. Here my troubles began. <Uh-oh....> I looked in the tank about a month or two later to find a tetra dead. None showed typical Pleistophora (Neon Tetra Disease, god forbid) symptoms. Since the False NTD caused by bacteria also has similar symptoms as the actual NTD, I ruled it out. Okay. <Disease common names are worse than fish common names.... Mycobacteriosis has also been called Neon Tetra Disease.... sigh!> No loss of color (unless postmortem, half-eaten state still counts), no curvature of the spine... Although one or two fish wandered off alone, I didn't think too much into it. I was slightly alarmed at the slightly eaten body, since the other fish might be in danger of meeting the same end. And two weeks later, another died. Then another week or two, and another dead body. Then suddenly everything was fine. Until now, a full year later. Other than two tetras going through a constant cycle of developing enormous bellies and huge appetites to getting skinnier and eating normally, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. <Unless you changed your feeding regime, I'm a little concerned about the weight gain / loss that you saw....> No new fish were introduced. Today I woke up to three hungry tetras (possibly stressed from small group? I couldn't tell), and the body was nowhere to be seen. It couldn't have jumped out, since I have a full lid because of the bamboo shrimp and my Neons' odd habit of sometimes jumping out of the water to get at the fish flakes. I suspect the body had been eaten. <Quite possibly. It's also surprising how many nooks and crannies a body the size of a neon can be hidden in.> I was afraid to bring in new Neons in fear of infecting the new group or the old group. Was I foolish to do so...? <Foolish? Nah.> Either way, I didn't want dead tetras. In case it was some sort of an interspecies infection (although the Pleco is still fine), I fear to bring in new fish, and taking the tank apart... I would like to avoid it if I can. <Agreed.> Could it have been some sort of an internal parasite? <Mm, possibly. Really, there are countless possibilities.> But I can't see any irregularities in the Neons. Besides, I do not want to misdiagnose and kill, nor do I want to use Parasite-Clear and such since most warns against using it for crustaceans. <Yeah. I wouldn't want to use any medications in your main tank.> If I did use it, I would have to take my shrimp out of the main tank, and I don't know whether I can ever put the shrimp back in with the others, either. <A very valid concern. Any medications containing copper should not be considered for your tank, if you wish to keep shrimp. The best option is to remove any affected fish and treat in a separate system. Though, I gather the remaining fish are all asymptomatic?> If the shrimp is untreated and later put in the treated tank (is that even possible? after how much water changes?) <Again - don't use copper, and as far as water changes - well, I would give at least a few very large ones, and filter with carbon and PolyFilter before reintroducing invertebrates. But again, if avoidable, I wouldn't want to treat the main tank.> is there still a risk for a reinfection if it was bacterial or parasitic? <Well, since there's no clear way at this moment to tell what you're up against, there's no clear answer I can give you as to whether or not it may resurface. I would consider this within the realm of possibility.> To summarize: *20 gallon tank (tall); 1 bamboo shrimp (planning to get another soon if possible), 1 candy striped Pleco (still small, but I am planning to get a bigger tank later on), 3 neon tetras. *Sudden death of neon tetras, no previous symptoms shown; possibly clusters of deaths with incredibly long intermittent periods in between (unlikely, most likely a second infection from unknown source, perhaps?) <I would guess that the two problems were unrelated.> I would appreciate any advice you have. <Note also that the environment may be key here. Neons don't "like" hard water with a high pH. They thrive in very soft, acidic conditions. If your water is hard and alkaline, this should also be considered as a contributing factor in the health of the Neons.> P.S. Pardon me, I ended up writing a short story. I hope it didn't take up too much of your time. <Actually, I really appreciate your detail.> Thank you very much for your efforts. <And thank you for your kind words.> Soojeong Kim <Wishing you and your fishes well, -Sabrina>

Neon Tetras And Serpae Tetra, incomp.  5/5/08 Hello there, nice to be back! I have my problem with my 9 neon tetras and 5 Serpae Tetras. First week after I buy the Neons the Serpaes are not doing anything to the Neons, they don't disturb them. <Yet...> Yesterday I saw one of my Neons has no tail then one Serpae attack the neon and bite the neon's tail. <Ah, there it is.> I'm shock when I saw it, and until now I can't imagine the worst thing my Serpae did. I think of possible solutions, and it came to my mind that if I remove the Serpae tetra (3 of them) will the aggressiveness will be minimize, I will just remain one male and female. Is it ok? <Nope. Serpae tetras, as I point out repeatedly here at WWM, are not community safe. They eat fins and scales in the wild, and also have a "feeding frenzy" behaviour that means they lunge at anything and everything when feeding. Mixing Serpae tetras with anything other than more Serpae tetras is not a good idea. Period. End of discussion. They're great fish on their own, but were the very first fish I ever kept way back in the early 80s, and I learned my lesson the hard way.> please give me the right solution. My tank is 10 gallons, planted, and an Amazon blackwater layout. <Neons need cooler water (around 22 C) than Serpae tetras (around 25 C), so aren't really compatible anyway. I'd get rid of the Serpae tetras, since a 10 gallon tank is too small for them. Keep the Neons, let the temperature drop, and if you want obtain some suitable tankmates for this sort of tank, e.g., Corydoras habrosus.> Hope you will reply soon. Thanks and more power! <Hope this helps! Neale.>

Question about spot on neon's mouth  3/26/08 Hi folks, I have a 10-gallon tank with a male Betta, two neon tetras, a frog, and two algae eaters (the kind that stay little, not sure of the name). They have all lived together for several months. I clean the tank every other week, this usually keeps the nitrates under 10. <Neons need to be in groups of 6 or more; in smaller groups they are stressed and unhappy. Please note that fish couldn't care less about cute names. But what they want is that you work around their biological needs. In the case of Neons, that means company! Keeping them in too-small a group is animal cruelty, however you choose to rationalise it.> One of the Neons (Zippity) has a dark spot on his lower lip. I recently had a problem with stringy algae and thought he may have gotten some stuck on his mouth, but it hasn't come off in a couple of days. He is able to eat. Should I put him in the hospital tank in case he is sick and could pass it along to the others? <No. It may simply be physical damage, in which case it will heal. But do also be aware that things like Mouth Fungus and Finrot can start as small blisters or sores. So as ever, check your nitrite level before you do anything else.> Also, should I be adding aquarium salt to the tank? <No. Almost all fish diseases come down to water quality issues. Almost none come down to not using salt!> I don't now because I thought I read that Neons don't like salt, but did read that it's good for disease prevention. <They don't and it isn't.> Thank you! Alice <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: question about spot on neon's mouth Thank you for the advice. I will keep a close eye on the spot. The two Neons are the last two from a school - I will make sure they find a new home with other Neons as soon as he recovers. <Very good. Good luck, Neale.>

General Tank and Tetra questions... no reading, use of WWM   3/6/08 Hi All, <Jennifer> I'm very new to being a fish tank "mommy" and I have some questions. I got a small 2.5 gallon tank about 2 weeks ago. I rinsed out the tank, the accessories, the gravel, and the plants very well. Then I treated the water with 4 drops of AquaSafe. I think I added the fish <... what species?> a little too fast <... how... was this system cycled?> and 3 of the original 5 died. I still have 2 neon tetras <Don't "like" new systems...> and they seem to be doing fairly well. After reading through some of the other tetra questions I'll be going out to get a little thing for them to hide in since we currently don't have that, just 3 silk aquarium plants. - How do I test the water and what am I looking for? I know the basics about pH, but I don't know what the pH should be for an aquarium. - How often should I change the water and how much of it should I change out? - Do I need to have a container of tap water sitting out for a couple of days before I add it to the tank? - Can I add any more neon tetras in at any point? And if so, how many should I add? - What can I put in there to help keep the tank clean? The Plecos are all so big and I don't think they would be very happy in a little tank. Also, one of the fish has a weird protrusion on his/her belly. It's not really rounded, more angled. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated, and if you can recommend a good, basic, book about the care of tetras I would greatly appreciate it! We had neon tetras when I was little, but I don't ever remember my mom doing much to take care of them. We had a Pleco that kept things clean and the tetras just swam around and were pretty. LOL. Thanks again! Jennifer <The answers to all this are posted... Please become familiar with our search tool, indices per: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm And do read here immediately: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Schooling Advice... Neon Tetras   2/10/08 I recently e-mailed you guys about my school of diminishing neon tetras. After hearing from you guys that Neons are poor quality most of the time in large stock and from my own experience, I think Neons are just too much of a hassle and a waste of money because of there very short longevity. Currently there is 1 dwarf Gourami, 2 blue gouramis, 1 gold Gourami, and 4 rainbow sharks in my 55 gallon aquarium along with about 5 remaining neon tetras. Here's my question though. What do you think would be a good schooling fish. I was thinking about tiger barbs, but if you can think of something better that'd be great. I plan to just put my remaining Neons up for adoption at the petstore as I did with my crayfish. Thanks for you help and advise. <Jonathan, given you were keeping crayfish with the Neons, I'd not be too quick to blame the Neon's demise on poor health. In addition, it is absolutely essential you eliminate environmental factors before apportioning blame. So do a pH test and a nitrite test, and check your filter is still working properly and not clogged up. Obviously if the water isn't that great, *any* new fish you add are likely to suffer. Fish that have been established in a tank for many months will often seem happy enough in such tanks because they've slowly adapted to those conditions. But any new fish will be used to the water quality/chemistry at the retailer's tank, and will get stressed or killed by being dumped in entirely different conditions in your tank. In any case, Tiger Barbs would be a poor choice for a tank with Gouramis because Tiger Barbs are fin-nippers. So to are Serpae tetras, Black Widow (Petticoat) tetras, and several other small characins. Read up on any species carefully before you make a purchase. I happen to consider Bleeding Heart Tetras among the best all-around characins: they are pretty, quite big, constantly chasing each other but completely peaceful towards tankmates. They are also hardy and too fast for aggressive or nippy fish to bother (mine live in a tank with puffers and have NEVER been nipped). Australian Rainbowfish are also very reliable choices, especially if you have hard water. Cheers, Neale.>

Dying Tetras  2/10/08 I have been reading through your site and couldn't get a definite answer about my dying neon tetras. So I was wondering about my neon tetras. I recently added 12 neon tetras to my old school of 5. So my school of 17 looked awesome, but then I lost half of my school in a few days. <This seems to happen quite often with Neons, and is one reason I have stopped keeping them and don't recommend them. The quality of the mass produced stock is fairly poor, and I suspect depends a lot on the use of antibiotics. As soon as the fish arrive at the retailer, the antibiotics wear off and the fish become increasingly sensitive to opportunistic infections. This may be aggravated by the fact most people keep Neons far too warm; in the wild their preferred temperature range is 22-25 C, so compared with most other tropical fish, they need something a little cooler. Failing in this regard may be stressing them, leading to greater sensitivity to infections. Pleistophora ("Neon Tetra Disease") may also be prevalent. Although more expensive, Cardinal tetras strike me as being better value.> The aquarium is 55 gallons and my water parameters are fine except for pH which may be a little high (7.6). <Well within their tolerances; if acclimated, Neons have been know to do well at up to pH 8, 30 degrees dH! Water quality and temperature are probably much more significant issues.> Ammonia is 0ppm, nitrites are 0ppm, and nitrates are about 10-20ppm. My other fish in the aquarium are 1 dwarf Gourami, 2 blue gouramis, 1 gold Gourami, 4 rainbow sharks. I also have 4 crayfish in my tank, biggest on is about 3 inches long max. I am thinking maybe they are catching my Neons and eating them. <Crayfish will indeed eat small fish. Under no circumstances can crayfish be considered safe additions to the community tank. While it is true crayfish are mostly herbivores in the wild, in aquaria they can easily catch small fish. Because Neons sleep close to the bottom of the tank, crayfishes could easily catch and eat them.> I actually saw one snacking on a tetra but not sure if he caught him. It might also explain why I only actually see a few of my Neons dead while the other ones are just not there. <Do check for signs of Pleistophora: Infected Neons lose their colour, become shy, stay away from the group, and often hide under plants. A few days later they're dead. Pleistophora is highly contagious once the fish is moribund or dead because opening the body cavity (e.g., as other fish eat the corpse) allows the parasites to swim into the water. The only way to effective stop Pleistophora is to remove infected fish on sight. They should be painlessly destroyed, as there is no reliable cure, and certainly not once the disease because sufficiently entrenched that you can tell the fish actually has it.> They didn't jump out of the tank because I have a very tight fitting canopy and there's no dried up tetras on the carpet. One more thing too, if my pH is to high I was thinking about using water from a local spring in which the pH is about 6.4, and no ammonia, nitrite or nitrates. I would also run it through my deionization filter to make sure any harmful things would be removed. I would greatly appreciate your help and advise. <Mixing soft water with hard water out the tap is fine. I do this by mixing rainwater with tap water to good effect. Filtering the spring water or rainwater through carbon will remove any nasties, but generally such water sources are at least as safe for fish as tap water, perhaps more so. In any case, do always remember to make water chemistry changes slowly, perhaps doing 25% water changes each week until you reach the desired level of hardness and acidity. Now, the crayfishes will not like soft water. They need to be removed anyway, but just as a heads-up, in common with all crustaceans, "the harder the better" in terms of healthcare. Also remember that as hardness drops, so does pH stability, and many is the aquarist who's softened the water in their tank only to discover the pH suddenly drops between water changes. I'd not take the hardness below 10 degrees dH. Remember: fish don't care about pH, so long as its stable; what matters is *hardness*, as that directly influences osmoregulation. Cheers, Neale.>

Largest Neon ever? - 1/24/08 Dear Web guys, Thank you for you assistance with prior questions when I was starting my fish hobby a year ago. One I have not found the answer to (yet) is what the record size is of the largest ever neon tetra? I have one who is larger than some of my mollies, so he's certainly in the running. My search on Guinness Book of Records thus far has failed to reveal an answer. Thanks! Tambra <Hi Tambra. Neons -- Paracheirodon innesi -- can reach 4 cm in length, though that's pretty rare. Cardinal tetras -- Paracheirodon axelrodi -- do get a bit bigger and are a bit stockier as well. The two species are easy to confuse, but Neons only have red running halfway along the body, whereas Cardinals have the red band running all the way from the tail to the snout. Anyway, if you have a Neon bigger than 4 cm, I'd love to see a photo! Cheers, Neale.> Re: Largest Neon ever?  1/25/08 Hi Neale- I will try to get a picture with my camera phone later (will need to borrow a digital camera for high quality) She has outlived many Neons, and I'm sure that's what she is. <Cool. Maybe we're witnessing Evolution in Action! Hurrah! Look forward to seeing the pictures. Cheers, Neale.>

Odd Behaving Betta   1/3/08 Hello, My name is Katelynn and I have some concerns about a new Betta I bought on December 29th, because he does not eat and he will spend hours curled up on a plant, hiding at the top of the tank in between the heater and the filter, or laying (almost on his side) at the bottom of the tank. <Hello Katelynn... Betta malaise can be caused by a variety of things. Lack of warmth, cold air above the aquarium, and poor water quality are particularly important.> And when I mentioned that he curls up, he actually will be in an upside down, motionless, summersault position. <Not normal.> Sometimes I have to watch him for a couple of minutes to see if he is breathing. Then I get scared, so I take a net and give him a little nudge and then he will move to a different spot and continue his odd behavior. <Touching fish certainly doesn't help. They are easily damaged and your dry skin can cause removal of the mucous on their bodies, allowing secondary infections. Basically, look but don't touch!> I have only seen him swim around twice since I have brought him home and one of those times was because I gave him a nudge. I have never seen anything like this before with Bettas I have had in the past. <Ah, so you have experience with this fish? That's good. Do review the basic requirements of the fish and check you have them all covered. Use test kits to check pH, hardness as well as water quality.> His color has not changed and there is no other physical signs of sickness. Now I will fill you in on my set-up. I have an Eclipse System, 3 gallon tank. <Too small. Three gallons -- especially 3 US gallons -- is a bucket, not an aquarium. I KNOW people keep Bettas in tiny jars and the like, but this hardly makes them easier to maintain. Small tanks are unstable and quickly go bad.> It has a BIO-Wheel 3-stage filtration and a heater that keeps the water between 72-78 degrees. <This is too much temperature change. You want at steady 77F/25C. Humidity above the tank is CRITICAL; use a pane of glass or similar to the top of the tank if is open to the air. You want just a crack to let in fresh air, but enough humidity that water droplets collect on the pane of glass.> I got the tank as an early Christmas gift and I set it up the night I got it and put in three fake plants, (soft so they wont hurt the Bettas' fins) a house and a cave and covered the bottom with gravel and some decorative, polished stones. <Hmm... filter likely immature. Have you checked nitrite or ammonia?> After setting up the tank, I let it run without any fish for a week to establish the nitrogen cycle and after testing the water, I went out fish shopping. <Doesn't work this way. Tanks cycle when they contain fish OR some other source of ammonia, e.g., a piece of decaying seafood. Just sitting there empty achieves precisely nothing.> On that first outing I did not find the perfect Betta, but I did find an active Cory and so I brought him home. He adapted well and then I added two small neon tetras that were in need of a home after my sister decided she did not want her tank anymore and could not find a home for them. <All these in 3 gallons...? NO NO NO. Corydoras and Neons are schooling fish, and Neons especially need to be kept in groups of 6 or more in a 10+ gallon tank. Corydoras also need to be kept in groups of at least 3-4 specimens, and most common species need a 20 gallon tank.> They also adapted great and I waited a week to make sure none of the fish showed any signs of disease. When the fish proved to be healthy and the water quality did not deteriorate, I went out and found that perfect Betta. <Oh...?> I found a small, teal, crown tail Betta and brought him home. At first he swam a bit and then started hiding. He wont even come out to eat. <Neons have been reported to nip Betta fins. The two species cannot be kept together.> I have tried flake food, pellets, and freeze dried bloodworms, but none of these seem to interest him. <Don't worry about food just now.> I test the water daily and the nitrate level is 0, the nitrite level is 0, the water is soft (75GH), the alkalinity is between 120-180KH, and the pH is neutral (between 6.8-7.2). The other fish are fine and seem to be doing great. <Hmm... seriously, I'm not convinced this tank will work in the long term.> If you could please give me any idea of what may be wrong with my new fishy friend, I would be very grateful. Thank you <Difficult to say precisely what's wrong. Check the ammonia and nitrite levels. I'd assuming a tank this young will still be cycling, so don't feed more than 1 times per 2 days, and do 50% water changes at least every other day, and ideally every day. After 3-6 weeks, things should settle down some and you'll find ammonia and nitrite are both zero. Please think seriously about a bigger tank: 3 gallons isn't an aquarium, it's a bucket, and no better suited to keeping fish in the long term. Cheers, Neale.>

Tetra buoyancy  10/20/07 Dear Crew, <Hello there! Andrea with you this afternoon.> Today after feeding my Tetras I noticed that 1 of my Neons is floating toward the surface and actively swimming to stay lower in the aquarium. I feed them tropical flake food with the occasional freeze-dried bloodworms. <Sounds delicious...> I hadn't noticed this behavior before today so my theory is that he sucked in some air while eating. My water parameters are as follows: Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate all 0, pH 7.8. <pH is a little on the high side for Neons, but I wouldn't worry much. You might add some driftwood as a decoration to the aquarium to soften the water and bring it down. What does concern me is that the NitrAte is at 0. How long has the aquarium been up? Generally speaking, in the FW world, we want to see a little nitrate, as it lets us know that the tank isn't cycling. You should have something of a reading...5, 10, 15 ppm at least. What kind of test kits are you using? You might take a sample to the local fish store and have them test it. Having zeros across the board usually tells me that either the tank is brand spanking new, or the test kits have gone bad.> I do a 40% water change every 5 days. <Excellent regimen. Keep it up!> I don't feel that it is a water quality issue, he's not listing around or floating head up or down, but when he stops swimming he floats to the surface. <Could be swim bladder dysfunction. It's not fatal, just looks funny. Do a search on WWM for Swim Bladder for more information.> Is there anything I can do or is this just a "wait and see" type of thing? <If he is otherwise acting healthy, stool looks normal, eating well, I'd just let him be. Could be needing a good burp, could be the food is too fibrous, could be swim bladder, could be something else. You might also try giving him some mushed up blanched peas, in case he has a mild case of constipation.> If it is air and he can't expel it, is that a fatal condition? <No, the air will find a way out, one way or another ;-). They are kind of like us in that way.> Also, how long could it take for him to recover from this? <It really depends what it is. If it is swim bladder damage, he might always be that way, and it is just a quirk. If it is something else, it may pass, or it may not. Worst case scenario is he has some problem that is affecting him neurologically, such as a bacterial infection or parasite, but I'd say the chances of that are relatively slim if he is eating and otherwise well. Unless he shows other symptoms, I'd just call him "Bobby" or "Floaty" or "Bouncy" or something cute.> Thanks for your help, <Anytime!> Evan <Andrea>
Re: Tetra buoyancy 10/29/07
Andrea, et al: <Hi Evan, sorry for the delay. I have been out of town.> Thank you for your help earlier. <Most welcome.> I wanted to update you on the situation. After about 5 hours "Bob" seems to be back to normal. <Glad to hear it.> I've only been keeping fish for 3 months, so when I saw his behavior I was surprised and alarmed. <It happens to all of us. I've been keeping fish for years and years, and still panic often. The same with my cats, frogs, lizards, toads, nieces, nephews....call it human care instinct. =). It does ease up a bit though.> And on the water tests: I'm using Jungle 5-in-1 and Ammonia quick dip tests so the readings aren't super precise and some of the tests have a large gap between values. On the Nitrate the scale is 0 then 20 and it was definitely not 20. <The test strips are good for getting a general feel of water conditions, but since you are new to the hobby, I really suggest you get better test kits, with liquid reagents. They really are an invaluable tool, especially early in the hobby when you are just learning. The accuracy will help you both learn and get a better feel for the conditions in your tank. API makes good kits for freshwater that are reasonably priced and readily available. You will want to have Ammonia, NitrIte, NitrAte, pH, kH, and possibly Phosphate on hand. Salifert are also excellent, but more expensive. It will serve you and your fish well to buy these and familiarize yourself with them and their properties.> Again, thank you all for your continuing help to all of us fish keeping novices and experts. <Our pleasure.> -Evan

Re: Ceramic media, air pumps... Actually Neon Tetra... dis., repro.   09/13/07 Hello Neale, <Hello Giuseppe,> as you know I have 2 adult Neons in my tank. One of them has a larger abdomen compared to the other one, so I assume I have a male and a female. <Indeed. According to Baensch, the difference is also seen in the shape of the blue line: on males it is straight, on females it is bent. But I can't see any difference!> Now, I noticed that every 6-8 weeks the female becomes even larger and tends to eat much less and spend most of the day in a quiet spot of the tank. This situation lasts for about 10-15 days, after which her abdomen goes back to normal and she starts eating normally. <Odd.> Do you think that she might have eggs during the time she's more swollen and doesn't eat much? <Sounds plausible enough. Do keep an eye out for Neon Tetra Disease though: key symptoms are shyness, loss of appetite, and loss of colour. Then they die! NTD is unfortunately very common.> If this is the case I would be very fascinated in trying to breed the two Neons. I read that it's pretty challenging, but that experience would be extremely exciting for me, considering also that neon tetra is one of my favorite fish. <I'm not sure it's "difficult" per se, since these fish are bred in their millions on fish farms. The problem for most aquarists is Neons only breed in very soft water. The other big mistake people make with Neons is to keep them too warm; while they aren't subtropical fish, 26C (79F) is the top of their preferred thermal range, and for breeding they only want around 24C (75F). When kept in hard, overly warm water they just won't spawn, or if they do, the eggs become fungused.> Do you also have any good web site where the breeding process for Neons is described in detail? <Is there nothing here at WWM? Breeding Neons follows the same basic pattern as most other tetras. Soft (<2 dH), acidic water (5-6); low light levels (i.e., no lights, lots of shade); little to no water movement; and benthic plants like Java moss to catch the eggs. Sunlight can be a good spawning trigger. Eggs hatch in one day, free swimming 3-4 days later, when they take Artemia nauplii and the like. If you're interested in fish breeding, there's an excellent book by Chris Andrews called 'Fish Breeding'. It's my bible for fish breeding. You can usually pick up used copies on Amazon and the life for a dollar or two.> Thank you, Giuseppe <Good luck, Neale>
Re: Ceramic media, air pumps... Actually Neon Tetra... dis., repro.   09/13/07
Neale, <Giuseppe,> I just bought that book. I was thinking about what you said about the water conditions needed to breed neon tetras and I have a couple of questions: 1 - Currently the tank where they live has a temperature of 78F and PH at 7.0. If I setup a second tank with lower temperature and acidic water, wouldn't the Neons have a shock when I move them from one tank to the other one? <Small water temperature changes don't harm freshwater fish; indeed, they are often important spawning triggers. If you're moving the fish from one tank to another, then doing the normal thing of placing the fish in a bucket of "old" water and dribbling in the "new" water over 30 minutes will not only adapt them to the new water chemistry but the water temperature too. If you're taking the fish across a dramatic water chemistry change, e.g., from hard water to very soft water, you would probably be wise to fill the breeding tank with hard water and then do soft water changes of around 20% each day until the water chemistry had changed over completely. Do also remember that very acidic water doesn't support biological filtration. You will need a small air-powered box filter filled with ammonia-remover for such a tank. There's a good argument for not filtering the tank while the parents are actually spawning and when the eggs are sitting in the moss. Only start the filter back up once the fry are free swimming.> 2 - If the Neons have to be kept in dark conditions but with plants in the tank, wouldn't the plants die for lack of light? <Yes, if you kept the lights off all the time. What you're aiming for is to put the Neons in the tank for a week, and once settled down, turn off the lights so the tank only gets natural light, and once they've laid their eggs and the fry are free swimming, turn the (subdued) lights back on. Regardless, the level of lighting should be low, and the peat extract in the water will make it quite murky. Java Moss will tolerate this regime fine. I have one tank that simply receives natural light from a window and the Java Moss has gone wild. Baby fish love the stuff, because it collects detritus and micro-organisms that they can eat. There's obviously a balance between having a nice rich microflora and a dirty tank though! Some people skip plants and use synthetic mops of various types, home-made (boiled dark-coloured yarn, teased into threads and then knotted) or purchased. There are really many options.> 3 - How long does it typically take from when the Neons are moved to the breeding tank to when they actually spawn? <No idea, never done it myself. Typically fish take a few days to settle into a spawning tank, but once there, if they're mature enough to breed, they will do so almost at once. The key thing is conditioning the female: lots of live foods so that she gets nice and fat.> Thank you, Giuseppe <Cheers, Neale>

Neon Tetra with mouth stuck open.   6/21/07 Hi All, > I'm Fran and this question really does what it says on the tin. We have a neon tetra who appears to have his mouth wedged open. He sort of inhales smaller food particles so he's not starving, but it looks painful. My other half reckons it's just because he's old, and he does not seem the type of fish to leap about and injure himself, but I do not know what else could have done this and what I can do to help him. Many thanks on behalf of myself and Tetra, F. <Hello Fran. This does sometimes happen, and usually when I've seen this on tetras it is because of a congenital deformity. Sometimes larger fish, like cichlids, dislocate their jaws when fighting. But that's unlikely to be the problem here. I'm not sure how a neon might damage its jaw to this degree, at least, not without something obvious, like mouth fungus, setting in first. Since the fish is feeding and otherwise healthy, I wouldn't worry about it too much. FYI, Neons should live for around 3-4 years in aquaria, if that helps you decide whether he's "old" or not. Cheers, Neale.>

Neon tetras--strange growths   4/24/07 Thanks for an excellent resource! I did peruse the FAQs before sending, and cropped and reduced the attached photos. <Good> In general, my 20 g long tank is fine. It's a planted tank (java ferns, dwarf sag, Christmas moss, Monoselium tenerum) with 1 SAE, a number of "wild cherry" shrimp (Neocaridina denticula sinensis) and 12 neon tetras. I've had some of the Neons for  a couple of years; I added 6 a few months ago. The tank in general is doing well. The younger Neons spawn regularly ( I just saw them doing it a few minutes ago.) I was about to test the water for pH before I sent this e-mail, but found I was out of reagent. It usually tests around neutral in the tank, out of the tap it's usually 8.0, but I have the tank on DIY CO2. <Very good> The temperature is usually at about 73 F, but they've been goofing with the A/C in my office building, so now its a bit cool (70 F.)  Anyway, some of the older Neons have this strange growth as you can see in the picture. It started months ago on one of them, but didn't/doesn't grow very quickly at all, and at first did not seem to affect other fish in the tank, but as you can see, that has recently changed. It often seems to start as a small growth on the mouth, and then shows up elsewhere. There are about 6-7 Neons in the tank that are unaffected, and about the same number that are, to varying degrees. I have a tank at home that stays in the low 80s (we live in Hawaii, no A/C at home) <Am out on the Big Island currently... mauka of Kona... at about 1,400 feet elevation... as many folks do here for moderation of seasonal temp.> with white clouds in it. I was wondering...would it be a good idea to swap tanks? <Mmm, yes> I know the Neons like it warmer, and the white clouds like it cooler... but would it be better to put a heater in this tank, rather than risk infecting the white clouds with whatever this growth is? <I don't think this growth, condition is "catching" from the Neons to Tan's fish...> Once again, thanks for an excellent resource! I appreciate your help tremendously!! Rus Wilson <Thank you for writing, sharing... I would switch out these two fish groups... I strongly suspect that the better part of the older Neon condition is largely age-influenced... They only live a few years... And would not attempt actual treatment/s other than to move them to the warmer setting. Bob Fenner>

Seemingly Incurable Mouth Fungus   3/11/07 Hello,   <Hi there Theresa>   I was hoping to find some advice to treat an apparent case of mouth fungus on one of my neon tetras.  My tank is 30 gals with a 7" Pleco, 2 Serpae tetras, 2 emerald eye tetras, 3 high fin black tetras and 5 Neons. <Mmm, with such a nice mix, I do hope your water quality sides on the warmer, more soft and acidic side> About three weeks ago, one of my Neons developed what I think is mouth fungus on one side of his mouth. <Mmm, actually funguses are rare... more likely bacterial in nature, and resultant (if only one specimen afflicted) from a physical trauma...> I treated it with MelaFix <Worthless> as per the instructions removed carbon and daily treatment for 7 days (I can tell from your site MelaFix is not one of your favourites!) <For me, you are correct>   No results,  so I treated once again after a 7 gal water change.  I still had no improvement in this fish but no other fish seemed to get sick.  I know (also from your site) that I should have a quarantine tank but unfortunately space does not allow for me to have 2 tanks!  I spoke with my LFS and they recommended the Maracyn. <I do as well.... Erythromycin otherwise known as> I have treated twice with this medicine over the period of about 2 weeks and still no improvement.  I have now noticed that one other neon has a small white spot near his mouth.  Is there another medicine or technique that you could suggest? <Mmm... the next most likely effective, and safe... Maracyn II, Minocycline> Along with the Maracyn, the LFS recommended that I raise the temp in the tank (it is now about 80) <I also agree here> and I also added some salt <Mmm, no... Definitely not. None of the fish species you list has much tolerance for this> which I was unaware was needed in a freshwater tank.  I am not sure what to do next so I was hoping for some insight from your website.      Thanks in advance for your help in this matter.  I know these are only Neons and I would really like to see them get better but I don't want to lose my tank population either.      Theresa <Do raise the temperature, to the mid eighties F., and try the Maracyn II... Bob Fenner>
Re: Seemingly Incurable Mouth Fungus II
  3/11/07 Thank you for the info and most of all the quick response! <<Bob answered your original querya "you're welcome" on his behalf. Lisa Brown here.>> It is greatly appreciated by me and the tank.  I have started to raise the temperature to the mid80s and I am now on my way to try and find the Maracyn II.  I really hope this will save the affected fish.   <<Likely will.  Be sure to keep pristine water conditions as well.>>    Just a few more questions - should I do a water change before I begin the next treatment and if I cannot find the Maracyn II should I try another treatment with the regular Maracyn? <<Yes to the water change (~25%).  You should have no trouble finding Maracyn II. Either at your LFS, or online from a number of vendors.>> Thanks again, Theresa <<Glad to help Theresa. Lisa Brown.>>
Re: Seemingly Incurable Mouth Fungus II  03/15/07
So, I am on the 4th of the 5th day of treatment with the Maracyn II and there is no improvement in the fish.  My water has become quite cloudy (I did remove the carbon prior to the treatment) and it seems to have a yellowish tinge for some reason. <Medication effects> One of the other Neons has a small spot on its mouth also.  I did a few tests on the water quality and the ph is about 7.2 and it tested as being on the hard side.      Do you have any more advice for me as I am not sure where to go from here? <A microscope, reference works...> Do a water change and start another treatment with something else or should I keep with the Maracyn II as the fish has been sick for awhile and maybe it will take 2 treatments?  As you can tell I am grasping at straws!      Thanks again.   Theresa <I would continue to monitor water quality... finish the Antibiotic treatments... and read. Bob Fenner>

Molly and Neon Tetra Health Questions, env.  3/16/2007 Dear WWM crew, <Ching> I love your website and learn a lot from here. Thank you. <Welcome> I have a 15 gallon tank with 2 Cory catfish, 3 black mollies and 7 neon tetras. <Mmm... the Cats and Neons like very different water conditions than the mollies... soft, acidic, much warmer... no salt...> Environment: Water PH: 8.0 (Our tap water is pretty hard.) <I'll say! About the same here in San Diego> Temperature: 25~26 C Nitrate: 20~40 ppm <Way too high... a source of stress...> Nitrite: 0 ppm Ammonia: 0 ppm One male molly has "obvious" mouth fungus and noticeable grey spots on his body. As I heard Cory catfish and neon tetra do not like salt, I did not add aquarium salt to the tank. <Good> I used Melafix and Pimafix together to treat the black molly. The second day and third day I could see the improvements and thought the medicine worked great. <Mmmm> As the medicine indicated we can use it when intruding new fish to the tank, so while during the course of Molly's medication (on the fourth day, I think) I added 4 neon tetras to the tank. The 7 neon tetra were doing fine and schooling around together. The black molly seemed to be getting better too. However, yesterday (the 8th day of the medication) black molly's mouth started to show the fungus again and I saw a couple of grey spots on his body. Should I use other medicine, stronger one? Or I should continue the ones I am using? <I would separate the molly/mollies, treat it/them with salt... Keep it in another setting> Today (the 9th day) I saw a red spot on one neon tetra's body, which is near the tail. I am not sure what it is an have no idea what I should do. It looks like human's bruise just the color is red not purple. Anything you could suggest? <Yes... to modify their water chemistry (w/o the Mollies present)... to be softer/more acidic (pH below 7.0)...> I have had this tank just for two months and enjoyed it a lot. But, there's still so much to learn to keep my fish healthy. <Lots of valuable lessons about life...> Thank you again for all the information you provide on the site. It is really helpful! Yours truly, Ching <A pleasure to help you, Bob Fenner>

Next line-up: The neon tetras.   1/19/07 For some reason, a little guy dies off in this tank. The first to fall I feel died because of shock. The second one I feel ate too much (this one was so quick at eating, he ate all the flakes before the others could get it. then he just went haywire and died.) Last night, the larger of the neon tetras (others about .75 inch) died. He was an inch in length and I thought he'd be able to take care of himself. He didn't seem to overeat and I thought he would have gotten his fair share. I came back and he was dead (the ghost shrimp had their way as he dropped). The water was fine - just tested - no one was attacking him, and he wasn't showing any previous signs of weakness or illness. What could it be? Granted I stepped out to research more on their natural behaviors, I came back and he was shrimp meat. <Likely an internal parasite, disorder> I know the frog is too slow to touch a tetra and the shrimp wouldn't have been able to hold on to a live tetra, so what happened? How long do these guys usually live for and how hardy are they? <Mmm, two to four or five years... Cardinals are a bit longer-lived> I have the worst luck with these (this being the third) and feel like he may have just been in bad shape from the pet store - (they have just passed their first week and a half of captivation with me). I know these guys get shipped in horrible conditions and it stays that way until they find a new home. should I just expect a fraction of the group to die given previous stress? <Likely so>

Betta Compatibility with Neon Tetras 1/7/07 Hi, <Hi> Great web site. <Thanks> I am in the process of starting up the first cycle in my 30 litre heated BiOrb with 2 neon tetras and 1 algae eating shrimp. <Neon tetras are pretty sensitive to water quality, keep a close eye on it.> So far so good and I am now planning ahead to see which fish I would like to add and when. Could I add a male Betta/fighter in a months time? (when chemical levels are good etc..) <Not a good mix, have seen Bettas try to eat little Neons, plus their water quality needs are pretty different.> If so and if he is settled could I then add more neon tetras at a later date? Thank you very much in advance, Rob <Chris>

Sexing Neon Tetras   8/16/06 Hola to all,   I want a female neon tetra but how do I know it is a girl?      Thanks, Anonymous <Not easily done... there are folks who claim there is a color difference twixt the sexes of Paracheirodon innesi... but about the only way I've been able to tell is when they're large-enough and the females egg-laden... Bob Fenner>

Pregnant Tetras  8/6/06 My name is Dom, I am 13 and I wondered if you could tell me how do you know if your neon tetras are pregnant? Yours sincerely Dom < Many female tetras are slightly larger and fuller then the males. Females will generally be much fuller in the belly region when they are getting ready to spawn. Many aquarists think that their fish are pregnant but they end up dying because of an internal infection. Sick fish usually do not eat and are very reclusive. A breeding female tetra is very active trying to attract a male so she can spawn.-Chuck>

Blue Neon Tetras : Old or ill?  - 05/09/06 Hi, <<Hello, Francesca. Tom with you.>> I am a first time poster on this site - you seem a lot less smug than other sites and I would appreciate help rather than finger pointing!   <<I lost whatever "smugness" I may have had years ago. :) As for "finger pointing", let's see what you have to tell us.>> I have a 95 litre tank which happily (usually) houses 8 blue Neons and cardinals, 3 black tetras, 3 glass catfish, 3 swordtails, 2 small albino Corys, 1 golden sucking loach (who knows his place and is not a bully), 1 upside down catfish, 1 fat apple snail and two small but adult silver sharks who we inherited with the tank.  Some were residents of the tank when we took it on (the bigger ones) and others have been added over the course of about a year.  We are expecting a new tank, about double the capacity, very soon, since we are aware that the silvers require more space really. <<Excellent. If you could "lock down" the specific species of "shark" that your "Silvers" are, we could add a little more detail. For example, what are known as Silver-tip Sharks (among other names) require vastly different water conditions than the other fish in your current tank need. Might be a problem down the road...>> They have all been cohabiting merrily for a number of months now.  They get about 15 to 20 per cent of their water changed on a weekly basis, are regularly dosed with salts and their new water is dechlorinated at every change.  The PH remains at roughly 7, the ammonia level as of last night was 0.25ppm, the nitrite level was negligible and the nitrate level (whilst higher than I would like it) was at an apparently safe 35ppm. <<Okay. Ammonia levels and nitrite levels above "0" are not good. (I'll get to this later since it has a direct bearing on your question.) Nitrate levels are "safe" up to 40 ppm for "some" fish. Others can't tolerate these levels over a sustained period. Cichlids, for instance, require low levels of nitrates as some diseases attributable to nitrates are known.>> The problem is this.  Three of the blue tetras seem to be unwell.  They are showing black discolouration on random areas of their bodies, although this does not appear to be fungus or algae, but rather a genuine change in colour.  They do not seem to be wasting away or becoming thinner, but instead seem to be kind of lumpy, again in random areas. <<Black discoloration can be a sign of chemical burning, i.e. from ammonia/nitrite exposure, that is actually in the process of healing. Usually, this will occur around the gill plates. The change in normal coloration can be expected when a fish is stressed.>> With the exception of one they are schooling, swimming and feeding as normal, but one is showing possible swim bladder issues.  He is twirling and swimming on his side, and avoiding the company of the others.   <<Again, this can be due to stress and toxic poisoning. Some fish are more "susceptible" than others.>> I have looked at a number of sites with partial descriptions of these symptoms, but nothing complete.  They are showing some symptoms of Neon Tetra Disease, but lack the significant seeming white discolouration.   <<I would discount this. From personal experience, your fish would be dying/dead right now. Trust me.>> I do not know how old they were when we bought them, but they were fully grown.  They were brought from an aquarist shop specifically chosen because they seemed to care about the welfare of their livestock over that of their profit, but I did not ask their age at the time of purchase. <<No worries. I'm glad you found someone to trust.>> Are my fish ill? <<In part, I would say that they are.>> If so, is there anything I can do to help them? <<Easiest treatment in the world. Water changes. Get the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels down. Start with a 50% water change (40 litres). Also, check your filtration. Don't believe that a filter rated for 90-100 litres will actually do the job. Oversize it, as you should with your new tank.>> Are they just old? <<Perhaps, but there are still things you can/must do.>> They are small, so I suppose they have a limited number of heartbeats like the rest of us! <<That's why I don't exercise, Francesca. I don't want to use up the heartbeats I have left! :)>> Please help me as I really do not like seeing my boys ill, Francesca <<Hopefully, I have helped. Best of luck. Tom>> Re: Blue Neon Tetras : Old or ill?  - 05/09/06 Hi Tom, <<Hello again, Francesca.>> Many thanks for all your help.  You have no idea how relieved I am that we can probably discount NTD.   <<Very glad to be able to help. Having had personal experience with NTD, I know exactly how relieved you are.>> We will get on with those water changes, and have found a nitrate/nitrite (and, by definition, ammonia) teabag thingy for the filter. <<If I may, Francesca, rely on the water changes rather than your new filter insert. I suggest this because you don't want to starve the bacteria that feed on ammonia and nitrites. There is an "irony" here, which is that these filter media will work. The downside is that they may not let your tank reach its "potential" so as to become "self-sustaining". Your parameters aren't so far out of line that you have an "emergency" on your hands. The long-term benefit of letting things run their course is that you won't have to "toy around" with your tank. Much easier on you in the long run.>> We will upgrade the filter ASAP.  The deal we have seen on the tank includes a filter so we may be able to upgrade this at that point. <<This sounds very good. I love upgrades! :)>> Thanks again for setting my mind at ease. Fran <<Happy to do so, Fran. Tom>>

Non-cottony mouth fungus on blue tetra? Also, black neon with balance problem  - 5/5/2006 Hi crew! <<Hi, Helen.>> (Before I begin, the tank details: 15-gallons (12" * 12" * 24"), quite densely planted, no CO2, nearly a year old, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, nitrates usually under 5 ppm (and always under 10 ppm), temperature 27 C, pH 6.5 (tap water used for water changes has pH of 7.5), 20% water changes once per week. Stocked with 3 Danios, 3 black neon tetras, 2 silvertip tetras, 2 blue tetras, 1 Otocinclus. Fed once per day, alternately with flake and tetra granules, with bloodworms or daphnia once per week.) <<All sounds excellent, Helen. Great job on the care and feeding.>> I have two new blue tetras who've been in my 15-gallon planted tank for about a month now (they went through two weeks of quarantine first, following your excellent advice!). <<Our advice isn't worth much without folks like you who make the effort to follow it. :)>> One of them has settled in beautifully (chases around the Danios, who are three times his size!), but the other one is far more retiring - he seems to pick a spot away from the other fish and lurk in it, changing his hideaway every week or so. In the past two weeks, I've noticed that he's developed a light, dull patch just above his mouth, on his "nose". I immediately thought "mouth fungus!"... but the pictures I've found online show that the symptom of this is a fluffy, cottony growth. His patch is light-coloured, but flat and smooth. Could this be mouth fungus, or something else? <<I would be thinking that this is more like a "scuff" or abrasion. Enough to change the coloration but not a physical trauma to be concerned about.>> I'm a little concerned by his lethargy, but he doesn't gasp or hang at the surface, and comes out from his hiding place in a great hurry whenever food is introduced to the tank (he's eating very well). Apart from the white patch, his general colouration is vibrant and shiny. I can't pinpoint when the patch first appeared, but having been watching it for 2 weeks it doesn't seem to have become bigger or changed texture. <<I've mentioned this in other responses and will again here. It's always a good sign when a fish feeds and particularly good when its appetite is strong like your fish is demonstrating. I would attribute the hiding and seeming lethargy to "shyness" more than anything else. Personally, I've got fish that all but jump into my hand when I feed them and others (same species) that sort of lay back waiting for the food to come to them. All are healthy but display different kinds of behavior.>> Do you think it would be a good idea to put him back in the quarantine tank for a course of antibacterial treatment? Unfortunately, I don't have access to medicated food in the UK. <<I don't see any need for this right now, Helen. In fact, I don't think it would be a good idea from the standpoint of handling and trying to re-settle the fish in a new environment so soon.>> Also, my oldest black neon tetra (had him nearly as long as the tank, and he's now about 2" long) has always hung at a bit of an angle, but over the past few months it has become more pronounced - he now hangs at a 45-degree angle, nose-up, when stationary! When moving around, he can swim normally. He's active and eats well, but I'm worried that when stationary he does seem to have to work his fins quite hard to stay in one place (he looks as if he'd tail-slide backwards and downwards if he stopped beating his fins). No list in the horizontal plane, though. I'm assuming that this is a swim-bladder problem, and what I've read suggests that these are very difficult to treat. Would it be worth trying him with a quick course of antibacterial medication anyway? <<No. Never a good idea to treat for something that can't be positively identified (or as close to it as humanly possible). I've got one lone survivor out of 12 from a disastrous bout of Neon Tetra Disease (had them all in quarantine, thank goodness, and he spent an additional four or five weeks in "solitary" afterward) who displays the same type of swimming behavior. Perfectly normal otherwise but always seems a little "nose-up" when stationary. I'm not concerned and I don't think you should be, at this point, either.>> Thank you very much for your time, and your excellent site! Helen <<I hope I've helped lessen your concerns, Helen. You're doing a wonderful job. Tom>>
Non-cottony mouth fungus on blue tetra? Also, black neon with balance problem - 05/05/2006
Thanks for the advice and encouragement, Tom! Though... maybe it was a little _too_ much encouragement... a simple trip to LFS to get more water conditioner somehow ended up with us walking out with a new 8-gallon heated tank, an armful of plants, and a splendid little blue/green Betta (we'd been talking about getting one for a couple of weeks - and doing the research - so it wasn't _completely_ an impulse purchase... but it wasn't what we went to the store for!). Multiple tank syndrome beckons... <<Oh, stop! I've a 20-gallon tank lying fallow right now that's virtually "screaming" for inhabitants. (I can hear it calling me as we speak, in fact!) Seriously, I'm glad I could help. (Hmmmm... A couple of Bolivian Rams, perhaps.) :)>> Helen <<Tom>>

How many Neons would live healthy and happy in a ten (10) gallon tank,  - 04/19/2006 with proper filtration and a heater.  Tank is fully cycled too. Don't want to overload. <You can probably do 1 per gallon...they are tiny fish and like to school :), IanB>

Neon Tetra help needed  - 03/28/06 Hi. <Hello>  I have 5 neon tetras, 3 Zebra Danios and now 3 Fancy Guppies (1 female and 2 male) with about 7 fry hiding (mom died)<Sorry to hear that>.  When I bought my Tetras they were all fine until the next morning.  1 had lost its color from midway on back and was swimming funny (like it was drunk).  It has now regained its coloring and swims better.  However, it goes in fits of twirling about (fast circular movement; head down) and other times I can't tell which one it is in the school.  What is wrong with it (maybe got injured on the way home)?  I grew up (25 years) with Tetras (as well as the other types) and have never seen anything like this.  Do I need to remove it from the tank or is it ok to leave it in there?  Thank you, Karen in Georgia. <First, remove the Neon to another tank. What you describe, to a large degree, mimics "Neon Tetra Disease"; loss of coloration, erratic swimming behavior. I've not come across any information that describes the return of color to a fish once it's been infected, though, which makes me wonder, to be honest with you. There is a "false" version of the disease which is bacterial rather that Sporozoan in its cause but it would be virtually impossible, outside of a laboratory, for you (or I) to discern the difference. Since NTD is spread to other fish so quickly and with such fatal results, you should treat this as a "worst case" to protect your other pets. Unfortunately, there is no known treatment for NTD although some claims of success have been offered; none conclusively, I'm afraid. Maintain your water parameters in the main tank to protect against any spreading of whatever this may be. Best of luck to you, Karen. Tom>

What are these things! FW Neons, Ich...    3/27/06 Dear WWM Crew, I have recently had all my neon tetras die. The first one to go (thing 1) had dropsy and was really sad because he had been a part of my aquarium for over a year. I went to the local aquarium to get two replacements to keep my second neon company. Within 2 days both of the new guys died. I tested my water and everything was fine. <Can't tell from here> The following day I bought another neon tetra and named in speckles (It had white dots sprinkled over its body and fins). <Perhaps if you named them after prophets...> This one soon died too, followed by my second neon tetra (thing 2). I noticed my other fish began having white dots as well. <Oops... likely not related... but Ich> (I have a flame tetra, two Gouramis, a Serpae tetra) Doing my research, I assumed Ich and began treating the tank with CopperSafe, as recommended by the aquarium store. <... I would NOT treat small characins/Tetras with Copper products... but half doses of Malachite Green, elevated temperature... posted on WWM> Paying closer attention to the tank, I can see many tiny white bugs moving on the glass and floating in the water that were not there before. <These also are very likely unrelated...> Can these white bugs be what is on my fish? Are they parasites hurting my fish? Thank you for your time, Jackie <The initial losses were probably due to simple differences in your store/sources water quality, acclimation and your system... the Ich was likely imported on some of the new fish... the bugs are likely living on the nutrients, food... You need to "step up" your maintenance, treat the Ich with something less toxic (likely clean the tank a bit first, or better, treat the fish elsewhere...), and not worry re the apparent "bugs". Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Platy & Guppy Questions... and Neons in the mix   2/22/06 I'm new to the hobby, but your site has been quite helpful.  I have a couple of questions about the health of my fish and I hope you can help.  I have a 10 gallon tank this is well filtered, heated to about 79 F, and planted as my main tank and a 2.5 gallon hospital tank.  I have 7 guppies, 2 male and 5 females; 3 platies and 13 platy fry that are 2 days old and doing very well; 3 neon tetras, a Chinese algae eater and 2 bamboo shrimp.  I know I have a bit too many, but water quality seems to be pretty good and I test it at least every other day and I have another 10 gallon being shipped.  When I first brought the platies home, one had a white rectangular wound on her back so she went straight to the hospital tank where she is now, and gave birth 2 days ago, and the white stuff has spread around her a little, but its not spotted like Ick is and appears to have some trouble swimming in the main tank.  Also in the hospital tank is one of the Neons who has some gill trouble - loss of gills or the cover, <Happens> but it appears to be slowly returning to a more pink color and one female guppy who has gotten progressively worse, she has some raised scales, large white growths.  One of the guppies in the main tank also has a few scales that appear almost like a shed skin coming off, but they don't appear to be getting any worse.  None of the other fish seem to have any trouble, but I'm not sure what to do about the fish in the hospital tank or the one guppy with the "shedding" in the main tank.  Any help or advice you can offer me would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks. Arlie Hubbard <I would separate (when you get the new ten gallon) the Neons, read re their water quality (softer, acidic, warmer) and the livebearers... and keep their environments to their liking... This is all that is needed here. Oh... and keep an eye on this Algae Eater... often trouble with other fishes. Bob Fenner>

Dying neon tetras  02-05-06 Help! two weeks ago I did a complete change out of my 10 gallon tank, saving off half the water and rinsing the new gravel and furnishings well and added a bubbler. <Better to limit such changes to one quarter if at all possible> The tank is inhabited by 5 neon tetras, 5 harlequins and 1 Pleco. <Too small a tank for the last> the water I added was conditioned by Aquafresh (or something like that) <At least they'll have minty breath> and the original water was replaced as well. for two weeks everything was fine, <Only apparently> but yesterday one of the Neons became bloated and started swimming sideways. I removed it from the tank and put it in another container and it was dead by morning. Today, I've noticed another neon started to exhibit the same symptoms. The harlequins seem to be just fine. I noticed a rust colored deposit building up on the new furnishings. what is this deposit and what is happening to my Neons? any advice you can give would be splendid! thanks, Chris <The Neons don't "like" your water... or this much change this fast... Perhaps your system is "re-cycling"... also much harder on small characins than minnows... See WWM, fishbase.org re their water preferences. Bob Fenner>

Disease Of Neon Tetra - 11/07/2005 Bob: <Actually, Crewmember Sabrina with you tonight.> Great site. Just found it - will come back OFTEN.  <Excellent! Glad to hear of its use to you.> Need help now, though. One of my neon tetras is acting very erratically. It is swimming, head pointed down at a 45-50 degree angle, in quick jerky motions. I think the stomach is also slightly bloated. All other tetras are doing fine. Any ideas????? <Many.... And most prominently, Mycobacteriosis.... often referred to as "neon tetra disease" or "rainbowfish disease" for these fishes' apparent propensity for contracting it.> I have 29 gallon planted tank, 12 Neons, 6 Glo-light tetras, 3 Corys, 1 Mongolian algae eater, <.... a 'Mongolian' algae eater? That's a new common name to me.> <<So new as to be UNcommon! <giggle>.  Marina>> 1 beta, 2 guppies. I just added the guppies (to replace two that died), and two of the Corys (again, to replace some that died). <You might want to consider using a quarantine system for new livestock....> pH is in the 6.6-6.8 range, temp is 76, ammonia and nitrite are both zero. I do 20% water changes once every one to two weeks. <Really, there are far too many possibilities to pin it down on this much info.... But I would absolutely quarantine this fish in a separate system for fear of it passing something nasty along to your other fishes.> Thank you, thank you. <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

New Planted Tank and Fish Death 10/11/05 Hello, The crew has given me solid advice in the past, and I want to share a recent experience with you all. I help my parents set up a 75 gal planted community aquarium. We went fairly low tech: no CO2 injection, low light, 2 Penguin Bio Wheel 350 power filters. All the planting was done immediately. We then cycled the new setup using established aquarium water and sponge squeezings from a mature filter. We were able to observe the complete nitrogen cycle.  After our nitrite readings were zero, we added fish. The complete cycle took a little over 3 weeks. The initial stocking consisted of 40 Neons, 24 Rummy Nose, 5 Siamese algae eaters, and 5 Amano shrimp. All the Neons died over a 5-7 day period, a few every night. All but 3 of the Rummy Nosed died in the same period. 3 of the Siamese died also during this period. None of the shrimp perished.  During the week of death, we continued monitoring all water parameters. There was never any change in ammonia, nitrite, pH, or nitrate. I am wondering if we stocked the tank too fast. If that was the case wouldn't there have been an ammonia/nitrite spike? Is there more to an established aquarium than just the nitrogen cycle? Are there other organisms that add to the bio-balance of a mature aquarium making it more suitable to life? Once a tank is cycled, is it mature? Or does that take months? I am trying to figure out if we received some bum fish, or the tank wasn't ready for the new fish. Any thoughts? <Im sorry you and your fish had such a rough week. I have a few thoughts/questions. What did you use for your ammonia source when cycling your tank? Fish food? Ammonia from the grocery store? Since you had cycled your tank, I assume your ammonia or nitrites were down to zero. What was your pH? Nitrate level?  Tetras are known to be touchy when you put them into tanks. Did you test the fish store waters pH? Maybe they experienced a dramatic change in pH. Id consider a mature tank one thats been up for about a year or so. It does have its own collection of microfauna. Levels of trace elements have evened out.  I think you probably stocked the tank a bit too fast the fish may have died before they were able to create an ammonia spike. Since your shrimp didnt die, you might have had some fish disease that wiped out most of the tank. Shrimp are very sensitive to ammonia, indicating that your test kits are speaking truth. You could have just had some bum fish, but your death levels are really high.  Id suggest adding about 10 tetras at a time for a little while. What is going to be the final composition of the tank? You could start with your hardiest fish. You might want to consider a quarantine tank introducing a disease into a 75 gallon would be a nightmare to clean up.> Thanks, CW  <Anytime, Catherine W> 

Pregnant neon  9/5/05 Hi, Please help-I think I've done something awful. I set up my new tank yesterday, but because the above neon seemed to be harassed by other fish I put the fish in the new tank.  She seems very stressed, swimming in jerky movements, in circles. I have turned the light off .  My predicament is: Should I put the fish back with the others or put another neon in for company? Please advise. <I would add another neon to this ones tank> Regards and thanks for your assistance Jacqui <Bob Fenner>

Neons vs. cardinals 7/21/05 Hello, wondering if I could get an opinion on these tetras. I'm planning on a 108 gal. community and want to have either neon tetras or cardinals as the main schooling species. What would be your recommendation with these fish for overall color, adaptability with other community fish and most of all hardiness? I know both require the same water conditions. That's it. Neons or cardinals? Appreciate any input on this subject?..........Regards, Craig P. <Mmm, am a big fan of both species, but will side with the Cardinals... for bigger size, greater longevity, relative hardiness. Bob Fenner>
Re: Neons vs. cardinals 7/22/05
Mr. Fenner thanks for your response and the cardinals sound good to me as well. I received a response from you on the Hagen lights for my tank last week; again ty. I realized that your name was familiar and dug up one of my FAMA magazines from years past and found your article. Showed the e-mail I sent you to my son and then your picture and he was really impressed!! "Dad he's an expert", <Heeee!> were his words. He's 11. I've been in the hobby for about 10 years now and still enjoy it very much...... just ask my wife, lol. It's good to know expert advice is a click away.......... Thanks again. I live in the province of Newfoundland Canada and the hobby has really taken off here this past few years; both fresh and saltwater, but I find staff with any knowledge are few and far between. Anyway, I had to drop you this note to let you know, it's great to get advice from the "expert"..................... much regards.....Craig P. <Hmm, whenever I hear the term, I always think of "ex spurt"... as previously married and flow under pressure... Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Neon tetra breeding 7/17/05 I am trying to breed my neon tetras (yes I know this is difficult but that's why I am trying).  I have three tanks set up, one for my males, one for my females, and a breeding tank. I've done a lot of research, and have access to every scientific journal, but there is more I seek.  I am curious as to your opinion of the best technique to sex neon's and in particular the 'candling' method where you shine light through them and look for ovaries (I have yet to try this myself).   <There are slight coloring differences between the sexes... handling them, moving them to where a bright light can be shone behind is not recommended. The folks in the orient who breed this species just condition, time the spawnings...> Also, regarding water GH.  For the right breeding conditions I need to get my water down to about 1-2 dGH. <Yes, the lower the better>   I have yet to get below 3 dGH and I'm using RO water with 1tbsp/10 gal. salt added back <Leave the salt out> and tetra black water extract (We have pretty hard water in our area). I'm also using a phosphate free acid buffer to help with the pH which works very well.  Any advice is appreciated. <The 3 dGH should not be a problem. What has been your difficulty thus far? Getting the fish to spawn? Raising the young, growing sufficient food? Bob Fenner> Jeramie Abel
Re: neon tetra breeding 7/18/05
Thanks for your quick reply.  My difficulty thus far has mainly been with the dGH.  In just about every literature I've read it suggests dGH of 1-2. But if you say 3 should work I will try. <Not much difference in the hardness between 2 and 3>   Sexing them so I can separate them will be accomplished once my second tank is done cycling (still have high ammonia at this point... waiting for the bacteria to become established through fishless cycling).  I have not tried any of the subsequent steps although I've had females become gravid, I just haven't tried to separate them into the breeding tank because it too has not been ready yet so if they have spawned, I have not paid much attention to it because I knew I could do nothing with the eggs and they would be eaten.  Currently I have a gravid female who is hiding out in an ornament (covered stump that is pretty secluded) but I haven't seen any mating rituals, however I'm not sure I know exactly what to look for with Neons. <You will see... there is a discernible fixed action pattern of orientation, dance, release, separation...>   My plan, should I see some behavior that is unmistakable, is to move the male and female to the breeding tank with a nice piece of java moss and turn out the lights.  My conditions in the breeding tank are pH=6.4, temp=74, dGH=3-3.5, ammonia & nitrate =0, no gravel, and it has an established sponge filter.  I plan to feed newly hatched brine shrimp at approximately 3 days old or when the yolk sacs are depleted but at this point I've yet to get the opportunity to try and raise any fry.  Thanks for any advice. Jeramie Abel <Artemia are too big for a first food... do read re "Infusoria" culture... on the Net, in "old" aquarium books... Look for the name William T. Innes. Bob Fenner>

Angel Finds Neons a Tasty Treat (4/22/04) Hello - I cannot thank you guys enough for the awesome website! <It's an honor to play a small part. Steve Allen here tonight.> I've had a planted 29 gallon freshwater tank running with only an Angel (about 4 inches) and a balloon bellied molly for quite a while. All of the other fish died of velvet and these two were the survivors. Today I decided that the tank could use some new inhabitants and I really wanted small schooling fish. I purchased a 3 pack of neon tetras and finished acclimating them about 2 hours ago. Unfortunately my 3 pack is now a 1 pack and my Angel fish now has a pot belly, so he got a very colorful snack. <Tasty too.> I really want to keep some sort of schooling fish in this fairly small tank. My question is if I buy more of the neon tetras will they have a better chance of survival in a bigger school (maybe 6-9 of them to create confusion) or am I just buying an expensive snack? <Number two. The Angel will pick them off one-by-one in that small tank.> Are there other small schooling freshwater fish that are better at escaping or a bit bigger so they wont fit in the angels mouth? <Not small ones. You could put maybe 4 or 5 somewhat larger tetras such as Lemon or Serpae. These ought to be OK, but since your Angel is already rather large, start out with near-adult size ones. Another possibility would be Golden or Cherry Barbs, but these could get a little too big. The angel will continue to grow somewhat bigger, so you need to be careful not to put too many other fish in there.> Thanks in advance for the advice :) <Hope this helps.>

Dull Neons... Hi there, I was wondering if you could give me some advice on my neon tetras. Today I noticed that they are looking very dull in colour and not swimming about as much as they usually do, also one of them is bloated. I thought this could be neon tetra disease, do you think this is the case? If so, should I carry out euthanasia? < If the disease is only affecting one fish then I would get rid of it. If it looks like it is going to spread to the other fish then I would treat with Nitrofuranace of Myacin. Make sure you follow the directions on the package.-Chuck> Thanks Fran

Getting Neons to School (drive them there?) Hi, <Hello> I have a 75 gallon tank with about 18 neon tetras and am planning on getting another half dozen or so.  Currently, I also have 4 peacock gudgeons and am planning on getting a few rams and maybe Apistos. <Sounds like a very nice assortment> My problem is that my Neons are not schooling, at least they don't form really tight looking school.  I have a moderately well plastic planted tank and I think the Neons just feel pretty safe in the tank.  Can you recommend any easy to care for fish that would scare the Neons into schooling. <Mmm, not scare... I suspect some aspect of water quality is at play here... what's your water chemistry, temperature?> Not something that would eat them, but just something to make the neighborhood seem tough enough to rekindle their schooling instincts.  I've thought about discus, but only want to do at most 5 gallon water changes each week.  Any suggestions? Thanks. Nate Terry <Raise the water temperature to the mid 80's F... check that the water is not too hard... Bob Fenner>

STUPID NEON TETRA? I have 5 zebra Danio 5 neon tetra 2 Cherrie barbs and a Bloodfin tetra in a 10 gal. tank. But the one neon tetra stays with the female Cherry barb and darts through the school its supposed to be in breaking it up and returns to the female. Is this normal or is it just stupid. This has been occurring for 2 days now so please help. < Normally fish school together for protection. It could be that their is a dominant male tetra in the school chasing away a rival male. The rival male does not want to be left out because in the wild that usually means it will soon be somebody's lunch very soon. So it has probably tried to school with any fish that will tolerate it while trying to break up the other males happy harem.-chuck>

Big Neon Tetra - Big Lack of Info help my neon tetra she got big eyes is something wrong.  she looks full of eggs <If there's any way you can tell us more about your fish and setup, including information like water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH), tank size, what other fish the tetra is in with, how long you've had it, how often/how much you change water, we'll be better able to help you.  As it is, the information you've sent us (big eyes, possibly distended belly) isn't a whole lot to go off of, and I really can't recommend a treatment without knowing more.  The best I can do for now is suggest that you follow this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm and read through any of the articles there pertaining you your fish, your system, etc.  Please be sure to take a look at the FAQs linked to those articles, as well, as there is a great wealth of information stored here.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Neons, Frogs, & Snails Hello to all at WWM, I have a few questions. First I have a 10g established tank with three neon's.  I wanted more so I went to the pet shop and bought 3 more neon's, a blue mystery snail and 1 African dwarf frog.  They assured me this would not overcrowd my tank (but they have given me bad advice in the past so I thought I would ask you guys) <This should be fine as long as you dont add anything else to the tank. Also make sure the tank is fully covered so your frog cant escape.> I am getting very conflicting info on the frog.  They told me at the pet shop that it would eat fish flakes but what I've been able to find on the web suggests otherwise.  I guess what I need to know is what's some really good food to feed this little guy. <This site http://allaboutfrogs.org/info/mypets/dwarfs.html has a lot of information and suggests frozen bloodworms as an excellent food for them.> They also suggested frozen brine shrimp when I asked about frozen treats for my neon's. Your site said these are junk food and when I asked if there was anything else that would be suitable for my neon's they said no.   <As a treat once in a while brine shrimp will be fine, just dont count on it providing much nutrition. Frozen Daphnia is also small enough that your Neons should be able to eat it too.> Another question do I need to buy special food for the snail?   <Nope, hell eat stuff thats in the tank.> One last question, the new neon's I got are a lot bigger than my original ones.  One of my original neon's is hiding out in the weeds.  It has done this on and off since I have had it (about 3 months) and seems fine but just seems to be hiding more since I added the others.  Do you think they could be bulling it since they are bigger?   <The bigger one might be bullying it but probably not. The original one is probably just nervous and will come out more as he adapts to the new critters in his tank.> Thank You So Much for all your help. Amy <You're welcome! Ronni>

Help with my brackish water tank Bob <Amanda> I read your recommendations on plants for brackish water and I just wanted to see if what you thought about my situation... I recently introduced bumble bee gobies to my formerly VERY happy fresh water tank ... now after some research I am learning they need brackish water... <Yes> ok I don't want them to die... but the tank is doing so well ... I have some Japanese shrimp, vale, Sagittarius, and neon tetras... plus the new bumble bee's will everyone be ok with a little more salt? <Actually... most all, but not the Neons. I would put them in a system with softer, more acidic water... with no added salt. Bob Fenner> Thank you Amanda
Re: brackish water question...
Here is my problem... I recently bought five bumble bee goby's even more recently I learned they need brackish water... (no one at the pet store said a thing) <Mmm, must be the same tank, Amanda> The tank they are in is my favorite - it is well planted with fast growing Val and Sagittarius... there are two Japanese shrimp and about ten neon tetras... will adding a small amount of salt for the bumble bee's harm the others? <Just the Neons> I am hesitant because the tank is so well balanced I never have to clean any algae ... just remove the Val when it starts to take over... Thank you so much for any ideas.... Amanda <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Neon problem Hello to all at WWM, <Good morning! Ronni here with you today.> I have a question about one of my Neons.  I have 3 along with 3 mollies in a 10g tank  I've had them about a month and so far everyone is still alive.  Tank is finally cycled and water quality is good. My problem is one of my Neons has a colorless eye.  I don't know if it has always been there or just happened.  I hadn't noticed it before.  It seems to be fine, playing, schooling, eating, and its color is good. From what I've read it doesn't sound like pop eye.  The eye isn't swollen.  I'm wondering if you know if this is just genetic or some sort of infection or what.  Thank you so much for all of your help. <Is the eye cloudy? If so, it could be an injury of some sort. Keep watching him to see if it gets better or stay the same. If it gets worse, youll need to isolate and medicate him.> Thanks, Amy <You're welcome! Ronni>

Going To School Will cardinal tetras school with neon tetras?  What other types of tetras will school with Neons? <Well- as far as schooling "with" the Neons, any tetras of similar size could join up. However, I have seen Neons school with Cardinal Tetras, Glowlight Tetras, and even Rasboras on a few occasions, so anything is possible. Usually, in my experience, anyways, the Neons seem to school with Neons, Glowlights with Glowlights, etc. Keep an eye on these little guys- their behavior is very interesting! Enjoy! Scott F.>

Nasty Neons Hey! I just wanted to say that I have learned a TON of information from your site. I have looked throughout your search for an answer to what I'm observing, but haven't found one yet. So here is my question. I have a ten gallon tank up and running that is around two and a half months old. It is my first tank and after setting it up and having some fish die, I learned about cycling. So after a few dead fish and a ton of money spent on testing kits, I think everything is going okay. There are 5 guppies (2 m. 3 f.) and 4 Neons. I tested the water today and these are the stats: ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: around 20 (the test is a colored water thing that is sometimes hard to get exact numbers from) Temp: 79 (it's getting hot in California!) Ph: 8 (we have hard tap water) Regarding the Neons, I have one that is noticeably smaller than the other three, but he is really aggressive. He (I'm guessing) doesn't school, but isn't hanging at the bottom or hiding. He hangs out right in the middle of the tank and chases the other Neons away. I'm wondering if this is something I should be worried about. I know that Neons do better in larger numbers (6+?) but I don't want to add more fish and throw this little tanks' levels out of whack. Could I add two more Neons and be okay? Thanks for any help you guys can provide! You all do the aquatic hobby world a great service! -Shannon <Sure. As long as you watch the nitrate and adjust your water change schedule to keep it below 20ppm you'll be fine adding three or four more Neons. It's also a good move to control the aggressive one. If you're goal is breeding the guppies you will need a fry tank. Neons are small, but they can take newborn guppies. And any that make it would start to overstock your tank. Don>

A Betta to the Mix? Hey crew. Do you think a male Betta could peacefully live with my 9 neon tetras and my 3 platys in my 10 gallon freshwater planted tank? Thanks! <Nope, sorry but two problems here. The dozen fish you have now are about the limit of a 10 gallon. And the Betta will turn a small Neon into lunch. A big (?) Neon will just get harassed. Maybe to death. Don> 

New tank, fat Neons Hi there, <Good morning!> Im 13 and I love fish. I saved all my money and got a 30litre tank. I have done everything right washed the gravel and planted plants and o on. I left it running for a week and have done regular pH level tests. 2 weeks ago I got my first 4 fish, 1 peppered Cory and 3 neon tetra. All is well, until today when I noticed that the largest and 2nd largest of my neons have very large stomachs!! I am not quite sure what it is , I am thinking pregnant because those 2 seem to spend a lot of time together but I began to wonder if maybe it wasnt so in a panic I searched and this sight looked really useful so here I am!! Do you think you could help me, will it spread to my new ???s they are half orange and half deep blue, small, smaller than the Neons!! <Mmm, I suspect your "fat" Neons have just eaten a good deal more dried food than they should have... and will thin down (or have done so already) on their own. Do look into using other types of foods (frozen/defrosted, fresh) to keep them in good color and health. Bob Fenner> 

Ick Tetras I have a question regarding my neon tetras. I have a 25 gallon tank with a bio wheel and Eclipse filter. The ph is constant at 7, the temperature is constant at 80 and I do regular water changes (every 3-4 weeks as advised by our Aquarium store) and I treat the water with a Sera product called Aquatan before I add new water. I do not know the ammonia and nitrite amounts as I do not have a test kit for these yet.  Our tank has been set up for 18 months and we have had no problems. We have 5 neon tetras, 5 lemon tetras, 2 Corydoras, 3 Otos, and 3 blue German rams that replaced 3 swordfish (the children were upset about the whole eating of the young aspect). Today I notices a problem with our Neons. They all seem to have ragged fins from a mild to severe degree, most have some sort of dark greenish/blackish patches on their sides, and one in particular is emaciated and a very dull colour. This one also seems to have pop eye (one other looks like he is developing it ) and at certain angles I can see a few white things attached to his eyes and head (only this one seems to have the white effect).  Is this neon tetra disease? What else could it be? Will it affect the other fish? How should I treat it? The other fish seem fine although one or two of the lemon tetras seem to have a couple of slight ragged/split spots on their fins that I had put down to age or nipping by the male swordfish we had.  Thank you for your time in answering this question as my daughter is very upset and I want to make sure I treat the tank expediently and appropriately. Lisa < Forget testing for ammonia and nitrites and get a nitrate test kit. Changing the water every three to four weeks may not be enough and may need to changed more often. I would recommend a 30% water change while vacuuming the gravel and then clean the filter. Now that the tank is clean you should see some improvement. The tail/fin rot may need to be treated if it gets worse with Nitrofurazone. The Popeye is an internal bacterial infection that needs to be treated with Metronidazole. After treating your bacteria that breaks down the fish waste may be gone so I would add some Bio-Spira to recycle the tank.-Chuck>
Sick Tetras II
Thanks for your quick reply. I wanted to follow up and let you know some more information that I got today. I took the neon tetras on a little trip back to the Aquarium shop (Aquariums West in Vancouver) and the staff were baffled by the greeny black patches. They agreed they looked sick but had seen nothing like it and said it was not tail rot.  They are going to keep them in isolation for a few days and have a couple of other fish experts take a look. It likely will not help the fish but I want to know if it will spread to the other fish and they are very curious. I had our water tested and the nitrates and ammonia were both zero so I don't think the water is a problem (I do change the filter every time I do a water change). I will let you know if they come up with a interesting diagnoses. Thanks again for your answer and your informative website, Lisa < Diagnoses is always difficult when you cannot see the animal. Hope they are able to help. -Chuck> 

Dying neon tetras Hi there, <Hi there...this is Jorie, and I'll try to help...> Have just come across your site and trawled it for any similar problems to mine, but couldn't spot anything, so I hope I'm not going to waste your time, but here goes! <You certainly are not wasting anyone's time - we are here to help you!> My fiancée and I purchased a 13 gallon tank about 3 weeks ago and set it up as follows: washed gravel in water till it ran clear, washed resin tank ornaments in the same way. A couple of plastic plants, but mostly real plants (some sword grass and sword plants, at least that's what they said they were in the shop).  We added the tap water and treated it with AquaSafe to dechlorinate, etc. following the instructions on the bottle. We added some AquaPlus water conditioner and we also added a little plant food that said it was safe for other tank inhabitants and followed the instructions in both cases carefully.  We have a mechanical, biological and chemical filter that we checked was the right size for the tank, and a heater that keeps the water at a constant 78 degrees Fahrenheit.  The filter also has an attachment that can further oxygenate the water (little pipe attachment to pump out more bubbles).  Also have a hood and light for the tank. We cycled the tank for these weeks, and before we put any fish in we checked the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH levels: ammonia, nitrate, nitrate were 0 and pH at 7.5. We live in Glasgow in Scotland and our water is quite soft. We also added some AquaPlus water conditioner the morning before the fish went in, because it recommended doing so for new fish. We bought six jumbo neon tetras yesterday afternoon - floated the bag for half an hour to get the temperature even for them, added some tank water gradually over another half an hour and then released them. They looked pretty happy, we left the light off to let them settle down and didn't feed them straight away for the same reason, feeding them a tiny amount about 2 hours later. Just before we went to bed we checked on them, and two seemed listless and gasping a little, but still able to swim, not just floating. This morning 2 were dead upside down on the tank bottom, and this afternoon two more. We did another water check and the levels were still fine. The poor guys looked physically ok when they died, apart from being a little pale - you could still make out the bright colours on their bodies. They didn't appear bloated with no cuts or gashes and seemingly normal gills. No signs of fungus or spotting either. When I was keeping an eye on the second two that died later, they seemed to get listless and were floating about the main body of the tank rather than swimming in the plants like the others. They also looked to be gasping a little.   I really don't want to be doing something wrong and be unknowingly hurting the wee fellas. The last two seem ok at the moment, although one swims about more than the other.  Do you think it could be something they had already from the shop, or am I doing something terribly wrong? Do you think I need to get them some medication, only I am reluctant to do so when they don't look hurt or diseased and I might do more harm than good? Any advise greatly appreciated, Charlotte <Charlotte, I'll be honest, I'm a bit mystified myself as to what's going on! I read your thorough narrative above, and very honestly, you did absolutely everything I typically suggest to newcomers, from rinsing the gravel, cycling the water, keeping the temp. constant, etc. The one thing that I'd suggest you measure is the water's oxygen level; you mention that you do have an air filter in the tank, but the gasping behavior you've noticed makes me think perhaps they fish aren't getting enough O2. Most major test kit brands have a conversion chart to measure oxygen levels - I personally use the Tetra brand kit, but I don't think it matters too much. Just stay away from the "dip stick" type test kits, as they are pretty unreliable. Aside from that, I'm thinking perhaps a toxin other than ammonia, nitrite or nitrite has found its way into the water - I say this because of the suddenness of the fishes' death. Can you think of *anything* (from cleaning supplies to air fresheners, for example), that could possibly be contaminating the water? I don't know if it will help, but you could try additional water changes and perhaps looking into a PolyFilter - filter media that removes lots of unwanted toxins, from phosphates to ammonia. (That's a shot in the dark, though - it's all I can think of!) You may be correct in thinking your fish weren't altogether healthy when you purchased them. Any idea how long they were living at the fish store? That's good question to ask - the longer the better, but you won't always get that lucky. I have never personally kept neon tetras, but from what I understand, they can be fragile. You did well to slowly acclimate them when you brought 'em home, and as I said above, did everything else according to the "rules".  With regards to medicating, I don't think I'd go there, especially since you don't see any observable signs of illness or lacerations. You may indeed do more harm than good - I never recommend using meds just for the sake of it, and it's always best to narrow down what's going on before taking a "shot in the dark" approach to medicating fish. Do check on the oxygen levels, and think about possible water contaminants. In the meantime, keep those water levels pristine, and hopefully the two survivors will be OK. I'll cross my fingers for you!  Good luck, Jorie> 
Re: Dying neon tetras
Hiya Jorie, <Good morning, Charlotte.> Thanks so much for your reply, I don't think they had been in the shop long now I think about it, because we had been in a couple of times in the days before to get fish food and other things, and hadn't noticed them when we had a look around.  I can't think of anything I might have accidentally exposed them to (even been careful not to wear perfume on my wrists in case I need to dive in!) but maybe I'm forgetting something. I'll definitely look into a PolyFilter, that sounds a good idea - want to do my best for them, felt awful for the first ones. Have named the other two Crusoe and Friday as they are so far survivors! Thanks for all your advise, you've been really helpful, I'll keep you posted, but so far so good.  Charlotte  <Glad to hear Crusoe and Friday are doing well! I know neon tetras are an extremely popular choice with hobbyists, but my understanding is that they are remarkably fragile. Additionally, I believe they are strictly wild-caught (as opposed to tank raised), which always increases the chances of a fish not acclimating well into captivity. It sounds as though you are doing absolutely everything you can to keep these little guys happy and healthy, so I wouldn't beat yourself up over it too much. Some things just aren't within our control! Best of luck, Jorie> 

Neon tetras that change colour... Hi. I have found your information about neon tetra very useful, but I am confused about "neon tetra disease".  I first got a fish tank two years ago and have kept neon tetras in this time.  It didn't take me long to notice that when they changed colour that this is bad, but the fish did not always die but change back and remain healthy. <Mmm, Neons do change color sometimes due to "mood", time of day, interactions with each other... not always indicative of disease> (I have had one particular neon tetra for 2 years now).  Is this colour changing due to "neon tetra disease" or is it just stress or bad water? <This Sporozoan infection is almost always fatal, and quite distinctive (loss of blue coloring distally): http://freshaquarium.about.com/cs/disease/p/neondisease.htm I don't think your fish have this ailment> I really like my neon tetras and hope that there is something I can do about this phenomenon. Thanks Dani. <Read on. Bob Fenner>

pH question for neon tetra Hi Crew, You have a really great site: I have been finding answers for most of my questions since I started my aquarium. But this one is still bugging me. What would be better for my tank to keep pH stable but fairly high or try to reduce in with chemicals risking its stability? It is 40Gals planted tank that have been running for about two moths, while fish is living there for a month. No detectable ammonia and nitrates. My tap water is about 7.0pH and very soft, but as soon as it is in the tank the pH goes up to 7.4pH and the hardness sets at 80 mg/l. I have been filtering water through peat from the beginning and doing weekly 20% water changes. I keep 8 neon tetra for now and plan to add a small shoal of Corys, gouramis and, possible, a couple of small loaches (if snails got out of control). Now I understand that pH 7.4 is too high for Neons, yet from what I learned the playing with pH is least desirable thing. Please, give me some advice on how to deal with this dilemma. It will be very much appreciated. <Something in the tank is buffering the water to the higher pH. Calcium in the water may be one source or even the sand/gravel may be reacting to the water. If you get your water from a well then check the water from the tap and then let it sit overnight and then check it again. If the pH rises then the real pH of your water is the 24 hour reading. Well water sometimes contains co2 and this temporarily lowers the pH until the co2 is off gassed. Assuming the true pH of your water is 7.4 I would recommend the following. Start getting some RO/distilled water and do a 5 gallon per week water change with it. Treat the 5 gallons of water with a buffer that will bring the water down to where you want it. After a few water changes your water will gradually be lowered to where you want it to be. Be careful . New fish from the store need to acclimated to the lower pH over time. If the local stores have water that is hard and alkaline then they may not appreciate the abrupt change.-Chuck> Thank you, Konstantin.
Re: pH question for neon tetra Thank you Chuck. From your reply I got that I do need to reduce the pH and the question is just how to do it properly. Following your advice I did left my tap water standing for a day, but pH and kH have not changed. After some head scratching, I began to do some tests. First I soaked stones there - no change, then put some gravels - no change. The next thing to test was a large piece of driftwood that is quite hard to get out without wrecking the whole set up. Fortunately, before doing that I decided to check water conditioner, and here it comes - the treated water immediately changed its pH from 7.0 to 7.4 and kH from 10mg/l to 50mg/l. A bit surprised I rushed for water conditioner from another brand and, no, this one has not changed water properties. As it might be of interest for some other beginner aquarists the "bad" brand is "TetraAqua" and the "good" one is "Hagen". I suspect it has something to do with my tap water being very soft, but, anyway, they might have put sort of a warning or something on the package. Konstantin. < Thanks for the feedback. I am sure others reading this on the website will appreciate your experiment.-Chuck.>

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