14 Things Neon Tetras Like to Eat Most (Diet, Care & Feeding Tips)

Would you love to know what neon tetras eat while in the wild? Are you stuck on what to give them as your pets back at home?

Well, that shouldn’t worry you anymore. We’ll cover what neon tetras eat both in the wild and as pets.

Ready? Let’s start with the neon tetras’ habits and biology.

Neon Tetras’ Habits and Biology

Neon Tetras’ Habits and Biology

Expect these small fish to have a simple life. They are a type of fish that live in the Amazon River basin.

But you can get them in any other place. It’s because many people keep them as pets in aquariums and caring for neon tetra fish is relatively easy. So, let’s dive into the info about neon tetras’ biology.


People love to have these fish in their homes because of their bodies. With a bright coloration, they shine and glow like a neon light.

On the back, its scales have a dark blue look. The scales on the sides and under the belly are silver.

Also, on the flanks, it has some beautiful stripes. One is blue while the other one is black.

These lovely colors aren’t for beauty alone. While in the wild, it helps the neon tetras identify one another. Well, in the Amazon basins, neon tetras tend to live in dark and murky areas.

The size of any neon tetra is always tiny. Yes, the adults are about an inch longer than the young ones.

Remember, the female neon tetras aren’t longer than the males. But their abdomens are bigger. It’s for laying eggs.

While in the wild, neon tetras breed after the rains. It’s when the river basins flood. The females can lay over ten eggs then the males fertilize them.

These eggs will stay in the veggies until when they hatch. It takes up to 24 hours.

After that, the young ones (fries) come out. These fries won’t get any parental care.


Like many small types of fish, neon tetras stay in groups called schools. The schools help them search for food to eat as they move in the water.

Expect them to be humble and peaceful. Also, these fish won’t attack one another while in the tank or even in the river basin.

But the males will chase the females when they are about to lay eggs. It will be showing the females the best place to nest the eggs. Also, it will be advising the females to eat a given plant.

If you put neon tetras in an aquarium with other fish, they’ll be scared. It’s because other big fish might eat them. So, when they see a threat, they’ll look for shelter under any veggies in the water.

Here are some fun facts about neon tetras:

  • These fish love dark and murky water areas. Blackwater has many plants and friendly acid levels to suit their habits.
  • Also, neon tetras live long. In an aquarium, they’ll live for at least five years.

What do Neon Tetras Eat in the Wild?

What do Neon Tetras Eat in the Wild

Once again, their feeding habit is simple. Read on to see how neon tetras eat while in the wild.

Before looking at the foods that neon tetras eat, know that they are omnivores. Most times, they eat the plants underwater. But they can eat foods that other fish eat.

Also, they aren’t fussy when picking on foods to eat. It means they enjoy eating many types of food.

Expect them to eat well while in their schools. It’s where even the fries get a chance to grow fast since they don’t get any parenting. Neon tetras will tend to eat foods in small amounts.

Also, in every school, you won’t fail to get a bully. Yes, the bully neon tetras won’t eat the fish in their school. But they’ll eat the smaller fish from other fish species.

These fish are omnivores, but they all also enjoy foods that are fit for carnivores. Please take a look at the foods that neon tetras eat to help them grow.

  • Neon tetras eat algae. These are plants that grow in the bed of the river basin.
  • In general, algae help the neon tetra fish’s body to function well. Also, algae help them get the many colors on their body.
  • Algae also have some proteins and amino acids. It helps the fish grow and develop faster.
  • Some types of algae give the fish taurine. Since neon tetras eat food for the carnivores, this nutrient helps make these animals fluid.
  • Other plants in the water help them have a strong body. So, they can adapt to many conditions in the water.
  • The fish also eat larvae from the insects like mosquitoes. These larvae help the fish get more proteins and other nutrients to help repair their body.
  • They can also eat bloodworms, shrimps, and other smaller water animals. These animals have many nutrients in their bodies. So, the neon tetras can get energy and minerals to help them have bright colors.

What do Neon Tetras Eat as Pets?

What do Neon Tetras Eat as Pets

It’s good to know what these fish eat in the wild. But if you have them in an aquarium back at home, you should know what to give them.

Remember, you can give them both plant and meat foods. They can eat anything that fits in their mouth. So, here are the foods neon tetras can eat as your pets.

  • You can give your neon tetras small fish pellets and flakes. These foods will provide the tetras with more proteins for body growth.
  • These pellets and flakes are the base supplements to give your tetra fish. It improves their immune system.
  • Also, these pellets have more vitamin C. It helps the tetras have a more stable immune system. So, they’ll be able to fight many fish diseases.
  • The pellets and flakes help your tetras digest the food well. Also, expect the pellets to control the appetite of these fish.
  • It means that the neon tetras will make less waste in the water. You’ll have an easy time cleaning the tank.
  • Give the fish tubifex worms. These foods have nothing but proteins. Remember, neon tetras need more proteins.
  • These fish love dried omega one freeze bloodworms. They are also similar to the tubifex worms, but they have a higher number of proteins. Since they are freeze and dry, it means they are very safe for the fish.
  • You can feed them with shrimps and algae wafers. It helps them have those best colors on their bodies.
  • Neon tetras also eat your homemade meaty foods. You can cut tiny pieces of your fish or chicken meat and give them. It gives them more proteins that help them grow very fast.
  • Also, chicken meat gives them many minerals. It will provide the neon tetras with more phosphorus, calcium, iron, among others.
  • Yes, neon tetras can eat eggs. These foods have many proteins. Also, it will give the fish vitamins like Vit A, B12, B6, D, E, and K.
  • Inside the yolk of eggs, there are many minerals. Your fish will have a strong body.
  • Give your neon tetras vegetables. Some of these veggies are kales, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, among others. They’ll get more vitamins and folic acid to make their fluids.
  • Also, fruits and veggies help improve the immune system of these fish. Give them fruits like pears, apples, strawberries, oranges, and carrots. It gives them antioxidants.

Tips to Feed Neon Tetras

Tips to Feed Neon Tetras

You’ve now known what your neon tetras can eat. But if you don’t feed them using a guide, you’ll get many losses and problems.

So, you can avoid these issues if you follow a simple guide on how to feed your neon tetras. Read on to see the tips.

  1. Pick on a time to feed your fish. Choose a time that won’t interfere with your routine.
  2. Give them at least five minutes a day. It will help you check on their health and food. Also, you’ll be able to check the fish for any signals.
  3. If the neon tetras are still sleeping in the morning, don’t wake them up and give them food. Wait for these fish to adjust to your daily plans.
  4. Choose a day for the neon tetras to fast. It can be one day a week. Fasting allows the fish to improve the state of their digestive system.
  5. Fasting for the neon tetras improves the strength of their body. It also reduces cases of bloating and constipation.
  6. If the neon tetras fast, there will be fewer wastes in the aquarium. So, it will be easy for you to clean the place.
  7. Don’t give the fish too many supplements. This act can bring health issues to their bodies.
  8. Also, don’t give the fish wild insects. These insects tend to carry diseases to the neon tetras.
  9. It would help if you fed the neon tetras with food that isn’t bigger than their mouth. If you give them food larger than their mouth, it can kill these fish.
  10. Tiny foods will be easy for the fish to swallow. Also, the neon tetras will have an easy time digesting them.
  11. Feed your neon tetras once or twice a day. But don’t overfeed them thinking that they are hungry.
  12. As for the young ones, feed them in three minutes but twice a day. As they grow, reduce their eating times.
  13. Keep track of what, when, and the amount of food the neon tetras eat. They’ll give you an easy time as you feed them.
  14. Remember to pick a balanced diet for your fish. Mix the foods to help them grow well.
  15. Also, know that neon tetras can go for more than seven days without food. But if you plan to travel for long, stock the tank with food for them to eat.


Neon tetras are small fish that will give you an easy time as you take care of them. Even in the wild, they live a simple life in their schools.

These fish are omnivores. While in the wild, eating algae helps them have bright colors. As you keep them, know that adults can stay for more than seven days without food.

So, do you have the neon tetras in your home? Do you love their eating habits and what they eat? Please share your thoughts with us.

1 thought on “14 Things Neon Tetras Like to Eat Most (Diet, Care & Feeding Tips)”

Leave a Comment