Do Neon Tetras Lay Egg? How to Tell If It’s Going to Lay Eggs?

The Neon fish is one of the most attractive fish out of a large number of tropical fish that exist in the aquarium hobby. You could say that the Neon fish is a classic that never fails in freshwater aquariums.

Despite this, Tetra Neon has acquired a bad reputation in recent years due to the difficulty of keeping them alive in our aquarium. Because, despite having the ideal conditions for the maintenance of this species, many commercial lines have a great weakness and sensitivity. This happens due to the different reproduction methods used to cover the unique world demand for aquarists around the world.

To make the reproduction process the correct way, it is essential to understand the process first.

So, in this article, we will try to answer a question like do neon tetras lay an egg or how to tell if it’s going to lay eggs. Just hang in there!


Do Neon Tetras Lay Egg: Discover the Method?

Yes, they do.

Neon Tetra is an oviparous fish. Most fish are oviparous and, as such, have external fertilization. The female lays the eggs, and these are fertilized by the male who releases his sperm in the water.

Eggs can be deposited on the seabed, attached to rocks or floating in the ocean. In some cases, they are protected with parts of their bodies, such as gill chambers or even in the mouth. Besides, some fish take care of the eggs and may develop territorial behavior to protect them.


How to Tell If It’s Going to Lay Eggs?

Neon Tetra’s fertilization is external since these fish expel the eggs to the environment in which they live. Females can lay in different ways, after being stimulated by the male fish to lay eggs, which are small and gelatinous.


  • Ideally, spawning should be done in a separate aquarium to avoid being preyed upon by other fish or even by the parents themselves.
  • Placing marbles in the bottom of the aquarium is an excellent strategy to protect the eggs from predation since they sneak between the holes where they are protected.
  • It is also useful to place a net in the middle of the aquarium to create a safety zone for future hatchlings.

If the fish is ready to spawn, you will find the following behavior:

  • It Is Getting Bigger

If your female fish seems more and more stocky, fleshy, and that its abdomen is rounded, it is generally the sign that it is in gestation. Her belly is often rounder and more unbalanced on one side because the eggs fill one side of her body rather than the other.

However, be careful. Your fish should, in no case, appear swollen. It indicates that it is sick. All the more so if its scales are spiky and its eyes bulging. Likewise, if she seems a little fat, it can also be because she is overfed.

  • Other fish chases her.

If the males of your aquarium chase your Neon Tetra female, it is because she is ready to release her eggs. However, she needs males to fertilize her eggs by ejecting their sperm into the water. Thus, it releases pheromones to indicate to them the impending laying and so that they are ready.

Most often, males chase the female from behind, trying to push her under her belly.

Spawning Ritual

Fertilization of Neon Tetra is external; that is, the female drops the eggs in a particular area.

Before releasing the eggs, the female inspects, again and again, the place chosen for it. The nervousness of both fish increases during this process until the female finally drops the eggs for the male to do his job.

There are between 60 and 130 eggs, which are attached to the surface utilizing a filament. It takes only a few minutes to fertilize. The hatching will start from 24 hours and give way to hundreds of fries.


How to Breed the Neon Tetra in Aquarium?

We must make a difference here that, when it comes to reproducing these fish, can be substantial.

Neon Tetra specimens from natural environments and aquariums are usually different. The former is much more demanding in terms of water than the latter since the latter come from hatchery waters. Hatchery water is specific to each geographical area and is generally very different from water in natural environments.


  • The steps to be followed, then, will be to obtain water with characteristics that are most similar to that of natural environments by filtering with good-quality peat, which will inevitably be boiled for 10 minutes.
  • The second step will be to clean the aquarium intended for spawning thoroughly. Use a solution of chlorine or formaldehyde, rinse thoroughly to remove the remains.

The Aquarium

  • A 15-liter container will suffice, which will be covered with dark paper (it can be brown, of the “wood paper” type) on all four sides and resting on an equally dark background. It should be fitted with a lid, which will also be covered with brown paper (“wood paper”). Besides, some light must be allowed to enter from above, being sufficient that which passes through the brown paper.
  • The aquarium floor may be covered with glass balls, also disinfected and rinsed. A submersible heater (if necessary) should be placed at the bottom against one of the walls and next to it a diffuser stone.
  • All these elements and any other that enters the aquarium must be disinfected. The purpose of the balls is to prevent parents from eating eggs. You can also use a plastic mesh of the type used for “red mothers” that are usually sold in stores with a 4×4 millimeter mesh.
  • The UV lamp, heater, and diffuser should run for two to three days to make sure that the water is sterilized and that everything is working correctly. It will be convenient to regulate the heater before placing the balls. Otherwise, each temperature adjustment will mean fixing all the balls at the bottom. The temperature should be kept between 23 and 25º C always.
  • It is a widespread mistake to consider that because they are Amazonian fish. Neon Tetra lives at high temperatures. Their environments are shady, and the sun rarely enters the trees. Therefore, the water rarely exceeds 25ºC.


Pair Introduction

There are several methods used by breeders for spawning Tetras.

  • Someplace only one pair in a small aquarium. Others place several pairs in a giant aquarium. Finally, some use glass partitions in large trays, and one pair is separated from the other only by glass partitions.
  • The most convenient method is first. When there is more than one pair, there is a risk that only one will spawn, and the rest will devote themselves to eating the eggs. As for the partitions, the possibility is intriguing in the fish factories. There, hundreds of tetras are prepared to spawn simultaneously. This somehow allows, once the barriers have been removed, all the fry can be raised together.
  • Sexual differentiation is not easy. It should be borne in mind that the female is a rounder belly and is somewhat more substantial in size than the male. The latter, in turn, is more laterally compressed. When the ovaries are mature, the difference is more noticeable.
  • If we have separated the sexes, after the two days of fasting, the difference between mature females will be well noticed.
  • If there are no problems, spawning will almost certainly occur in the early hours of the next morning. The female deposits between 2 and 10 eggs at a time, with intervals of between 2 and 5 minutes. The whole process lasts around 3 hours (sometimes less), and the total amount of eggs can be about 200. It will be time to remove the pair and keep them separate to feed them in abundance. After ten days, spawning may be repeated.


Care of The Offspring

The extreme sensitivity of the eggs means that many precautions must be taken. After five days, you can remove the paper from the cover, using a 25-watt lamp. It will be the only light not far above the aquarium. After a month, the aquarium can be illuminated usually, of course, gradually.

The hatching of the eggs occurs around 24 hours after laying (depending on the temperature). After five days, they will have absorbed the nutrients from the yolk sac. You must supply Artemia nauplius (newborn), Cyclops nauplius, and eventually rotifers.

Food should be abundant and will offer some difficulties. On the one hand, the fries escape the light). On the other side, the Artemia nauplius is grouped in the most illuminated points.

Using diffuse light will make a higher chance of eating well. The food should then be very abundant, and shortly after an hour, a change of water will take place.

Frequent water changes are significant to avoid pollution. A sponge filter or one that can be made by a hobbyist will be of great help.

At three weeks, they can feed on mosquito larvae screened by a tulle net, water fleas (the ideal food). You can try the micro-fish scales, previously hydrated with warm water.

At 45 days, they can eat ground flakes and almost all other fish food of that size, including minced tubifex.

From 90 days, they will be large enough to be incorporated into community tetras aquariums.

We hope this guide helps you to understand the Neon Tetra’s reproduction. They are not very easy but not very difficult, either. Be very careful before taking any step. If you are in a dilemma, seek help from experts.

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