Do Neon Tetras Need a Filter And Heater?

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The Tetra Neon fish or also known by the scientific name Paracheirodon innesi is a type of tropical freshwater fish belonging to the family Characidae.

Among all the species of freshwater fish that you can have in your aquarium, Neon tetra is one of the most suitable species for beginners. Generally peaceful, reproducing quickly while remaining very attractive and exciting to observe. Neon Tetra is most certainly the most appreciated freshwater fish by French aquarists.

But how do you keep it in good condition? What does it need in an aquarium? Do neon tetras need a filter and heater in the aquarium? This is what we will see in this article.


Neon Tetra: The Basic Characteristics

The Blue Neon is a small fish living in freshwater, known as the Neon fish. The Neon tetra fish is mainly native to Peru in South America, where the neon fish is called Piaba. It is found in both clear white and black waters.

This fish is quite small, although it is very showy. It is barely 3.5 centimeters in length. Its shape is tapered. That is, it is longer than it is full. Like much other fish, it has a forked tail and has a small fat fin between the dorsal and tail fins.

On the sides, it surprises us with its very intense and bright blue color. When the light gives it the blue color, it shines brightly. The color line begins at the eye and runs almost the entire surface to create a beautiful contrast between blue and red and white the rest of the body.


Do Neon Tetras Need a Filter And Heater?

Yes, they do.

Equipment like filters and heaters are not intended to increase the price of your aquarium. Indeed, you are entitled to ask the question, why should you add these electrical devices that take up space in the tank; Can they serve the aesthetics of your beautiful aquarium?

Three main elements in nature must be taken into account:

1) The current of the water

2) The temperature of the water

3) The brightness in the water

There are, of course, other elements – essential too – like the salinity of the water or its quality (from a chemical point of view).

These commercially available devices, very often with the tank, are therefore necessary to reproduce the natural biotope as faithfully as possible. To allow an optimal living condition for your fish and to impress your friends, your Neon fish need filters and heaters.


Filter: Why and What Kind of Filter Does Your Neon Tetra Need?

It seems that Neon Tetra has brought this old and straightforward system back into fashion. It is common in KIllis aquariums. Evolution of the “funnel filter” and precursor of the “box filter,” it is a system limited to those small and medium-sized tanks. Especially it is appropriate in those where the presence and conservation of both infusoria and fry and little offspring of Neon Tetra is a priority.


Mode of Working:

A sponge filter consists of a plastic tube open at one end and surrounded by a sponge at the other end.

They allow mechanical and biological filtration to be carried out using foam. Thus they make it possible to degrade waste and eliminate ammonia and nitrites, which are dangerous for fish. It should be noted that they do not allow chemical filtration to be implemented.

Sponge filters are generally supplied without any pump. It is also necessary to buy:

  • An air pump
  • A little air hose
  • A non-return valve (sometimes supplied with filters)

Sponge filters for aquariums work with an air pump. The air arrives at the bottom of the plastic pipe and goes up naturally to the surface. This movement mechanically entails the suction of the water by the foam. The filtered water is then discharged into the aquarium through the top of the pipe.

The volume of the foam and the low flow rate make it an excellent support for bacteria beneficial to the Neon Tetra.


  • Sponge filters use a much milder current than other filters. The suction is distributed over the entire surface of the suction foam. They are, therefore, safe for sensitive Neon Tetra of your aquariums.
  • The sponge filters allow handy biological filtration thanks to the surface of the foam and the low current.
  • They can also be combined with suspended filters as prefilters. This helps prevent large debris from entering the waterfall filter and allows its filter cartridges to last longer.


  • A visible negative aspect of the sponge filter is its appearance! If the presence of the aquarium is essential, it is better to hide it behind the decor.
  • Sponge filters usually make more noise than other filters, because of the sound that bubbles make when they burst on the surface. This can be alleviated by adequately placing the top of the tube on the surface.


Cleaning a Sponge Filter

It is essential to take a look at the suction foam regularly. Indeed, it becomes clogged by absorbing waste. When it is too clogged, the efficiency of the filter is reduced. It is then necessary to clean the foam.

When the filter flow decreases (visible to the current created on the surface), it is time to move on to cleaning. For this, you have to collect a little water from the aquarium in a bowl, then squeeze the foam several times to get rid of its waste. Then put the moss back in its place, and get rid of the water (your green plants will love it!).

Never clean the foam with running water. The biological balance of your aquarium is based on this foam, so it is essential to wash it only in aquarium water. Otherwise, death is guaranteed for all bacteria, and you should start a full cycle again.


Heater: Why and What Kind Of Heater Does Your Neon Tetra Need?

In addition to the aquarium filter, the heater is an essential element for any Neon Tetra tank. There are many uses for aquarium heating or immersion heaters, as it ensures the well-being of the Neon fish and aquatic plants kept in an aquarium.

For an aquarium that has been used for a long time, it is necessary to check the condition of each of its parts. For example, replacing the faulty tank heater is essential.

Why? Because in an aquarium, the water temperature is a determining factor in meeting the physiological needs of the Neon fish. It ensures the growth and survival of these and any plants that adorn the aquarium.


Aquarium Heating Operation:

An aquarium that contains tropical fish like Neon Tetra must be kept at a reasonable temperature, between 22.2 to 24.4 ° C. Except for a particular situation such as breeding time. It should be from 23.9 to 24.4 ° C.



Depending on the system, it is necessary to follow the installation recommendations provided by the manufacturer. Generally:

  • Never switch on the heating before having immersed it in the aquarium.
  • Avoid any impact on the resistance, which would weaken the integrity of the device’s water tightness and which would, therefore, involve the risk of electric shock.
  • Try to fix the heater in a well-brewed area (outlet of the filtration, proximity to the bubbler diffuser, in the flow of a stirring pump) to optimize the homogeneity of the temperature of the aquarium water.
  • For the sake of aesthetics, you can hide the water heater with decorative elements or plants while providing a visibility window to ensure the proper functioning of the device.

Good to know: Most heated handsets must be fully submerged to function. Otherwise, an integrated decommissioning system will start up; it is a safety device for the non-functioning of the dry machine.



Like any technical device in an aquarium, the resistance must be maintained for its proper functioning. Maintenance is relatively simple:

  • Regularly clean the outside of the heater to keep proper heat distribution through the device.
  • To remove the algae fixed on the heater, pass a dry cloth over the device and rub.
  • Regularly refine the thermostat setting to maintain a stable temperature.

Important: Before working on the heated handset, unplug it and wait for it to drop in temperature. Handling a hot element can cause severe burns. Besides, thermal shock on the glass sheaths of some water heaters can cause the device to implode.

If you are planning to buy your first Neon Tetra aquarium and aquatic plants, you might have so many questions; such as Do neon tetras need a filter and heater? I hope from our article you’ve got all the answers. Here are some tips for getting started in aquariums, some tricks, and some mistakes to avoid.

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