15 Mar

The beautiful Neon Tetra

The Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) is a freshwater fish of the characin family (family Characidae) of order Characiformes. The type of its genus, it is native to black-water clear-water streams in Orinoco and Amazon basin of South America. Its bright coloring makes the fish visible to con-specifies in the dark black-water streams and the main reason for its popularity among tropical fish hobbyists.

The neon tetra is found in the western and northern Amazon basin in southeastern Colombia, eastern Peru, and western Brazil. It lives in water with a temperature between 20 and 28 degrees-celsius and PH 4-7.5. It has a preference for black-water streams, but also occurs in transparent water streams, it is not found in the whitewater rivers.

The Neon Tetra has a light-blue back over a silver-white abdomen. The fish is characterized by an iridescent blue horizontal stripe along each side of the fish from its nose to the base of the adipose fin, and an iridescent red stripe that begins t the middle of he body and extends posteriorly to the base of the caudal fin. Rarely, they develop a dark olive-green sheen lining on their backs. The fish is partially transparent (including fins) except for these markings. During the night, the blue and the red become grey or black as the fish rests-it reactivates once it becomes active in the morning. It grows to approximately 3 cm (1.2 ich) in overall length. Sexual dimorphism is slight, with the female having a slightly larger belly, and a bent iridescent stripe rather than male’s straight stripe. They have recently become available in a long-fin variety.

Neon Tetras are omnivores and will accept most flake foods, if sufficiently small, but also should also have some small foods such as brine-shrimp, daphnia, freeze-dried blood-worm, tubifex, which can be stuck to the side of aquarium, and micro-pellet food to supplement their diets. A tropical sinking pellet is ideal, as most brands of these include natural color enhancers that out the color in neon tetras. Some frozen foods, including frozen blood worms, add variety to their diets.

The male is slender, and the blue line is straighter. The female is rounder, producing  bent blue line. Some aquarists say the females look plumber when viewed from above. However, the straightness of the line and the plumpness of the female might occasionally be due to the eggs she is carrying. A neon tetra can appear slightly plump in the belly due to having overeaeten.

To breed neon tetras, hobbyists place a pair of the species in a breeding tank without any light, and gradually increase the lighting until reproduction occurs. Other inducers include mosquito larvae and a hardness of less than 4 dGH. Some also recommend letting the tetras get in their natural habitat in the Amazon. Everything placed in the aquarium is sterilized, as is the aquarium top. Because the adults, and other fishes if a breeding tank is not used, will often eat newly hatched fry, it is common to remove the eggs as soon as they have been laid. The eggs are especially sensitive to light, and hatch within 24 hours of the laying. Fry can be fed infusoria, especially rotifers and eggs yolk for one to four weeks, followed by nauplii of brine shrimp, shaved cattle liver, and formulated diets. Fry achieve their adult coloration at about one month of age. Adults can spawn every two weeks.

Neon Tetras are occasionally afflicted by the so-called “Neon Tetra Disease”(NTD) or pleistophora disease, a sporozoan disease caused by pleistophora hyphessobryconis. Despite¬† being a well-known condition, it is generally incurable and often fatal to the fish. However the disease is also generally preventable. The disease cycle begins when microsporidian parasite spores enter the fish after it disease is most likely passed by newly acquired fish, which have not been quarantined

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