Guppies could have caused problems domestically! While tolerating my aquarium hobby, my husband had his own preference for fish”if we must have fish”. Neon tetras were his favourite small fish and fortunately, they are just fine in fresh water community tank along with the livebearers.
These fish are part of the Characin family, found in Africa, South America and in southern parts of North America. There are over a thousand in this species but only about eight of them relate to the home aquarist. Unbelievably the piranha is part of this family. The Neon tetras were our favorites; there is also a cardinal tetra. The difference between them in color is the red band that extends along the body. In the Neons, the red coloring only extends halfway along the body of the fish. Technically speaking, it extends from the caudal fin and ends approximately between the dorsal and pelvic fins. Where as the Cardinal tetras red color extends the whole length of the fish and ends just below the mouth.
The Neons are shoaling fish; this means they are happiest with in a group. A single tetra is not a happy chappy! It is wise when you are buying these to plan on a group of ten or more, but certainly no less than 5-6 fish. Your community tank needs to have been in use for several months before adding the Tetras. They do like a large well planted aquarium .This gives them the room to do what shoaling fishes do. They are also sensitive to alterations in water chemistry, especially the oxygen levels. You manage these with plants, filtration and frequent changes of water.
The Tetras are egg-laying fish. However, unless you are an experienced aquarist you will be unlikely to be able breed these fish. Sexing the tetras, you will notice that the females are slightly larger than the males. If they have, roe inside them will inevitably be rounder as well. There are specific requirements that need meeting to breed the tetras, and a community tank is not the place to try, as disappointment is likely. If you are lucky, you may see the female scattering the eggs, as is their manner but hungry guppies will make short work of them.
Feeding these guys is easy as they eat the same food as the guppies and will eat the flakes or fine fish foods that are available. They are very partial to the live foods like brine shrimp and grow well on them. These small fish add zing to your tank!