Neon tetra – Red neon

Red Neon – Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) are freshwater fish and belong to the family of tetras. This striking fish is also known as Cardinaltetra and originally comes from Venezuela – but its natural habitat ranges from Brazil to Colombia. The freshwater fish is particularly common in the Rio Negro and Orinoco.

What distinguishes red neons?

The schooling fish feel particularly comfortable in a group of at least eight animals – of course there can be many more. A larger group has a positive effect on the general condition of the ornamental fish.

Especially remarkable is the neon-like coloration of the animals, which is quickly recognized even by beginners.

Red neons can become up to 10 years old.

The appearance of a red neon

Mostly the ornamental fish grow between 3 and 5 cm in size. The small characins are also known as a true colour miracle. If they are therefore in good health, they shimmer in bright colours.

Very striking is the bright red stripe that runs from the root of the caudal fin to the gill cover. A shiny, light blue stripe runs over it. On the belly of the neon there is also a narrow, silvery area.

The fins of the red neon are transparent and have white tones. Cardinal tetra are relatively often confused with the neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi). However, this is a different species. The animals can only be distinguished by their red stripes: In contrast to the red neon, the red stripe of the neon tetra only reaches to the middle of the body.

Sex differences

Sexually, males and females are hardly distinguishable, with males being somewhat narrower and smaller.

Water values for red neons

The ideal water temperature for red neons is between 23° C and 27° C. The optimal pH-value is between 5 and 7 and it is also recommended to keep the water very soft. A total hardness between 3 and 14° dGH is therefore assumed, whereby 5° dGH would be a highly desirable value.

Furthermore, it is important that the water contains little Mg² and Ca² ions. If the water contains too much minerals, this can quickly harm the animals.

Food and nutrition for red neons

Despite their small body size, red neons belong to the family of predatory fish. They therefore prefer animal food – especially small crustaceans or insect larvae are welcome. Even small amounts of algae are consumed by the animals at irregular intervals.

However, the well-known ornamental fish can also be fed with dry food. Nevertheless, it is advisable to ensure a varied diet with live and frozen foods. A healthy diet not only has a positive effect on the well-being, but also influences the colouring.

The ideal aquarium for red neons

Special attention should be paid to the lighting of the aquarium – the darker, the better. Red neons prefer darker areas in the wild with predominantly shaded areas. For this reason the aquarium should not be too strongly lit. Decorations in the form of floating plants or bogwood roots can also help and provide protection for the animals.

For keeping them, it is recommended to use an aquarium with at least 60 litres. In addition, the substrate should be dark. Cardinaltetra do not only feel more comfortable this way, but also their splendid colours are shown to their best advantage. A floor that is too light causes unnecessary stress and the animals become pale, shy and much more susceptible to diseases.

Housing conditions

Red neons are easy to hold and therefore also suitable for beginners. Nevertheless, certain precautions should be taken to offer the animals a comfortable home.

  • Best kept in groups of at least eight animals
  • Varied diet – animal food preferred
  • Aquarium with at least 60 litres
  • Water temperature between 23° C and 27° C
  • PH value between 5 and 7
  • Few Mg² and Ca²- ions in the water
  • Ideal total hardness at 5 °dGH
  • No bright lighting in the pool
  • Dark substrate

>> Read on: Neon tetra – Breeding and rearing

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