Everything You Need to Know About a Sick Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra is a popular freshwater fish that can live up to 10 years, not until you put them in an aquarium where they can’t survive for long. Once you put a Neon Tetra inside an aquarium, there’s a high chance of it getting diseases, become stressed, and getting attacked by other fishes. If your Neon Tetra is dying it is important to identify the problem before coming up with a solution. Treating them incorrectly may harm and damage their health furthermore.

Always check the water parameters in your aquarium if there’s a spike in ammonia or temperature changes. Test the aquarium for nitrites, pH, salinity, temperature, and hardness. By keeping these parameters within range, you can ensure that your Neon Tetras will survive. Check these parameters on a weekly basis to ensure aquarium stability.

If your Neon Tetra is still getting sick despite your aquarium water is in good health, then there might be issues on the fish itself.

  • Ich

  • Ich are small white ball-like appearance that are spotted in a fishes’ mouth and fin area. If your Neon Tetras has this kind of disease, move them to a quarantine tank as soon as possible until symptoms are gone. Ich is a contagious disease that can spread from one fish to another. So it’s important to separate the infected one for a while until they’re doing well. Ich is treatable so there’s no need to worry. Early signs of your Neon Tetra getting the disease is they’re rubbing against rocks, substrate, and looking unwell.
  • Aquarium Cycling

  • If your Neon Tetra is getting sick, maybe this is because the aquarium has an insufficient amount of time to cycle. This is caused by elevating nitrates and ammonia that happens when bringing a new fish. Always remember to increase bioload to prevent sick Neon Tetra. And don’t overdue on adding a fish to the family. A minimum of 2-3 fishes per week is advisable for a newly cycled aquarium.
  • Add stress-zyme or commercial dechlorinator to the water if there are still sick fishes after cycling. This is a short term solution to remove harmful qualities that are living in the water.
  • Keep an eye on your Neon Tetra and take water samples every 6 hours if you noticed spikes in ammonia or nitrite. Take time to conduct small and frequent water changes too. You can also invest in a mature tank and move your Neon Tetra there until cycling has completed.
  • Shock

  • Neon Tetras may experience shock when they’re transferred from freshwater to aquarium water and this is pretty normal not just for them, but also for other fishes. Upon adding the fish to your aquarium, make sure to keep the lights off for 24 hours. It’s also important to limit movement around the aquarium. Neon Tetras have a tendency to get sick if they’re greeted with new members inside the aquarium, so it’s important not to overdue putting new fish to your collection and allow the fish to acclimatize.


  • Circular Swimming and Flicking Swimming
  • If you have noticed abnormal swimming patterns that your Neon Tetra have done, there’s a possibility that they might be sick. Sick Neon Tetras often swim around in circles and twitch in the water, while healthy Neon Tetras swim around the aquarium and respond to food. Sick Neon Tetras ignore food added to the aquarium, which is a sign that something’s not right. Damaged Neon Tetras has a pretty low survival rate, and obviously needs to be separated away from healthy fishes.
  • Sinking
  • Neon Tetras that stays in the bottom for a long time or easily drifted away with the current is a sign of sickness. This may also be a sign of severe health problems. The first thing to do is check the water readings as we have mentioned earlier in this article. It’s best to change water immediately after identifying the issue. And also, keep a lookout for your sick Neon Tetra and see if there are any improvements.
  • Protozoan Invasion
  • Protozoan invasion is a contagious disease that are easily spread. Signs that your Neon Tetra may have this disease are as follows: Dull color, abnormal curve at the spine, body cyst, and fins are getting bloated. To prevent the disease to spread from one fish to another, it’s important to quarantine your sick Neon Tetra and remove them from the aquarium as soon as possible. There are medications available to treat your Neon Tetras. However, they are small creatures and has a poor immune system which makes them easily sick. Neon Tetras has a low chance of regaining full health once they are sick.