Do Neon Tetras Lay Eggs?

Do Neon Tetras Lay Eggs? Neon tetras do lay eggs; when the female is ready to breed, she scatters many of her eggs for the males to fertilize. The eggs stick easily to plants since the eggs are adhesive – they are also transparent.

Fertilized eggs usually take about 24 hours to hatch. When they do, tiny fry feed exclusively on their egg sacks. After about four days, they swim freely and can eat small amounts of food such as infusoria, rotifers, and egg yolk. Adult neon tetras eat their offspring, so it’s best to remove the adults once you see eggs in the breeding tank.

Usually, it’s safe to place baby tetras in the same tank as the adults after about three months. Upon which time, they would have developed the necessary survival skills to live peaceably with the adults. In the following sections, let’s look at how to care for breeding neon tetras and what to look out for in a neon tetra that’s about to lay eggs.

How To Tell If Your Neon Tetra Is About To Lay Eggs?

Before determining whether your Neon Tetra will lay eggs or not, you must first verify your fish’s sex. After that, you must learn to differentiate between a pregnant and non-pregnant female. Consider the following steps in determining if a neon tetra will lay eggs or not:

Step 1: Determining the neon tetra’s sex

Female neon tetras are often bigger than males; if you spot a slim neon tetra, they are very likely a male. Male neon tetras have a straight blue line on their bodies, while females have a curved blue line.

Male neon tetras are smaller than females

Step 2: Mating signs

Male tetras do a ritualistic dance, whereby they use a lot of jerky movements in a square motion – this dance is supposed to attract their female counterparts. When the males stop dancing in front of the female, this indicates they are about to mate.

Step 3: Determining if the female neon tetra is pregnant

Once they have mated, your female neon tetra might have a swollen belly, which means she is about to lay eggs very soon. If you are concerned about obesity, rest assured that neon tetra doesn’t become obese unless they are ill. Some female’s pregnant bellies are more extended than others; this usually means her eggs will spawn later. If a female has black spots on her body and her belly swells at the bottom, she is undoubtedly pregnant.

(For more information on neon tetras check out our awesome article How to Care for Neon Tetras!)

How To Care For Breeding Neon Tetra?

It’s not easy breeding neon tetras because of their specific water conditions. The first step to take in breeding neon tetra is to set up a separate breeding tank. You must provide the right surroundings. The water hardness should be 1 to 2 dGH, PH 5.0 to 6.0; you should put live plants into the tank and use a sponge filter for filtration. Your tank will need a cover as spawning fish tend to jump. You must reduce the light in the tank, and you can do this by covering the sides. The water temperature must be kept between 72 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before placing the breeding pair into the tank, you must feed them with live foods and introduce them with no lighting at first; make sure that the breeding pair are at least 12 weeks old for viable breeding. Increase the lighting on the second day, and keep doing so each day to induce spawning, which occurs in the morning.

When the male embraces the female during spawning, she will release over 100 eggs. The eggs are transparent and adhesive, making it easier for them to stick to plants. Once the eggs are laid, remove the breeding pair since they quickly consume the eggs. Fish eggs can be difficult to spot, as they are translucent. If you don’t see them immediately, be sure to check among the gravel and plants.

When a female neon tetra is about to lay her eggs, she tends to swim near the rocks and plants, as they become shy. The female tetras prefer to lay their eggs in dark places. So, they will look for dark areas in their tank. So be sure to provide hiding spots for the females.

How To Care For Neon Tetra Fry?

The eggs and the fry are light-sensitive, so you must maintain low-lighting for about a week after they hatch. Hatch rates can be low; sometimes, no more than one-third of the eggs produce viable fry. In the first few days, the fry feeds on their eggs sacks before becoming free-swimmers; they can eat small foods like rotifers, infusoria, and egg yolk at that stage. You can also provide them with commercially prepared fry food if you prefer. Within a few weeks, they are big enough to eat brine shrimp (freshly hatched).

Juveniles are sensitive to sicknesses and injury; no matter how much you invest in their care, it is likely that many won’t survive. Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to ensure more juveniles survive.

Firstly, you should remove all harmful objects from your tank, like the filters.

Secondly, feed your juveniles the correct diet – they should only eat food made specifically to nourish fry.

Finally, ensure that your tank is clean and disease-free. You must adjust the tank’s environment to support your growing tetra’s needs; you must get it to match the main tank you are setting up for them. When your tetras reach maturity, usually by around 12 weeks, you can transfer them to their main tank.

How To Set Up The Aquarium For The Fry?

The fry doesn’t adapt well to change; for this reason, you must avoid placing the fry in a newly set up tank. Wait until your fry fully mature to go into the main tank and make sure that you provide stable water chemistry.

When setting up the fry tank, you should place a few inches of rock on the lower side of the aquarium for the eggs to have a place to land. Provide a few safe hiding places that are dark enough for the eggs to hatch. You must follow the guide outlined below to set up the optimum environment in your tank:

Step 1 Getting the right pH level

Neon tetras thrive in slightly acidic water; this is true too of tetra fry. The pH level for babies should only be about 5 to 7 only.

Step 2 Water hardness

Neon tetras cannot bear hard water, so make sure to provide soft water in their aquarium.

Step 3: Water temperature

Neon tetras are cold-blooded, the temperature should be between 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. You must consider that your tank’s temperature plays a significant role in their metabolism. You can use digital thermometers for measuring the aquarium’s temperature. You don’t need to dip the thermometer in the water; you can measure the temperature from a distance.

Step 4: Filtration

Tetra fry fish need clean water. To achieve this, you must provide an adequate filtration system. Be aware that the fry are tiny and delicate right after they hatch, so don’t use very powerful filters. Instead, use air-driven sponge filters; they work wonders to keep the tank clean and running smoothly.

Step 5: Lighting

Tetra fry are light-sensitive; for this reason, you should only install minimal lighting. The babies need their surroundings to be as dark as possible.

Step 6: Plants

Keep plants to a minimum; once the fries develop, move them to their adult tank, you can use decoration then. Until the tetras are bigger, you can use safe plants like mass of java moss or yarns

The Neon Tetra Fry Diet

It’s essential to plan for the foods that your neon tetra fry east. It’s all too easy to forget nutrition, with all the busyness of setting up the aquarium. Tetra fry are tiny, but they require sustenance. You can culture infusoria and feed it to your little fry. You can culture infusoria by putting boiled broccoli into a container with a little tank water. When the broccoli decays, you will see the water turn from clear to milky white. At this stage, infusoria are abundant, and you can feed it to the tetra fry.


Micro worms are an excellent food for tetra fry as they like to hover at the bottom of their tank in the early stages. When your fries grow a little, you can feed them baby brine shrimps.


By now, you know that neon tetra certainly lay eggs; and it’s essential to do all you can to care for these fish while they are trying to breed. To ensure the best outcome, please follow the advice given above. It’s hard work but so worth it. It’s important to point out that neon tetra don’t get pregnant in the strictest sense. The females spawn eggs for their male counterparts to fertilize; the enlarged bellies on females mean they are carrying eggs. The young tetras grow very quickly and are ready to survive by themselves within weeks of spawning.