Neon Tetra Tank Size (Formula To Choose The Ideal Size)

Image of neon tetras in a correct sized tank

The ideal neon tetra tank size depends on the number of fish in the tank. Neon tetras grow up to 1.75 inches long, and every inch of fish needs at least 1 gallon of water. So a 20 gallon tank size is recommended for neon tetras considering they are active swimmers and thrive in a group of 6 or more.

It’s believed that the bigger the aquarium, the happier the fish will be. A comfortable environment ensures that the neon tetras stay healthy and energetic for their entire lifespan. So, let’s talk about the number of neon tetras that can be kept in various tank sizes. But first, let’s understand the factors that determine the neon tetra tank size.

Factors To Consider For Determining A Neon Tetra Tank Size

Neon tetras are small fish that grow only up to 1.2 to 1.75 inches long.

Hence, a single neon tetra does not occupy much space in the tank.

However, you can’t keep neon tetras alone as they stay healthy in a group.

Moreover, it’s a pretty sight to watch a large school of neon tetras swimming in a larger tank than a small group huddled in a tiny tank.

That is why you must select the right tank size for your neon tetras.

Given below are the points that you should consider while determining the tank size for neon tetras.

1. Number of neon tetras in the tank.

The number of neon tetras you wish to have is the primary factor in determining the tank size.

Once you finalize the number of fish, you can accordingly calculate the minimum tank size.

Since neon tetras love to spend time around each other, you need to ensure that the tank is big enough for all of them to stay peacefully.

2. Size of the fish.

The size of the fish is another factor to be considered while finalizing the tank size.

Neon tetras are tiny fish. They grow up to a maximum of 1.75 inches long.

So, you can keep more neon tetras in a small tank compared to taller fish like angelfish.

3. Active swimmers.

Neon tetras are active swimmers. They love to swim in open spaces around the tank.

Also, neon tetras enjoy darting in and out of the plants and other decorations.

Therefore, the size of the tank should be big enough so that the neon tetras are not cramped for space.

If you put neon tetras in a cramped environment, it will stress them and affect their health.

4. Need to be in groups.

Neon tetras are schooling fish. In the wild, neon tetras school together in hundreds or thousands at a time.

They remain in groups for security reasons as they are exposed to many predators in the wild.

Although there is no fear of predation in a home aquarium, neon tetras prefer to be in a group of at least six or more.

Their schooling behavior and need to be kept in a large group should be considered while selecting the tank size.

They should have plenty of space in the tank to display their schooling behavior and feel secure in the tank.

Besides, if neon tetras are kept in a small group of 3 or 4, they can get scared and become aggressive.

Hence, the bigger the group of neon tetras, the merrier they will be.

5. Tankmates.

Many aquarists are fond of having a community aquarium. There are many peaceful fish that are often housed with neon tetras.

Hence, you should also consider the space required by the tankmates while deciding the tank size for neon tetras.

You cannot cram neon tetras and other tankmates in a small tank.

The tank size should be such that all the inhabitants have enough room to accommodate themselves.

If there is not enough space for every fish to have the territory they need, it may result in bullying, injuries, and even death at times.

6. Tank maintenance.

Tank maintenance is another vital factor to be considered while finalizing the neon tetra tank size.

Any fish tank requires vigilant maintenance to ensure proper filtration and chemical balance.

Generally, larger tanks are easier to maintain compared to smaller ones.

Maintaining the water parameters is crucial for neon tetras.

The larger the aquarium, the easier it becomes to keep the water conditions stable.

If you have a small tank with fewer neon tetras, you must maintain the tank frequently.

Also, neon tetras being tiny fish, produce less bioload.

Hence, partial water changes once a week are sufficient to maintain the tank.

If you cannot invest much time and effort in tank maintenance, a larger tank is a good option for neon tetras.

Can Neon Tetras Live In A 2 Gallon Tank?

It is not advisable to keep neon tetras in a 2 gallon tank.

A 2 gallon tank is tiny as you can only keep a single neon tetra in it. Neon tetras thrive when kept in a group of at least 6.

A single neon tetra may not feel secure in a tank.

If you wish to have a happy and healthy neon tetra, you should provide it with plenty of space, plants, and rocks in the tank.

How Many Neon Tetras Can You Keep In A 3 Gallon Tank?

You can have a couple of neon tetras in a 3 gallon tank.

Like a 2 gallon tank, a 3 gallon tank is not big enough to keep multiple neon tetras in it.

Keeping neon tetras in a 3 gallon tank is not advisable as they can’t have enough tankmates to school.

Moreover, if you think of breeding neon tetras, a 3 gallon tank is tiny to house all of them.

How Many Neon Tetras Can You Keep In A 5 Gallon Tank?

You can keep 3 to 4 neon tetras in a 5 gallon tank. A 5 gallon tank is not very big compared to a 3 gallon tank.

Hence, you can’t keep six or more neon tetras in a 5 gallon tank.

People often think that a small aquarium is easy to maintain than a bigger one. However, it’s the opposite in reality.

A small tank needs frequent maintenance and checks as things can go wrong very quickly.

To keep neon tetras in a small tank, there should be enough horizontal space for them to swim freely.

Besides, neon tetras prefer a densely planted aquarium.

Hence, you need to place live plants and rocks to imitate their natural environment.

You also need to keep a tab on the water parameters as it can fluctuate quickly in a small tank compared to a large one.

In addition, a 5 gallon tank will be small if you intend to breed neon tetras.

You will then be required to move the neon tetras into a large tank.

Therefore, it is advisable to have at least a 10 gallon tank for neon tetras.

Let’s now see why a 10 gallon or a bigger tank is recommended for neon tetras.

How Many Neon Tetras Can You Keep In A 10 Gallon Tank?

As per the golden rule, every inch of fish requires a minimum of 1 gallon of water in the tank for survival. Since the neon tetras grow to a size of 1.75 inches, you can accommodate six neon tetras in a 10 gallon tank.

Besides the size of the fish, you also need to consider the space covered by the plants and decoration in the tank.

Hence, a maximum of 6 neon tetras is recommended. Anything more than that, your neon tetras will be cramped for space.

Also, keeping neon tetras by considering the tank size helps keep the water conditions healthy for the fish.

While keeping six neon tetras in a 10 gallon tank, you need to keep the below points in mind:

  • Perform frequent tank maintenance,
  • Install a good filter,
  • Maintain ideal water parameters,
  • Add live plants and décor,
  • Avoid overcrowding in the tank,
  • Avoid overfeeding the neon tetras.

The points mentioned above are applicable for any tank size that you get for neon tetras.

How Many Neon Tetras Can You Keep In A 20 Gallon Tank?

You can keep 10 to 12 neon tetras in a 20 gallon tank. It is the ideal tank size for many reasons.

Firstly, neon tetras feel secure when kept in large groups. A 20 gallon tank allows you to keep a large group of fish.

Besides, neon tetras are active swimmers. Hence, they are not cramped for space if the tank is large enough.

Also, neon tetras are schooling fish. A 20 gallon tank provides enough space for neon tetras to school in groups.

They can even swim horizontally in a school without any space constraints.

Lastly, neon tetras prefer a densely planted aquarium that closely resembles their natural environment.

A bigger tank allows you to add plants, rocks, and other decorative accessories while leaving plenty of space for the fish.

Also, plants and rocks provide a safe place for neon tetras to hide or rest whenever they feel stressed or fall sick.

Related Questions

What Is The Ideal Tank Size For Black Neon Tetras?

The ideal tank size for black neon tetras is at least 20 inches in length, holding 20 gallons of water or more. The bigger the tank, the better it is because black neon tetras are active swimmers. Hence, they need sufficient place in the tank to swim freely.

Besides, neon tetras are schooling fish and need to be kept in large groups of 8 to 10.

Also, black neon tetras prefer a densely planted tank.

Therefore, the tank needs to be bigger to accommodate the plants and other décor while having ample space in the middle for black neon tetras to swim freely.

What Is The Ideal Tank Size For Green Neon Tetras?

The recommended tank size for green neon tetras is 20 gallons. Although green neon tetras are tiny fish, they need a tank with ample space as they are active swimmers.

Green neon tetras are schooling fish and remain in good health when kept in groups.

They need to be kept in a school of 6 to 8 fish at a minimum.

For that, there should be enough space in the tank for every fish to stay happy.


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