What Do Neon Tetras Eat? (Complete Beginner’s Guide)

Image of a neon tetra searching for food to eat

Neon tetras eat algae, plant matter, small insects, worms, insect larvae, small fish eggs, and other tiny invertebrates in the wild. Similarly, the primary diet of neon tetras in a home aquarium consists of high-quality flakes, pellets, live or frozen brine shrimps, bloodworms, daphnia, and tubifex.

As with any fish, it’s best to feed neon tetras a diet that closely resembles what they eat in their natural environment. It ensures that they get all the essential nutrients for optimal growth. So, let’s talk about this in detail now.

What Do Neon Tetras Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, neon tetras eat whatever is available to them. Being omnivores, they eat both plants as well as animal matter.

Neon tetras mainly feed on tiny crustaceans, small insects, insect larvae, and worms floating around in the slow-moving waters.

They also eat relish protein-rich food such as brine shrimps, bloodworms, daphnia, tiny animals, and sometimes even small fish eggs.

Apart from these, neon tetras also graze on algae and other plant matter available in their surroundings.

Alright! That was about neon tetras in the wild. In their natural environment, neon tetras don’t have much choice.

They have to eat whatever is available to them.

However, you can feed neon tetras a varied diet in a home aquarium to meet their nutrient requirements.

What To Feed Neon Tetras In An Aquarium?

Neon tetras are not fussy eaters. They eat pretty much anything that is offered to them.

Hence, feeding neon tetras is not demanding at all.

Moreover, neon tetras prefer eating plant as well as animal matter as they are omnivores.

So, there are many options available when it comes to feeding neon tetras in a home aquarium.

High-quality tropical flakes and pellets should always be their core diet.

They need at least 40% protein in their regular diet to enhance their color and build a strong immune system.

You can supplement their regular diet with live or frozen foods such as:

  • Brine shrimp,
  • Tubifex,
  • Fruit flies,
  • Black worms,
  • Daphnia,
  • Small insects or larvae, and
  • Blood worms.

While feeding blood worms and shrimps, make sure that you feed only the small ones.

If the worms are big, neon tetras can have problems swallowing them.

Finely chopped meaty foods are another excellent food source that you can feed to neon tetras.

For that, you can either use chicken, beef, or egg yolk to prepare the fish feeds.

You can chop or blend the boiled meat and then feed it to the neon tetras.

Egg yolks are also suitable for neon tetras as they contain minerals like calcium, zinc, phosphorus, iron, etc., along with vitamins and proteins.

Apart from these foods, you can even feed neon tetras algae tablets, various grains, fruits such as oranges, strawberries, and grapes.

In addition, vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and minerals can also be fed.

Whatever you feed neon tetras, make sure that you give them a balanced diet to maximize their color and health.

By now, it must be clear that there are various options available to feed neon tetras.

But what about baby neon tetras? Do they eat the same food?

What Do Baby Neon Tetras Eat?

Baby neon tetras need balanced nutritious food for their healthy development.

When neon tetras are born, they are tiny with a small stomach. Hence, they can only eat microscopic food.

Initially, it’s best if you feed the fry several times a day. Otherwise, they can die due to starvation.

When the small fry come out of the eggs, they feed entirely on the egg sacks for the first few days.

Once the fry start swimming freely, you can start feeding them a variety of foods.

For the initial few weeks, you can feed the fry a small amount of infusoria.

You need to give only a few drops of infusoria two to three times a day.

Once the fry complete a few months, they can eat food similar to that of adults, but in small proportion.

At this stage, the fry needs a variety of food to stay healthy.

So, you can start feeding them a base diet of high-quality flakes or pellets.

Alternatively, you can supplement the diet with micro worms, fries, brine shrimp, or daphnia.

Now, there may be times when you run out of fish food for your tiny fry.

At such times, you can feed them numerous food items available at your home.

You can feed your baby neon tetras veggies such as boiled lettuce, sprouts, boiled peas, and even egg yolks.

Egg yolk is highly nutritious in terms of protein. However, do not feed egg yolks regularly as it may cause digestive problems.

Related Questions

What vegetables do neon tetras eat?

Neon tetras eat vegetables such as boiled lettuce, spinach, green peas, cucumber, carrots, broccoli, corn, etc. Since neon tetras are tiny fish, they may not eat the vegetables entirely. Instead, they may nibble at the smaller parts of the vegetables.

However, vegetable intake alone is not sufficient for neon tetras’ growth.

They also need protein in their regular diet. Hence, it’s best to feed neon tetras meat and egg yolks for healthy development.

What do black neon tetras eat?

The primary diet of black neon tetras consists of small invertebrates, algae, plant detritus, and fallen fruits in the wild. In captivity, you can feed them flakes, pellets, frozen and freeze-dried food, bloodworms, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, daphnia, and other protein-rich foods.

A balanced diet helps ensure vibrant colors in black neon tetras.

What do green neon tetras eat?

Green neon tetras eat a variety of food like small crustaceans, small insects, zooplankton, and organic matter in the wild. In captivity, you can feed them flakes, pellets, freeze-dried food, live or frozen bloodworms, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, daphnia, lettuce, spinach, and zucchini.

Green neon tetras need an ample amount of protein for optimum growth.

How long can neon tetras live without food?

In a home aquarium, neon tetras can survive for around a week without food. However, they can only survive for a few days in the wild without food.

In an aquarium, they may survive a little longer if you have a heavily planted aquarium.

Neon tetras will start nibbling on the plants for nutrient intake and survival in the absence of other food.


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