Neon Tetras Afraid of Light? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-03-2011, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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Neon Tetras Afraid of Light?

Is it normal for neon tetras to stay at the bottom with the light on? I have had my 8 neon tetras in my 10 gallon aquarium for about 4 weeks now. The water parameters are fine and within normal range. With the aquarium hood light off, the tetras tend to swim more and higher, and they accomodate the whole tank. The only time they swim away from the bottom corner of my tank with the light on is during feeding time. They get excited and dart up and down to get the food. I have ornaments and fake plants in my tank. I see videos where their tetras are actively swimming even when the light is on, and I was wondering how I could get mine to be like that.

Is there anything I could do to make them more active swimmers with the light on?
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-03-2011, 09:16 PM
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any chance of getting a pic of the tank?

in the mind of a fish, light = danger. They are most active in the twilight hours.

How do they do with the tank light off but the room lights on?

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post #3 of 7 Old 04-03-2011, 09:22 PM
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Do you have any floating plants?

Many fish come from natural habitats that are a lot more dense with plants than the average aquarium... they are much more comfortable under some cover. I have observed in my tanks that my fish prefer swimming around in the darker corners of my tank, or else if they are going to swim closer to the surface it is usually directly under all of my floating plant rather than out in the open.
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-04-2011, 11:29 AM
+1 for floating plants

My water surface is half to 2/3 covered with pennywort and wisteria. The neons use low and mid levels of the tank
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-05-2011, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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The fish come out and swim around mid and low levels with the room lights on. I will try to get some floating plants for my aquarium. any suggestions of plants that will fit my small tank? also, if I do put live plants, is there any other maintenance I have to add with the tank or will they be just fine with routine weekly water changes?

BTW, I have an eclipse system 6 and not a 10 gallon. sorry for the typo.

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post #6 of 7 Old 04-05-2011, 02:15 PM
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Using Hornwort to float on top would be a good idea. Doesn't require too much space, low demands and doesn't look too bad (Y)

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post #7 of 7 Old 04-06-2011, 05:26 PM
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Agree, in a small space there are several stem plants that do well floating. They will grow fast, but are easy to trim back. Brazilian Pennywort is a particular favourite of mine, as a floating plant it is superb. It also is lower light that most stem plants [fast growing plants need more light and higher nutrients, and stem plants are in this category] and will manage better than many. Some liquid fertilizer is probably a good idea though. A small bottle of Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive would last you for months. You use very little, it is concentrated.

Someone correctly mentioned about forest fish coming from dimly-lit waters. Neons were impossible to spawn in aquaria for decades until it was discovered they needed total darkness. The eggs will not hatch if any light hits them. Cardinal tetra are the same, and many forest fish. That tells us something about light levels in their habitat.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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