What To Do When Neon Tetras Lay Eggs?

Disclosure: When you purchase something through my affiliate links, I earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Discovering neon tetra eggs in your tank can be overwhelming, especially if you have no previous experience in this field.

When I first found them, I panicked. I didn’t know what steps to take to care for the unborn fry or whether I should do so at all.

In this article, I will guide you through the available options, from hatching the eggs to selling them to a nearby fish store.

Let’s dive in.

What To Do When A Neon Tetra Lays Eggs?

Your actions with neon tetras eggs will largely depend on your intentions. Let’s consider the following:

1. Raising Neon Tetra Fry

  • Separate the eggs: Neon tetra eggs should be separated into their own tank to protect them from adult fish that may eat the eggs.
  • Incubate the eggs: Place the eggs in a calm and dim environment, maintaining a temperature of approximately 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).
  • Adjust the water: Neon tetra eggs need soft, slightly acidic water. You may need to adjust the water parameters in the incubation tank.
  • Safeguard against fungal infection: Administer an antifungal treatment to safeguard the eggs against potential fungal contamination, particularly in cases where unfertilized eggs may be present.
  • Hatch the fry: Neon tetra eggs will typically hatch in about 24 hours.
  • Feed the fry: Initially, neon tetra fry are too small to eat traditional fish food. They should be fed infusoria or a commercial liquid fry food until they grow large enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp or microworms.
  • Monitor the fry: Regularly check on the health and development of the fry. As they mature, adjust their diet and environmental conditions accordingly.

Also Read: Neon Tetra Eggs 101

Bear in mind that the ideal conditions for a neon tetra fry tank include:

  • Temperature: 72-76°F (22-24°C)
  • pH: 6-7
  • Hardness: 1-2 DH (17.9-35.8 ppm)
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrites: 0 ppm
  • Nitrates: <20 ppm
  • Size: 10-20 gallons (depending on the number of fry)

Also Read: What Do Neon Tetra Eggs Look Like?

2. Disposing Of The Neon Tetra Fry

  • Euthanizing: If there are too many fry or they are unhealthy, humane euthanasia may be considered. This should be done responsibly, usually by a method such as the clove oil method.
  • Nature’s way: Allowing natural predation in the tank can help control fry numbers. Adult fish often eat the fry, maintaining a balance in the tank.
  • Consult a veterinarian: If unsure about how to dispose of the fry, consult with an aquatic veterinarian for advice.

3. Consider Selling Them To Fish Stores

  • Grow the fry: To sell the neon tetra fry, they must first be grown to a sellable size. This can take several weeks.
  • Maintain good health: Ensure the fry are healthy, with no signs of disease or parasites, as these will reduce their value and may cause stores to reject them.
  • Find local fish stores: Look for local aquarium or pet stores that purchase fish from hobbyist breeders.
  • Negotiate a price: Speak with the store owner or manager to negotiate a fair price for the fish.
  • Transport carefully: Use appropriate containers and methods to transport the fry to the store to ensure their wellbeing.

4. Donate Them To Other Aquarists

  • Find interested aquarists: Use local fish clubs, online forums, or social media to find other aquarists who might be interested in neon tetra fry.
  • Discuss tank conditions: Make sure the interested aquarist has the right tank conditions to support the growth and health of the neon tetra fry.
  • Arrange pickup or delivery: Coordinate with the recipient to pick up the fish or arrange for safe and stress-free delivery.
  • Provide care instructions: If necessary, provide instructions on how to care for the fry, especially if the recipient is new to raising neon tetras.

5. Trade Or Exchange With Other Aquarists

  • Find interested hobbyists: Look for other aquarium enthusiasts who might be interested in breeding neon tetras themselves.
  • Establish trade or exchange terms: Negotiate terms of the trade or exchange, this could be for other types of fish, equipment, or even services.
  • Prepare eggs for transport: The eggs must be carefully prepared for transport to ensure they survive the journey.
  • Follow local laws: Ensure any exchange or trade of eggs is in line with local laws or regulations concerning the trade of live aquatic animals.

Also Read: Neon Tetra Eggs Hatching Time

Maximizing Neon Tetras Eggs Hatching Success

Neon tetras eggs can be a little challenging to deal with. These steps will help you hatch them successfully:

  • Set up a separate breeding tank: Neon tetras are known to eat their own eggs, so it’s best to have a separate tank for breeding purposes.
  • Maintain optimal water conditions: The water should be soft and slightly acidic for breeding neon tetras. Maintain pH levels within the range of 5.0 to 6.0 and hardness between 1 and 2 dGH. For water testing, I use the API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT (link to Amazon).
  • Keep water temperature consistent: The ideal temperature for breeding neon tetras and hatching their eggs is around 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).
  • Create a low-light environment: Neon tetras prefer a dimly lit environment for breeding, as bright lights can inhibit hatching and may even kill the eggs.
  • Use a mesh or grid at the bottom of the tank: This will allow the eggs to fall through to a location where the adult fish can’t reach them. It will help protect the eggs from being eaten.
  • Remove parents after spawning: Once the neon tetras have laid their eggs, remove the parents from the tank to prevent them from eating the eggs.
  • Apply anti-fungal treatment: Neon tetra eggs are susceptible to fungal infections. Adding an anti-fungal agent to the water can help prevent these infections. My recommendation: API Stress Coat (link to Amazon).
  • Aerate the water: Provide adequate aeration in the breeding tank to maintain oxygen levels and facilitate the movement of the water, which helps mimic the conditions in their natural habitat. My recommendation: Hygger Aquarium Air Stone (link to Amazon)
  • Avoid unnecessary disturbances: The breeding tank should be kept in a quiet location, free from vibrations and sudden changes in lighting. These could stress the fish and negatively affect the hatching process.
  • Keep the tank clean: The water quality should be kept optimal by regular testing and changing. Poor water quality can adversely affect egg health and hatching.
  • Feed adults high-quality food before breeding: Feeding the adult tetras a high-quality diet before they breed can improve the health and viability of their eggs.


If you are in a rush, here is a quick summary of what I discussed earlier:

  • Raising neon tetra fry requires separating, incubating, and feeding them appropriately.
  • Options for disposing of neon tetra fry include euthanasia, natural predation, or consulting a veterinarian.
  • Selling fry involves growing them, ensuring their health, finding interested stores, negotiating a price, and careful transport.
  • Donating fry to other aquarists involves finding interested individuals, discussing tank conditions, arranging pickup or delivery, and providing care instructions.
  • Successful hatching of neon tetra eggs requires a separate breeding tank, optimal water conditions, consistent temperature, low-light environment, egg protection, anti-fungal treatment, aeration, minimal disturbances, clean tank, and feeding adults a high-quality diet.