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Green Neon Tetra Fact Sheet

The Green Neon Tetra, Paracheirodon simulans, is closely related to the Neon Tetra, Paracheirodon innesi, and the Cardinal Tetra, Paracheirodon axelrodi. It is not as popular as its two gorgeous cousins although it is also a stunning fish. In our shop, by far the most popular tropical fish is the Neon Tetra. The Cardinal Tetra is less popular despite being one of the most beautiful fresh water aquarium fish, its higher price puts some people off. I would suggest that it is only the existence of its two close relatives in the aquarium trade that stops the Green Neon tetra being the most sought after tropical fish.

To my eyes, this fish is not very green, but we have to call it something. Other common names are the “False Neon Tetra” and the “Green Tetra”. Other scientific names that have been used for this fish are “Cheirodon simulans” and “Hyphessobrycon simulans”.

This is one of the smallest common aquarium fish, slightly smaller even a. Its maximum size is reported to be about one and a half inches (4cm) long although I have never seen one much over half this size.

TheGreen Neon Tetra has a restricted range although it is not a threatened species in the wild. It comes from The Rio Negro in Brazil and Colombia, and the upper part of the Orinoco in Venezuela.

The red section of the Green Neon Tetra is shorter than that of the Neon Tetra, and a lot shorter than the Cardinal Tetra’s.

Water Conditions

In the wild, the Green Neon Tetra comes from very soft, acidic water at a temperature in the mid to high twenties in degrees C (the seventies in degrees F). These are the ideal conditions for this fish. It will adjust to neutral water with some hardness and a temperature of 24 degrees C (75 degrees F) and is fine in a community tank with small peaceful fish.

Avoid having a filter with excessively strong water intake because this fish is prone to get sucked in by strong currents.


The Green Neon Tetra is an omnivore and will eat normal fish foods of a suitable size. Small live food is good as is frozen blood worms.


The Green Neon Tetra is a schooling fish and the larger the number kept together the better. If there are not enough to form a school, they will school with their two cousins.

Other appropriate companions are suitable sized peaceful fish such as White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Cherry Barbs, Penguin Tetras, PristellaTetras, Glowlight Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras, Guppies, Endlers Guppies and Corydoras catfish like the Peppered Catfish. If they are in a reasonable sized aquarium, they should be all right with Siamese Fighting Fish as long as the fighting fish is not one of the few that has learned to catch small fish.

I would be more cautious about putting Green Neon Tetras with fish like Red EyeTetras, Silvertip Tetras, Gold Barbs, Rummy Nose Tetras, Scissortail Rasboras, Lemon Tetras, Emperor Tetras, Head and Tail Light Tetras, Glass Bloodfin Tetras, Swordtails, Platies, Mollies, Zebra Danios, Black Widow Tetras, Rosy Barbs, Tiger Barbs, Paraguay Tetras, Buenos Aires Tetras and Colombian Tetras although they may well be all right with young ones of these species.

I would not put them with any large or predatory fish.


There is not much difference in appearance between the sexes of this species; when in breeding condition, the female in broader than the male.


Green Neon Tetras need water similar to the waters they live in in the wild; extremely soft water with a pH of about 6 and a temperature of around 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Ideally the water should be highly stained by the tannins from peat, in subdued light, shaded by plants.

It spawns in a school although in the actual act of spawning one female may be closely associated with one or more males.

Something like 130 eggs can be laid by each female. The parents should be removed after spawning. The eggs should hatch in 24 hours. The eggs are light sensitive so avoid much light.

The babies are very small and infusoria (protozoa) is necessary early on. As they grow, this can increasingly be supplemented with fine commercial fry foods. Green Neon Tetras can breed again after a couple of weeks.

Pest Fish

Although I find it a little difficult to view this fish as an environmental vandal, normal precautions should still be exercised to prevent this fish getting into waters it is not native to.


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