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Gold Neon Tetra Ultimate Care Guide 2021

Gold neon tetra Introduction

Gold neon tetra or gold tetras are a group of small freshwater fish and well suit for a nano tank. These tetras are excellent schooling fish, so that we can keep them in a community tank.

These fish are hybrids (selective breeding) of normal neon tetra.

They are very peaceful and non-aggressive fish that can be kept in your home aquaria—the intention of writing this article to give you a useful guide about gold neon tetra keeping.

Because before I buy gold neon fish, I researched the internet but was unable to find enough articles to get information.

So I keep gold tetras by watching youtube, taking pieces of advice from fish keepers nearby so on. Finally, I decided to write a comprehensive article, including all the gold neon tetra care guide from my experience.

gold neon tetra


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Most of the fish keepers get confused, even on articles I found on the internet talk about the Paracheiradon innesi. It is the scientific name of normal neon tetra, not the gold neon tetra.

Don’t confuse these two varieties of fish!


These small freshwater fish belongs to the family Characidae (where the normal neon tetras also include in).

Their genus is Hemigrammus, whereas normal neon tetra is Paracheirodon. Order is Characiformes. Therefore gold neon tetra scientific name is Hemigrammus rodwayi.

neon tetra
This is a picture of a normal neon fish


Real picture of a Gold neon tera


Name given due to the presence of gold tint on the body. It is a unique characteristic feature that can be found in Gold tetras.

  • Order – Characiformes
  • Family – Characidae
  • Genus – Hemigrammus
  • Species – H.rodwayi
  • Color – Blue, Red, yellow
  • Diet – Omnivore
  • Care level – Easy to moderate
  • Minimum tank size – 10-15 gallons
  • Habitat– Freshwater  

Source: Wikipedia

 Origin and Distribution

If you go to South America, you can found these small fish from the streams and flooded woodlands. Thereby gold neon tetra is native to South America.

In the wild, it is also found around Paraguay river basins.

Naturally, these fish are even found in transparent and clear water bodies. Most of them found where the water substrate contains leaf litter, fallen tree branches, and other aquatic plants.

Gold Neon Tetra Appearance


Aquarists well know it due to its nice color in the body. These fish produce by selective breeding of the neon tetra. So it has similar colors.

Golden tetra,” by the name it says, presence of gold color in the body. When they get mature red, and blue colors appear. These blue and red color stripes run along the length of the body.

Most of the aquacultured golden neon fish have a silvery gray body color, but it has a prominent metallic gold color in the body in the wild.

Do you know why? Because in the wild species, native water contains a parasite called Trimotoma. It attaches to the fish body that is the reason to have two different colors in aquacultured and wild species.

To get gold color in aquacultured fish, you can add wild-caught gold tetras to the tank.

Thereby we can have this Trimotoma parasite. Don’t worry. It is not harmful to the fish; both are in a symbiotic relationship ( both have benefits).

It also has a spindle shaped body with a large pair of eyes.

Gold Neon Tetra Life span

How long do gold neon tetras live for?

In the wild, it has a long life span of about 10 years. But in captivity only lives for around 5-8 years. It depends on your care and management.

Gold Neon Tetra aquarium care

As I told you earlier, these fish are from the South American water bodies, consisting of many streams and rivers.

These rivers flow through the substrate with a dense accumulation of fallen leaves, tree branches, and other vegetation. You can identify hundreds of fish gather on those river basins.

Therefore it is a schooling fish, can easily rear in your home tank, which contains many fish species.

You need to provide them with a dense, shady aquarium plant such as java moss, Cryptocyorene can use to decor the tank along with driftwood, even pebbles, fine gravel are okay to use with the tank decorations.

The only thing you need to provide a shady darker environment.

Tank Conditions

These golden neon fish are sensitive to the sudden changes in water parameters. They prefer slightly acidic (soft) water conditions.

It is also not advisable to add them in a newly cycled tanks; you might use a well-established, matured tank to add them.

Generally, this fish requires a water temperature of 75-82F ( average temperature would be 78F). Also, require a pH level of 5.5 – 7.2. Water hardness should be between 1-6 dGH.

So be sure to provide slightly acidic soft water for optimum growth.

Do Gold Neon Tetras Need Light At Night?

No, they do not need light at night; it is not compulsory.

If you want, you can give it. The only thing they require 12-14 hours of lightning per day. If you can provide during day time, it is okay.

As these fish like the shady environment very much, you need to use subdued lightning. You can use 18-30 low watt fluorescent bulb for lightning.

It usually says 2-5 watt per gallon is enough.

Gold neon tetra tank size

Since it’s a freshwater peaceful community fish, it would prefer one gallon per one fish according to the good thumb rule.

How many gold neon tetras should be kept together?

You can keep them as schools of five or above. The minimum tank size required is 15 gallons. There only you can keep 15 of them comfortably.

Tank mates

Since gold neon is very peaceful, you should need to choose the tankmates that are non-aggressive, the same as the size of gold neon.

If you choose larger fish as tankmates, it can swallow these small fish. To avoid that, you can select small bottom dwellers such as Honey gouramis, barbs, platy, guppies, corydoras catfish, dwarf cichlids, danio, and rasbora make the perfect tankmates.

These gold tetras only get aggressive to a certain during the breeding season.

Fish that should not keep with the gold neon fish are Angelfish, cichlids ( they are very aggressive).

Can gold neon tetra live with betta fish?

Yes, possible you can keep both on a 20 gallons tank or more. But you can not keep both on a 10 gallons tank since bettas are carnivores and aggressive, gold neon also carnivores but peaceful fish.

You need to take care of both of your fish, as bettas are aggressive and can harm the gold neon. And gold neon tetras are also fin nippers.

Experts say these do not behave like that every time. So you can provide lots of hiding places and dense live aquarium plants. Finally, be careful when both fish keeping in the same tank.

Gold neon tetra diet and feeding?

As they are omnivores, they eat whatever you feed, including animal and plant based foods. In the wild, these fish most likely to depend on algae, insects, larvae, so on.

If you keeping in your home tank should need to give a high quality diet.

It helps to condition the fish at breeding.

What food is best for neon tetras?

You can feed them with brine shrimp, blackworms, spirulina, omnivore pellets, daphnia, tubifex worms, micro pellets, etc.

It is advisable to feed in small quantities. Otherwise, it can be a problem to swallow. Experts in this hobby say feeding gold neon tetras twice a day is okay to go with.

Please be sure not to overfeed your fish. Indirectly it can alter the water parameters.

Gold neon tetra size?

These fish can grow up to about a maximum size of 2 inches. It varies on how you manage your fish. If you well feed and give good aquarium care can have its maximum potential.

If you are going to buy from a pet store or online shop, you need to buy gold neon fish that are 1/2 – 1 inches in size.

There, you can buy a number of ones at 2$, so it will cost only 10-15 bucks.

Gold neon tetra breeding

As told earlier, these fish are easy to breed if you give the correct water parameters since sensitive to sudden changes in the water conditions, gold neons need it to be stable.

Better to reduce the acidity of water as well.

Slightly increasing temperature above 78F can stimulate the mating process.

Therefore you need to put the breeding couple into the breeding tank.

How to identify gold neon tetra male and female?

When compared with the male, females have more gravid appearance and have an enlarged round belly. Where male absent an enlarged belly area.

Male also tends to slimmer than their respective females. You can also identify a straight blue strip in males, whereas females have a curved blue strip.

Better if it maintains a pH between 5-6.

Do gold neon tetra lay eggs?

Yes, they lay eggs and known as to be egg scatters. Female produces about 200 eggs per clutch. After egg laying finish, you should remove the breeder pair from the tank.

Sometimes female deposits eggs on the leaves of Java moss etc.

There also it is advantageous to having dense planting in the tank. These eggs get hatch around 30 hours. After fry starts to swim, you should start feeding with small food pieces, as mentioned in the diet and feeding part.


They love to enjoy their schooling, cool fish with non aggressive and peaceful behavior. You may observe when they are in a school actively swim in the middle of the tank.

How can you tell if a gold neon tetra is stressed?

It will show the following symptoms!

Gasping at the surface, this is because of poor quality parameters and lack of oxygen within the tank. You can observe your fish frequently comes to the top of the water surface and gasping its mouth.

Appetite, If your gold tetra suffers from stress, it will not eat. You can see lazy behavior over the food.

Strange gold neon swimming, if you observe any abnormal behavior of swimming, it is definitely suffering from the stress. So you need to care a lot about your gold tetra.


The gold neon tetra is one of the favorite fish among aquarists all over the world. This article will guide you to keep your fish healthy and happy. Once again, I want to say that maintaining good water conditions can increase the gold tetra’s overall activity.

Happy fish keeping!


“Neon tetra disease”

“Neon tetra disease” is a common infection found in all tetra species. It is caused by a microsporidian parasite called Pleistophora hyphessobryconis.

This parasite can get into fish by food, either ingestion of a dead fish or with live foods.

And parasite digests the fish body from inside to the outside. So following symptoms can observe if your fish suffer from “Neon tetra disease.”

  • Fatigue and restless behavior
  • Body-color turns to white and loss of initial body color
  • Difficulty in swimming and not interest in schooling
  • The curvature of the spines
  • Cysts appear on the body, thereby lumpy appearance
  • Even secondary infections such as fin rot and bloating can observe in the fish.

The above symptoms clearly indicate that your fish is infected. So take immediate actions; otherwise, it will die soon.

There is no cure for this disease; the only thing you can separate the diseased fish from others avoiding the spread of disease. If these fish get died inside the tank, there is a chance to eat other fish.

Be aware of that!

Can gold neon tetras live in a bowl?

No, you can not keep gold neon tetras in a bowl because these fish needs to be kept in a school—at least a school of five or above. According to the good thumb rule, it needs one gallon of water per one fish.

Even it should be kept in a well established, matured tank.

Bowl is not a well established place to keep. It will well suit for a flower vas oops!

If you ask from a pet store, they will say okay to go with, because they need only the money. To sell, they will say anything to you. If you want more information, search on youtube and watch a video, or else you can ask from an expert fish keeper around you.

Will a goldfish eat a gold neon tetra?

Goldfish are omnivores and messy eaters. They can eat gold tetra. Better to keep them in two different tanks. Another reason we can not keep goldfish and old tetra together is two different water conditions.

As goldfish need 23-24 C, and gold neon need 28-30 C as optimum temperature.

Tetras are highly sensitive to the changes in water. Another thing goldfish produces a huge amount of waste that can lead to more ammonia spikes and alter the water conditions.

So be aware and always keep tetras in a well established tank.

Further Reading:

Green Dragon Pleco: Ultimate care Guide 2020

How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food

Do Platies Need A Heater?

Amazing Facts About Amano Vs Ghost Shrimp 2021

What Are The Differences Of Male Vs Female Cherry Shrimp?

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