Neon tetras (Paracheirodon innesi) are a group of freshwater fish that are popular as pets and food. Neon tetras are capable of living with other types of fish. They can be peaceful and playful but are also very social and competitive. As much as neon tetras are often recommended for beginners to keep as pets because they require minimal maintenance, you might also want to set proper expectations of their behavior.
In this article, we are going to discuss if neon tetras are aggressive, what causes their aggressiveness, and other several factors about their behavior.
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Are Neon Tetras Aggressive?
No, neon tetras are not aggressive. They do well living with other types of fish, especially other peaceful species, however, they may become aggressive at times if they feel threatened. Neon tetras usually remain peaceful and playful with their neighbors. If one neon tetra senses you are too rough or agitated, it will attempt to defend its territory against this perceived threat by displaying aggression.
Do Neon Tetras Fight Each Other?
Neon tetras are not a species that is known to fight each other unless provoked. That said, it can be possible for an injured animal or one which has been overly stressed to attack another individual of the same group and try to mount them as you see with some male guppies facing off against their rivals in male tank fighting competitions. Neon tetras have also been reported showing territorial aggression towards others when they exit the same water.
Such spontaneous aggressive behavior usually does not last more than a few minutes, and this is why neon tetras are sometimes recommended as pets for beginners. However, even if you have an unserviceable fish that needs to be put in the same tank with your other species (skilled aquarists know they can separate hostile individuals), it’s best to always observe them close together so you’ll know what kind of behavior they will display.
In general, neon tetras are known for their playful behavior, but don’t let this fool you. They will fight to the death or until exhausted much like any other fish out there if they feel threatened. Neon tetras have been known to be friendly but at the same time, territorial. They will defend their territories against other neon tetras, but they also tend to peacefully coexist when kept in groups of three or more.
What Causes Neon Tetras’ Aggression?
Neon tetra aggression is natural and normal behavior if they feel attacked but it can get out of hand if you do not pay attention. Some risks which increase the chances that this will happen are when stocked with too many fishes in one large space; high levels of stress caused by improper feeding, temperature fluctuations within the tank; certain water quality or filtration problems in the aquarium that affects an individual fish species is a serious cause of aggression.
There may be other numerous reasons for aggressive behavior in certain neon tetra, but one of the most relevant at hand includes social interaction (i.e.: interactions between a male and female). During breeding seasons, males will go out of their way to defend areas they deem beneficial such as spawning streams from other fish that would otherwise immigrate into such areas and contribute to the degradation of the said territory. It is not uncommon for fish to use aggression as a strategy for both species involved, or those that are rivals of one another, to gain access and consume their food supply. This is reasonable because no individual fish wants an area disrupted by intruders trying desperately with all means necessary to push out a rival.
What Are the Signs of Neon Tetra Aggression?
There are many different signs of fish aggression occurring. Some indications may include unusual behavior, agitation, changes in territory, missing scales, split fins, or wounds. If you think your fish is displaying any of these behaviors, it’s best to take them to a qualified expert for evaluation. They may be displaying signs of stress, or even something worse. Finding out if they are doing well will help you determine if fish aggression is a concern! Going without proper information only causes unnecessary damage to your aquarium ecosystem (possibly allowing disease to occur because of the low health), which could result in costly repairs and poor water quality for other inhabitants as well.
Again, in general, there is no definitive answer to the signs of aggression that might be occurring to your fish so it is better to take your fish to a professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. A good place to start would be with your local pet store or aquarium supply store, as they can help you determine if the problem is from an internal or external source.
How Can You Stop Neon Tetras From Acting Aggressive?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as each fish will react differently to aggressive behavior. However, some general tactics that may work for suppressing aggression in neon tetras include offering your fish plenty of food, providing them with space (both physical and mental), and making sure they are constantly healthy and well-groomed. When using the tank’s decoration, keep accessories low to the waterline. Floating plants can be used so as not to shy your fish away from areas that might look safe and still make a good hiding spot for dangerous predators (or those who may aggressively attack). You should avoid placing dry leaves, branches, or other decorations into any of your aquariums’ sumps or corners where they could set up a house and overrun upcoming generations.
Do Neon Tetras Bully Other Fish?
Not all Neon Tetras will bully their tank-mates. As a general rule, if your fish are displaying aggressive behavior toward another fish, then it may be best not to house them in the same tank together as they could severely injure one another especially given that any inflamed injuries would need immediate medical attention. An instance where this is more likely than usual occurs when unable/unwilling male neon tetras attempt to force themselves upon immature fish as they could potentially kill their female partner in the process.
If you see that your neon tetra is bullying other tank-mates over territory or food, then it may be best not to keep them with those individual fishes anymore and consider getting a new group together. This can occur when an established pair of neon tetras begin fighting so much until one eventually stops maintaining its original territory and this may then be taken over by a new resident.
Often the aggressor Neon Tetra will take to harassing potential mates that could potentially lessen its demand for feeding time in.
Bad Tankmates for Neon Tetras
As with any fish, neon tetras fare better when kept in a tank where they can interact with other favorable species such as zebra danios, guppies, and gourami, however, to minimize the casualties of aggression, you might want to avoid larger fish like cichlids.