Do Neon Tetras Need a Heater? Facts and Tips

Neon tetras, or Paracheirodon innesi, are small freshwater fish. They are easy to care for and come in a wide variety of colors. But if you keep them in a tank without a heater, the water temperature can drop below freezing and affect their health.

In this article, we are going to dive deep in facts and tips that you need to know about neon tetras and heaters while keeping them in an aquarium.

Red neon fish

Do Neon Tetras Need Heater For Survival?

Yes, neon tetras need a heater to survive. Neon Tetras are aquatic creatures and should be kept in an aquarium where the water temperature of the tank doesn’t dip below freezing points; this includes tanks that don’t have any heaters attached to them.

Survival of a fish depends on water temperature. For instance, when the temperature goes below 5 degrees Celsius in an aquarium with neon tetras, some will die within 24 hours. And it can even happen sometimes without any noticeable change in their environment for ages and years together until they have no choice to adapt themselves to it and eventually perish or move out as you would like them too.

Best Temperature for Neon Tetras

To keep their food and to be able to see them, they need water temperature which is around 22 – 25 degrees Celsius (72 – 76 degrees Fahrenheit). While many experts agree that the temperature goes up above this range can go over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), most people won’t intend it because as with similar aquatic species, these creatures will feel uncomfortable. If you want your tank in between those two temperatures, we can strongly recommend you get a heater.

How to Keep Your Neon Tetras Warm?

There are several things you need to know about keeping neon tetra warm in your tank: types of heaters, wattage, and how long they should run for daily. Experts recommend that water temperatures be kept between 22 – 25 degrees Celsius (72 – 76 degrees Fahrenheit). So, if you have a tank with cold water inside it and the surface does not touch the thermometer, then there isn’t enough heat in your aquarium.

Water that heats up will probably evaporate through smaller crevices; which means they can only retain light so long as they are within 1 to 2 inches of the heater section. This temperature window will also work well with other tropical fish as it is compatible with tropical fish growth and development.

What Will Happen To Neon Tetras When It’s Too Cold?

Neon Tetras will feel uncomfortable and feverish. Their gills won’t be able to work properly in case the temperature goes below 5 degrees Celsius. If it is 6 degrees Celsius one day, then 7 degrees Celsius within few hours following the next day or so; they need oxygen which could not be provided when water becomes too low. Other than that, they might also freeze off and it would be so hard for them to breathe and even lay eggs.

Because of cold stress, they would also avoid eating if temperature is below 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit). Neon tetras have fins which can be damaged when exposed to too short a drop in water heat.

What Will Happen To Neon Tetras If It Gets Too Hot?

If the water gets too warm, their gills can’t work properly because they are cold-blooded. If the temperature goes above 29 degrees Celsius, then it has been proved that some neon tetras might die from 2cm high bubbles in one hour, and not even two hours later, other neon tetras will also be dead or swimming around without scales. In addition, they might also burn themselves on the heater section.

In addition, if the temperature goes above 29 degrees Celsius for a long period of time, then they will be unable to breathe and their gills will be burnt. At this point, they are likely to die because of lack of oxygen in water and dehydration.

Neon Tetra Tank Heater Size

The size of the heater depends on the number of neon tetras in a tank. It should also be taken into account that not all small heaters will work in large tanks, and vice versa. Also, some heaters are better for certain dimensions of water than others do; so this might leave you with a few options which would increase your list further. You can even choose from different brand or models according to your preference as well as to the size of your tank.

The requirement of electricity amount also depends on the individual neon tetra’s circulation system including demands for food and waste in their bodies at any time point and how it takes place throughout the day or night inside the water — so this topic can be discussed later with your pet shop associate .

How Can You Keep Your Tank Warm Without A Heater In An Emergency?

You need to observe the neon tetra tanks without any heater from time to time, and it is better if your water can be heated using a setting of 22 – 25 degrees Celsius. If you have not got enough spare heat, then you should only place as much food for them as possible because these little fish are really curious about fresh food. You might also take into account that in case an emergency happens; grids alone won’ t help you to keep your fish alive for a long time.

In case you are unable to find a heater, what can be done? First of all, since space is limited in the aquarium, needlessly turning it on would even create problems such as algae that could lead to an unbalance and eventually, death of fish among other things. If your tank only has very low light levels or common plants sowing them over, substrate will make up some difference in tank temperature which would also indirectly help in preventing algae growth. You can currently find products on the market to address issues with this effects.