When you get a new fish, the first thing you want to do is figure out how to sex it.
Once you know the gender, you can start thinking about breeding tetras. But what if you’re not sure how to tell the difference? And what if your fish is pregnant?
In this post, we’ll talk about how to tell if your Neon Tetra is pregnant and what to do if she is.
Determine If The Neon Tetra Is Female
To determine whether a neon tetra will reproduce, you must first identify its gender.
The physical characteristics of neon tetra fish can help determine whether they are male or female.
Male neon tetra characteristics include:
- Slimmer body shape
- More vivid coloration
- Longer dorsal and anal fins
- The straight neon blue line
Female neon tetra characteristics include:
- Longer and slightly larger
- More curved body shape
- Less brilliant colors
- Shorter dorsal and anal fins
- The curved neon blue line
Check the Female Physical and Behavioral Changes
After identifying which fish females are, there are two ways to determine if they are ready to reproduce: checking for physical changes and looking out for reproductive behaviors.
- Physical Characteristics
a. Presence of an enlarged stomach
When a neon tetra is about to lay her eggs, she will have a large stomach that appears distended.
Tetras can carry hundreds of eggs in their stomach, so the belly will not just be a little swollen— it will appear abnormally big.
- Presence of an enlarged vent
Another method to determine if your tetra is pregnant is to inspect her vent.
This is the aperture between the anus and the anal fin, which will release eggs or sperm depending on the tetra’s gender. The vent is open in pregnant women in preparation for childbirth.
However, this method isn’t the best way to determine if your fish is pregnant because this examination may be distressing to your tetra.
2. Behavioral Patterns
Behavioural patterns can also indicate that a neon tetra is ready to reproduce.
Females will exhibit some or all of the following behaviours when they are ready to lay eggs:
a. Clear nesting areas
Females will start cleaning up areas around the tank where they plan to lay their eggs.
This includes picking off algae and debris and digging depressions into the substrate.
b. Stop eating
The pregnant female will stop eating to focus on preparing for childbirth.
c. Become less active
Pregnant females will become less active as they conserve their energy for reproduction.
d. The males’ behavior will also tell you!
When males start to court, it’s typically because the female is ready to reproduce.
Some of the actions you may notice from the males are a particular dance they perform to attract the females.
The male fish typically swims in a square pattern while jerking back and forth when performing this mating dance.
Also, it may pause and remain motionless now and again, then get right back into the dance’s rhythm.
What Should You Do If Your Neon Tetra Is About to Lay?
If your neon tetra has exhibited the symptoms of carrying eggs, you should prepare yourself.
While you wait for your neon tetra fish to arrive, there are a few things you can do to get ready for its arrival.
- Get a Separate Tank for the New Fry
One of the most important things you can do is to set up a new tank for the new generation.
This tank should have around 10 gallons and an acceptable substrate for the fish to lay their eggs.
It should also have a tight-fitting lid to prevent the neon tetra fry from jumping out.
- Maintain Ideal Water Conditions
These fish are susceptible to changes in water parameters, so you’ll need to be extra vigilant about maintaining ideal water conditions, especially while breeding time.
A water temperature of 74-78 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended.
Apart from the temperature, it would be best if you also kept them in soft water with low mineral content.
It should be slightly acidic, with a pH balance of 5 to 6. This is how you can best re-create their natural environment.
Clean water is also necessary for the neon tetra fish, so maintaining frequent changes is critical. If their requirements are not met, they may decide not to reproduce.
Note: It’s critical to only change half of the tank’s water at a time when replacing it since this minimizes the chance of the fish being stunned.
- Improve Filtration
The neon tetra fish require a clean environment with adequate filtration. A good filtration system is strongly advised since it will prevent fungus and bacteria infestations.
If the water tank is not cleaned, a white substance may develop around the eggs, and the fungus might spread to the egg and kill the embryo.
- Adequate Lighting
In the wild, these fish prefer partial illumination; therefore, the ideal aquarium for them is one that replicates their natural habitat as closely as possible.
Move the aquarium to a location not exposed to whole light, at the same time; the tank does not need to be entirely dark; it should only be illuminated during the day.
- Hiding Spots
When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she becomes cautious and wants to lay them in locations where she may hide, which is essential for her safety.
So, it would be best to have plenty of plants and decorations in the breeding tank.
Some examples of good hiding spots are caves, roots, and plants.
How Do Fish Reproduce?
Most fish breed sexually, merging sperm from testes and eggs from ovaries.
Then, the female fish releases the eggs into the water, and the male fish fertilizes them.
After that, the eggs hatch into larvae, which mature into fully-grown fish.
Other fish species may reproduce asexually by creating clones of themselves or releasing unfertilized eggs that develop without sperm.
Are Tetras Easy to Breed?
Tetras are relatively easy to breed when compared to other fish species.
They are one of the most popular fish for first-time fishkeepers to breed.
Look for a few telltale signs if you suspect your fish may be pregnant.
In this article, we discussed some of these signs and what you can do to prepare for the arrival of the neon tetra fry.
Remember to keep a close eye on water conditions, and make sure to change only half of the tank’s water at a time when replacing it.
We hope you have found this article helpful, and we wish you the best of luck with your fry!
If you still have questions, share them with us in the comment section below.