7 Reasons Why Your Neon Tetra Is Losing Color and What to Do About It

7 Reasons Why Your Neon Tetra Is Losing Color and What to Do About It

Neons are a great way to add color to your tank, but their brilliant hues can fade over time.

If you’ve noticed that your neon tetra fish have been losing color, there could be many reasons.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the possible causes that make neon tetras lose their color,

Water Chemistry

The pH and hardness of the water can play a role in the vibrancy of your fish colors.

If the water is too acidic or too soft, it can cause the colors on your neons to fade over time.

Your tank also needs to be cycled correctly. Cycling serves to eliminate hazardous chemicals while converting toxic ammonia and nitrates into non-toxic nitrates.

Before adding any tetras to your aquarium, you should get a test kit to check for nitrates and ammonia levels.

Any nitrates or ammonia levels greater than 0ppm will cause them to turn red or die.

Too Bright Lights

In their natural habitat, neon tetras thrive in shady places with many plant covers.

So, if your tank is too bright, it might frighten your neon tetras, causing their colors to become pale.

We recommend purchasing dimmer lights or adding more plants to your tank to fix this.

Also, placing a dark substrate over the top of your neon tetras will help reduce light exposure and make them feel more secure.

Improper Diet

Another typical reason neon tetras lose color is because you feed them incorrectly.

Their colors will gradually fade away if you don’t provide them with a  balanced and nutritious diet.

So we recommend providing your neon tetras with a range of foods, including:

  • Tubifex Worms
  • Brine shrimp
  • Daphnia
  • Pellets
  • Flakes

Unsuitable Temperature

The heat and cold can stress your neon tetras, causing their color to fade, and they may also be morphologically affected.

Neon tetras need a consistent temperature that is neither too hot nor too cold, and maintaining a constant temperature is critical to their health.

You should make sure that the temperature in the tank is between 24 and 27 degrees Celsius. Also, make sure the temperature doesn’t fluctuate.


If your neon tetras’ color is fading and they display other symptoms such as lethargy, irregular swimming, or loss of appetite, they could be sick.

White patches and black spots on the body or fins can also signify illness.

In this scenario, you may take your neon tetras to a fish veterinarian or put them in a hospital tank and treat them.

Stress and Schooling

Neon tetras enjoy being a part of a school, preferably one that consists of five or more individuals.

Being alone will put them under a lot of stress, which may cause their color to fade.

So we recommend housing them in a school of at least five individuals to minimize the chance of injury.

This will lower their stress levels and make your tank appear more lovely.

Small Tank Size

The smaller the tank size, the more difficult it becomes to keep the water quality high.

A small tank will limit your ability to change water and add plants, making it challenging to keep the water quality high.

In addition, a small tank doesn’t provide enough space for fish to swim, which can also lead to stress, which leads to fading their color.

An excellent general rule is to have a 20-gallon tank for a small school of tetras.

This will give them enough space to school and swim freely without being cramped.

Do Neon Tetras Lose Color at Night?

Yes, they do. It is typical for neon tetras to lose their color at night.

This is since they require rest, and their color tends to fade during this time.

If you have noticed that your tetras’ color fades at night, this is entirely natural.

Last Words

There are many potential causes, but the most common ones are poor water quality, inadequate diet, and stress.

If you take care of these issues, your neon tetras should start to regain their color.

We hope this article was informative and helped you better understand the causes of color fading in neon tetras.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below.