Fish of the Week: Neon Tetra

Hello fish fans! Sorry to have missed last week. Even vets get to take a vacation every once in awhile. Got to do a great radio show yesterday on 1080 KSCO PetPourri hour. Hopefully, we will be able to give you more advance notice next time! I am also getting ready to attend the AVMA Convention in Chicago coming up later this month. Lots of great talks about fish health to be had! Anyway, back to the fishies!

Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Courtesy of Wikipedia
Courtesy of Wikipedia

If you have even perused the fish section of your local pet store, you have stumbled upon neon tetras. They are a great starter fish for a new home freshwater tank. Growing up, I had a few with a goldfish in my very first fish tank. A rather small fish (max length 3cm), neon tetras have bright red and blue stripes along their bodies. During the night, you may see these colors fade while the fish is resting, and more brightly during the day time, when the fish is active. Keep in mind that due to their small size, they may look like tasty treats to any large fish in your tank. Neon tetras are naturally schooling fish, so make sure that you have at least 4-6 of their friends that they can swim alongside. They also like areas to hide, so give them some caves or fake foliage to hide in if they’re feeling shy.

Neon tetras are susceptible to a specific disease called Neon Tetra Disease caused by Pleistophora hyphessobryconis. Early stages will present as lethargy and dull body appearance. Over the course of disease, the fish will become lumpy, due to the presence of internal cysts caused by the replication of the sporozoan. This is a lethal and incurable disease. If you suspect that one of your fish is sick, quarantine it IMMEDIATELY (separate them in their own tank with SEPARATE equipment). There is also a similar disease caused by bacteria with the same clinical signs. Antibiotic treatment may be effective if the disease is caught early.

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