How Can You Tell If A Neon Tetra Is Stressed?

Photo by George Wong on Unsplash

Neon Tetras are the centerpiece without being a centerpiece in most aquariums due to their striking blue and red color. Seeing them act strange is pretty easy to tell due to them being as striking as they are. In this article, we will cover how your neon tetra can be stressed, symptoms, and what can happen when your neon tetra is stressed.

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Appetite: If your Neon Tetra is stressed you will notice its eating behavior. When we humans are stressed we are not hungry so why should it be any different for our fish?

Strange Swimming: Unfortunately, when fish are stressed they can develop weird and strange swimming patterns. Your fish may look like it’s trying to go somewhere fast when there isn’t any reason for it to be acting like that. This is a clear indication of stress. The Neon Tetra as well as other fish can hit the sides of their tank frantically swimming and damage their mouths. They can also crash into the bottom of your aquarium or rub themselves on the gravel on the bottom. When you see that your fish is stressed be sure to contact your local veterinarian.

Disease: There are many different kinds of diseases your neon tetra can catch when they are stressed. Ich is a very common disease that can happen where white spots can appear on their body and cause internal and external damage. If you see this happen be sure to contact your local veterinarian for possible treatments.

Gasping For Air: When your fish is lacking oxygen you will see him or her gasping at the surface of the water. This indicates low water quality and needs to be handled ASAP.

Why Is My Neon Tetra Stressed

There are many reasons as to why your neon tetra could be stressing out. Unfortunately, there are quite a few but knowing them will decrease the likelihood of it happening or make it better for them overall.

  • Low Water Quality
  • Bullied By Other Fish
  • Bright Tank Lighting
  • Overcrowding
  • No Hiding Places
  • Too Much Salt
  • High Nitrate
  • Changes in Water Levels
  • Temperature Changed Too Much
  • New Tank Mates

What Happens When My Neon Tetra Is OverStressed?

Color Fades

Unfortunately, the neon tetra will have its color begin to fade away. This will eventually consume the tetra unless you add more neon tetras with them. It’s recommended to add 1 per gallon depending on your tank. They would normally school in the wild so making it more of a natural setting will get rid of this problem and bring their color back.

Neon Tetra Disease

Seeing a neon tetra get this disease is a sad sad thing to have to experience. If it’s not handled NOW the other neon tetras will get the disease and it’s almost impossible to cure. Quarantine the infected neon tetra and immediately to prevent the others from getting it if they haven’t already got it. Contact the place where you purchased your tetra in case the others are infected as well. Contact your local veterinarian for medication advice.


There are cases where a fish of any kind really can become so stressed they can actually die. This can be seen in females as well as the males are ready to mate so much that the female cannot take him pestering her, and even stressing her out to death. Just like some couples I know.


If your Neon Tetra is stressed take immediate action and do not let it prolong unless disease or death will follow. A Neon Tetra can live a short 1 to 3-year life span in your aquarium so it would be sad if their life was cut short by stress.

We are an Aquarium Publication. We post Response Posts to answer viewer’s questions and post different problems you may experience with solutions.

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