How Long Can Neon Tetras Go Without Food?

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The Neon Tetras in our aquarium are a source of fascination for me. I’ve never cared to ask how they survive when we’re away on weeklong getaways, but after hearing my brother talk up these new automatic feeders with such enthusiasm and curiosity – well let’s just say that now you can blame them if one day soon your fish is dying from starvation!

How Long Can Neon Tetras Go Without Food?

Neon tetras are small fish from the South American continent, which is why they usually live in freshwater. 

They can only survive for a few weeks without food, due to their tiny stomachs and high metabolic rates. If kept in captivity and fed regularly, neon tetras can expect to live around five years or longer with proper care. 

However, if they are not fed on time and do not receive the proper nutrients, neon tetras may not survive for more than a week.

One of the key reasons that neon tetras have such high metabolic rates is because they are very active fish. In the wild, they live in large schools and are constantly swimming around looking for food or avoiding predators.

How Long Can Neon Tetras Go Without Food

 When kept in aquariums and deprived of constant stimulation, they will quickly become lethargic and their metabolism will slow down. This can cause them to stop eating altogether, which is why it’s so important to keep them in a tank with plenty of toys and hiding places.

If you think your neon tetra may be going without food for too long, the best thing to do is to try and tempt it with a variety of different foods. Many fish will not eat if they are stressed or ill, so you should first check to make sure that your tetra isn’t sick before trying to feed it. 

Often, simply moving the fish to another tank can be enough to get it eating again.

The Best Fish Tank Conditions for Helping Neon Tetras Survive While You’re Away

The next time you think about getting a pet, consider the care needed for neon tetras. This small fish requires medium levels of responsibility and attention to live well in captivity- not just food but also regular water changes are necessary.

Parameters of Water Quality

Always remember that as long your fish tank has good water quality, there’s a better chance of survival for Neon Tetras. If possible make sure you do 50%-70% changes before leaving town on vacation so they don’t get too excited and start swimming around in circles.

It’s a good idea to clean the filters before you go, but if your fish are happy with their environment and don’t need too much cleaning then it may be best not to do so.

The output should show some emotion- whether happiness or excitement about what they just said is up for debate among friends!

The ideal pH level for Neon Tetras is 6-6.5, but it’s also helpful to remember that 1 gallon of water per fish will ensure they live healthy lives.

Live Plants in Abundance

When it comes to the care of your fish, you should know that neon tetras thrive in dense plant life. This is because they like hiding spots and will flee from other types of the safest possible locations where there are plenty of living plants around them.

The type of plant you have will determine how much sunlight or LED lights it needs. For example, low-tech plants like Java Fern need at least 5 hours with no less than 8 – 10 hours of exposure to grow adequately while high-tech aquatic vegetation requires far less time (2 – 3). If your aquarium lacks light then algae growth becomes accelerated leading to tank pollution in excess.

Maintenance Of Filters

The aquarium’s water must be constantly circulated. There will be surface tension as long as the water moves, resulting in gas exchange. If there is no gas exchange, your Neon Tetras may go without oxygen.

You can use an air stone and air pump for the release of oxygen bubbles into the water if the filter quality has been damaged after a few weeks of letting the Neon Tetras alone.

Choosing The Correct Temperature

Neon Tetras are tropical fish that come from the western and northern Amazon basins. Their optimal temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius.

To avoid the risk of getting ich or white spot disease, it is best to keep them at 30 degrees for 3 days after adjusting their water temperature. You can also use aquarium salt in order to speed up this process by adding 1 tbsp per three gallons (or liter) when bringing your fish back from known cold environments like outside pools that have seen below freezing weather lately.

Other Solutions Include: 

Automatic Feeders

You can make your fish happy by giving them the right food. If you have Neon Tetra fry, then after about 3 days they will need to be fed again; however, if it’s adult neon tetras and less delicate species that require planting themselves in freshwater with algae-based diets – this is what we recommend.

Weekend/Vacation Feeders

Weekend feeders are perfect for those quick getaways! These condensed fish food will keep your pet happy and healthy over the course of 3 days.


Ultimately, the key to keeping neon tetras healthy and happy is to feed them regularly, ensure they have plenty of toys and stimulation, and provide them with a clean tank. With these simple steps, your neon tetra should live happily for many years to come!​

Thankfish for reading!

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