What is Neon Tetra Disease and how can it be Prevented?


What is Neon Tetra Disease?

Neon tetras are a popular nano fish known for their beautiful, red and blue stripes, but sometimes they get a bad reputation for being a “sensitive” fish that is prone to dying. These tetras have proven to be just as resilient as other danios or rasboras. However, there are a few factors that can weaken their immunity and increase their risk of getting sick. Let’s talk about why neon tetras become sick, what neon tetra diseases are, and how we can prevent them from getting it.

Why Do Neon Tetras Get Sick?

Neon tetras can appear sickly because they are kept in large quantities. Because they are always in high demand, fish farms raise them in huge numbers. Wholesalers purchase thousands at a given time. Large quantities are then sent to local pet shops. Then, the retail employee mixes the new shipment with an older group that hasn’t yet sold. There is a greater chance that one fish will become sick if you have a lot of them.

Also, neon tetras are often underfed in the different facilities where they are kept. Wholesalers and pet shops all aim to spend as little time and food with fish as possible in order to keep their businesses afloat. A 100-tetra tank may only get a few fish flakes. This means that not every fish gets to eat. This is fine for most fish. But if neon tetras are kept in overcrowded and high-stress environments, they can develop diseases like ich or fungal infections.

Neon tetras can be kept in large numbers, with very little food and underoptimal conditions.

Because they are inexpensive and brightly colored, beginners often buy neon tetras. Oftentimes, they don’t spend a lot of time looking up the care requirements and may buy a large bag of them to put in a tiny aquarium with poor water quality and aggressive tank mates. Neon tetras might have been more costly at $10 each and people would have done more research about proper care before they were taken home. We believe that neon tetras don’t have to be more sensitive than other fish. They just need to be kept in worse conditions during the supply chain.

How to make your neon tetras healthier

Buy the biggest neon Tetras that you can, if possible. They may be sold as large, jumbo, or XL neon tetras. They are more expensive, but they are worth it. Fish farms have to feed these tetras more food in order to grow them to a certain size. At Aquarium Co-Op, we try to order the bigger, full-grown neon tetras, put them in quarantine, treatwith preventative medications, and feed them well. These best practices will help our customers become more successful with neon tetras. They will also be happier with our store.

When you bring your neon tetras back home, make sure they get enough food. Frozen bloodworms might be too large for young juveniles. Instead of giving them frozen bloodworms, you can give them baby brine shrimp, daphnia and cyclops as well as micro pellets. For maximum effectiveness, give them several small meals throughout each day.

What is Neon Tetra Disease?

NTD is a common misdiagnosed disease in the hobby. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your neon tetra will be sick. If you notice white spots on your tetra, it may be suffering from ich. A white spot on your tetra could indicate NTD. However, it may also be a sign of other diseases. NTD can be quite rare. Therefore, the white spot is most likely due to a common bacterial and fungal infection. We recommend that you use the trio of antibiotics (which treat bacteria, parasites and fungus) and that you give your fish good nutrition and care. NTD is a condition where the disease continues to affect fish and kills them over time.

The neon tetra’s body has a tiny white area that can’t be diagnosed without proper training.

NTD is caused in part by mycobacterium. It thrives when it is exposed to warm water, low levels of dissolved oxygen, low pH, or organically rich environments. These conditions often occur in tanks where neon Tetras are kept. In her publication on Mycobacterial Infections of Fish, Dr. Ruth Francis-Floyd states, “Poor husbandry, chronic stress, or anything else that impairs the immune function of the fish will increase the likelihood that infection will develop.”

How to Prevent Neon Tetra Disease

NTD is contagious and can’t be treated. Preventing and minimising its spread is the best option. Keep all new fish quarantined in separate containers for several weeks so that you can monitor them for any health problems and protect your animals. To help them recover from stressful trips to the fish farm, you can use the quarantine tanks. Keep the water at 74-76degF (23-24degC), do not include territorial tank mates, use an air stone filter or sponge filter to increase oxygenation, and give them healthy food. You may have to euthanize a neon tetra that is sick or does not respond to your minstrations if it is a likely case of NTD.

Neon Tetras Have Curved Spines Why?

A curved spine or twisted body is often touted as a symptom of NTD, but we believe malformed neon tetras tend to be a breeding issue. Fish farms produce tons of nano fish and don’t have time to sift through them to take out the ones with bent backs. Instead of counting each one, the workers weigh the neon Tetras in order to approximate their shipping numbers. The fish shop employees may not have the time to remove the defective fish until they arrive at the store. They don’t want to make the shop look bad. You might not be able to see the spines of neon tetras until they grow larger.

A crooked spine is not a usual symptom of mycobacterium and instead may be caused by a birth defect or injury.

Bottom line: Don’t be afraid about neon tetras and neon tetra diseases. Over the years, our fish store has seen thousands and thousands of fish, and while we have lost a few fish to mycobacterium, we have never seen NTD run rampant or wipe out an entire tank of neon tetras. They are just as resilient as other schooling nano fish, and we believe they’re one of the best fish you can get for a beautiful display aquarium. Check out our preferred online fish vendors to get your own neon tetras today: