How Long Can Neon Tetras Live Without Food?

How Long Can Neon Tetras Live Without Food?

We all know that Neon Tetras are hardy fish. But what happens when they are without food? How long can these little guys go without eating before they start to experience health problems?

Neon Tetras can actually live for quite a while without food. In fact, they can go for several weeks without any ill effects.

However, after that point, they will start to experience health problems and their lifespan will be shortened.

So, while they may be able to survive without food for a little while, it is not something that you should allow to happen on a regular basis.

In this guide, we’re going to talk about how long Neon Tetras can live without food, what health problems they may experience, and how you can prevent this from happening.

How Long Can Neon Tetra Last Without Food?

Tetras can go without food for anywhere between 1 – 2 weeks but only if they are being regularly fed several times a day in the days leading up to this period.

Tank Conditions that Can Help Neon Tetras Survive While You Are Away

An essential point to remember is that, as long as the quality of your fish tank’s water is acceptable, there is a greater chance your Neon Tetras will survive if you are gone for an extended amount of time.

1. Water pH

Neon Tetras are freshwater fish that need water with higher alkalinity to survive and thrive in their habitat.

The ideal pH level for Neon Tetras is 6-6.5; this range offers the perfect balance for their needs.

2. Water Temperature

The ideal temperature for Neon Tetras is approximately 80°F (27°C), the same as their origins in the western and northern Amazon basins.

Remember that fluctuations in temperature (notably lower temperatures) and being frozen solid may result in diseases like Ich or White Spot Disease.

3. Nitrite Level

High nitrate levels in the water can be highly harmful to Neon Tetras.

So, you need to ensure that your fish tank’s nitrate level is 0 ppm (parts per million). If it’s not, you should do a partial water change to lower the nitrate level in the fish tank.

4. Ammonia Level

The same goes for ammonia; Neon Tetras are very sensitive to it.

For this reason, you should keep the ammonia level in your fish tank as close to 0 ppm as possible.

If it’s not, you should do a partial water change to lower the ammonia level in the fish tank.

5. Nitrate Level

Nitrate is less harmful to Neon Tetras than ammonia and nitrite, but it can still be dangerous if the nitrate level in the fish tank is too high.

Ideally, the nitrate level in a fish tank should be below 20 ppm. 

6. Partial Water Changes

Before you go, it’s a good idea to complete a partial water change (usually 25-50%). This will assist in lowering the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels in the fish tank.

7. Filteration

A filter is an essential piece in a fish tank because it helps to keep the water clean and free of harmful toxins.

So, make sure that your filter is properly maintained and cleaned to continue doing its job while away.

8. Aeration

Aeration is also an essential part of keeping a fish tank because it helps to keep the water well-oxygenated.

It’s a good idea to have an air pump and airstone in your fish tank to ensure that the water is properly aerated while you’re away.

9. An Abundance of Live Plants

The neon tetra is a species of fish that requires a lot of vegetation to thrive.

It hides in the plants to avoid being harassed by other fish and uses them as a food source.

So, make sure that live plants are abundant in your fish tank, and this will provide your Neon Tetras with the hiding places and food they need.

To guarantee that your live plants do not perish while away, you must first identify the species.

If low-tech plants like Java Fern, Anubias, and other similar species don’t require much attention, they’ll thrive with at least 5 hours of sunshine or LED lights per day.

However, if they are high-tech plants, such as carpeting plants (Monte Carlo, Hemianthus, etc.), CO2 must be added to the tank and provide enough light.

So, if you’re considering CO2 canisters or NPK fertilizers, now is the time to do it!

What Should You Do If You Are Leaving Your Fish for a Long Time?

If you’re leaving your fish for an extended time, you can do a few things to improve their chances of survival beyond maintaining the tank.

1. Fish Sitters

A fish sitter is someone who will come to your house and take care of your fish while you’re away.

This person will need to have experience with fish tanks and be able to maintain the tank properly.

If you can’t find a fish sitter, you can ask a friend or family member to come and take care of your fish for you.

2. Automatic Feeders

Automatic Feeders are a great way to ensure that your fish are getting fed while you’re away.

These feeders can be programmed to dispense food at set times throughout the day.

There are many different types of automatic feeders available on the market, so you’ll need to find one compatible with your fish tank.

We recommend the Eheim Automatic Feeder because it’s easy to use and very reliable.

3. Weekend Feeders

Weekend feeders are concentrated fish food that can last in the water for around three days.

Thus, if you’re going on a brief trip from home, weekend feeders will suffice!


How Often Do Neon Tetras Require Feeding?

As a general guideline, feed your Neon Tetras once or twice per day.

However, if you have fry, it is recommended to feed them 2 to 4 times a day.

Do Tetras Need to Eat Every Day?

Neon tetras are hardy species that can go without food for a couple of days.

However, if you want to have a happy, healthy, and vibrant school, we recommend feeding them every day.

How Much Food Should I Feed My Tetras?

A good rule of thumb is only to feed them as much as they can eat in 2-3 minutes.

If there is uneaten food after this time, you are feeding them too much!

So, the next time, give them a little less food.

Can You Overfeed Tetras?

Yes, you can overfeed your Neon Tetras, which can lead to health problems such as bloat and swim bladder disease.

So, as we mentioned, make sure you’re only feeding them as much as they can eat in 2-3 minutes and removing any uneaten food.

Last Words

In conclusion, if you own Neon Tetra fry, remember that they would die without food after only three days.

Adult Neon Tetras, on the other hand, are sturdy and hardy. If you have adult neon tetras in your aquarium, they will be robust and healthy for a few weeks!

However, if you follow the required water quality standards, do regular filter maintenance, add a lot of live plants to the tank, set the tank at a suitable temperature, and provide sitters or automatic feeders for your fish as desired, you’re all set!

I hope you enjoyed this article.

If you have any questions or thoughts about Neon Tetras, feel free to comment below!