What is Neon Tetra Disease (or 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. In our experience, these tetras are just as hardy as other danios and rasboras, but there are several factors that may weaken their immunity and make them more inclined to catch illnesses. Let’s look at why neonate tetras can get sick and what neon tetra disease is, as well as how to prevent it.
Why Do Neon Tetras Get Sick?
The first reason why neon tetras may seem sickly is because they are kept in large numbers. They are in high demand so fish farms breed them in large numbers. Wholesalers buy thousands of them at once, and large quantities get shipped to your local pet shop. Next, the retail employee mixes the newest shipment with an already-sold group. If you keep a lot of fish, the chances of one or more of them getting sick increases and they will spread their disease to others.
The facilities that neon tetras live in are often inadequately fed. Fish farms, wholesalers, pet shops, and pet shops all strive to spend as little time with fish as possible, in order for them to be profitable. One hundred tetras might only receive a handful of fish flakes per tank, so not all fish get to eat. For most fish, this practice works okay in the short term, but for neon tetras being kept in high-stress, overcrowded environments, you start to see diseases like ich, fungal infections, or even neon tetra disease.
Neon tetras are frequently kept in large numbers with little food and suboptimal 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 would have been more expensive at $10 each so people would be more careful about taking care of them. 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 largest neon Tetras that you can, if possible. These tetras are sometimes sold as jumbo or XL sized. Although they can be more expensive than regular tetras, the cost is well worth it. This is because fish farms have to feed them more food to reach 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 make it easier for our customers to be successful with their neon Tetras and more satisfied 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. You can also give them small meals throughout your day to maximize their effectiveness.
What is Neon Tetra Disease (NTD)?
NTD is one of the most misdiagnosed diseases in the hobby. Neon tetra does not necessarily mean that a neon tetra has the disease. A tetra with white spots is likely to have ich. It could be a sign that your tetra is suffering from NTD. But, it could also indicate other conditions. NTD is very rare. The white patches are more likely to be due to a fungal or common bacterial infection. We recommend using the quarantine medication trio (which treats bacteria, fungus, and parasites) and building up the fish’s immunity with fresh foods and good care. If the disease still doesn’t go away and is steadily knocking out fish over time, then you could have a case of NTD.
This neon tetra has a tiny white patch on its body that is hard to accurately diagnose without professional lab equipment and proper training.
NTD can be caused by a mycobacterium which is sometimes misidentified with fish tuberculosis. It thrives when it is exposed to warm water, low levels of dissolved oxygen, low pH, or organically rich environments. These conditions are often found in tanks that contain neon tetras. Ruth Francis-Floyd, a Dr., states that poor husbandry, chronic stress, and any other factor that affects the immune system of fish increases the chance of an infection.
How to Prevent Neon Tetra Disease
NTD cannot be curable at the moment and can spread quickly. Prevention and minimizing the spread of NTD is the best way to go. 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. You can also use the quarantine tank as a place to assist them in recovering from their stressful trip from the fish farm. The water should be kept at 74-76degF (23-24degC). Do not include territorial tank mates. Add an air stone or sponge filter to increase oxygenation and provide a variety of healthy food. To save the school, you might consider killing a sick neon petrif.
Neon Tetras have curved spines.
NTD can be described as a curving spine or twisted bodies. But we believe that malformed neon tetras are more likely 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. To approximate the numbers of neon tetras for shipping, rather than counting them individually, they weigh them. 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. It can be difficult to spot a neon tetra’s bad spines if they are small. The problem will only become apparent as they age and get bigger.
A crooked spine may not be a common symptom of mycobacterium, but could instead be a result of a birth defect or injury.
Bottom line: Neon tetras are not to be scared of. 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: