What makes a neon tetra lose its color?

The neon tetra is the most popular ornamental fish that is found more commonly in all pet stores. These fishes have more sales because of their vibrant color and popularity. If you have an aquarium, then you must have filled your aquarium with neon tetras. 

Another reason for this neon tetra fish’s popularity is that it adds glamour to your aquarium with its bold splash of color. But sometimes, these vivid greens, blues, and reds creatures start to dull. This situation is often alarming for fish lovers. If your neon tetra is also losing its color, then you must be worried about causes that are making your fish dull. 

In this article, we will discuss the causes that can make your neon tetra lose its color and the way to prevent it. 

What makes a neon tetra lose its color?

Several reasons can make your neon tetra dull and lose its color. Here we list some of the possible reasons that can cause your fish to lose its vibrant color rays:

Solo swimming

Neon tetra fish have a habit of living in school and can survive well only when they are part of any group. These fishes tend to stick to school instead of swimming solo. So being alone in the aquarium can stress them. And, stress is enough reason to make your fish dull and lose its color. 

Improper cycled aquarium

Though neon tetras are hardy fish that can survive up to ten years, but improper water chemistry in the aquarium can make your fish dull. These fishes excrete ammonia that is toxic for your fish. If they are not removed or converted into nitrite by some bacteria, it can harm your neon tetra, and you can observe slow changes in their color.

Illuminated water tank

Neon tetra fish tend to live in a shady place with lots of plants. In the case when your aquarium tank is brightly illuminated and has very few plantings, it may stress your fish out. This is another reason for stress that can cause your neon tetra to fade its color. 

It is also in their defensive method when they fade their color in the brightly lit tank, and they feel like they get less noticed by predators. 

In night

The neon tetra is also reported to lose or fade its color when it is night outside. The reason behind this is their defensive mechanism. They tend to fade their color at night time when they rest, so it becomes difficult for the predators to see them. 


One of the most common diseases in Neon tetra is neon tetra disease. It is also a reason for the fish to lose its color. It is a sporozoan disease more commonly noticed in neon tetra fishes. 

How to prevent neon tetra from losing its color?

If your neon tetra has started fading its color, then you can adopt the following measures to prevent your neon tetra from getting dull:

Bring them in a group:

  • As mentioned, neon tetra tends to survive well when in school or groups. So we recommend you to bring 6 or more neon tetras together for your aquarium. 
  • This way, when they are enough in number, they will form their group and stay stress-free. Bringing neon tetra in school will ease their transition to a new home. With their vibrant colors, they will make your aquarium look more beautiful. 

Maintain the right water chemistry

  • It is a major step while transferring your fishes to the new tank. It is required that your tank is having the right–water chemistry. Your neon tetra can thrive well only on pH from 6.0 to 6.5. Before adding your fish to the aquarium, it needs to be fully cycled. 
  • Maintain the value of ammonia and nitrite to 0 PPM. You can also get a test kit to check the value of these ammonia and nitrite timely. 

Dim the light

Neon tetra has a habit of living in dim light and more planting areas. So an aquarium tank with more planting is a perfect area where your neon tetra will thrive well. 

Note: Neon tetra may fade a bit when spending much time in dark or dim light. This is natural, and it will get to normal soon. 

Prevention of neon tetra disease

  • As mentioned, neon tetra disease is one of the major causes to fade this fish. It is very difficult to treat it but can be prevented with a clean and well-tended aquarium tank. 
  • In case when the disease gets entered into your tank, it is advised to remove the infected fish. Otherwise, it will infect your complete tank.    


These are some possible reasons and the ways to prevent your neon tetra fish from fading its color. I hope this article helps you.

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