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Green neon tetra

Paracheirodon simulans

Photo: Green neon tetra
Weights and measures
Length from 3,5 to 4 cm
Animal description
The Green Neon Tetra, scientifically known as Paracheirodon simulans, is a captivating freshwater fish that belongs to the Characidae family. Native to the lush, tropical river basins of South America, particularly in the Orinoco and Negro rivers, this diminutive species thrives in environments that mimic the soft, acidic waters of its natural habitat. Despite its name, the Green Neon Tetra is more renowned for its vibrant blue iridescence than for any green coloration, making it a prized specimen for aquarists seeking to add a splash of color to their aquariums.

Typically, the Green Neon Tetra grows to a maximum length of about 1.5 inches (4 cm), making it slightly smaller than its close relative, the Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi). Its body is slender and torpedo-shaped, optimized for quick, darting movements through the water. One of the most striking features of the Green Neon Tetra is its luminous blue horizontal stripe, which extends from its nose to the adipose fin, glowing brilliantly under aquarium lights. Below this iridescent stripe, the body is a translucent silver color, which may have a subtle greenish hue under certain lighting conditions, contributing to its common name. Unlike the Neon Tetra, the Green Neon Tetra does not have a red stripe, making the blue coloration even more pronounced.

The Green Neon Tetra is a schooling fish, displaying its most natural and captivating behaviors when kept in groups of six or more. In the wild, these fish swim in large schools, a behavior that provides safety in numbers from predators. In the aquarium setting, observing a school of Green Neon Tetras gracefully navigating through the water, their bodies shimmering with an almost electric glow, is truly a mesmerizing sight.

Regarding care, the Green Neon Tetra is relatively hardy but does best in soft, acidic water (pH 4.0 to 6.5) with temperatures ranging from 75°F to 84°F (24°C to 29°C). They prefer dimly lit tanks with plenty of hiding places among plants and driftwood, mimicking the shaded, submerged forests of their native habitats. These conditions not only make them feel secure but also enhance their vibrant colors.

In terms of diet, Green Neon Tetras are omnivorous and not particularly fussy eaters. They thrive on a varied diet of high-quality flake food, brine shrimp, daphnia, and micro pellets, which provides them with the necessary nutrients for good health and coloration.

Breeding Green Neon Tetras in captivity can be challenging due to their specific water condition requirements. However, with careful attention to water quality, temperature, and lighting, it is possible to encourage spawning. Like many tetras, they scatter their eggs among plants, and the parents do not care for the offspring.

In summary, the Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) is a stunningly beautiful, peaceful, and relatively easy-to-care-for fish that makes an excellent addition to community aquariums. Its dazzling blue iridescence, combined with its fascinating schooling behavior, provides an ever-changing aquatic display that can captivate both novice and experienced aquarists alike.
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