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Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans)

Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans)

Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans)

Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) also known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as False Neon Tetras or Blue Neon Tetras are found in the border areas of the mid to upper Rio Negro drainage in Brazil upstream from the mouth of the Rio Branco, and between the mouth of the Rio Meta and San Fernando de Atabapo in the Rio Orinoco river system in the border region between Venezuela and Columbia.

The Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) exclusively inhabits blackwater environments like the Rio Jufaris, a tributary located just upstream of the Rio Negro in the Amazonas state of Brazil.   Their range coincides with that of the Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) but the two species are not found together.

Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans)

Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans)

The Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) has a brilliant blue green lateral stripe on the body that runs to the base of the caudal fin.

It differs from Neon and Cardinal Tetras by it’s smaller size, the much greener lateral stripe that covers most of the head and eye that extends to the base of the tail, and the less pronounced red patch.

The flanks are duller and appear to have less red pigmentation than either Paracheirodon innesi and Paracheirodon axelrodi.   Males are smaller and thinner than sexually mature females which are larger and have noticeably more rounded bodies.

Paracheirodon simulans live in warm, slow to moderately flowing tannin stained water over sandy substrates covered with leaf litter, fallen branches, and bogwood. The thick, overhanging bank and submerged vegetation provides cover and the dimly lit conditions found only in the upper, terra firme, reaches of tributary drainages.

These waters are typically acidic, stained a brown tea color by decomposing organic matter, and have a negligible carbonate hardness.

Although Paracheirodon sumulans are a peaceful shoaling species, they are not good candidates for a community tank.   Their small size and specialized blackwater requirements make them better suited for a single species setup or with docile characids, smaller callichthyids, and loricariids.

Green Neon Tetras are best housed in groups of 8 to 12 individuals in a densely planted tank of at least 10 gallon capacity with a sand or very fine gravel substrate and some driftwood roots and branches.   Dried leaf litter, Alder cones, Beech, or Indian Almond leaves should be added to provide cover and promote the growth of beneficial microbe colonies as decomposition occurs. The microbes also serve as a valuable food source for the fry.

Because Green Neon Tetras do best under low light conditions; floating plants like Ceratopteris spp. and plants that thrive in dimly lit conditions like Microsorum, Taxiphyllum, or Cryptocoryne spp. should be added to the tank to provide cover and shade.

Paracheirodon sumulans are extremely sensitive to fluctuations and deterioration of water quality and should only be added to mature aquariums.

Paracheirodon simulans have not be bred in an aquarium environment.

In their natural habitat, Green Neon Tetras feed on algae, insects, small inverts, and crustaceans.   In an aquarium environment they do well on a varied menu of quality flake food combined with live, frozen, or freeze dried bloodworms, Daphnia, mosquito larvae, Moina, etc.

True Green Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon simulans) are wild caught specimens. They have not been bred on a commercial basis which makes them less common and more expensive than their congeners.   Tropical fish keeping enthusiasts can occasionally purchase them from specialty fish shops, online from importers and auctions sites, or on tropical fish forums.

Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans)

Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy when acclimated
Water Conditions: 77-95° F, H 18-143, pH 3.0-6.5
Max. Size: .6 – .98″
Color: Iridescent Green, Red
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Peaceful
Origin: Brazil
Family: Characidae
Lifespan: 5 – 8years
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced

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