Do Neon Tetras Lose Color at Night? – You Need to Know

Lauren Kiekbusch
Do Neon Tetras Lose Color at Night

Neon tetras are tetras with a beautiful colors on their bodies that many aquarists prefer to keep as pets. Neon tetras do lose their color due to some reasons that the fish keepers keep worrying about losing the color.

In this case, the above tetras lose their color at night, which is a good idea as it protects them. However, some tetras lose their color at night because the aquarists need to check on them to correct the issue.

Some neon tetras feel sick, maybe because of stress, and lose their color in a bad way that can alarm you. Therefore follow the article below to help answer whether neon tetras lose color at night, which is true of their nature of living and surviving.

Most aquarists think that they lose the color at night because they are resting and cannot recognize danger, so by losing the color, the other species cannot quickly identify them.

Also worth reading;

  1. Guppies and Neon Tetras – Can You Keep Them Together?
  2. Neon Tetra Disease: A Complete Guide
  3. Do Neon Tetras Need Oxygen and Air Pump?
  4. How Many Tetras in a 5-Gallon Tank?
  5. Pregnant Neon Tetra – Is Your Fish Going to Lay Eggs?

Reasons The Neon Tetras Lose Color At Night

If you are wondering why the neon tetras lose their color at night, here are the reasons;

1. Camouflage

A change in color of a neon tetra is due to the skin’s reaction to the amount of light the skin is absorbing at night.

Sometimes the tank may be in a position with a direct light source, and the tank cover is loose such that when the wind blows, some light penetrates the tank.

Therefore the neon tetra reacts to this light through the chromatophores on the skin as the chromatophores are cells in a neon tetra that gives the fish a specific color from its surrounding conditions.

2. To Reflect Direct Light From Their Bodies

Color changing in a neon tetra is a form of protection mechanism that the neon tetra develops to reflect direct light from their bodies so that they lose their standard color to a new color that can put away the light.

The color change happens in the neon tetra for some time so long as the exposure to light gets over such that when the tank turns out to be dark, the neon tetra brings back its standard color.

3. Depression

Since some neon tetras may be asleep at night, the one that will be awake can develop stress as it lacks a partner to play with. Lose of color due to depression arises mainly when the neon tetra loses its energy to control the body’s normal functioning.

Sometimes the neon tetra may develop depression when it is in a tank with the wrong friends since some can bully it, and it decides to hide hence becoming dull. The moment the neon tetra turns dull, then the color in the body can quickly get off.

In some cases, the neon tetra gets stressed from the poor water conditions at night. Sometimes, at night, waters turn out to be so cold that the neon tetra is uncomfortable staying in the tank, hence developing stress and losing its color quickly.

4. For Protection Purposes

At night the aquarists assume the neon tetras are sleeping as they also go to bed to rest. However, the neon tetras habit may be insecure from other big animals that can enter the tank to eat them.

Therefore, the changing of the color at night of the neon tetra helps them hide their natural bright and beautiful color to a dull color that the predator cannot easily recognize. It is able to hide at the corners of the tank for safety measures. The neon tetras also prevent bullying from the other species that live in the tank by hiding after changing their color.

5. Diseases

Sometimes, the aquarists may not keep checking on the aquarium to identify the food the neon tetras are consuming in the tank as they can eat some foods that contain bacteria that cause diseases to them.

All this is because the neon tetra may be hungry and feed on anything at night without knowing that it will cause harm to them. So after eating foods with bacteria, they start developing some diseases that make them weak and have less energy, which makes the neon tetra lose its color.


Most upcoming aquarists worry about their neon tetras when they start losing their color at night, as some might be because of diseases that affect them.

However, losing the color at night sometimes is normal as their bodies are chemically reacting to protect themselves and the loss of the color is a measure. The article briefly discusses the reasons for losing the color of the neon tetras at night.

As a new aquarist, follow the reasons and keep checking the water conditions in your tank. Ensure the tank is always clean to avoid diseases from infecting the neon tetras as it can make them lose their color.

When everything is okay with your tank, and the neon tetras are losing their color, specifically at night, it is clear that the neon tetras are normal.

Does neon tetra lose color at night? Is it common in neon tetra to lose color at night? Do all neon tetra lose their colors at night? What makes the neon tetra lose its color at night? to know these questions you might watch this video below;

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