Neon Tetra Disease: A Complete Guide

Lauren Kiekbusch
Neon Tetra Disease

Pleistophora hyphessobryconis another word for neon tetra disease is the organism that frequently causes this sickness. The disease mainly affects the neon tetra fish kind.

Despite affecting the neon tetra fish type, it also affects other ornamental fish species. Also, other common fish such as goldfish can get infected by neon tetra disease. The majority of the fish are contaminated with such kind of disease by feeding on the infected fish that live within the same tank.

Also, the fish get infected by feeding on the dead bodies of animals present in the tank. The feeding process results in the neon tetra disease spreading slowly until the fish is in a degenerative condition.

The disease starts with noticeable signs such as fish being restless, and the fish becoming inactive, among others.

Once such signals are detected, it is advisable to treat all fish present in the tank immediately. Luckily, the guide below explains how to see neon tetra disease, its signs and symptoms, and the various treatment methods.

Also worth reading;

  1. Do Neon Tetras Need Oxygen and Air Pump?
  2. Pregnant Neon Tetra – Is Your Fish Going to Lay Eggs?
  3. How to Breed Neon Tetras? – The Complete Guide
  4. How to Sex Neon Tetras? Male or Female?

How To Diagnose Neon Tetra Disease

The best way of detecting neon tetra disease is by observing the fish in the tank and identifying common unusual signs such as restlessness.

The patchy change of color is usually the first indication of a fish affected by neon tetra disease. Most little fishes, including neon tetra, fade their colors at night, as you may know.

However, once they contract the disease, the color loss is limited to a small skin patch, with the remainder of their bodies displaying standard colors.

 The little patch appears as the damaged muscles around the color band and along the fish’s spine begin to turn white. After a while, the injured area deteriorates, resulting in a kinked spine due to weakened muscles.

When this happens, the injured fish has trouble swimming. Other signs and symptoms of neonatal tetra illness are:

  • Restlessness.
  • As cysts grow, the fish’s body becomes lumpy.
  • Bloating.
  • Rot of the caudal fin.

Restlessness can sometimes occur in the early stages of the condition, particularly at night. The majority of owners observe that the affected fish do not school with the others at first. Then comes irregular swimming, which is a strong indication that something is awry.

“False” Pleistophora Hyphessobryconis Disease

Sometimes, the fish may be suffering from columnaris disease instead of neon tetra infection. Columnaris disease is an infection with many signs and symptoms similar to neon tetra diseases, such as white patches appearing on the fish body parts such as the tail, mouth, spinal areas, and mouth.

These symptoms frequently confound aquarists who have difficulty distinguishing between the two diseases. Fortunately, false neon tetra (columnaris) sickness is curable with antibiotics, and its symptoms are far less severe than those of actual neon tetra disease.

There are several ways of treating such infections. For instance, you may use anti-bacterial treatment, or medical treatment, among others. Therefore, it is advisable to choose the best treatment method for your fish.

Treatment Methods

When it comes to treating neon tetra infection, no treatment method ultimately gets rid of the neon tetra disease. With the lack of the best remedy, it is advisable to practice preventive measures to avoid spreading the disease to other fish present in the tank.

You can still use current treatment procedures to eliminate the disease-causing germs in your tank and protect your other fish.

1. Bathing Fish With Medication

The best agent for cleaning your infected fish is by using a methyl blue benzene chemical. The chemical functions by getting rid of all deadly pathogens present in the tank.

Also, methylbenzene treats all deeper tissues that have exposure to neon tetra disease. Moreover, the chemical raises oxygen levels present in the tank in the deeper tissues and prevents pathogens together with bacteria from growing inside the fish.

There are several advantages of bathing the fish with methylbenzene agent, and they include the following;

  1. It creates a situation in which you can use things that could hurt your aquarium system.
  2. It allows for high-intensity, short-term exposure to drugs.
  3.  It allows osmoregulatory products like magnesium sulfate and sodium chloride to be helpful. Osmoregulators are excellent in removing toxins from the body of the fish, which aids in recovery.

To bathe the fish present in the tank successfully, you need the following tools or materials.

  •  1/2 gallon of water
  •  Methylene blue (ten to twenty drops)
  • Chloride of sodium (salt)

To make a mildly concentrated (2.303 percent) bath solution, combine the items above. Make careful you don’t use too much Methylene Blue because it will destroy the helpful nitrifying bacteria. You must also soak the fish for about thirty minutes in the solution.

Neon Tetra Disease

2. Use Of Anti-bacteria Treatment

The treatment is essential when determining whether the diseased fish has actual neon tetra illness or columnaris. The anti-bacteria treatment method includes the following;

  • Kanacyn
  • Maracyn
  • Medicated foods, such as Terramycin-laced foods.
  • Penicillin
  • Chloromycetin

If your infected fish changes or becomes healthier within some days after using the correct treatment method, the disease is undoubtedly the neon tetra illness. But, if the fish fails to improve with the same signs, then the leading cause is the pathogens present in the tank that require immediate cleaning.

Preventing Neon Tetra Disease

There are several ways in which you can prevent the occurrence of neon tetra infection. The best is to keep a tank with water that has high quality.

Also, it is advisable to purchase healthy fish instead of sick fish.

This entails going out of your way to find and choose reputable fish providers. When buying something online, look at other people’s reviews to see what kind of merchant you’re working with. Furthermore, avoid purchasing low-cost pets to prevent receiving unhealthy, low-quality fish.

If you’re buying fish locally, be sure there aren’t any dying, ill, or dead fish in the aquariums. After you’ve chosen your fish, quarantine them for two weeks before introducing them to your community aquariums to detect any illness.

1. Keep A Healthy Environment

When it comes to preventing neon tetra illness, keeping your tanks clean is critical because it prevents dangerous germs from flourishing.

There is a recommendation that you clean your aquarium once a week for roughly thirty minutes, and this is to ensure that the tank’s environment remains balanced and steady at all times. You must conduct the following steps as part of your cleaning:

2. Testing Of Water In The Tank

Water testing regularly will allow you to determine the tank’s water quality at different periods in time. In reality, testing your waters can aid in the detection and prevention of a wide range of issues. If there is a lot of imbalance, you should completely clean your tank and gradually restore the water.

Here are some guidelines for checking fish tank water:

  1. Nitrates- Nitrate levels in reef and saltwater aquariums should always be five ppm (or lower) and ten ppm in freshwater tanks.
  2. Nitrites- At all times, your tanks should have undetectable nitrates. If nitrates are present, ammonia levels will be affected and, if nitrate level increases, it increases ammonia level.
  3. PH- Always keep the pH of the water between 6.5 and 7.5. For the most part, this is the best range for most fish species.
  4. KH (Carbonate Hardness)- KH impacts the pH levels in your aquarium to a large extent. For example, a decline in carbonate hardness to roughly 4.5 dH (degree hardness) indicates that your aquarium’s pH is on the verge of collapsing.

3. Changes In Water

Water changes are without a doubt one of the essential aspects of aquarium upkeep. Every two weeks, change roughly 10-15 percent of the water in your tank.

Before making any modifications, make sure to evaluate the characteristics of both the replacement and aquarium water. For starters, tap water contains chlorine or Chloramine (chlorine and ammonia).

On the other hand, Chloramine does not air out when maintained in a bucket (aerated). If this is the case, use a water neutralizer to remove the chlorine. Keep in mind that only nitrifying bacteria can break down the ammonia in the water. Remember to use a siphon to remove the aquarium water so that you can utilize it elsewhere.

4. Maintenance of Filters

To avoid poisoning your fish’s home, you must service your aquarium’s filter every month. Filters are nothing more than garbage receptacles. If that’s the case, the more filter cleaning you should do, the more densely filled your aquarium is. The best aspect is that maintaining a fish tank filter is a simple procedure.

It entails removing the filter and replacing any unclean filter inserts and any media present, such as Algone or activated carbon. It’s also possible that you’ll need to do a complete filter rinse every four weeks or so.

Avoid interfering with any helpful bacteria-supporting media, such as the bio wheels, while cleaning up. To rinse the filter or any other aquarium component, only use fresh, clean water. Cleaners, including soap, chemicals, or bleach, must be unused since they can destroy essential bacteria needed to maintain a healthy aquarium environment.

The following is the whole aquarium maintenance schedule:

  1. Ensure that all components are functioning correctly daily. Also, keep an eye on your fish, especially while they’re eating, for any behavioral changes.
  2. Count your fish once a week. You want to make sure there are no fish fatalities since smaller species disintegrate quickly, causing nitrate and ammonia levels to rise.
  3. Test the pH, nitrite, nitrate, and carbonate hardness characteristics in your tank water every other week. In addition to vacuuming the gravel, changing the water, and rinsing the filter inserts, clean the tank’s walls using filter floss.
  4. Replace floss, cartridges, carbon, and Algone, and rinse the filter every month.

Sterilization with UV Light

Ultraviolet sterilizers are a great addition to any aquarium, whether it’s saltwater or freshwater. UV sterilizers, which are typically used in conjunction with a primary filtering system, provide several advantages, including:

  • Getting rid of the green water You can quickly identify rubbish in the water with higher clarification.
  • Viruses and bacteria suspended in the water are killed. This necessitates a level one or two sterilization cycles to ensure that the bacterial colonies in the filter substrate and media are destroyed.
  • Redox balance in your aquarium is improved by reducing oxidative stress, which boosts your fish’s ability to fight sickness in the long run.


The article shows the neon tetra disease with the best preventative and treatment methods, including keeping an eye out for any signs of illness and putting any infected fish in quarantine.

The best strategy to cope with neon tetra disease is to take precautions to prevent the spread of harmful diseases and to provide your fish with a healthy and suitable environment, as summarized in the article above.

Overall, the recommendations above will assist you in reducing the number of neon disease instances in your aquarium.

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