Neon tetras are the most popular type of tetra kept within the fish keeping hobby by far and their popularity within the hobby is constantly increasing with each month that goes by.
There has been a surge in the number of people reaching out with various questions about keeping neon tetras recently due to there being so many people adding neon tetras to their tanks for the very first time.
Due to neon tetras being a schooling fish, you will usually need to keep a minimum of six neon tetras in your tank to allow them to school and not be stressed out.
This has then caused a number of people to reach out and ask questions about the neon tetra bioload to prevent them from having problems in their tank when they add their neon tetras.
With so many people asking about the neon tetra bioload as well as so many people overlooking it due to how small neon tetras are, we have decided to publish this article to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
What Is The Bioload Of Neon Tetras?
The bioload of neon tetras is the amount of waste that they produce within your aquarium on a daily basis when fed a consistent, healthy diet.
This waste can come in the form of uneaten food, solid waste or ammonia.
Ammonia is produced by all fish as a result of their metabolism and it is one of the most toxic substances to fish that there is.
It is important to remember that the bioload of any fish within your aquarium will be different depending on a number of factors such as how big they are, how much they eat and how often they defecate.
Neon tetras are a very small species of fish that only grow to be around two inches in length when fully matured.
Due to their small size, the bioload of neon tetras is very low when compared to other fish species.
In most cases, a single neon tetra will produce around 0.02ppm of ammonia per day which is a very low number.
But, as we mentioned earlier in the article, most people will keep a minimum of six neon tetras in their tank with some people keeping large schools of around thirty neon tetras.
This can quickly take that neon tetra bioload from around 0.02ppm up to 0.12ppm to 0.6ppm that may end up causing issues if you don’t implement water changes and tank maintenance at least once per week.
How Many Neon Tetras Should Be Kept Together Without Causing Issues With Bioload?
The answer to this question really depends on the size of your aquarium and the amount of filtration that you have running in your tank.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, most people will keep a minimum of six neon tetras together but some people may choose to keep more.
We would recommend keeping no more than thirty neon tetras in a single aquarium due to this being close to the upper limit for neon tetra schools in captivity without there being issues with the fish being aggressive to each other.
This usually means that you will be using anything from a 20 gallon tank all the way up to a 55 gallon tank or larger for your neon tetras depending on how many of them you keep.
Although neon tetras can work well in a community tank, we usually recommend that you keep them in a species specific tank of just neon tetras if possible helping you work out the total bioload.
Provided you stick to the general rule of one neon tetra per two gallons of water in your tank, you shouldn’t have any problems with the bioload of your neon tetras if you do your tank maintenance once per week.
The issue is that many people keep one neon tetra per one gallon of water in the tank and this can quickly end up causing issues with ammonia levels in the tank even if you do your tank maintenance once per week.
This is why we recommend you keep a minimum of six neon tetras in a 20 gallon tank and then work on the rule of one neon tetra per two gallons of water above that.
You can keep between six and ten neon tetras in a 20 gallon tank without issues though, we just use the number of six neon tetras as it is the absolute minimum number of neon teras you should ever keep in your tank.
Here are some neon tetra counts against some of the more common tank sizes that should not cause issues with bioload in your tank provided your only fish in the tank are your neon tetras:-
- 20 Gallon Tank – 6 to 10 Neon Tetras.
- 30 Gallon Tank – 10 to 15 Neon Tetras.
- 40 Gallon Tank – 13 to 20 Neon Tetras.
- 55 Gallon Tank – 18 to 27 Neon Tetras.
- Tanks Over 55 Gallons – 20 to 30 Neon Tetras.
Using this rough guide should be able to make sure you don’t have problems with the neon tetra bioload in your tank no matter the tank size that you use. Just keep in mind that adding other species of fish, shrimp, and even snails will change the total bioload for the tank.
What Can I Do To Reduce The Effects Of The Bioload Of My Neon Tetras?
There are a number of things that you are able to do with your tank setup to tweak the way the overall bioload will work for your setup.
Here is a short list of the most common things people do to prevent problems with the bioload of their tanks:-
- Live Plants!
- Use A Larger Tank!
- Understock Your Current Tank!
Our regular readers will probably know this by now but we really do think that the use of live plants in aquariums is underrated and they just offer too many benefits to your fish and your overall tank to overlook.
They can work wonders with reducing the bioload by naturally using up the ammonia in your tank helping to reduce the amount of tank maintenance required.
Depending on the setups with how many live plants you keep or the filter you use, the bioload produced by your neon tetras will chance due to the counters to their ammonia build up so it can be difficult to work out optimal stocking.
If you are new to the fish keeping hobby, we would just recommend that you stick to our general guide for neon tetra stocking levels per tank size that we covered earlier in the article if possible even if you are using one of these methods to reduce bioload as it will prevent issues in your tank.