Ultimate Albino Neon Tetra Care Guide

Jaime Douglas
Jaime Douglas

Writer at The Aquarium Keeper

Albinism is a very interesting condition, that can even happen in the fishkeeping hobby. Every mammal, amphibian, reptile, and even fish species can develop albinism. Although it is a very rare case to have albinism, some aquatic creatures look amazing having the condition. One of those creatures is the albino neon tetra, which is slowly becoming more popular.

Table of Contents

Albino Neon Tetra Species Overview

To begin, the fastly increasing albino neon tetra is just a regular neon tetra, that has this rare condition. Some hobbyists even created a scientific name for this variant: Paracheirodon innesi var. “Brilliant White”. Albino neon tetras are captively bred variants of the basic neon tetra, that is the way these species entered the fish-keeping hobby. It is also possible to see a wild albino neon tetra in the wild, although it is very rare.

close up of school albino neon tetras swimming in aquarium

Albino neon tetras don’t look anything like basic neons, in terms of appearance. These species are all white or pinkish in body color, and the classic blue stripe on their body is barely visible, or not seen at all. Some albino neons can have classic blue eyes, while others develop reddish or pinkish eye coloration. In terms of size, these species are the same as their basic neon tetra counterparts.

Albino Neon Origin & Availability

Just like basic neon tetras, the albino version also originates from South America. These species are mainly found in the Amazon Basin part, a part of the land that is overtaken by the Amazon river. Countless creatures live in that part of the world, including neon tetras, and the very rare albino counterparts.

As I mentioned before, it is very unlikely, that an albino neon tetra can be easily found in the wild. For this reason, this variant can only be obtained from local breeders, who managed to create an albino neon tetra line. These species are available in some online fish stores, but in most cases are not really available for most people. The albino neon tetra can cost from 3$ to 7$, depending on the seller and the location.

Water Conditions

Moving on, because the albino neon tetra is literally the same fish as the basic neon, it also enjoys identical water parameters. If you are planning on keeping albino neon tetras, or even regular neons, make sure, that the water temperature stays 23–28 °C (74–82 °F), and the water pH is 6.0–8. These species are relatively hardy, but it is best to keep them in conditions, that represent their natural habitat.

Another major factor is that these species do not like any ammonia in their tank. Your aquarium needs to go through a nitrogen cycle. It is a process, where the beneficial bacteria eat all the waste and poo in your tank, which could harm your fish. This nitrogen cycle can take a couple of weeks because the beneficial bacteria colony takes time to properly form. Make sure to do some research on this topic before purchasing any fish.

Tank Size and Conditions

Albino neon tetras are small schooling fish, that like to be in larger groups. I would highly recommend buying at least 8 albino neon tetras to start. A 15-gallon-long aquarium can be a good starter for that size of the group. Even though albino neon tetras are not the biggest fish, these species need room to swim, which is why I recommend purchasing a longer aquarium, not a cube-type tank.

It is also worth knowing, that albino neon tetras are also shy fish, and enjoy hiding in their natural habitat. Be sure to include lots of different aquatic plants, rocks, and driftwood in your aquarium. As fish keepers, we are responsible to replicate our pet’s natural environments, so that they would feel good in their tank. That is why I am recommending a heavily planted aquarium.


Moving on, albino neon tetras are omnivores, that need protein-based food, but can also supplement their diet with plant-based food. These species are really not picky eaters and would try to eat anything that falls in their tank. Make sure to feed albino neons 1 time per day, and put only the amount of food, that they can eat in 2 minutes. Here is a list of things you can feed your albino neon tetras:

  • Fish flakes
  • Pellets
  • Bloodworms
  • Insect larvae
  • Brine shrimp

Occasionally albino neon shrimp can also graze on algae or plants in your tank. If you have any bottom-dwellers, that feed on algae wafers, there is a chance, that albino neons would also try to eat those wafers. These species just love to eat!

Neon Tetra Disease and Treatment

Unfortunately, neon tetras have a particular disease, that is named after these species but can also spread to other fish types since it is highly contagious and fatal. Albino neon tetras can also develop this disease. There is no known cure for neon tetra disease, and the only thing that anyone can do to prevent it from spreading is to separate the sick fish. 

Neon tetra disease is caused by a particular parasite, which is called microsporidian. It is a degenerative disease, which starts off slowly and then takes over the fish fast and kills it. The disease slowly affects the muscle tissue, leading to more severe infections. One good thing about this disease is that it can be easily seen in fish, here are the most common symptoms:

  • Odd behavior (separated from other fish, sporadic swimming)
  • Fish has difficulty in swimming
  • Loose of coloration
  • Curved spine
  • Secondary infections (fin rot)

Some of these symptoms may indicate other diseases, that may be cured, so it is best to fastly isolate the sick fish from others. Neon tetra disease can easily spread to others and is known for destroying entire schools of fish. Albino neons are no exception, so be sure to monitor your fish daily, especially when introducing them to a new environment.

Behaviour & Tank Mates

When it comes to behavior, albino neon tetras are relatively peaceful and can coexist with a bunch of other species. Sometimes these fish chase each other, and that is normal behavior since in a neon tetra school there is always a couple of fish, that are more dominant than others. If you see your albino neon tetras chasing each other, don’t be worried too much, because it is normal. Here are some good albino neon tetra tank mates:

There are a lot of different tank mates, that can live with albino neon tetras. One thing to keep in mind when choosing a tank mate is compatibility. You need to make sure, that the tank mate is peaceful, tolerates the same water parameters, and that there is enough space. The species mentioned above are suitable to be albino neon tetra tank mates.

Breeding Albino Neon Tetras

To continue, it is very hard to breed albino neon tetras in their permanent tanks. These species need very specific water parameters to breed. Albino neons are known as “egg scatterers”, which is a process, where a female releases the eggs into the water, and the male fertilizes them.

If you really want to breed albino neons, you should do it in a separate breeding tank. Albino neons breed in slightly acidic water and first need to be properly fed so that the female decides to develop eggs. Also, neons are known for eating their own eggs, so be sure to remove them, when the male fertilizes them. Breeding neon tetras is a very long process, that needs a separate article. One interesting fact about breeding albino neon tetras is that not every albino neon will have discoloration, and there is a chance that regular neon tetras will spawn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Neon Tetras Get Lonely?

Since neon tetras are social fish and feel best in larger groups, they do indeed feel stressed and lonely, if they are kept alone. Be sure to have at least 8 neon tetras in your tank, because that is the smallest school of neons, in which they feel good.

Where Are Neon Tetras From?

Neon tetras are from South America, and mainly can be found in the rivers of Colombia, Brazil, and Peru. These species enjoy living in shallow rivers, where there are a lot of hiding places and plants.

Writer's Thoughts

Albino neon tetras are one amazing and rare type of fish. They are not hard to take care of, but basic neon tetras usually get mistreated by beginners. Maybe the new variant of albino neons will make a difference in this hobby since they are rarer and more expensive, which can result in better care.

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