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The neon tetra is a relatively tiny fish, which can reach a maximum size of 1.5 inches. But, some of them have been known to grow up to 2.5 inches as well.

Distributed primarily across Latin America, the largest concentration of this fish can be found in the wild in the Amazon River Basin.

In your setting up your first tank and want to stock it with a few Neon Tetras you might be wondering if you need a filter or not.

In this article, we’ll help you answer those questions below and provide a great recommendation for a filter if you decide you want one.

Let’s begin

Do Neon Tetras Need A Filter?

Yes, Neon Tetras will require a filter in order to aerate the water and provide a place for beneficial bacteria to grow.

This is true for most beginners and intermediate fish keepers.

However, if you are an experienced fish keeper and understand the relationship between a heavily planted tank (which Neon Tetras love) and a deep substrate. It is possible to set up a Neon Tetra tank without a filter.

Can Neon Tetras Live Without A Filter?

Yes, Neon Tetras can live in an aquarium without a filter. However, as mentioned above you need to know what you are doing.

A filter provides a good place for the growth of beneficial bacteria and it also creates surface agitation which helps to aerate the water.

If you plan on setting up a tank without a filter, you’ll need to ensure your tank has enough plants to deal with the bioload from your fish and help remove toxins from the water as well as provide some oxygen.

A bubbler also might be necessary to help create a current which will eliminate “Dead Spots” in the aquarium and also produce some surface agitation and allow the oxygenation of the water to occur.

What Are The Water Conditions In The Wild For Neon Tetras?

In the wild, the Neon Tetra is found in the blackwater or clearwater streams of the Amazon River Basin where the water temperature is typically between 68-82°F with a PH of 4-7.5.

The waters here have a slow-moving current as well as some small shallow pools.

Do Neon Tetras Like Current & Moving Water?

Yes, since their natural habitat is in slower-moving streams of the Amazon River Basin the Neon Tetra prefers a slow-moving water current.

You can easily provide a nice current in your aquarium with a standard HOB or Internal filter and if your tank is a bit bigger a wavemaker or pump.

What Type Of Filter Is Best For Neon Tetras?

Taking everything we mentioned above into account we recommend the use of an AquaClear HOB filter for use with Neon Tetras. This filter is one of the best in my opinion, easy to set up and clean and provides an adjustable flow dial so you can set the perfect amount of water flow for your Neon Tetras.

One of the most impressive things about this HOB filter is its filtering mechanism that is different from traditional cartridge filters. The manufacturer has used a patented multi-stage filtration system called CycleGuard. It consists of a foam insert, an activated carbon filter insert, and a BioMax filter insert that is made of ceramic rings.

This well-thought-out filtration system delivers optimal chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration but without removing good bacteria from the water that act as nitrate and ammonia exterminator in the water. With cartridge filters, you can’t protect and grow these beneficial bacteria colonies that contribute to making the aquarium environment safer for fish.

The AquaClear HOB filter comes with a lifetime guarantee for non-replaceable parts. Also, if you are cleaning the filter every other week and replacing its filters inserts within the prescribed time, you can use it with any aquarium throughout its operating life.

Learn More About Neon Tetras:

Do You Need A Filter For Neon Tetras