Do Neon Tetras Go Pale At Night?

Neon Tetras, the beautiful creatures, have amazing coloration on their body. Many people are concerned about Neon Tetras getting pale during the night. So, Do Neon Tetras Really Go Pale At Night? Let’s find out!

Neon tetras don’t usually go pale at night unless they are stressed or scared. The main reason behind the fading color of Neon Tetras and going pale at night is hiding from predators. Various other issues can make neon tetras go pale at night, which can be solved very easily.

This article will provide you with the overall idea about the reasons for Neon Tetras’ color fading or going pale at night. I will also mention various facts about the colors of Neon Tetras and how they develop the ability to brighten the colors. 

So, what are you waiting for? Let us discover the undiscovered factors. 

So, Do Neon Tetras Lose Their Color At Night?

Neon tetras don’t lose their color at night. The low amount of light present might make you think neon tetras have lost their color. But there might be some other reasons as well.

To be honest, the color of the Neon Tetras can get lighter for various reasons. But the Neon Tetras, whose colors fade only at night, does that as a protection from the predators.

The presence of large fishes or being less in number can make neon tetras feel unsafe. This can make them go pale and lose their bright coloration due to stress.

Moreover, the presence of light also plays an indirect role in brightening the colors. 

However, all the Neon Tetras will not lose color at the same time. Since their sleeping patterns and level of stress might vary from each other, the color fading might occur differently.

Nonetheless, when the color of your Neon Tetras gets light or faded in general, that can be an alarming thing and need to be taken care of fast.

Why Do Neon Tetras Lose Colors At Night?

In some cases, the faded color of the Neon Tetras during the night is not an alarming thing, just a natural thing for them.

However, there are five main reasons behind the faded color of Neon Tetras during the night which include;

1. Protection From Predator Fishes

Just like a few other animals, Neon Tetras also use the color fading mechanism as a self-protection method.

Since at night having bright colors will attract unnecessary attention from predatory fishes, at the time of sleep, they try to make them invisible by fading their skin color. 

2. Variation In The Activities Of Chromatophores

The color of Neon Tetras is highly lined with chromatophores. Chromatophores help to determine the color of the skin of Neon Tetras. 

They actually have two types of cells, one that absorbs the light ray and the other one reflects the rays. Depending on the pigmentation of the Chromatophores, the color of the Neon Tetra can also vary. 

Their light transfer mechanism includes various sub-mechanisms, including refraction, fluorescence, luminescence, and reflection. The more the pigmentation of the Chromatophores of the Neon Tetras, the brighter colors. 

If the pigmentation is not up to the mark, the Neon Tetras’ skin might get faded or completely gone.

3. Insufficient Exposure To Light

Exposure to light is required, especially when the pigmentation of Chromatophores depends on the level of light exposure. The presence of light can change the color by structuring the chromatophores. 

Even a few moments of darkness can affect the brightness of the Neon Tetras’ skins. During the night, it is common to see the Neon Tetras’ colors fading away, as the presence of light is minimal. 

Mostly it is recommended to keep the Neon Tetras under lighting for at least 8 hours in order to maintain the proper circadian rhythm. Keeping them under the light during the night is not mandatory. This will also help to maintain a proper circadian rhythm.

4. Water Parameters Not Maintained

Fish need to be provided with water with perfect temperature and pH level. It would help if you also kept the tank clean regularly. 

Neon Tetras need a pH level between 6 and 6.5 and the temperature level from 70°F to 80°F approximately. Do not let the toxins make their home with the Neon Tetras, as all of these can stress them out, and they might end up losing color over time.

5. Being Less In Number

Neon Tetras love to stay in a group of fish of the same kind. They should not be left alone. Moreover, they might get scared when you put unfriendly big fishes alongside Neon Tetras. 

All of these factors do nothing but increase the level of stress experienced by Neon Tetras, which further leads to color fading. 

How Do Neon Tetras Get Their Color?

The bright color on Neon Tetras’ skin is mostly developed because of their genes and the level of light exposure. The light rays ensure the chromatophores contain the proper structure to display the desired color of the Neon Tetras.

The color of the Neon Tetras’ skin is highly linked with the optical interference and the captivation of the light rays, which further control the color of neon tetras. It activates both absorbent cells and the reflecting cells.

The light rays ensure the light transfer mechanism of the Neon Tetras are perfectly structured so that the reflecting cells can display the colored desired.

If the light is missing, the Neon Tetras will not be able to showcase the colors intended. 

Recommended Article: Are Neon Tetras Artificially Colored?

Why Is My Neon Tetra Turning White?

It can get very scary when you notice the beautiful Neon Tetras fish are getting white day by day. Well, to be honest, it is not an alarming situation, but time to take proper care of your favorite Neon Tetras.

The most common reason for the Neon Tetras turning white can be because of the unsuitable water parameters. When you notice the white colors on the Neon Tetras, check the temperature scale immediately.

I have seen Neon Tetras turning white when they are kept at low temperature (below 68°F).. They mostly prefer warm water temperatures between 70°F to 80°F.

So, if your neon tetras are turning white then check the temperature of the water of your tank and make sure if the water heater is working properly or not. 

Check out my recommended water parameters for keeping Neon Tetras;

  1. Temperature: 70°- 80°F (22.2°-30.4°C)
  2. pH Level: 6-7
  3. KH: 1-2 dKH (17.8- 35.8ppm)
  4. GH: <10 dGH (<166.7 ppm)
  5. Nitrate: <20 ppm
  6. Ammonia: 0 ppm
  7. Nitrite: 0 ppm

Then again, inadequate exposure to light rays can also turn the Neon Tetras into white. As the Chromatophores will not absorb the light ray properly, they will not activate the reflecting cells. 

Can Neon Tetras See At Night?

No, Neon Tetras cannot see at night. Neon Tetras highly rely on the light to search for food and run away from potential dangers.

Well, the scenario can be different when you keep the light on during the night. They will be able to see. When they are in a completely dark area, they will not see. 

Do Neon Tetras Need Light At Night?

Neon Tetras need an adequate amount of light which comprises a minimum of 10 to 12 hours of light during the daytime. However, they do not require light at night; as a result, you can turn off the light of the tank during nighttime. 

Are Neon Tetras Sensitive To Light?

No, Neon Tetras are not sensitive to light.  However, the egg and fry of Neon Tetras are sensitive to light to some extent.

Try to keep them in the dark for a few weeks until they are old enough, or else it might kill them. 

Asif Iqbal

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