Neon Tetra Disease

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About Neon Tetra Disease[edit]

Neon Tetra Disease is not a disease as such but a microsporidian (fungi) parasite called Pleistophora hyphessobryconis. It is usually (but not exclusively) seen in Neon Tetras and is contagious.

It travels through the blood and infects all muscles and internal organs causing a general wasting away of the animal. It is quickly spread from fish to fish.


The symptoms of NTD are a general loss of condition, especially loss of the distinctive red stripe, increased breathing rate, unusual swimming behaviour, the spine may begin to curve, they may become excessively emaciated and fin rot may occur. These symptoms bare a resemblance to the rarer Fish Tuberculosis.

This parasite can pass on to other species of Tetra, Danio, Barbs and just about any other kind of fish that isn't herbivorous.


There are no proven cures of NTD.
Increased water changes and quarantining of the affected fish is a must. Medications will generally not kill the parasite itself but merely affect the secondary problems caused by it. Fish that appear cured may still be carriers of the parasite and should not be reintroduced to the main group. If a fish dies it must be immediately removed as cannibalism is rife with fish and this will pass the parasite on to those fish.


  • Always closely observe Neon Tetras before purchase, if any look lethargic or sick with any of the above symptoms, do not buy any fish from that store or tank. Many Neon Tetras these days are over-bred and inbred and this can lead to susceptibility to NTD.
  • Quarantine new purchases if possible and watch for any symptoms over the following weeks. Medicate if necessary.
  • Maintain pristine water conditions in the main tank with regular water changes and make sure the Tetras are fed the best foods possible.


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