Why Do My Neon Tetras Keep Hiding? {6 Things You Should Do}

Is it concerning you that your neon tetras keep hiding?

Do you think you’re doing something wrong?

Let’s uncover why your neon tetras are hiding and see if there’s anything you can do about it.

Why Do My Neon Tetras Keep Hiding?

Neon tetras will hide when they are fearful, nervous or stressed. There are many reasons why, but the threat of being eaten is usually their biggest concern.

Neon tetras are really good at hiding. This is actually a skill they feel is necessary in the wild so they have become masters at it.

A new Neon Tetra to your tank will also hide because they are not confident in their new environment.

What Can I Do If My Neon Tetras Are Hiding?

Do you want to enjoy watching your neon tetras and their beautiful bright colors? Are you trying to show them off to your friends, but they are hiding? What can do you? Here are some suggestions.

1. Get A Neon Tetra Only Tank.

A tank full of only neon tetras is a sight to be seen. They completely relax without the threat of aggressive tankmates lurking around. Usually neon tetras separate from each other and do their own thing.

If you had a 90 gallon or larger tank and filled it with 100-200 neon tetras, you would be amazed at how spectacular it is to see them swim together. Although neon tetras are not schooling fish, they swim together in these huge numbers without anywhere to hide or anything to hide from.

2. Adjust Water Levels.

If the water levels are not ideal, they may retreat and hide as the first sign of developing illnesses. Here the parameters for keeping neon tetras and allowing them to thrive.

  • Temperature: 72°-76°F (22.2°-24.4°C)
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm.
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm.
  • Nitrate: <20 ppm.
  • pH: 6-7.
  • GH: <10 dGH (<166.7 ppm)
  • KH: 1-2 dKH (17.8- 35.8ppm)

These are ideal ranges but do not be stressed if you’re off by 1 degree. Monitoring and testing the water is the key to happy and healthy neon tetras who may come out of hiding now.

3. Remove Aggressive Tankmates.

Some fish can fit a neon tetra completely into their mouths. This means dinner. It may not be safe for neon tetras to coexist with fish that are aggressive. A large cichlid would be aggressive for example and isn’t recommended to be in a tank with neon tetras.

4. Add More Neon Tetras.

If you only have 2-3 neon tetras and they feel threatened by the larger fish swimming around, you can increase their strength in numbers. They may feel more comfortable when they see more fish their own size and their natural curiosity will take over.

5. Look For Signs of Illness.

A sick neon tetra will lose its color. It will also be sluggish. A powerless neon tetra will look to hide. A hiding spot is a safe place for them to recover. They may need your assistance if you notice they are losing their color.

6. Give Them Time to Acclimate to A New Tank.

If they are adjusting to a new tank, your neon tetras may hide at first. It could take days or weeks for them to feel at home.

The tank could be new or it could be that they are the newest arrivals in a well established tank. Be patient and they may come out of hiding once they settle in.

YouTube video

My Neon Tetras Are Hiding and Losing Their Color. Is This Normal?

Sadly this is not something you wish to happen. Neon tetras have bright and beautiful colors. If they are losing their color, they are showing signs of illness.

They can turn transparent and it will seem as though they are hiding, but you may not see your neon tetras even if they aren’t. Stress could be the culprit for this loss of color.

Are My Neon Tetras Hiding Because They Are Stressed?

Your neon tetras could be stressed. If the lights are too bright, they may not be getting enough rest. If the water levels are not ideal, they could be stressed as well. A stressed neon tetra could either hide or swim erratically.

Your neon tetra could have actually jumped out of the tank. Please check your floor for a transparent little fish. They are known to do this when they are stressed. This is the worst-case scenario. At this point, you may consider getting a lid for your tank.

My Neon Tetras Are Hiding. Where Are They?

Your neon tetras could be in many different hiding places. Start by looking in these spaces below.

  • Aquarium plants
  • Decorations
  • The substrate
  • Under rocks
  • The filter
  • The floor

If you can’t find your neon tetras they may have decomposed. Other fish may have eaten them. They may have become sick and lost their color. If they have decomposed, then the ammonia levels could have risen in your tank.

Cleaning out the substrate or vacuuming the gravel will help to remove leftover food and decomposed bodies of neon tetras that sadly didn’t make it.


We sincerely hope that you can find your neon tetras in your tank. We have offered solutions and advice to help your neon tetras come out of hiding. Let’s review them below.

  • Get A Neon Tetra Only Tank.
  • Adjust Water Levels.
  • Remove Aggressive Tankmates.
  • Add More Neon Tetras.
  • Look For Signs of Illness.
  • Give Them Time to Acclimate to A New Tank.

Don’t be too worried if they are hiding. Neon Tetras have developed the expert hiding skills as instincts for survival in the wild. It is not up to us to change their innate characteristics.

The best we can do is keep them comfortable by undertaking the correct measures for keeping neon tetras. We hope this article helps you out with your hiding neon tetras.


Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.