Glowlight Tetra Complete Care Guide: Size, Life Span, Tank Mates, Breeding

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In this post, we discuss the Glowlight Tetra at length, including its behavior, feeding habits, and how to care for it when you have it in your aquarium.

The Glowlight Tetra, or scientific name Hemigrammus erythrozonus, is an ornamental tropical fish. The species is known for its peaceful and calm nature, as well as the bright orange line that runs the length of its tiny body. This is a stunning fish.

This species of tank fish traces its origins back to a river in Guyana in South America, where temperatures can reach up to 27°C. Glowlight Tetra is a relatively friendly fish, which makes it a popular choice for community tanks. This fish species also does not require the expertise of an aquarist. They are a favorite of amateurs as well as veterans.

It is slightly bigger than the Neon Tetra, which is also another popular tank fish. Glowlight Tetra is also known by a number of names, including Fire Neon Tetra and Glow-Lite Tetra.


Some Equipment To Help Take Care Of Your Glowlight Tetra

Physical Attributes of the Glowlight Tetra.

Glowlight tetra and java moss

The Glowlight Tetra is a small fish with a slim body. A fully grown Glowlight Tetra can reach up to 1.5 inches, while a few of them can attain 2 inches. Compared to other species, it is a small fish, but Glowlight Tetra is a decent size when it comes to the tetra family.

The female Glowlight Tetras are slightly bigger than the males of the species. But differentiating a male Glowlight Tetra from a female is not the easiest task until they become mature, and the female develops the eggs.

Presumably, they are also stronger than their male counterparts. The males, on the other hand, have a slender body, and their stripes are even more colorful. The larger female body can be attributed to reproduction, while the male attributes may be attributed to attracting a potential mate.

This tetra is distinguished by a strip of color that runs from the base of its tail to its snout. The color ranges from iridescent orange to a true red depending on the water conditions as well as the age of the fish. The Glowlight Tetra ages like a fine wine as this stripe of color becomes more prominent as the fish gets older. The rest of the body is covered in fins, which range from bright silver to a transparent one.

Another uncommon variation of the Glowlight Tetra that is found is called the Albino Glowlight Tetra. They have almost the same physical appearance as the normal Glowlight Tetra. In fact, only someone with a trained eye will be able to tell them apart. The only feature that will give them away is their eyes, which are more red than usual.

The Glowlight Tetra bears a striking resemblance to the Red-line Rasbora, which is found popularly in Indonesia as well as Malaysia. However, they are from a completely different species. Amateurs have also been known to mistake the Glowlight Tetra for the Black Neon Tetra.

The Glowlight Tetra has a life span of two to five years. Conditions such as the condition of the tank and the type of nutrition have a significant effect on the lifespan of the Glowlight Tetras.

Temperament and Social Behavior.

The Glowlight Tetra is known for its calm and peaceful nature. Apart from its striking looks, it is one of the reasons why people love to have this fish in their tanks. They portray very Zen-like behavior, which can be very calming to watch.

This tetra species is also very active and is happiest in a school of around five fish of the same species. However, they do not appreciate being kept in a habitat with bigger fishes that may see them as prey. The Glowlight Tetra is a schooling fish that has compatibility with other fishes as well. They get along very well with Black Neon Tetras and Neon Tetras and also Loricariids and Corydoras to a certain extent.

Interesting Fact: They are known to exhibit fin-flicking occasionally, but it is not classified as predatory behavior. It could just be reacting to the high acidity in the water or responding to an itch on the body.

There is a stark difference between the behavior of a Glowlight Tetra and an Albino. Albino Glowlight Tetras are a lot lazier. This could perhaps be due to their extreme sensitivity to light as they lack melanin in their skin. Their eyesight also gets severely affected, which is why they do not hunt for food like their healthy siblings.

Habitat and Living Conditions.

Glowlight tetra closeup

The Glowlight Tetra originally belonged to the Essequibo River in Guyana of South America. However, since they are primarily reared in a tank, we shall discuss the living conditions of a tank.

This species of tetra flourishes in a tank of about 15 to 20 gallons of water. The ideal temperature of the water for a Glowlight Tetra is about 72° – 82°F or 22° – 28°C. The pH of the water on both extremes should not exceed 5.5 on the lower side or 7 on, the higher side. The hardness range of the water should not be less than 2 dGH or higher than 15 dGH.

The ideal conditions inside the tank should have the following:

  • Dark sand or river sand on the bottom to mimic a natural biotype inside the tank
  • Few rocks from small to medium size on the substrate
  • Bits of root and small branches of driftwood to create hiding places as well as for adding aesthetic charm
  • A couple of dried leaves to reduce the stark clarity of the water and give it a slightly brownish natural feel
  • A handful of peat that is aquarium-safe can also be added to the filter to help simulate their natural habitat
  • The Glowlight Tetra does not require a lot of plants on the substrate as their natural habitat is quite bare at the bottom
  • A couple of floating plants will help dim the lighting conditions and make the Tetras appreciate the tank even more. Dim lighting conditions will also make their bright-colored stripes pop, which makes them all the more beautiful.

The Glowlight Tetra is a hardy fish and can withstand a wide range of environmental conditions. However, it does not mean that you neglect them in any way.

Feeding and Nutrition of the Glowlight Tetras.

Glowlight Tetras primarily feed on aquatic insect larvae. As an omnivorous fish, it feeds on flakes, dry and frozen foods inside a tank. The Glowlight Tetra is not fussy about its diet, so it is quite effortless to look after.

However, it is essential to keep their diet in the right mix so that they get all the necessary nutrients. A balanced diet is vital to keep them in healthy conditions and also keep their colors vibrant.

The different types of food that you can feed your Glowlight Tetra are:

  • Blood worm
  • Brine shrimp
  • Flakes
  • Pellets and tablets
  • Water flea

The Glowlight Tetra requires a feeding frequency of up to three times a day. They typically do not overeat or eat anything that has fallen to the bottom. But it is also essential that keep the amount of food that they can eat under a couple of minutes. This is important to keep the tank and the overall environment clean.

How to Breed Glowlight Tetras Successfully.

Breeding Glowlight Tetras in the tank is not very difficult. They are of the egg-laying species, so they will spawn when they are kept in pair, even if you did not intend to breed them.

But if you have been considering breeding them, here are our top tips on breeding Glowlight Tetra safely and successfully inside the tank.

1. Prepping the tank.

  • A separate one-gallon tank with soft water is the ideal condition for breeding Glowlight Tetras. The water conditions should be the same as the regular tanks.
  • Lighting inside the breeding tank should be kept minimal or none at all.
  • Plants such as hornworts, foxtails, and water wisteria can be added to the tank to help protect and assist in the successful fertilization of the eggs.
  • Filtering the water can be done with an air-filled Sponge Filter or using peat that is labeled aquarium-safe.

2. Prepping the parents.

  • Glowlight Tetras kept in six pairs, which include six females, and six males are supposed to yield the most spawns. The size of the tank you use for the breeding purpose will decide this, of course.
  • It is essential to feed them regularly, meaning three times a day. Refrain from overfeeding them, especially the female as they are prone to developing cysts.
  • When you notice that the female has developed a rounded belly, transfer it to a separate tank, preferably during the afternoon. The timing is essential as spawning typically takes place within the next 24 hours or so.

3. The spawning.

  • While spawning, the male and the female Glowlight Tetras will lock their fins and rollover. The female lays the eggs while she is in the bottom position. The male Glowlight Tetra fertilizes them right after.
  • As soon as you notice that the eggs have been laid, remove the parents, or they will start scavenging on the eggs.

4. Taking care of the fry.

  • The newly fertilized Glowlight Tetra eggs are called the fry. They will start hatching within 24 to 36 hours after fertilization, and they will emerge like tiny beautiful slivers of glass.
  • Adding a small amount of methylene blue at this stage is also recommended to prevent the fry from catching fungal infections. However, it is not necessary if the environment of the tank is clean.
  • Feed the fry with food such as infusoria, crushed flakes, and paramecium culture. The fry typically become capable of swimming after a couple of days.
  • When the fry starts swimming, you can begin feeding them brine shrimp and micro worms to make them healthy and grow faster. The young fry feeds very voraciously on all kinds of food.
  • Specks of silver typically start growing on the bodies of the fry at about 12 days after their fertilization. The distinct orange stripe will start developing after a period of three weeks.

5. Maintaining the breeding tank.

  • The water inside the tank should be changed frequently to prevent the accumulation of dead inorganic matter as well as nitrates and ammonia.
  • The bottom sediment should also be removed while changing the water.
  • The environment should be kept as dark as possible during their developmental stages.
  • Although the female lays up to 150 eggs in a single spawning, the majority of the fry will not develop into full adults. They have a tendency to develop a condition called Constitutional
  • Dropsy, which causes them to die. This is quite a normal phenomenon with Glowlight Tetras, and there is no cause for alarm. The best you can do is maintain the optimal conditions of the tank and feed the fry regularly.
  • By the third week, the fry will reach a size of about 1 cm and start developing their characteristic silver fins and orange stripe. You will have a new school of colorful Glowlight Tetras within a couple of months.

How to Care for Glowlight Tetra Tanks.

Glowlight Tetra In 10 gallon tank

Water tanks and aquariums of any capacity require a decent amount of maintenance irrespective of the fish you have inside it. Glowlight Tetras are by no means messy eaters or dirty up the tank. But it is vital to keep the tank clean so that they can have a healthy and long life.

In this section, we share our tips on how you can care for and maintain the Glowlight Tetra tanks.

  1. The dried leaves put in the tank to slightly muddy the water must be removed and replaced with fresh ones after every few weeks
  2. The best filters for an aquarium tank with Glowlight Tetras are the hang-on-back categories. They are the most reliable and also easy to maintain
  3. How often you clean the tank depends on the number of fishes as well as the size of the tank. However, a typical
  4. Glowlight Tetra tank needs a thorough cleaning after every three months or so. Spot cleaning every few weeks usually is enough to keep the tank in pristine condition.
    25% to 30% of the water should be changed after every two weeks or so
  5. Although Glowlight Tetras are hardy and can quickly adapt to hard water, a continuous supply of hard water inside the tank is not recommended. It is especially true if you intend to breed the Glowlight Tetras.

Frequently Asked Questions About Glowlight Tetras.

Which fish are good tank mates for the Glowlight Tetras?

Glowlight Tetras are very sociable, and they get along very well with other species as long as they are of the relatively same size. Fishes which make good tank mates with Glowlight Tetras are:

  • Neon Tetra
  • Black Neon Tetra
  • Danios
  • Gouramis
  • Rasboras
  • Loricariids
  • Corydoras

Can I buy a wild Glowlight Tetra?

Finding a Glowlight Tetra that has been caught in the wild is quite rare. It is because most aquarium traders breed this species in captivity and are mass-produced.

Although there is a charm about adding a wild Glowlight Tetra to your tank, there is hardly any difference between a tank-bred Glowlight Tetra and a wild one. In fact, the Glowlight Tetras that are bred in a tank will be more adaptable to the water conditions in the tank as they are used to the water in your area.

Are Glowlight Tetras expensive?

No. Glowlight Tetras are quite affordable. They are typically sold in pairs or more. The price of a couple of adult Glowlight Tetras can cost anywhere from $1 to $1.89. They are widely available in most of the aquarium shops or even in the local market, which explains their reasonable pricing.

Can Glowlight Tetras catch diseases?

Glowlight Tetras are very hardy fish that have high resistance to marine diseases common in most fish. As long as the conditions of the tank are favorable and stable, and they are fed a nutritious diet, Glowlight Tetras will not easily catch diseases.

Another great advantage of this species of fish is that in an event where something happens to a particular fish, it will not spread the infection quite easily. Only the unfortunate fish will die, and others will not be easily affected.

Warning: However, there is a disease called Neon Tetra Disease, which might affect these hardy fishes. It originated from the Neon Tetra species, and the condition is incurable. It is characterized by a spot or a dot below the dorsal fin, which gradually keeps spreading. Whenever you see this in one of your fishes, remove it from the tank immediately.

How hard is it to care for Glowlight Tetras?

They are one of the easiest fish species to care for. They only require water changes every couple of weeks and replacing the floating dead plants if you have added any. The frequency of changing the water is determined by the size of the tank and the population inside it.


Glowlight Tetras typically do not require meticulous care, which makes them a favorite for beginners. If you had prepared the tank properly before you introduced the Glowlight Tetras, there is no reason for you to worry about how much care is required by these resilient and adaptable fishes.

Glowlight Tetra Complete Care Guide Size, Life Span, Tank Mates, Breeding


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