Do Neon Tetras Jump?

It is unlikely for a neon tetra to jump out of an aquarium. So, if you are asking to know why your neon tetra jumped out of the water, then maybe something is wrong.

Yes, neon tetras jump! In a case where this does happen, it is an indication that the quality of water is far less than the ideal water condition. This could be a major reason why the neon tetra is forced to jump out. If the water conditions are good, it will be rather difficult to determine why the neon tetra jumped out.

Neon tetras are jumpers and will do so when there is an adverse condition that doesn’t suit them, e.g. crowded pond or stressful space.

Why Do Neon Tetra Jump Out of The Aquarium?


Once a neon tetra senses any form of discomfort, they resort to jumping out of the pond, especially in cases where you have other aggressive incompatible species, like cichlids, angelfish, and Bettas. Owing to their small nature, they are prone to predation from other species. Bigger fishes tend to constitute a nuisance to the neon tetra in the process of fleeing for their lives, they can end up jumping out of the pond.

It is important to look out for a rather subtle tank mate. That is if you want to keep other breeds of fish with your neon tetras in the same tank. For example, you could include dwarf gourami, barbs, and rasboras.

The neon tetra enjoys each other’s company and will do well in a school containing about 15 – 20 individuals. Keeping a few of them could actually stress them out which could lead to jumping out of the tank.

  Condition of Water

The neon tetra is very particular about the water they thrive in. Since this breed of fish occurs mostly in tropical regions, it is important to keep the water they are contained in warm. The water should have a temperature of about 72 – 76.  The pH of the water should be within a range of 6.0 – 7.0.

  Dirty or Polluted Water

Never downplay the role of a good filter system. It plays an important role in the reduction of waste content in the water which includes ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite. Ammonia and nitrate are particularly toxic to fishes.

They easily build up in a tank that is overpopulated with fish waste products. This implies that water must be changed constantly to make sure it is clean and perfect for the well-being of the fish.

In water polluted with toxic materials, these fish are unable to breathe properly because of poor aeration.

This makes the neon tetra very uncomfortable which makes them jump out of the tank. You can control this by planting organisms like algae, Nitrosomonas, and Nitrobacteria to promote oxygenation.

  Limited Living Space

This is one of the most common causes of a fish jumping out of the tank. Owing to how small the neon tetra is, they are easily overpopulated, which makes them uncomfortable.

The neon tetras are small fishes that like to explore their surroundings and move around freely. It is advisable not to put a neon tetra in an aquarium that cannot contain up to 20 gallons of water. This could easily limit their living space.

Using rocks to form hiding places so they can retreat to a particular niche of the pond when they feel crowded is a good development. They could also fit into an aquarium that takes 5 gallons of water if there will be no other species of fish. To prevent jumping out, the aquarium should have a fitting lid.

  Urge to Explore

The neon tetra is a very curious fish that loves to explore its surrounding. This is actually a common trait with living things. If the aquarium is open, this singular urge could lead them to jump out of the aquarium.

  Fear of A New Environment

Just like any other species of living things, the neon tetra feels uncomfortable when taken from its natural habitat. This can make the neon tetra feel agitated or scared and may result in it jumping outside the pond.

This is usually seen in fishes transferred from a pond to spend their lives in a tank. This abrupt change in environment could make the fish uncomfortable especially in the first few days. Factors such as bright light, confined spaces, consistent current, and other factors can easily startle the neon tetra.

  Inadequate Feeding

If a neon tetra is not properly fed, it can die of starvation as food is essential for the growth of any living organism. In other to escape death by starvation the neon tetra might have no choice but to jump out of the tank in search of food. This could be curbed by making sure there is an optimal amount of food for the neon tetra to feed on.


When a neon tetra is ill, it can find a suitable place to rest, which might lead them to jump out of the aquarium. It is important to isolate a sick neon tetra so that it doesn’t become prey to healthy ones. It is also important to reduce cases of bullying them out of the aquarium which might occur.

  Aquarium Lighting

Bright lights can stress your fish out, especially when introducing new pond mates. It is important to use a very dim light or better still off the light for 30 mins to 1 hour after adding new fishes. This helps them to settle in, after this, the light can be turned on. This way they feel more in the new surrounding and won’t be subjected to unwanted attention.

Ever notice how some older fish try to eat the newly released fish, this is part of the issue seen when you don’t feed them well.

How Long Can A Neon Tetra Survive Outside Water?

Depending on the temperature and humidity in the room. A neon tetra can stay up to 1 – 2 minutes gulping for oxygen.

It depends on the surface on which they fell. If they fall on a non-absorbent floor like wood or tile they could last longer. This is because of the water they take with them while jumping out.

What to Do If Your Neon Tetra Jumps?

It’s important to swiftly put them back into the water. Do this by placing a cardboard or thin paper to enable you to grab them.

For a fish that has stayed for quite a while outside the aquarium, it is usually hard to resuscitate. Fish keepers usually keep them either in a separate tank to hold them on the current so that they can absorb enough oxygen.

Can You Keep A Neon Tetra in An Open Aquarium?

It is possible to train neon tetras in an open aquarium but it is more advisable to use a closed aquarium. The neon tetra is a very active fish and because of this could easily jump out of an open aquarium. You could also achieve this by keeping a lower level of water in the tank.

How High Can A Neon Tetra Jump?

There is really no specific height which a neon tetra can jump as a scientist hasn’t particularly researched on that. But, fishes such as Betta fish which are almost as small as the neon tetra jumps up to 2 – 3 inches while the Guppies jump about 8 – 15 inches. It is therefore possible that a neon tetra is capable of jumping as high as this.


In a discussion about fishes that jump examples include goldfish and betas, the neon tetra could fit into the conversation. Of course, they are also very good jumpers. So, make sure to cover the aquarium properly.

It’s also important to make sure the water conditions are suitable. This could help to stop them from wanting to jump out of the aquarium.