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Glowlight Tetra Must Know Care Facts | Ultimate Guide

Glowlight tetra (Hemigrammus erythrozonus) is a wonderful and colorful creature in the fish world. This tiny beautiful fish has the power to convert your aquarium into a paradise. Sure, if you read this article, Glowlight tetra will become a member of your aquarium. This fish will definitely fascinate you.

What is Glowlight tetra?

Glowlight tetra is colorful freshwater fish. This beautiful fish has a torpedo-shaped body and it is similar to its cousins namely neon tetra and cardinal tetra. Most of the body of Glowlight tetra is semi-transparent. You can see it exactly because it is a silvery-peach color. If you look closely at them, you can clearly notice this.

But the most important and identifying feature of Glowlight tetra is the reddish-orange stripe. You can see this reddish-orange strip along the whole lateral line of the fish. This stripe runs from the front of its head to the tip of the tail. Further, this strip has similar look to the glowing filament in a glowlight or light bulb. This is the main reason for their common name.

The leading edge of the dorsal fin of Glowlight tetra is the same distinctive red in color. And also, the edges of the pelvic and anal fins are white in color. If you provide the right light condition to your Glow tetra tank, you can see, shining the strip of Glowlight like tetra fish. The amazing thing is this strip even runs through its eyes. Most of the eyes are silver in color to match the rest of their body.

Glowlight tetra Origin

Glowlight tetra is the most popular one among the tetra family. Glowlight tetra is also known as Fire Neon. Scientifically, this amazing fish is named Hemigrammus erythrozonus. When considering their history, the origin of Glowlight tetra is in the Essequibo basin in Guyana. Their native habitats are Essequibo, Mazaruni, and Potaro Rivers. The Glowlight tetra fish were originally named Hemigrammus gracilis.

But this name was converted into the current name of Hemigrammus erthrozonus. However, Glowlight tetra was introduced to the pet trade in 1933. Since then, Glowlight tetra has become a very popular aquarium fish across the world. and also, you can easily rear G tetra.

How big does Glowlight tetra get?

When Glowlight tetra reaches full size, they are around only an inch and a half in length (1.5 inches). Some fish grow slightly larger and reach up to about two inches. But this case is very rare. You can have happy and healthy Glowlight tetras by providing quality foods and a preferable environment.

Is Glowlight tetra aggressive?

Glowlight tetra is not an aggressive fish. They are very peaceful and like to live in a group. You can choose Glowlight tetra as an option for your community tank. Moreover, Glowlight tetra is schooling fish. As a result of this, you can see them in groups. Their schooling behavior adds extra color to the tank. Do you believe that if they live alone or in a small group, Glow fish become skittish? Yes, it is possible. In this situation, most of the time they tend to hide in driftwood, inside the plant habitat.

So, you have to keep your Glowlight tetra with a group that has at least six members. In a large group, they feel more comfortable and confident swimming around the tank. If you add more members, you can see the beautiful view. You have the ability to keep the most fish type including slow moving-fish and fish with long-flowing fins.

Behavior of Glowlight tetra

Glowlight tetras are friendly and peaceful. They like to live in groups. Therefore, tetra is a better choice for large community tanks. If you keep your Glowlight tetra alone or in a small group, they can be skittish. Then most of the time they try to hide. Because of that, you have to keep your Glowlight tetra in a large group that has at least a six-members. You can keep them with even slow-moving fish and fish with flowing fins in the same tank. Because tetra does not pay attention to other fish types.

The lifespan of Glowlight tetra

Their average lifespan is in between two and four years. When compared with other types of tetras, the Glowlight tetra’s lifespan is short. Whether you increase or decrease their lifespan depends on the care of the Glowlight tetra. If you provide quality foods and other preferable conditions, it has the power to increase the lifespan of your Glowlight tetra. On the other hand, dirty tanks, poor quality fish foods, and substandard water conditions cause to decrease in the lifespan of your Glowlight tetra.

How many Glowlight tetras should be kept together?

You have to keep your Glowlight tetra with a group that has at least six members. Because they are peaceful and community fish. If you keep your tetra alone or in a small group that has lower than six members, your fish tend to be skittish. And they try to hide and they do not swim all around the tank. But if you keep your Glowlight tetra in a large group (6 members or more), it feels comfortable and confident to swim around the tank. If you add more members you can see the beautiful view. Thus, you can generate happy tetras by keeping them in a large community tank.

Care Summary Glowlight tetra

Care LevalEasy, They are Peaceful,
Social behavior Schooling fish
Tank Size10 gallons, 20 is best
DietOmnivores, Like live food foods
BreedingEgg scatterer
Filter systemPreferred
pH5.8 to 7.5
Hardnessup to 15 dGH
Temperature74 to 82 F (24 to 28 C)
Stocking densitySix fish for 10 gallons tank
Care Summary

Glowlight tetra care

When comparing other fish species, Glowlight tetra is easy to care for. This fish is also a good choice for beginners.

Glowlight tetra Tank size

Generally, Glowlight tetras are not large in size. They are pretty small. Because of that, they do not need a massive tank. Anyhow you have the ability to rear your half a dozen of Glowlight tetras (six fish) in a standard 10 gallons tank. But Glowlight tetras like to live with a large group. Because of that, if you prefer to add extra beauty to your tank, it is recommended to increase the tank size up to 20 gallons or more size. A large tank has space to roam your Glowlight tetras.

Tank setup

You can decorate your Glowlight tetra tank simply and naturally. You can set up the bottom of the tank by installing a thin layer of dark sand or river sand. This sand helps to feel a natural experience for your fish. Because this sand mimics the riverbeds where they live in the wild. Further, you can add small rocks and pieces of driftwood. These kinds of stuff add a natural color to your tank while providing places for your fish to hide.

Furthermore, aquatic plants are the better selection for your aquarium. Live plants give a natural experience to your Glowlight tetras. You can choose to emerge and submerge live aquatic plants. Also, you have the ability to add floating aquatic plants to your tank. Suitable aquatic plants for your tetra tank are Ludwigia Repens, Anacharis, Brazilian Pennywort, Christmas Moss, Anubias, Java fern, and Cryptocoryne Wenditi. But, do not try to place many plants in your aquarium.

When arranging these plants, you should allocate the space to swim these fish in the center of your tank. In the wild, the water of their habitats is not stark clear. So, you can create a natural feel by putting a couple of dried leaves into the tank. These leaves release tannins and give a brownish look to your tank. But you should take off these leaves after a few weeks. Also. Installing a proper filter system in your tank is one way to protect your fish.

Water quality condition For Glowlight tetra

When you rear any fish, the general rule is to keep in mind, that you should prepare an environment that is similar to the native environment. When considering Glowlight tetras, they originate in Rio Essequibo. It is the longest river in Guyana. Therefore, a tank with similar water conditions is best for your tetras.

The water of the Rio Essequibo river is dark. The reason for this darkness is the fallen leaf debris. These fallen leaf debris release tannins. As a result of this, water becomes soft and slightly acidic. When compare with other species, Glowlight tetras have the ability to tolerate a wider range of conditions.

pH level

The preferable optimum pH level is between 5.8 to 7.5. Try to keep the pH level on the acidic side.

Water temperature

The water temperature should be between 74 to 82 Fahrenheit (240 to 280 C). The ideal temperature is around 770F. You can use an aquarium heater to control the temperature of your tank.

Water Hardness

Glowlight tetras can tolerate water hardness up to 15 dGH. In addition to these, you can use a high-quality reliable water test kit to monitor above mention parameters. Because you can gather more accurate information via it.

Glowlight tetra male vs female differences

Comparatively, the male Glowlight tetra is small and thin. If you look carefully, male fish have a less rounded belly. But female Glowlight tetra is larger than male fish. And matured female fish has a more rounded belly. The female fish belly looks swollen. The reason for this is, that their belly fills with eggs. 

Identify female Glowlight tetra

When your female tetra gets matured, they have a more rounded belly than male fish. Further, female Glow tetra is larger than male fish.

Glowlight tetra breeding

  1. Glowlight tetra can breed at home. You should have a 10 gallons separate breeding tank for it.
  2. You should fill this tank with very soft water. The hardness of the water should be below 6 dGH.
  3. The optimum pH level should be between 5.5 to 7.0.
  4. The preferable temperature should maintain between 78 Fahrenheit and -82 Fahrenheit  (26 Celcius- 28 Celcius).
  5. Further, you should maintain a low lighting condition in the breeding tank. Because high light intensity damages the fry stage of fish.  Thus, use a dark room or cover the tank using cardboard. It will avoid direct sunlight.
  6. You can use peat to darken and soften the water of the breeding tank.
  7. Place the live plants in the tank.
  8. You should select breeding pairs. Here you should consider the appearance, shape, and color of the female and male fish. Because baby fish inherit the appearance of their parents.
  9. After putting the selected pair into a breeding tank, you have to condition them by using quality and nutrients rich foods. You can use live or frozen food such as blood worms and daphnia.
  10. Add a few droplets of methylene blue until the water becomes light blue color (5ppm) to the breeding tank. It helps to protect fish eggs from fungus infection.
  11. Female fish lay hundreds of eggs and male fish fertilize them. Here you cannot see parental care. These parent fish can eat their eggs. Thus, just after eggs are fertilized, you should have to remove the parent fish from the breeding tank.
  12. Generally, eggs will hatch within a day.
  13. After hatching, baby fish eat their egg sac for 3-4 days. After growing enough to eat other foods, you can provide live food such as brine shrimp or infusoria. Further egg Yolk is also good.

How many babies do Glowlight tetra have?

Normally, female Glowlight tetra produces between 100 and 150 eggs in one spawn. But only 50-60 eggs are successfully hatched and released fry fish.

How to care for fry fish of Glowlight tetra

You can add a few drops of methylene blue to the tank where your fry lives. It helps to protect fry from fungal infections. If your tank is clean, it is not compulsory. You should feed your fry with quality and nutrients rich foods. Infusoria, crushed flakes, and paramecium culture are some of them. When fry starts to swim, you can give them micro worms and brine shrimps. It helps to grow your fry faster. After that, you can gradually provide all food types to your young fry.

How to feed glowlight tetra?

What do Glowlight tetras eat?

Glowlight tetra is omnivores. So, they eat plant matter as well as animal matter. Generally, Glow tetra does not highly care about the foods. They tend to eat anything that you put into their tank. This fish eats insect larvae, flakes, dry and frozen foods, blood worms, brine shrimp, pellets and tablets, and water fleas. Also, they eat plant matter including algae, spinach, and vegetables. Further, you can provide homemade foods like boiled peas, boiled rice, sprouts, and lettuce. 

What do Glowlight tetras eat in the Wild?

In the wild, Glowlight tetra eat anything that fits their little mouth. Because they are omnivores. So, they eat both animals and plants matters. In the wild, normally their diet contains crustacean larvae, small insects, dead plants, and algae.

What to Feed glowlight tetras in the Aquarium

If you search the market, there are many fish foods. But you should choose suitable foods for your Glowlight tetras. You need to fulfill the nutrient requirements of your tetra by using quality foods. The important thing is, if you provide a balanced diet including plant and animal matters, you can enhance the brightness of their colors. There are various types of foods that are suitable for your Glowlight tetra.


Pellets are prepared food. You can buy them in normal pet stores. By pellets, you can provide high nutrients to your tetra. There are two types of pellets namely floating pellets and sinking pellets. Normally, Glowlight tetra tends to eat foods on the surface and searching for foods at the bottom of the tank are very rare. Therefore, floating pellets are better for your Glow tetra.

Flakes/ Wafers

This is also a common food for fish. Not like pellets, you should be highly concerned to add the right amount of flakes. Do not give much. Flakes sink quickly and it causes an unfavorable environment in the tank.

Freeze-dried foods

This food type is a better choice for your Glowlight tetra. Freeze-dried foods have more nutrients than flakes and pellets. Freeze-dried foods can be made by a single organism such as blood worms, and mosquito larvae. But Glowlight tetra is difficult to digest. Because moistures are removed when preparing freeze-dried foods, it is not recommended to give freeze-dried foods to your tetra daily. You can provide them with pellets and flakes 3 times per week. 

Live foods

Live foods contain more nutrients than other fish foods. So, you can provide live foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, micro worms, mosquito larvae, fruit flies, and other small insects. But parasites can be in live foods. So, be careful about it.

Frozen foods

Frozen foods are a better alternative to live foods. You can find frozen foods in local stores and pet stores. can not provide frozen foods as it is. You should provide them after defrosts.

Tetra color bits

This is specially prepared food for tetras. And these foods contain balanced nutrients as well as color enhancers. This also suits your Glowlight tetras. This type of food helps to brighten the coloration of your fish.

Plant matters

You can provide spinach, spirulina, and algae to your Glowlight tetra

Home-made foods

you can also give boiled peas, boiled rice, sprouts, and lettuce. Before providing these foods, you have to chop them.

How long can glowlight tetras go without food?

Generally, Glowlight tetra can live for 2 weeks without formulated foods. They are omnivores and they can eat plant matter, because of that they have a chance to survive by eating live plants in the tank and other animal matter like small insects, and mosquito larvae. But this time period can be varied with available plant amount, water condition, and the health of your fish.

When to feed

Generally, you should feed them 2-3 times a day. But keep in mind, do not provide a large amount of food at once.

How much to feed

You should provide foods that your Glowlight tetra can finish within 1-2 minutes. Start with a small amount and monitor it. If they eat it before 2 minutes, you can add more. Then remove the uneaten foods by using a net.

What fish can live with Glowlight tetra?

Glowlight tetra is a non-aggressive fish type. They are peaceful and friendly. If you like to maintain a community fish tank, Glow tetra is one of the best choices. This fish type prefers to live in a group. Because of that, you should keep them together with six or more fish. Here you can choose many types of fish as tankmates of Glowlight tetra. But you should choose tank mates that are similar in size to the Glow lights. 

  • Neon tetra
  • Black Neon tetra
  • Other peaceful tetra types
  • Danios
  • Gouramis
  • Rasboras
  • Loricariids
  • Corydoras/ Cory catfish
  • Barbs
  • Docile loaches
  • Most Gouramis (most suitable types are honey and sparkling gourami)
  • Peaceful bottom feeders

Especially, when choosing tankmates you should avoid aggressive or large fish types. Because Glowlight tetra is small and able to become food to predators easily.

Glowlight tetra and angelfish

If you want to keep angelfish and glowlight tetra in the same tank, it is okay. But make sure to provide more space for them. Until the resources are not limited, they can live together. Angelfish will show aggressive behavior when resources are limited. Do not add the small size of Glow fish together with Angels. Because if they fit Angel fish mouth, Angels are considered Glowlight tetra as food. 

Glowlight tetra vs shrimp

You can keep glowlight tetra and shrimp in the same home. But shrimp can show fear. Because of this, they tend to hide. There is a probability to eat small size shrimps and shrimps babies by Glowlight tetras. But it depends on the predatory level and food availability of the tank.

Glowlight tetra and betta

Betta fish are aggressive and they are highly concerned about their territory. But Glowlight tetra is a very peaceful species. Also, bettas show aggressive behaviors for bright colors and unfortunately, Glowlight tetra has bright coloration. Because of these reasons, it is not recommended to keep them in the same tank. But if you need to keep them in the same tank, you have to be highly concerned about the size and space of the tank.

Yellow spots on Glowlight tetra

If your Glowlight tetra has yellow spots, do not think about it as normal. It happens due to the disease namely velvet disease. Because of this disease, you can see gold dust on the body of the fish. Firstly, you can see a greyish-yellow coating on the gills and fins of your Glowlight tetra. The cause of this disease is dinoflagellates of the former Oodonium genus. You should put the fish into a separate tank as soon as possible.

Then you can start treatments. Copper Sulphate treatment is the best chemical method for this disease. Add manufacturer recommended dose for treatment. Adding one teaspoon of aquarium salt per one gallon of water also helps to protect your fish. You can increase the water temperature up to 74 Fahrenheit – 79 Fahrenheit to overcome this disease. If you maintain good water quality, you can prevent this disease. Therefore, you must maintain pH at a neutral (pH 7) level and ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite at zero levels to prevent disease.

Orange spots on glowlight tetra

This also describes the symptoms of the same, velvet disease. Some look at this gold dust as light orange or orange color spots. Here also you should separate the particular fish and start to give treatments. Copper Sulphate treatment is the best chemical method for this disease. While treating you should maintain the preferable water conditions and cleanness of the water.

Full-grown Glowlight tetra size

When Glowlight tetra reaches fully the size of them, they are around 1.5 inches. Some fish grow slightly larger and reach up to about two inches. But this case is very rare. You can have happy and well Glowlight tetras by providing quality foods and a preferable environment. 

Glowlight tetra eat plants

Glowlight tetra is omnivores. Because of that, they accept both plant and animal matters. So, Glow tetra eats the plant. In the wild, they eat algae and live plants. So, you can provide algae, spinach, spirulina, and vegetables.

Glowlight tetra vs Neon tetra

Glowlight tetra is colorful freshwater fish. This beautiful fish has a torpedo-shaped body and it is similar to its cousins namely neon tetra and cardinal tetra. Most of the body of Glowlight tetra is semi-transparent. The most important and identifying feature of Glow tetra is the reddish-orange stripe. You can see this reddish-orange strip along the entire length of the fish laterally. This stripe runs from the front of its head to the tip of the tail.

The neon tetra is also a member of the tetra family. It has beautiful blue, red silver coloration. Neon tetra has two stripes. One is iridescent blue color and runs from the nose to the base of the adipose fin. Another stipe is iridescent red in color and runs from the middle of the body to the base of the caudal fin.

This fish has a silver-white abdomen and over this abdomen is light blue. Further, the rest of the body of the neon tetra is transparent. Neon tetra changes the color of these red and blue stripes at night. Red and blue become grey and black. This color change helps them to protect themselves from predators.

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.