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Do Neon Tetras Lose Color At Night Time

Discussion in 'Neon Tetra' started by ariellelane, May 22, 2019.

  1. ariellelane New Member Member

    my neon tetras are usually bright but i’ve noticed that each time i turn out the light at night the next morning they look slightly pale. i was wondering if that is normal

  2. BReefer97 Well Known Member Member

    Yes! It’s normal. :) it’s their resting colors. To put it as simply as possible they have pigment producing cells that when close together make a bright color, but when a fish is resting there’s no need to maintain color and use that energy so those cells spread apart and make the fish dull.

  3. Victoria99 Valued Member Member

    Idk why, but there's something about that that's super cute

  4. DoubleDutch Fishlore Legend Member

    Mother Nature did a great job !
  5. RSababady Well Known Member Member

    Didn't realise that......I have always known from the books I have read and wildlife that I have observed, that it is nature's way of protecting animals/fish in the food chain on the one hand and for instinctive reasons of existence (to find a strong mate and partner to breed with), on the other. i.e. at night when fish at the lower end of the food chain rest, they become less active and less alert - therefore they are more subject to being prey or should I say lunch for other animals/fish higher up the food chain. The loss of colour blends them into the background and prey find it harder to see them. On the other hand, during the day when the natural instinct of animals/fish is to breed and multiply, they can show themselves off - after all animals/fish do look for a strong gene provider (looks) and strong physical characteristics - and bright colours are a sign of a healthy specimen.

    So thanks - I didn't realise that the colour saturation is actually a result of pigment cells spreading apart. I always thought that it was a result of the intensity of the pigment and not the density of the pigment cells that produce the intensity of the colors.
  6. Lajos Valued Member Member

    Yes, I think all fish lose their color when sleeping at night.
  7. chromedome52 Fishlore VIP Member

    The pigment cells do not move farther apart. They shrink and expand to suit the fish's needs. They just look further apart when in a contracted state.
  8. BReefer97 Well Known Member Member

    I did word that wrong in my effort to simplify it. The cells called chromatophores space out the pigment granules inside of the cells (not the cells themselves like I had thought) making the fish dull. Whenever they’re awake and active the pigment granules inside of the cells group back together making the fish’s colors bright again.
  9. Redshark1 Fishlore VIP Member

    I'm pretty sure Neon Tetras have little mirrors in their cells in the blue/green stripe that reflect light.

    The fish can orientate the mirrors to give more or less light.

    I have read the recent scientific paper on the subject (but not retained very much LOL!).
  10. BReefer97 Well Known Member Member

    Yup! Those are the chromatophores :) they’re pigmented granules that also reflect light.