Neon Tetra Tank Mates: 7 Of The Best Tank Mates for Neon Tetras

Estimated read time 12 min read

Neon Tetra Tank Mates

In this article, I will share with you some great Neon Tetra Tank Mates that you can add to your aquarium for a fun and colorful aquarium.

When you walk through any LFS (Local Fish Store) you’re likely to find a certain species of fish on display:

The Neon Tetra!

One of the most popular freshwater fish in the world.

The neon tetra is brightly colored, tiny and takes up very little space within your tank.  But when setting up your neon Tetras home you can’t keep just one, right?


So, What Fish Are Compatible With Neon Tetras?

The Neon Tetra is compatible with some of the following fish. Guppies, Angelfish (Use With Caution), Mollies, Loaches, Cardinal Tetras, Corydoras Catfish, and other friendly fish. That said aggressive fish like cichlids, barbs, and any other large fish would not make great tank mates for your Neons. 

Below we will go into detail with a few of the suitable tank mates mentioned above.

But before we do that, let’s take a better look at the neon tetra.


Equipment You Might Need For Your Neon Tetra

  1. Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter
  2. NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light
  3. Fluval M Aquarium Heater
  4. Python Pro-Clean Gravel Washer and Siphon Kit
  5. Marina Algae Magnet Cleaner
  6. API Freshwater Master Test Kit

Facts About The Neon Tetra

The neon tetra is a relatively tiny fish, which can reach a maximum size of 1.5 inches. But, some of them have been known to grow up to 2.5 inches as well.

The most striking trait of the neon tetra is their color. The greenish-blue iridescent hue, along with two horizontal blue stripes on either side, gives them a distinct appearance.

There are two red stripes from the middle of the body to the caudal fin. Along their back, they develop an olive green sheen. The fish is essentially translucent, apart from the markings they have on the bodies. You can almost see some of their internal organs.

Distributed primarily across Latin America, the largest concentration of this fish can be found in the wild in the Amazon River Basin.

While naturally the fins and tail of the neon tetra are pretty small, there are hybrid versions of the fish that have longer tails, which are very common now.

Want to learn more about the Neon Tetra? Check out our Neon Tetra Care Guide.

Tips To Help You Keep The Neon Tetra Happy And Healthy

The neon tetra is a peaceful and docile fish and it almost never causes problems in an aquarium as they get along with most other species.

The Neon likes to stick to the buddy system and does well when it is kept in schools rather than alone. Try to add at least 6 or more to your aquarium to make your neon tetra feel more at home.

Here are some quick facts about taking care of the neon tetra.

Long-Fin Neon Tetra

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 1.5 to 2.5 inches
Temperature Range: 69 to 79 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 5 to 7.5

These are the typical conditions but you can find some additional tips below that will be useful when it comes to making sure your Neon Tetra are happy, healthy and thriving!

  • Neon tetras are not aggressive, which means they can get along well with most other fish. You don’t need a huge tank for them, but you should try to keep it to at least a 5-gallon tank.
  • They are omnivorous fish that are not fussy about what they eat. You can expect them to be happy, whether you are feeding them high-quality pellets, flakes, frozen food or live food. Make sure that high-quality flakes or pellets are an important part of their diet.
  • In the wild, the neon tetras love to live in relatively darker waters. Try not to make the aquarium light too bright for them. Low wattage bulbs can help you get that dim light effect that they like.
  • Neon tetras need groups of 6 or more to be healthy, otherwise, they get stressed. Avoid adding larger carnivore fish that have tetras in their diets.

Not sure which tank size is best for your Neon Tetra read these;

Neon Tetra Tank Mates: 7 Of The Best!

Neon Tetras enjoy a fairly long life when compared to other Aquarium Fish. They can live for up to 5 years.

The fact that they grow up to barely over an inch and a half means they are very easy to accommodate and can be kept in large numbers, which can make your aquarium look like a beautiful blue shimmer.

A group of 10 or 12 of these swimming in sync with each other makes for a wonderful aquarium.

Now let’s take a look at some of my favorite neon tetra tank mates, along with their care needs, so you can create the perfect community tank.

1. Guppies

Guppy In An Aquarium

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 2.4 inches
Temperature Range: 72 to 84 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 7 to 7.2

Perhaps, the most popular fish tank species in the world, guppies make the perfect companions to have in the fish tank with your neon tetra.

Not very large in size, they are peaceful, docile and get along with most other species. The ideal conditions for guppies are similar to the conditions for the neon tetra and this fish is one of the most beautiful aquarium fish you will find.

Their dietary requirements are the same as the neon tetra, but guppies are easier to take care of. Low-maintenance guppies are the perfect additions for your fish tank with almost any kind of aquarium fish, and this makes the Guppy a top pick for the best tank mates for neon tetras.

2. African Dwarf Frogs

African Dwarf Frog In Fish Tank

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 1 to 3 inches
Temperature Range: 72 to 82 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 5 to 7.8

Although it seems like a bit of an odd entry to the list of tank mates for neon tetras, African dwarf frogs are great companions for neon tetras. They add a bit of variety to the aquarium. With a fairly small size, you can count on them not eating the neon tetra.

They like conditions similar to the neon tetra in the fish tank and are pretty low maintenance as well. Just make sure that you keep the frogs well fed so that they do not try and eat any smaller fish in the aquarium. They are our favorites from this list of the best tank mates for neon tetras.

3. Angelfish (Use With Caution)

Angelfish in a fish tank

James St. John [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Intermediate
Max Size of Fish: Up to 6 inches
Temperature Range: 78 to 84 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 8 to 7.8

Beautiful yet dangerous, this elegant fish is a great addition to an Amazon biotope aquarium with your neon tetras. They have beautiful trailing fins, which offer a dramatic look. Their temperature requirements are similar to the neon tetra conditions and they get along with them as well.

Just make sure that you consider compatible species if you’re adding more fish to the aquarium other than the neon tetras and angelfish. Neon tetras play nice, but angelfish are not very friendly towards other fish.

4. Mollies

Molly fish in aquarium

Gourami Watcher [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 3 to 6 inches
Temperature Range: 70 to 85 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 6.7 to 8.5

Everybody loves mollies. They are tiny, peaceful and cute. You will never see them creating any trouble in the fish tank and they do not require a lot of special care. In fact, they make the perfect tank mates for neon tetras because of the similarities between them.

They manage a broad range of temperatures, have a long lifespan and eat a wide variety of food without a fuss.

5. Loaches

Pair of loaches in a fish tank

Bonhilda at the English language Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 4 to 6 inches
Temperature Range: 60 to 77 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 7 to 8.5

A type of scavenger fish, loaches are a great addition to the aquarium along with the neon tetras. They eat up debris and algae left behind by other fish and tank conditions. They are a friendly fish species and do better in a fish tank with other fish.

They tend to get nervous from time to time and that is why it is a good idea to make sure they have plenty of space to hide in the fish tank under rocks and artificial plants.

6. Cardinal Tetras

Cardinal tetra in aquarium

Ltshears [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 2 inches
Temperature Range: 79 to 82 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 6 to 7

What better tank mate for a neon tetra than another kind of tetra? There are plenty of tetra species out there that will make the perfect tank mates for your neon tetras. Like the neon tetras in terms of diet, ideal conditions and behavior, you should consider getting these.

Also vibrant in color, they will add another group of tiny fish that swim together to make your aquarium look even more beautiful.

Check out this roundup list with 7 of the best tank mates for Cardinal Tetras

7. Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras catfish in fish tank

Karsten Schönherr [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 1 to 3 inches
Temperature Range: 70 to 80 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 7 to 8

Cory Cats or Corydoras Catfish are perfect for a community fish tank. They make for one of the most eye-catching species to look at in the aquarium because of their light color and whiskers. They keep to themselves and are bottom feeders that can keep the tank clean.

They have a very long life expectancy with some known to live for up to 20 years if the conditions are right. They are a tiny fish among catfish and can adapt well to the aquarium conditions.

Tank Tips To Make Sure Your Neon Tetra Stays Safe

Here is a little more information about making the best possible environment for neon tetras, other than keeping the best neon tetra tank mates for them in the tank:

  • Keep Neon Tetra in a fish tank that is at least 5 gallons as you will be keeping a school of 6 to 12 of these. You may choose a larger size, according to the type of tank mates you’re adding to the aquarium so everyone has proper space.
  • Make sure that you do not add fish species that prey on neon tetras.
  • Minimize the tank lights for at least the first 24 hours when you introduce them to a new fish tank because they can experience shock in new environments.

Tank Mates, You Should Keep Away From Your Neon Tetra

Neon tetras get along with pretty much any tank mates you can think of having within a fish tank. The only issue is with large predatory fish. Angelfish can be slightly problematic towards neon tetras, but if you get them both as babies, they have a greater chance of getting along well.

Fun Facts About Neon Tetras

Let’s take a look at some of the less generic facts about neon tetras that you might find interesting:

  • We start with the most shocking one – tetras are actually from the same fish family as piranhas!
  • Their incredibly bright and almost shining color is due to the dark environments they live in the wild.
  • An estimated 2 million neon tetras are imported to the United States every year.
  • If a group of tetras is too small, they will try to fit in with similar fish because they like the buddy system.
  • They can experience shock and anxiety when you introduce them to a new environment. You have to be careful about shifting them or changing things around in the aquarium.

Further Reading: How Long Do Neon Tetras Live & 8 Easy Things You Can Do To Increase Their Lifespan

Final Thoughts

As an aquarium hobbyist, buying neon tetras is one of the best decisions you can make for your tank. They are very easy to take care of, do not cause any hassle and their living conditions suit a lot of other species’ conditions as well.

If you are adding fish to the tank other than the ones on the list, make sure that they are not aggressive predators who eat neon tetras. Other than that, you will not face any issues with this beautiful fish in the aquarium.

Did you know you Neon Tetra are great fish to add in an Amazonian Aquarium Biotope set up?

Feature Image Credit: Moto “Club4AG” Miwa

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Can Neon Tetras kill other fish?

In general, the Neon Tetra is a very peaceful fish and not known for killing any other species of fish. However, if there is an injured or very ill fish in the tank a Neon Tetra may nibble and bite at the fish ultimately speeding up its death.

Can a Neon Tetra live with a Betta?

The Neon Tetra is a great companion for Betta fish. They occupy different areas of the tank, peaceful, fast, and don’t have any long flowing fins that may annoy the Betta. Neons also are not known as fin nippers and very unlikely to harm a Betta.

Learn More About Neon Tetras:

Best Tank Mates for Neon Tetras

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