12 Best Tropical Fish To Keep With Neon Tetras


Neon Tetras are very amiable and easy to care for with their vibrant colors. With all their peaceful temperament to simple dietary needs, you might be wondering what tropical fish are compatible with neon tetras as tank mates.

But before we jump right in, we need to know the rules of the selection.

How To Choose Tank Mates For Your Neon Tetras?

We’ve jotted down 5 key points to avoid any mismatch that could cause trouble for Neon Tetras.

  • You shouldn’t include fin nibblers or aggressive fish that can cause stress or harm to tetras.
  • Prefer the small fish similar in size or smaller to your tetras.
  • Remember that your tank should have enough space to accommodate a school of tetras with tank mates.
  • Choose bottom-feeders because they will not bother your tetras.
  • Select the aquarium dwellers that eat similar food and like the same tank conditions as tetras. 

Is Neon Tetra Aggressive?

Usually, Neon Tetras are peaceful and calm.

Under some circumstances, Tetras can slightly be aggressive depending on the tank mates, the quantity of their company, and the tank condition.

Make sure to provide the most viable and suitable condition in your Neon Tetra tank. 

When they get threatened, it is by the territorial aggressive fish.

The Best Tropical Fish That Can Live With Neon Tetras

Being non-aggressive fish, neon tetras are appropriately placed with other non-aggressive tank mates that aren’t hostile.

The perfect ones are the small and peaceful bottom dwellers. Some ideal tank mates for these neon tetras include small gourami, barbs, small catfish, and dwarf cichlids. 

Other great tank mates with neon tetras include angelfish, cardinal tetras, discus fish, guppies, loaches, rasboras, bettas, and also other neon tetras.

12 Best Tropical Fish To Keep With Neon Tetras
12 Best Tropical Fish To Keep With Neon Tetras

African dwarf frogs, apple snails, and ghost shrimp can also co-exist with neon tetras. 

The table below summarizes the suitable tank mates for your neon tetras. It includes some factors you could consider.

FishCharacteristicTank Condition
Dwarf GouramiIt is a peaceful and shy fish that can be in pair to swim together in the neon tank.10-gallon tank or more
BarbsFrom its variety, the small ones are ideal to be with neon tetras as they don’t meddle much in a community tank.10-gallon tank or more
Cory CatfishDwarf species like these may be relatively small making them great to be with Neon Tetras.20-gallon tank or more
Keyhole CichlidsPotentially reaching a length of 5 inches, these are kept in a large aquarium for enough space that they can swim around.50-gallon tank or more
Neolamprologus MultifasciatusThese shell dwellers would be great when you’re looking for fish that wouldn’t almost disturb your Neon Tetras.5-gallon tank or more
AngelfishThis can be a medium-size fish that can even grow more. It’s best to accommodate these in a large tank with your Neon Tetras.50-gallon tank or more
Cardinal TetrasSmall fish like these tetras are kept in a group that needs enough space for swimming.20-gallon tank or more
Discus FishPeaceful fish yet large ones require adequate accommodation in your Neon Tetras tank.More or less 75-gallon tank
GuppiesGrowing up to 2-inch long, these are recommended to be in groups when planning to put it in your Neon Tetras tank.5-gallon tank or more
RasborasKeep these in pair or group. They won’t bother your Neon Tetras much when they have company from their own species.10-gallon tank or more
LoachesThese bottom-feeders would complement your Neon Tetra’s swimming condition as they both wouldn’t interfere with each other.20-gallon tank or more
BettasDepending on what and how many bettas you wish to put, give them enough space for both the betta and your Neon Tetras to swim around without affecting each other.10-gallon tank or more
MolliesChoosing from a variety of this species, they can live well with Neon Tetras.10-gallon tank or more
PlecostomusThese are great as cleaning fish and tank mates for your Neon Tetras.5-gallon tank or more
White Cloud MinnowsYou can choose these as your Tetras’ tank mates if you want to view an active aquarium.20-gallon tank or more

You should take note that some of the mentioned fish can be compatible with neon tetras but they could however require extra precaution. Bettas, for instance, can coexist with neon tetras but some bettas would be aggressive enough to attack your Neon Tetras.

I am sure you got a selection from the list, but be careful, since the chemistry between the selected and Tetra needs to be examined for a few days. It can be possible that the one you added in would become aggressive in the new environment.

Tank Environment For Neon Tetras With Your Tropical Fish

It is noted that it’s best when non-aggressive fish are great with other non-aggressive fish. This may depend on when it comes to some aggressive ones. Nevertheless, the following 12 tropical fish make good tank mates for neon tetras. 

Dwarf Gourami Living With Neon Tetras

Being one of the smallest fish of the gourami family, this fish is suitable for Neon Tetras.

It can grow approximately from 8 cm to 9cm and you can choose from their variety of colors from powder blue to red.

You can keep these in pair with your small peaceful neon tetras in a 10-gallon tank or more with a temperature of 72-82 F (22-28 C).

These brightly striped fish are suitable for Neon Tetras. Its striped characteristics and three-spot or dark-spotted feature can complement your tetras’ feature. 

They have the same diet since both are omnivores; they can eat both plants and animals.

Barbs Living With Neon Tetras

Despite some of their hardy characteristics, they get along fine with Neon Tetras. It’s recommended that these should be placed in a school of 6 or more.

Barb Fish
Barbs Living With Neon Tetras

These are easy to care for like Neon Tetras. Some species may be aggressive but some may not.

However, you don’t need to worry too much when you’re in doubt of what type of barb species you choose because both barbs and tetras have common needs which would work well for both fish. 

Under the genus of this fish typically have slender, fleshy protuberances near their mouth and usually have shining scales. Also, both can do well in a water tank with temperature ranging from 60-79 F.

Neon tetras and barbs have the same diet. They are both omnivorous and can feed on frozen or live foods and/or plant-based diets.

Cory Catfish Living With Neon Tetras

Same with neon tetras, these fish are very calm and peaceful. These friendly species can live well with others in a community tank.

You should consider buying a school of these species (at least 6 catfish). They can grow from 2.5 cm to 10 cm and they can live well with others in a community tank.  

These are perfect for tetras as they swim close to the bottom of the tank whereas your tetras likely swim in the middle or near the top part of your aquarium.

Keeping a school of Cory fish requires a tank with a water temperature between 74 and 80 degrees F.

These are hardy fish that are staples in freshwater community tanks. Because of their hardy characteristics, these are often described to be armored catfish. With their plates of bone-like material along with their bodies, they can protect themselves, hence, caring for these is effortless. 

Cory fish are also omnivores like the neon tetras. They are a perfect tank mate with tetras as they are not picky eaters and can eat what the tetras are eating. They will basically eat anything that can fit their mouth.

Keyhole Cichlids Living With Neon Tetras

The appearance of these cichlids is small tanned ovate-bodies. A black spot can also be seen on their upper flank that can extend into a short stripe, giving them a keyhole appearance, hence their name.

They can reach a length of 5 inches in a water temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. Also, similar to neon tetras, these are omnivorous.

These cichlids can live nicely with other fish as long as they aren’t involved in a territorial competition. You actually won’t worry much when some tension happens between these and neon tetras because these types of cichlid fish are often shy and non-aggressive that they would back down from a fight.

Neolamprologus Multifasciatus Living With Neon Tetras 

These are known to be the smallest type of cichlids. These tiny fish are easy to keep even if you have limited space in your aquarium.

These are tiny shell dwellers living in groups and would be enjoyable to watch as they swim through the aquarium.

The females can grow up to only an inch while males can reach up to 2 inches.

These small pale white fish with vertical black on their bodies would be great with neon tetras. They are naturally planktivore and feeds on small organisms called plankton. But when they are raised in an aquarium, they will generally eat any food that you feed them.

When you choose this fish, keep them in a tank with a temperature of 77-80 degrees F.

Angelfish Living With Neon Tetras

In general, angelfish can live peacefully live with neon tetras. They are both small types of fish and can grow up with each other from babies.

It may be risky when you put a grown-up angelfish with your tetra because their interaction may result in chaos. Tetras may face being at risk to the point of being eaten.

So it will be better if you put baby Angelfish with baby tetras so they can grow up together and get used to the environment.

Some of these species differ in their appearance. Some are colored in silver with black stripes. In their various color patterns, they can develop over time.

They can grow up to 6 inches long in and their ideal water temperature is between 78 to 84 degrees F. They are similar to Neon Tetras as both are omnivorous.

Cardinal Tetras Living With Neon Tetras

Having to be of the same species, cardinal tetras are quite the same as neon tetras. They have approximately the same size.

Same with neon tetras, cardinal tetras are best kept in groups. They can be in groups of 6 or more together with your school of neon tetras.

Being hardy, easily taken care of, and bright-colored, cardinal tetras are great for beginners. You can see a group of these in awe as they present their vibrant colors in your tank.

In terms of food, these are quite similar to what neon tetras have as a diet.

Discus Fish Living With Neon Tetras

These peaceful fish can live in harmony with many sorts of fish like your neon tetra. They are suitable in a community tank. They may be active but they enjoy swimming around with your neon tetras. 

With an unusual form, discus fish are characterized by compressed disc-like shape bodies. Hence, the name again. They have a variety of colors like brown, blue, green, orange, and others.

Make sure they are in their ideal temperature that is between 82 to 86 degrees C.

For their food, you can feed them with food that is the same food you feed to your neon tetras.

Guppies Living With Neon Tetras

Guppies are small fish which makes them great with neon tetras in your fish tank. They do well in a school of 4 to 6. Despite being in a group, you don’t have to worry much about maintaining these for they are known for their easy and docile nature. 

These live-bearing freshwater fish show off a colorful presence. The male guppies show off brighter colors but can grow shorter than females.

Males typically grow up to 0.6-1.4 inches long while females can grow up to 1.2-2.4 inches long.

You can feed these fish with the same diet your Neon Tetras take because guppies can eat a wide variety of foods.

You can keep these in a tank with a water temperature between 74 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rasboras Living With Neon Tetras

These fish are related to barbs. They are peaceful and colorful fish that can only grow up to 4 inches, which are great for the small neon tetras.

Even though they are very peaceful, make sure they won’t swim around with their stomach empty as they can get a bit wild. Aside from that, there aren’t many things to worry about these fish.

Rasbora fish
Can Rasbora fish live with Neon Tetras?

You can keep these in your tank with a temperature between 72 to 82 degrees F.

Most of these species originate from Southeast Asia but are also native in Africa. These fish are very active with their slender form. You can also notice their protruding lower jaw.

These fish have a wide variety of colors including orange, silver, and blue.

These fish eat any small insects. They can also thrive on flakes, granules, and shrimp pellets.

Loaches Living With Neon Tetras

Being bottom feeders, loaches are great tank mates for neon tetras. These fish stay away from where the tetras would likely swim about. Their calm and peaceful characteristic makes them perfect for your neon tank.

Although, be careful to choose the small ones – that can grow only up to 2 inches – to be more ideal to be with your neon tetra.

These are generally small but elongated fish. Typical loaches have small scales with three to six whisker-like around their mouth. In some, however, have a short movable spine near their eye. Their colors include yellow and brown.

These loaches can eat most dry flake foods, wafers, and pallets. They can even eat meaty insects like worms and shrimps. Vegetable foods can also be included in their diet.

Make sure to put them in a tank with a water temperature ranging from 59-77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bettas Living With Neon Tetras

Although bettas can be quite aggressive, you can choose the ones that are not. Bettas are great for freshwater aquariums and could add to the aesthetic of your tank.

Bettas can live quite well with neon tetras as these tetras tend to swim either in the upper or middle portion of the tank, having to stay away from the bettas.

It’s best to choose a male betta fish when you have about 6 to 8 tetras. When you prefer female ones, it’s recommended to have more than one of them.

Their ideal water temperature ranges from 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to food, these are carnivorous.

Fortunately, you won’t need to worry about your neon tetras being eaten by bettas since neon tetras are very peaceful creatures that won’t interfere with the bettas.

Mollies Living With Neon Tetras

These freshwater aquatic animals prefer a slightly salted environment. They can be great with neon tetras as they can grow up to 5 inches, which would be a bit-perfect for your neon tetras. This actually depends on how long your tetras are.

You can put mollies in a group of 4. Remember that you should place a fish similar in size to that of your tetra/s.

An interesting thing about these is that they are livebearers like the guppies. They hold eggs within their bodies to give birth straight into the water.

They come in a variety of colors that include white, black, and orange.

Keep these fish in their ideal temperature, which is 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can feed them with flake food and vegetables.

Plecostomus Living With Neon Tetras

Calm fish are great tank mates. Plecostomus can help in the aquarium as they clean the walls and reduce the number of algae. They wouldn’t bother much towards the tetras as they would simply dwell at the bottom.

It is recommended you should choose the small ones to be suitable for living with your tetras. They can grow up to 50 centimeters. It’s best to keep them in a small group of 4.

Also called suckermouth catfish and belongs to the armored catfish family. It is named as such because of the longitudinal rows of scutes that resemble an armor that covers its head and body.

Their appearance in color would depend on their environment. When your tank is dirty, these catfish are also “janitor fish” that have the ability to clean the algae in your tank.

Their water temperature should be about 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit.

For their food, you can give them the same food you give to your Neon tetras.

White Cloud Minnows Living With Neon Tetras

Small as the neon tetras, they are little ones kept in an active school that lives and swims well in enough aquarium space.

They can grow up to 4 centimeters. With special conditions, these are preferred to have hiding places, which would also benefit your tetras.

Keep them in a school of at least 5 to 6 in their ideal water temperature that is between 64-72 degrees Fahrenheit.

White cloud mountain minnows are brightly colored fish with a silver-green appearance and a redfin and tail. These are great for beginners for they can be easily cared for.

They are omnivorous like your neon tetras.  Their hardy body has the capacity to protect themselves from a threat.

What Other Species Can Live With Your Neon Tetra Tank?

African Dwarf Frogs Living With Neon Tetras

Tiny guys like these are great for neon tetras as tank mates. There won’t be any problem when you think about the condition of the tank for both the tetras and the frogs because there is just tiny waste related to these species. 

Apple Snails Living With Neon Tetras

These can live together with your neon tetras as they can help by cleaning the walls of the tank making it free of algae. You may consider having a larger tank because these can grow quite big.

Ghost Shrimp Living With Neon Tetras

These tiny aquatic animals would be great not just for adding to a community tank but would also be great as food for your tetra. You can consider them to be in your neon tetra tank as they couldn’t pose much of a threat to your fish. 

Live Plants For Neon Tetras

Some live plants you can add with your tetra tank include java fern, hornwort, anubias petite, and a couple more. Since neon tetras can eat plants, this would be perfect for them.

Choose the ones that are easy to care for and can grow effortlessly. Although neon tetras can live without plants, it may benefit them, as it is ideals for omnivores like your neon tetras. 

In what Ways Can We Take Care Of Neon Tetras?

The tank size neon tetras need depend on the number of tetras you are managing. With enough space, they can certainly be freely swimming around.

Other conditions you should consider are its water temperature (between 70-degree F to 81 F), the pH level of 6-7, and soft water (<10dGH). With only these guidelines, you will able to take good care of these fish.

When it comes to food, you wouldn’t need to worry much as long as you either put a fish feeder or some live aquarium plants. Neon Tetras are omnivorous, meaning they eat both meat and/or vegetables.

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