Black Neon Tetra Tank Mates: Best And Worst

black neon tetra tank mates

If you love black color, the black neon tetra is the soulmate for your aquarium. The cherry on the top is that it is extremely hardy and easy to care for. These fish dwell from mid to top. Moreover, they are peaceful shoaling fish. So, what tank mates can you keep with the black neon tetra?

The black neon tetra is a peaceful fish that stay in schools. These fish do well with any freshwater livebearers, but the best tank mates for it include the Cory catfish, Rasbora, Zebra Danio, Red Lizard Whiptail, Honey Gourami, Cardinal Tetra, and Apistogramma Cichlids. Similarly, it cannot live with small cherry shrimps, freshwater sharks, black widow tetra, and many more.

Let us dive into the details about the black neon tetra and its tankmates!

Black Neon Tetra Overview

Black neon tetras are beautiful tetra fish from the slower-moving streams of some North American countries. Some people believe these fish primarily come from Brazil and Bolivia.

Swimming Mid to top dwelling
Temperament Peaceful shoaling fish
Size 1.5″ (3 cm)
Family Characidae
Origin Brazil
Diet Omnivore
Breeding Egglayer

The black neon tetra is a hardy fish. So, if you are a beginner, you do not have to think twice before getting these fish. You can easily keep these fish in a 10-gallon to 20-gallon tank to the minimum.

You can also check out the Top 10 Easy to Care Tetra Fish – Perfect For Beginners.

Unlike other tetras, black neon tetra will not require much equipment in your tank. You can just add some brown golden leaves at the bottom of their tank, and these tetras will be happy. Besides, black neons reside in the mid to top section of your tank peacefully.

You can get information in more detail on Black Neon Tetra Profile: Care, Diet, Tank Mates, Lifespan – All Helpful Information.

Equipment You Might Need For Your Black Neon Tetra

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Things That Determine The Best Tank Mates Of Black Neon Tetra?

There are certain things that you must consider before you choose a tank mate for any of your fish. You do not have to be so careful with the tank mates for black neon tetra, but some factors may be helpful in choosing the best ones to increase their lifespan.


The black neon tetra is a small fish of about 1.5 inches. That is why any other big or larger fish will be a danger in the aquarium. The golden rule in the aquarium world is larger fish dominate the smaller fish.

Hence, you shall look for smaller fishes in your tank with black neon tetra. Moreover, it will make your tetras happy without any stress besides being safe.

Learn more about black neon tetra size.


You should look for peaceful fish who live in schools as tank mates for black neon tetra. Any aggressive fish in the tank will not only stress black neon tetras but also disrupt their water flow, which can invite diseases.

Besides, fin nipping fish can be harmful to the black neon tetras soft body.

Are Tetras Fin Nippers? Are They Aggressive? Find out here.

Water Conditions

The water conditions of the black neon tetra should match with its tank mates. It is the case with most fishes as all of the species should live in harmony under their natural habitat settings.

As mentioned above in the table, the water conditions for the black neon tetra are:

Temperature of water 73° to 81°F (23° to 27°C)
Hardness of water 4 to 9 dKH
pH of water 5.5 to 7.5

The tankmates do not have to replicate the exact numbers but should come somewhere near them. So that it will be easy for you to maintain the tank as well as the health of the tetras!

Have a better knowledge about Water Parameters for Tetra Fish: Stable Water Condition from here.

Best Tank Mates For Black Neon Tetra

For a peaceful shoaling fish like the Black neon tetra, you will need a small and peaceful fish to be their tankmates. Any larger fish may be aggressive and attack these tetras. So, you can avoid that.

The rest of the things are the same as you would consider before choosing tankmates for any other fish. That is, you will need to check the water parameters that the other tankmates you want your Black neon tetra to keep with. Besides, the basic idea is the water parameters should not clash with each other.

Cory Catfish

Swimming Bottom feeders
Temperament Schooling fish


Size 1 to 2.5 inches
Temperature of water 75°F to 82°F
Care level Beginner
pH of water 7.0 to 7.8

The Corydoras are bottom feeders and prefer to be peaceful as black neon tetras. Not only this, but these fish are also non-territorial and belong to the awesome catfish family.

Like black neon tetras, these catfish are extremely easy to care for, which makes them ideal if you are a beginner. Moreover, they stay at the bottom looking for food all day long.

The Corydoras remain quite still and do not disrupt the flow of water at all. The shy nature of Corydoras will keep them away from black neon tetras at all times.

Harlequin Rasbora Fish

Swimming Mid and top-level dwellers
Temperament Schooling fish


Size 1.75 inches
Temperature of water 73°F to 82°F
Care level Intermediate
pH of water 6.0 to 7.5

Rasboras are the perfect tankmates for the black neon tetra as these fish meet all the conditions necessary, as mentioned above. The beautiful fishes add color to your tank. Moreover, they are quite easy to care for.

Similarly, Rasboras are mid and top-level dwellers with peaceful nature, which makes sure they do not disturb your black neon tetras.

Zebra Danio

Swimming Mid and top-level dwellers
Temperament Shoaling fish

Peaceful (Only aggressive when alone)

Size 2 inches at maximum
Temperature of water 65°F to 75°F
Care level Beginner
pH of water 6.5 to 8.0

Zebra Danios is another good tank mate for your black neon tetras. These tetras are from South Asia. This social fish is similar to the black neon tetra when it comes to shoaling nature and behavior.

These fish prefer slow-moving or medium-moving behaviors with quiet, peaceful nature if not kept alone. Besides, Zebra Danios, as the name suggests, has a zebra-like appearance with attractive stripes of blue on white or golden bases.

You shall consider keeping plants in the Zebra Danios tank to remove anxiety. Moreover, it is an omnivore like black neon tetra. So, feeding both zebra danios and black neon tetra will not be a problem.

Red Lizard Whiptail

Swimming Bottom dwellers
Temperament Prefers to be alone


Size 4.4 inches at maximum
Temperature of water 75°F to 84°F
Care level Beginner
pH of water 6.0 to 7.5

Red Lizard Whiptail is an orange-colored fish that comes from North America. It is a geographical relative of the black neon tetra. It is not aggressive but not peaceful as well.

Since it is a bottom dweller, there will be not much problem regarding the black neon tetra as their tank mates. However, you might want to put in plenty of plants and decorations for hideouts. Here are some best plants for your tetra aquarium.

These fish are best if you have a relatively larger tank and want a centerpiece for the aquarium. Besides, these fish are perfect for beginners as they are hardy. The presence of Red Lizard Whiptail will definitely light up your tank.

Honey Gourami

Swimming Mid and top-level dwellers
Temperament Peaceful fish
Size 3 inches at maximum (1 to 2 inches normally)
Temperature of water 71°F to 82°F
Care level Beginner
pH of water 6.0 to 7.5

Honey Gourami are orange-colored fish that thrive in soft water like the Black neon tetras. These fish are top and middle-level dwellers. You will normally find them hiding in the tank, which is why a planted tank is a good idea.

Black Neon tetra and Honey Gourami do well with each other. Moreover, you can also add two Honey gourami to the tank. However, you should avoid large groups to avoid bullying among the group.

Since Honey Gourami is peaceful and shy natured, they will be perfect tank mates for black neon tetras. These fish will also have a similar diet as the black neon tetras.

Cardinal Tetra

Swimming Mid and top-level dwellers
Temperament Shoaling fish

Peaceful (Only aggressive when alone)

Size 2 inches at maximum
Temperature of water 79° F to 82 °F
Care level Beginner
pH of water 6 to 7

Cardinal tetras are extremely easy to care for beginner fish, which prefer similar tank conditions like the black neon tetra. Likewise, cardinal tetras are gorgeous red and white fish that like to swim across in groups near the top and middle of the tank.

You might be confused about the difference between cardinal and neon tetras. Here is our article about Neon v/s Cardinal Tetra – The Difference.

You might not need a substrate for the tetras, but some plants would be lovely. However, make sure there are no more plants than required. Both black neon tetras and cardinal tetras prefer slow water currents.

Learn in detail about Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) from our Complete Care Guide.

Apistogramma Cichlids

Swimming Bottom dwellers
Temperament Stays in groups
Size 1.5 to 4 inches
Temperature of water 75 °F
Care level Intermediate to expert (depending on species)
pH of water 6 to 7

If you want cichlids in your tank, you can go for some common dwarf Cichlids to pair with the Black Neon Tetras in the tank. Likewise, if you want the best ones, then the muted yellow dwarf is a hardy fish for you to choose as a beginner. If you like a bit of a challenge, you can choose larger temperamental cichlids such as Cockatoo dwarf or Aggasiz’s Dwarf.

You can keep these cichlids in groups. But, make sure you do not keep two males in the same group as it can cause some aggressive behavior inside the tank. Moreover, they are more of a territorial type that would be perfect for the black neon tetras.

The bottom dwellers will love some sand substrate in their tank. However, you might also keep gravel and plants to decorate the tank.

Other Possible Tank Mates For Black Neon Tetra

Although the above 7 tank mates are the best ones, you could choose. There are some other possible tank mates for the black neon tetras in your tank. Check these out!

Bettas (Betta Splendens)

Although the pair seems sketchy, it works pretty well. Bettas can be aggressive to their own species, and their temperament can be different. But if you want to get one with your black neon tetra, it will take some effort to work it out.

Articles about bettas you may like:


Guppies are also shoaling and peaceful fish. These fish are beautiful to see and most inexpensive to get. So, it would be quite a catch to keep your black neon tetra with guppies.

You can find more on Neon Tetra and Guppy – Are they compatible?

Besides these, you can also keep most livebearers, pencil fish, and Adult Dwarf Shrimps with your black neon tetra.

Impossible Tank Mates For Black Neon Tetra

There are some exceptions to the tank mates you can keep in a black neon tetra tank. Some of them are mentioned below:

Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina Davidi)

Although cherry shrimp have a peaceful nature, these shrimps do not match the ideal temperature required for being a tank mate of the black neon tetra. Similarly, the shrimps are too small, which can cause them to become food for black neon tetras instead of tank mates.

Freshwater Sharks

Freshwater sharks are aggressive and territorial, which makes them an impossible tank mate for the black neon tetra. The black neon tetra will be constantly stressed because of bullying and chasing by these types of tank mates.

Golden Wonder Killifish

Golden Wonder Killifish is a large fish that has a predatory background. Like I have explained before, the larger fish tend to eat smaller fish in the tank. So, your black neon tetra will not be safe with these fish in your tank.

Black Widow Tetra

Black Widow tetra is not a good option for a tank mate as they are aggressive towards other fish. The Black widow tetra will only stress your black neon tetra, which will eventually lead to their death or sickness.

Related articles on black widow tetra you may like:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Black Neon Tetras Live With Neon Tetras?

You can keep black neon tetras and neon tetras in the same tank but make sure you keep both the species in the same amount. These two tetras do not mix with each other. You will not see them interact much, but they can live together.

How Long Do Black Neon Tetras Live?

Black neon tetras will give you company from 5 to 10 years of age. It is quite decent for tetra to live that long if you ask me. However, you do have to maintain the appropriate tank conditions as per their natural habitat. You can get more information here about the black neon tetra lifespan.

Are Black Neon Tetras Hardy?

Yes, Black Neon Tetra is a hardy fish. So, if you are a beginner, you do not have to think twice about keeping these magnificent fish in your tank. These tetras are pretty easy to feed and adapt well with variant tank conditions.

Last Words

In conclusion, black neon tetras are wonderful tankmates to peaceful and small fish. These fish will stress if kept with aggressive and larger fish, which can cause illness or death of the black neon tetras.

Moreover, you should always try to keep your tetras happy with the tank mates that are best for all of them. By this, I mean that the fishes in a tank should match similar water conditions replicating that of their natural habitat.

I hope you learned many things about black neon tetra tank mates from this article! If you have any queries or experiences to share about the black neon tetra tank mates, make sure you leave them in the comment section below!

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