Can Different Types Of Tetras Live Together?

Different Types Of Tetras

Everyone wishes for an aquarium with all types of fish swimming beautifully in it. And, of course, the tetras are the most beautiful when kept together. Their varieties are vast, with different colors and shapes. But the question remains the same. Can different types of tetras live together? Can different types of tetras form a school?

Yes, different types of tetras can live together in a tank, but only when there are enough species of each to form a different school. The same species of tetra tend to school together and only live well if a sufficient member exists.

 It is not rocket science. It is simple. If you want different tetras in one tank, get 6 of each so that each has their school.

Whether different types of tetras live together or not? Can these different types of tetras schools be together? What factors determine if they can go to school together or not?

Let’s dive in and know the basics before making any rash decisions with uncertain facts.

Why Is School Important For The Tetras?

Have you ever heard the saying “there’s safety in numbers”? Well, it turns out that this is true for fish, too – especially tetras! These tiny fish might be able to survive on their own, but they actually live longer and happier lives when they’re part of a school. In fact, in their natural habitat, tetras are adapted to live in large groups and prefer the same in a tank.

So, why is it so important for tetras to be part of a school? It all comes down to protection. When a school has a lot of members, it’s much harder for predators to attack them.

The synchronized movements of the group can confuse predators, making it difficult for them to focus on any one fish. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to live in a community where you feel safe and sound with friends around you?

Learn more about ‘Are Tetras Schooling Fish? – Easy Schooling Fish’

These small fish stress and start showing health issues when kept alone. And it is quite understandable as no one prefers when someone alters their natural condition.

I have written another article with more information about Tetra Fish Diseases and Treatments. Check it out!

Do All Tetra Fish Get Along?

Most of the time, ‘Yes,’ tetra fish get along with each other, but there is always an exception with biology.

A species of tetra, Serpae tetra, to be precise, gets nippy sometimes. They behave rationally when the members seem insufficient to them in school.

And, of course, size plays a villainous role in the living together motto of tetras. Bigger tetras, like Buenos Aires tetras, intimidate and scare smaller tetras with their active nature and large body.

You can find more in our next article, Buenos Aires Tetra – Helpful Information for the New Hobbyist.

Tetras, however, with similar sizes and similar natures, tend to live together, and few even form a school with each other.

How Many Tetras Can Form A School?

Before you just hazardously put tetras together, it is best to know your tank size and then decide further.

Tetras, generally prefer to live with school and do best when kept in appropriate numbers.

If you have a 10 gallons tank, then go for six tetras or more. This is ideal for most of the species of tetras.

For instance, Neon tetras do well with 4-6 members in a 10 gallons aquarium. And the case with ember tetras is nearly the same; they prefer a school with eight ember tetras in 10 gallons tank.

To have a better idea, click on this article about ‘How Many Tetra Fish Per Gallon of Water?’.

Can Different Types Of Tetras Live Together?

Living together is never an issue for tetras if each of them has their school to live with.

So, the answer here is simple. Yes, different types of tetras can live together in a tank, given that tank handles all tetras appropriately.

Their living together depends on their species’ water condition and presence in the tank.

Related article: Water Parameters for Tetra Fish: Stable Water Condition

If you have a tank with 6 neon tetras and 6 Glowlight tetras, they will live in harmony. But only when they live separately in different schools, even if they are in the same tank.

Most tetras are tropical fish and prefer warm water, while Buenos Aires Tetras prefer cooler water. So, these Buenos tetras can not be kept together with other tetras due to dissimilar water requirements.

Can Different Types Of Tetras Form A School?

This one is quite tricky to answer. The answer is both Yes and No. When we go on a general basis, it gets confusing.

The answer is generally No because tetras prefer to school with the members of their species, not different types.

The reason behind this is simple and unarguably understandable. The school of similar species of tetra with the same body features confuses the predator.

The similarity in a school not only confuses their predators but also guarantees the safety of each member.

Tetras are schooling fish and often die when they are kept alone. A school with similar species makes them feel secure and familiar with the surroundings subtracting the stress and issues.

And as said, biology is full of exceptions. Yes, tetras, sometimes schools with different species of tetras for no apparent reason.

And, sometimes, the similarity in size, color, and needs make different tetras live together, making a single school.

The best example of this is Neon Tetras and cardinal tetras. These two species of tetras are the most common pair to school together. Their similar features and appearance give them the compatibility to live together.

You can read more on Neon And Cardinal Tetra Tank Mates – Compatible Tank Mates here.

Another thing that acts as a boon is selective breeding which develops some species into different breeds. These different breeds, although altered, remain the same species.

Golden Neon tetras and Diamond Neon Tetras are, although, different breeds are selective breeds through neon tetras.

Related article: Diamond Tetra Care Profile: Everything You Need To Know

That’s why these two selectively bred tetras, despite having different colors and features, a school with Neon Tetras.

What Factors Determine Which Tetras Live Or School Together?

Each of the tetras has different requirements; you need to study each to know what to do.

A few factors can determine when and which tetras can go together. But you can not entirely rely upon these factors as each tetra has a different preference.

Size And Color

Have you ever noticed how some fish seem to stick together all the time? Well, it turns out that tetras are one of those fish! These little guys love to school together, especially if they’re similar in size and color.

Take cardinal and neon tetras, for example – they’re practically twins! Except for that one red line on the cardinal tetra, of course. But because they look so much alike, they’re perfect for schooling together.

But not all tetras are created equal when it comes to schooling. Glowlight tetras might be similar in size and shape to cardinal and neon tetras, but they don’t like to hang out with them. Nope, these guys prefer to stick with their own kind. And when it comes to tank companions, they’re happy with just a few slow-moving, long-finned fish.

Oh, and size matters too. You see, larger tetras can eat the smaller ones, so they’re not the best roommates. But as long as everyone sticks to their own size, these little fish can live together in perfect harmony.

Related article on Glowlight Tetras:

  1. Glowlight Tetra Profile: A Beginners Guide
  2. Albino Glowlight Tetra – Everything You Need To Know About
  3. Glowlight Tetra’s Diet: How Often To Feed Them And Best Food?
  4. How Many Glowlight Tetras To Keep In A Tank?
  5. 7 Best Glowlight Tetra Tank Mates To Pick From

Water Conditions

Most of the tetras prefer acidic water warm enough for the tropical climate. But few exceptions are making it hard to school or even keep them together.

Buenos Aires Tetras prefer cooler water, making it quite impossible for them to keep warm water tetras.

Tank Conditions

The tank size and environment play an important role in the determination of school size and tetras number.

If you have a small tank with 10 gallons capacity, then you cannot keep different varieties of tetras. So, if you are thinking of schooling different tetras, I suggest you go for Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit with Fish Tank, Fish Net, Fish Food, Filter, Heater, and Water Conditioners.

Each variety asks for its own six members, and 10 gallons tank can only maintain six tetras at once. So, either you have to increase the tank size or settle with single species of tetras.


Sometimes fear makes living beings do things they normally will not do. The same happens with these small tetras.

Some tetra tends to adjust to a school with other tetras to protect themselves from predators.

What Type Of Tetras Will School Together?

Tetras with similar sizes, familiar nature, and water conditions generally school together.

The most common example is Neon Tetras’ schooling with cardinal tetras. Neon tetras do school with ember tetras as well, but the presence of any larger fish stresses them both.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Tetras Kill Each Other?

Yes, size plays a key role in this case. Larger tetras sometimes devour small tetras if they are kept in the same tank. And the other factor is the male and female points of view. If two males and one female are in a tank, they will fight with each other over a female tetra.

Find more on Are Tetras Aggressive – List Of Aggressive Tetra Fish.

Can Tetras Live With Other Tropical Fish?

Yes, tropical fish with similar water conditions as tetras can live together. The ideal example of this is Neon tetras with guppies. Check out more on ‘Neon Tetra and Guppy – Are they compatible?‘.


So there you have it – tetras might be small, but they sure do love company! Whether it’s schooling with their own kind or finding a group of lookalike buddies, these fish are social creatures through and through.

So the next time you’re admiring your tetras in the tank, take a moment to appreciate their ability to form bonds with each other. And if you’re thinking of adding more tetras to your collection, remember to keep their size and color in mind to ensure they all get along swimmingly. Happy fish-keeping!

Related articles:

  1. Can Neon Tetra and Goldfish Live Together? – Are They Good Tank Mates, Or Not?
  2. Neon Tetras And African Dwarf Frogs: Can I Keep Them Together?
  3. Neon Tetras And Betta Fish: Can You Keep Them Together? – Here Is How

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top