Can Neon Tetra and Goldfish Live Together? – Are They Good Tank Mates, Or Not?

Can Neon Tetra and Goldfish live together

Your goldfish is lonely, and you want to bring some other fish as a company. And, neon tetra being as mesmerizing as goldfish, you want to bring neon tetra home thinking, how amazing they will look together. You are right, they will look great together until the goldfish swallows your neon tetra. Yes, that’s true. Goldfish grow very fast and very large to eat up your neon tetra.

So, the Answer to the question, can Neon Tetra and Goldfish live together is a “Big No”. They live in different water conditions(temperature), different environments, and have dissimilar social habits. They both are lovely, but completely distinct creatures. Therefore they are not good/compatible tankmates i.e., you cannot keep them together.

Further, imagine feeding your fish with pellets. Goldfish pellets are normally, too large, your Neon Tetra will not be able to eat the pellets. You don’t want your fish to compromise, do you?

Keeping goldfish and neon tetra is like inviting a disaster.

Before going deep into the compatibility of goldfish and neon tetra, let’s know little about their typical nature.

Read Full Article: Neon Tetra Profile | A Complete Beginners Guide

Known Facts about Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra is popular simply because of its extraordinary appearance. The combination of blue, red, and silver, and most importantly being iridescent, is what makes neon tetra famous. They are small and beautiful species for your aquarium.

Besides, there are more species of neon tetra than we can even count.  And, they like swimming in school. They get aggressive and lonely when they are alone. They like the buddy system. You can keep neon tetras together, and also other compatible fish. They seem happier in a group.

Moreover, they are small organisms and grow up to 1.5 inches, in some cases up to 2.5 inches. Thus, they prefer living with fish of the same size.

Hobbyists love keeping neon tetra as they are beautiful, peaceful, and very graceful. Who doesn’t love to have a gentle pet in their home, right?

But, neon tetras are very sensitive to changes. It’s better to keep them in an established tank, than in a newly set up tank. They enjoy a warmer environment. Further, their lifespan is about 5 years, but if kept outdoor, and in a healthy environment, they live up to 8 years.

Read Full Article: Neon TEtra Lifespan

Known Facts about Goldfish

Goldfish is one of the most popular aquarium fish throughout the world. No wonder what great pets they make. They are best for your aquarium not only because of how beautifully colored they are but, also because they need very little care as compared to other fish.

All the goldfish across the world are the same species. Yes, you heard it right. They are descended from the species of East Asian Wild Carp, Carassius Auratus Gibelio.

Moreover, goldfish grow very quickly, up to 4-7 inches. Also, more interesting, some adults grow up to 18 inches and can weigh about 10 pounds. Moreover, to not have any effect on their growth, along with food & diet, tank size also plays a vital role. The big tank helps them grow PERFECTLY!

Further, goldfish having a Three-Second memory is a myth. However, scientifically, they can have a memory span of about 5 months. And, do you know, goldfish don’t have the stomach, but intestinal tract. So, they are hypersensitive to overfeeding.

Equally important, goldfish are omnivorous. Keeping some larvae, small fish, and flesh along with some vegetables in their diet will take intestinal problems far away from them. Goldfish have a very long lifespan. The longest the goldfish have lived is up to 49 years.

But if you keep them in a bowl, they will die soon. Goldfish are messy, so if your tank is cleaned time and again, and is healthy, then your fish will live more.

Reasons behind Why Goldfish and Neon Tetra Do Not Thrive In the Same Aquarium

Goldfish and Neon Tetra have completely different requirements. And do you think it’s possible to meet both of their requirements in a single tank? Sounds difficult, doesn’t it?

It’s not a piece of good advice to keep them together because, as prior mentioned, their way of living is different.

Have a look just below for more detailed information.

The Difference in Water Temperature

The tank size, the tank temperature, are crucial things for the development of your fish. With the correct water temperature, goldfish tend to grow according to their nature of growing, with time. But, tragedy happens when you put neon tetra with goldfish.

On the one hand, neon tetra like warmer environment (28 Degree C – 30 Degree C), and on the other hand, goldfish like cooler environment (23 Degree C – 24 Degree C). Goldfish can get sick at a warmer temperature.

Moreover, tetras are clean and produce less dirt, but goldfish produce a large amount of waste. Thus, you have to keep on cleaning the tank for goldfish, and in contrast, tetras are sensitive to any kind of change.

Read Full Article: Best Tank Size For Neon Tetra

Goldfish Grows Large Enough To Eat Up Neon Tetra

Aforementioned, goldfish can grow up to 4-7 inches long, and it’s just the matter of time goldfish grows bigger than neon tetra, which is small and grow up to only 1.5 inches. As goldfish grow larger, neon tetra, even being so active, seeing the size of goldfish, hides and stops swimming.

It’s obvious that being an omnivorous, goldfish eats up little neon tetra, but even if tetra escapes out from being eaten, it dies out of fear and stress.

It’s not that goldfish are cruel or something. They are stunning creatures to have, but it’s born to grow big, and if finds anything that fits in its mouth, it swallows.

Messy Environment VS. Clean Environment

Every owner or hobbyist wants a clean aquarium with beautiful fish swimming around gracefully. Wanting different environments is what makes goldfish and neon tetra incompatible. Goldfish by nature eat a lot and produce more wastes, therefore, creates a messier environment.

Also, goldfish root around looking for foods. You will see them moving tank rocks, plants, and other decorations. You need to maintain tank cleanliness more often for creating a healthy environment for goldfish. A lot of work for sure.

On the contrary, tetra is very small to mess with any of your decorations. They swim gently in school. And, by nature, tetra eats very less and produce less waste. As they do not like any changes in the environment, your tank remains stable and of course, very less work for you.

The Difference in Social Habits

As mentioned before, neon tetra likes to swim in a school. A group of more than 6 tetras is mostly recommended. Alone tetra, or small group, makes them feel like threatened. And, this eventually leads to their stress.

Stressed tetra gets depressed, and with time, it doesn’t tend to swim. Day by day, its color fades away, and it can catch diseases.

Nevertheless, goldfish also like being social, but do not form groups like tetras.

Also Read: How Many Neon TEtra Per Gallon Of Water

Neon Tetra Is a Tropical Fish, but Goldfish Isn’t

Goldfish is not a tropical fish. Whatever requirements you provide for tetra to live, on the same requirements, it will be impossible for goldfish to survive. As mentioned before, they both thrive at different temperatures. Goldfish are sensitive to diseases in warmer water.

Besides, neon tetra being tropical fish can carry various diseases that can be very dangerous to goldfish. Moreover, the difference in their diet. Earlier mentioned, goldfish have no stomach, so the food of neon tetras cannot be digested by goldfish.

Goldfish need their flakes and pellets. Similarly, neon tetras cannot eat large pellets like goldfish. Tetras want their food to be chopped up into small pieces.

Also Read: This Is Why Your Neon Tetra Is Not Eating | Where Is What You Can Do

Goldfish Enjoys Living with Other Goldfish

Well, goldfish do not form any kind of proper group like tetras, instead, they migrate towards other goldfish, and they stick together, and follow one another in the aquarium. If you don’t know, a group of goldfish is known as ‘Troubling’.

Even then, some varieties of goldfish mustn’t be kept together. Goldfish with similar size and shape get along ultimately.

Are You Still Having Question Mark?

If you are having a doubt still, then I will give you a real example. Imagine, it’s hot weather, and you are wearing a big thick woolen sweater. How will you feel?

Obviously, very uncomfortable. You will find it hard to breathe, and even hard to move around your body parts.

Yes, the exact thing happens to goldfish when they are kept in a warmer environment. This will be unbearable for goldfish.

If You Love Them Both So Much, Then You Can Have Two Tanks, Isn’t This Cool?

This is freaking interesting, right? If you adore both the fish so much then, you can keep them together for at least four months, when they are babies. The little goldfish doesn’t make any such mess as I highlighted before, and doesn’t eat fish of the same size.

But, when they reach six months, they start growing and showing their characteristics.  As goldfish not being tropical fish, you can separate them into a different tank of big size and favorable environment inside it. It will survive well and even longer due to great disease resistance.

Equally important, when you separate both fish, separate goldfish, not neon tetra. Neon Tetra is very sensitive to any kind of change. It can get sick due to differences in the environment.

Is Neon Tetra Specifically, Compatible With Goldfish?

Goldfish is the threat here. Neon tetra gets along with goldfish similarly as it gets along with other fish. It’s the goldfish, who makes the water dirty for tetra, and eats them up. Even though neon tetra can live with goldfish, goldfish cannot live with neon tetra.

What Other Fish Are the Best Tank Mates of Neon Tetras?

Neon Tetras are very friendly, and lovable. Angelfish, Guppies, Loaches, Mollies, Plecostomus, Cardinal Tetras, Ghost Shrimp, and Halfbeaks are the best tank mates of neon tetra. These are of similar size and can survive in the same environment and water condition.

Are Goldfish Compatible with Tropical Fish?

No, they can’t. Goldfish and tropical fish live in a completely different environment. Tropical fish are aggressive, but goldfish are the opposite. Goldfish not being aggressive, the smaller fish usually bully bigger goldfish. As some goldfish have a long fin, its fin gets nipped by other tropical fish.

What Fish Can Be the Best Tank Mates For Goldfish?

As mentioned earlier, goldfish love living with other goldfish. Apart from that, White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Rosy Barbs, Zebra Danios, Apple snails, and Ghost and Cherry Shrimp, can live with goldfish. Do not give any hard time for other fish, keeping any incompatible fish with messy goldfish.


Your pet is completely dependent upon you for its care, also its happiness. Hence, taking proper care of your pet is your responsibility. As a responsible owner, it’s better not to keep goldfish and neon tetra together. It’s not possible to maintain the conditions inside the tank suitable for both fish at the same time. Also, more importantly, you don’t want your beautiful tetra to get eaten by large goldfish, do you?

Similar Article: Neon Tetras And Betta Fish: Can You Keep Them Together? – Here Is How

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