16 Best Neon Tetra Tankmates To Choose From

What fish get along with neon tetra

Neon Tetras are one of the most exquisite fish breeds that are famous among the fish parents. These freshwater fish are hardy and easy to take care of, and hence are ideal for beginners. But, Neon Tetras do especially well in an aquarium consisting of other fish species. So, if you want to keep Neon Tetras as pets, then you must also ask yourself the question “What fish get along with Neon Tetra as its tankmates?”.

Well, Neon Tetras are peaceful and tiny shoaling fish. So, while choosing their tankmates you should ensure those other fish have similar size, behavior, and temperament matching that of the Neon Tetras. Specifically, tankmates like Bettas, Apple Snails, African Dwarf Frogs, Cardinal Tetras, Cory Catfish, Discus  Fish, Cherry Shrimps, Guppies Harlequin, Rasboras, White Cloud Minnows, Mollies, Plecostomus, Loaches, Zebra Danios, Angel Fish, Hatchetfish, etc have proven to be good tankmates for Neon Tetra.

Stick around! As I will not only be unveiling the best tankmates for Neon Tetras, but I will also be giving some additional information related to Neon tetras.

How To Choose Tank Mates For Neon Tetra

Firstly, let me ask you a question. Will you have a good living environment with people having a peaceful, calm, similar character and mentality or with people having ill-natured, violent character and mentality? The answer is quite clear, isn’t it? Any person will choose the first option that favors them the most.

Nature And Behavior Of The Fish

When choosing tankmates for your Neon Tetras, you must ensure the tank mates have the type of nature and character that is compatible with your Neon Tetras. To be more specific, I suggest you choose those types of fish that are peaceful and calm in nature that do not pose any threat to your Neon Tetras and get along with them.

If the tankmates are aggressive, neon tetras can also show equal aggression. Get more details about ‘Neon Tetra Behavior: Are They Aggressive/Fighting or Playing?’.

Size Of The Fish

I recommend you choose small fish of similar size to that of Your Neon Tetras. Neon Tetras themselves are small and are vulnerable to larger fish that tend to bully or eat them.

So, the tankmates should be of about average 2 to 3 inches as Neon Tetras only grow to a size of 2 to 3 inches. By doing this, you will decrease the possibility of your Neon Tetras facing ill behaviors from their tankmates.

Get a better understanding of Are Tetras Aggressive from our List Of Aggressive Tetra Fish and ‘Are Tetras Fin Nippers? Are They Aggressive?’.

Water Conditioning

Another important consideration while choosing a tankmate for your Neon Tetra is the water temperature, water parameters, and alkalinity.

The Neon Tetras are tropical fish, due to this they require a water temperature of about 72° F to 76°F, so the tankmates should have similar water temperature needs.

Moreover, the tankmates should also be able to adapt or accept the exact or similar water parameter levels of  6.0 to 7.0 and a dKH level between  3° and 8°.  Besides, you can increase the pH of Your Freshwater Aquarium if it is lower than that.

Hence, if your chosen fish fulfills the above criteria, then it will make an ideal tankmate for your neon tetra.

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16 Best Neon Tetra Tankmates

As you may know, I have already mentioned in brief the fish breeds that get along very well with the Neon Tetras. Well, in this segment I shall go into some fair detail about the same tankmates I was mentioning before. So, without further ado, let’s start!

Bettas (Betta splendens)

Betta Splendens

The Betta Fish aka Siamese fighting fish are one of the most beautiful fish, that are such eye pleasers for us to see. They are freshwater fish that grows to an average of 2.25 inches.

Moreover, these fish make good tankmates for the Neon Tetras which are also freshwater tropical fish. Neon Tetras swim in both the middle parts and higher parts of the tank, due to this they can avoid Bettas.

Bettas need a water temperature ranging from 76° F to 80° F, a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5, and water alkalinity of 5° to 20° dH. Neon Tetras And Betta Fish: Can You Keep Them Together? – Here Is How

The male Bettas can chase other fish if they get too close. As a reason for this, I recommend you keep one male in a tank consisting of 6 to 9 Neon Tetras. Female Bettas are calmer than males, so you can keep up to 4 or 5 females in a tank with Neon Tetras.

I have written in more detail about ‘Can Neon Tetras and Bettas Live In A 10-Gallon Aquarium’.

Apple Snails (Ampullariidae)

File:Apple snail.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

The Apple snails get along with Neon Tetras very well. Moreover, adding snails to the aquariums helps to keep the tank clean, as the apple snails feast on algae as well as old fish food.

Do Tetra Fish Eat Algae? – Should You Add Algae To Their Diet? Find out here. You can also check if your neon tetra will ever eat algae.

You need to ensure Apple snails get a water temperature ranging from 70° F to 80° F, a pH level of 6.5 to 8.0, and water hardness of  6° to 12° dH in their tank.

Furthermore, small Apple snails will grow into a larger-sized snail, so you might want to have to upgrade to a larger aquarium in time.

Hence, with the Apple snails, there will be no hostility towards Neon Tetras in any way possible. The two tankmates will co-exist with no ill will towards each other.

African Dwarf Frogs (Hymenochirus)

African dwarf frog, Hymenochirus boettgeri. Original image sourced from US Government department: Public Health Image Library, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under US law this image is copyright free, please credit

African Dwarf Frogs, yes you heard it right! African dwarf frogs are great tankmates for your Neon Tetras in the tank. Imagine how cool it would feel to keep these little frogs along with the pet fish in your aquarium.

You need to keep African Dwarf Frogs in a water temperature ranging from 72° F to 82° F, the ph level of 5.0 to 7.8, and water hardness of 5° to 20° GH in the tank.

You will not have to worry about the possibility of the frogs preying on your Neon Tetras or other small fish. The secret is to keep the frogs well fed. Having these little guys will give uniqueness and diversity to your aquarium.

Cardinal Tetras (Paracheirodon Axelrodi)

cardinal tetra

Probably the most compatible tankmates of Neon Tetras, their distant cousins the Cardinal Tetras are similar to Neon Tetras in both appearance, size, and needs.

These fish will grow to a maximum size of 2 inches which is similar to Neon Tetras. For water conditioning, Cardinal Tetras need a water temperature of 79° F to 82° F, a ph level of 4.5 to 7.5, and a water hardness of 2° to 6° dH in the tank.

You can even keep the two breeds in the same school. Tetras tend to get along more with their kind, but as with similar visual features between Cardinal Tetras and Neon Tetras, they will tend to form a school.

Besides, cardinal tetras are hardy fish. You can also check out what cardinal tetras eat from here.

Corydoras Catfish (Corydoras Paleatus)

File:Corydoras sterbai 02.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Corydoras Catfish or simply Cory Catfish are bottom feeders and hence help to keep the aquarium clean. They are very compatible with community fish including the Neon Tetras.

Looking For A Community Tank? Here Are 7 Best Serpae Tetra Tank Mates

As these fish are tiny in size in comparison to other catfish, they do not need a spacious area in the tank.

In specifics, Corydoras Catfish can grow to an average size of 1 to 3 inches. As for the water conditioning, these fish will need a water temperature between 70° F to 80° F, ph levels of 5.0 to 7.0, and water alkalinity from 3 to 10 dKH.

There are many types of Corydoras with eye-catching colors in the market. Putting them together with the Neon Tetras will increase the grandeur of your aquarium tank.

Discus Fish (Symphysodon)

discus fish

Discus fish are a calm and peaceful breed of fish. They are active fish, due to this, you can usually see them swimming from one side to the other side of the tank elegantly.

Moreover, the Discus tends to grow to an average size of 4.8 to 6.0 inches. As they are peaceful in character, they do well with other peaceful fish. Due to this, you will not have to worry about any ill behavior towards your Neon Tetras.

Furthermore, you will need to ensure Discus fish are provided with a water temperature of 82° F and 86° F. Whereas, the pH levels should be between 6.0 to 7.0 with the water alkalinity of 1° and 4° dKH in the tank.

The Discus fish consist of gorgeous contrasting colors and are easy to care of. Due to this, it makes them ideal for both veterans and beginner fishkeepers having an aquarium with any peaceful fish.

Cherry Shrimps (Neocaridina Davidi)

Breeding Red Cherry Shrimp

The Red Cherry Shrimps are attractive shrimps consisting of deep rich red color. Having shrimps in the help to keep control of algae levels, old fish food, and fish excreta in control.

You can easily keep Cherry Shrimps together with a Neon Tetras school, as they do not harm the fish. But, they do tend to quarrel for food with each other.

Cherry Shrimps thrive at a water temperature of 65° F to 75° F. Moreover, they need a pH level of 6.0 to 7.6 and a water hardness of 4° to 14° GH.

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Guppies (Poecilia Reticulata)

Guppy Fish Care

Similar to Neon Tetras, Guppies are very peaceful and calm fish. In addition, they are both famous and common among the fishkeepers. Due to their calm nature, guppies will make good tankmates for your Neon tetras.

Guppies need a water temperature ranging between 75° F to 82° F in their tank. Similarly, a pH level between 6.8 to 7.8, and water alkalinity of dGH 8° to 12° are their recommended water parameters.

You have a variety of beautiful guppies to choose from having different vibrant colors. Hence, a tank consisting of these little beauties with equally gorgeous Neon Tetras will be something to be proud of.

Harlequin Rasboras (Trigonostigma Heteromorpha)

Harlequin Rasbora

Harlequin Rasboras are timid and quite fearful fish, they get easily frightened by the bigger fish. Now, some of you might be wondering how can this particular breed of fish could get along with Neon Tetras, right?

Well, Neon tetras are shoaling fish and one of the dither fish. Similarly, Harlequin rasboras are timid but peaceful fish. So, it is a win-win for both species of fish as one helps another, and both co-exist in the tank.

You will need to set your tank’s water temperature to about 75° F to 80° F, a ph level of 6.0 to 7.8, and alkalinity of 0° to 15° dH.

White Cloud Minnows (Tanichthys Albonubes)

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

The White Cloud Minnows are one of those fish breeds that are very active. These little fellows are very similar to Neon tetras in size and shoaling nature. If you put these two beautiful shoaling species of fish together, your aquarium will be very lively and active. If you want a calm aquarium tank then these fish may not be the ideal choice.

White Cloud Minnows flourish at a water temperature of 64° F to 72° F. Moreover, water conditioning consisting of ph level between 6.0 and 8.0, and alkalinity of 5° to 19° dH.

Furthermore, if you want to provide your White Cloud Minnow and your Neon Tetras a good quality of life, then be sure to provide them a spacious tank and lots of plantations.

Mollies (Poecilia Sphenops)

molly fish care

Like Neon Tetras, Mollies are also one of the most famous fish species among fish parents.

These fish are beautiful and come in varieties. Moreover, they prove great tank mates for Neon Tetra and get along with them very well.

Specifically speaking, Mollies require a water temperature of 70° F to 85° F. Furthermore, Mollies need a water condition of 6.7 to 8.5 pH level, with water alkalinity of 5° to 25° dH.

The mollies are tough fish and do not require special care nor any kind of special diet. So, you will not face any kind of difficulty in keeping them with Neon tetras as neon tetras are also hardy.

Plecostomus (Hypostomus plecostomus)

Plecostomus fish are bottom feeders and do not bother with other fish. These fish do very well with community fish as they are calm in character. Plecostomus will help to keep your aquarium’s algae problem under control.

Moreover, the Plecostomus fish will do great in a water temperature of 74° F to 80° F whereas they need a pH level between 7.0 and 8.0 and water alkalinity of 3° and 10° dKH.

Bigger Plecostomus need spacious tanks, due to this I recommend keeping smaller Plecostomus that grow to about 5 inches in maximum.

Loaches (Cobitoidea)

Kuhli Loach

Loaches are a great addition to your aquarium alongside Neon Tetras. These fish are a type of scavengers, hence they aid to keep the cleanliness levels in the tank. Specifically, Loaches eat debris, old food, and algae.

Learn more about how often you should clean a tetra tank from here!

You will need to ensure a water temperature ranging between 60° F to 77° F. Furthermore, water conditions should consist of a pH level of 7.0 to 8.5 and a water alkalinity level of 6° to 10° dKH.

Loaches tend to grow to an average of 4 to 6 inches, hence they need a spacious tank. They are friendly fish and do well with other fish including you Neon Tetras. But, they can get intimidated easily so do provide sufficient hiding spaces like rocks and small caves.

Zebra Danios (Danio Rerio)

Zebra Danio

Having a similar body like that of the Neon Tetras, Zebra Danios are peaceful shoaling fish. They do very well with Neon Tetras and other peaceful fish. Like the Neon Tetras, Zebra Danios grow to a size of 2 inches. In case of shortage in schools, Neon Tetras can form a diversified school with Zebra Danios.

Furthermore, Zebra Danios need a water temperature ranging from 65° F to 80° F. As for water conditioning, they require a pH level of 6.5 to 7.2 and water hardness between 3° and 8° dKH.

These fish are easy to care for but do well with a sizeable group of min 8 to 10 fish.

Hatchetfish (Gasteropelecus Sternicla)

øksefisker – Store norske leksikon

The Hatchetfish are small peaceful shoaling fish that live at the upper level of the aquariums. They are good tankmates and get along with Neon Tetras. You can see them schooling just below the water line in your tank.

Hatchetfish require a water temperature between 75° F to 80° F, a pH level of 5.0 to 8.0, and an alkalinity level of 4° to 20° GH.

Neon Tetras will compete alongside Hatchetfish for food. Due to this, make sure you provide enough food to your pet fish.

Angel Fish (Pterophyllum)

Angelfish are peaceful and majestic looking fish that can increase your aquariums’ grandeur. I suggest you handle Angel Fish with care if you are thinking of them as a possible tankmate candidate for your Neon Tetras.

Similarly, they are fairly good tankmates. But they do tend to get frisky if they are threatened. Due to this, you should be careful while aligning them with your Neon tetras in the same tank.

You need to be sure the Angel Fish is provided a water temperature between 78° and 84° F. In addition, They need a water conditioning consisting of a pH level between 6.8 and 7.8, and alkalinity levels between 3° and 8° dKH.

The Angel Fish are very elegant and delightful to watch. Hence, the sight of the community of Angel Fish along with a school of beautiful Neon Tetras in your tank surely will give your eyes immense pleasure.

Are Neon Tetras Fin Nippers?

Yes, neon tetras are considered fin nippers. But first, let me tell you more about the fin nipping behaviors of Neon Tetras. Most of you might think that fin nipping is done usually when the fish are hungry or underfed.

But, in reality, fin nipping is a way for the fish to express themselves to the other fish. It can mean, they are expressing territory dominance, desire to mate, or are bullying other fish. Neon tetra’s fin nipping behavior usually occurs between their own kin.

But, other tankmates can face fin nipping when they are overcrowded in the aquarium. Usually, due to the overpopulation, any type of fish including Neons tetras can feel threatened.

Hence, behaviors like fin nipping become a common sight in the tank. As long as you prevent overcrowding, you will not face an extreme level of fin nipping by the Neon Tetras on other fish.

Tankmates You Should Not Keep With Neon Tetras

While talking about the fish that get along with Neon Tetras, I felt it is as important to know about the bad tankmates as it is to know about some good ones. This will help you avoid rookie mistakes.

Neon Tetras are small shoaling fish that are fairly peaceful and do great in a community tank. Get an idea about how many neon tetras to keep in school!

But, when deciding on keeping other fish as tankmates for Neon Tetras, you must ensure the other fish are not bigger. Bigger fish tend to bully and sometimes prey on smaller fish under various circumstances.

Similarly, violent fish should also be avoided as tankmates for Neon Tetras, as Neon Tetras are vulnerable and will make an easy snack for the big fish.

You should also avoid fish species having completely different specific requirements like water parameters and temperatures. Most of the fish have different needs and requirements, while some have similar requirements. So, it is widely recommended to consider fish with similar water conditioning needs, as tank mates of Neon Tetras.

Some Facts About Neon Tetras

The following are some facts related to Neon Tetras that I have presented for your convenience:

  • Nearly 2 million Neon tetras are imported inside the USA on the yearly basis.
  • The peaceful and calm Neon Tetras are from the family of famous predatory fish Piranhas.
  • Neon Tetras will tend to form a school with other shoaling fish if they lack numbers. They use this as a last resort for protection.
  • Caution is to be taken while introducing Neon Tetras to a new environment.  They can feel anxiety and stress with a sudden change of environment.
  • Neon tetras are named Neons because of their bright coloration which has a neon effect on their natural habitat in the black water.

Read full neon tetra interesting facts here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Neon Tetras Attack Other Fish?

Neon Tetras are active and curious fish, due to this, they can chase other fish while lacking intent of hostility. When you introduce new fish to the tank, Neon Tetras will start nipping at their fin. This behavior is due to the new fish being complete strangers to neon tetras.

Do Neon Tetras Need Air Pumps?

Usually, if your tank is not densely populated while consisting of a school Neon Tetras, then you will not need air pumps. But, at the same time, if your tank consists of many fishes and is overcrowded, then to promote aeration you need to install air pumps.

How Long Do Neon Tetras Live?

Neon Tetras normally live up to 10 years. But, in a normal aquarium environment, they live up to 2 to 3 years. They are shoaling fish, hence they do very well when kept together in the number of 6 to 9 Neon Tetras.

How Many Neon Tetras Should You Keep In A Tank?

You can keep as many Neon Tetras as you like if you are able to provide them with the tank size. A size of 10 to 20-gallon tank should be enough for a school of Neon Tetras consisting of 4 to 8 fish. Get a better idea from our other article on “How Many Neon Tetras Per Gallon Of Water | Different Gallon Tanks?”.

I would also recommend Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit, which Includes LED Lighting, and Decor as it is an affordable tank with the best visuals.


In conclusion, Neon Tetras are small shoaling fish that do well with tankmates that are small with a similar temperament and calm nature. Moreover, you should avoid putting fish that are bigger than Neon Tetras and have aggressive nature as tankmates. By doing so, the life quality of your Neon Tetras deteriorates resulting in stress and anxiety.

As mentioned above fish like Bettas, Cardinal Tetras, Cory Catfish, Discus  Fish, Guppies, White Cloud Minnows, Mollies, Plecostomus, Harlequin Rasboras, Loaches, Hatchetfish, Angelfish, Zebra Danios are ideal fish tankmates for your Neon Tetras. But, nevertheless while choosing the tankmates you should be careful.

Although these fish are good tankmates occasionally some of these fish like the Angelfish and Bettas can show some degree of aggression or behavior change towards Neon Tetras in cases like the feeling of threat, territorial issues, food, etc.

Furthermore, African Dwarf Frogs, Apple Snails, and Cherry Shrimps are the non-fish tankmates but do equally well with your Neon Tetras. My personal favorites among the mentioned tankmates are the snails and shrimps, as they not only bring diversity to the tank population but also help to keep the aquarium clean.

With that, you have come to the end of this article! But, feel free to comment away your possible queries or complaints in the comment box below.

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