Can Neon Tetras And Ember Tetras Live Together?

can neon tetra live with ember tetra?

Which tetras are the most famous tetras in the fishkeeping world? When we say tetras, two names strike in my mind, neon tetras and ember tetras. These colorful fishes are hardy fish, perfect for beginners. But are neon tetras and ember tetras good tankmates?

Yes, neon tetras and ember tetras can live together in the same tank. But if you are looking for a school of both in the same one, you would probably not find one. Furthermore, you should make sure that you maintain a tank condition perfect for both the tetras to live happily.

Let us find out how you can keep them together and what they need in their tank!

Overview Of Neon Tetras

Swimming Mid and top-level dwellers
Temperament Shoaling fish


Size Up to 2.5 inches (average of 1.5 inches)
Temperature of water 70° F to 81 °F (20° C to 28° C)
Care level Beginner
pH of water 6 to 7
Hardness of water 2 to 10 dGH
Colors Silver, blue and red

Neon tetras are colorful, hardy fish with silver and red body. These fish are fresh blackwater fish that attract instant attention. Moreover, neon tetras are quite easy to care for, which makes them perfect for beginners out there.

You might also be interested in Top 10 Easy to Care Tetra Fish – Perfect For Beginners.

It is uncommon to find a neon tetra raised singly as these fish school together in a group of 6 to 8. Raising it alone means inviting trouble and stress for these small fish. You would require a little extra care while your neon tetras breed.

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To set a perfect tank for neon tetras, you just have to add hideouts and plants in your aquarium. This will keep the neon tetras safe from predators and stresses.

Overview Of Ember Tetras

Swimming All level dwellers
Temperament Good community fish


Size From 0.6 to 0.8 inches
Temperature of water 68° F to 82 °F (19° C to 28° C)
Care level Easy
Hardness of water 5 to 17 dGH
pH of water 5.5 to 7
Colors Bright Orange to Bright Red

Ember tetras are schooling fish like neon tetras that are slightly different in color. These tetras are bright red or bright orange in color. Even the eyes can show a little bit of orange color, which is pretty amazing.

Similarly, the ember tetras are hardy as well and adjust to a variety of temperatures in the aquarium. So, it would be the perfect fish if you are a beginner. These tetras do not have a specific liking to the substrates. So, you are good to go.

Like neon tetras, these tetras also love lots of hiding places and plants in the aquarium. This will help the aquarium to be aerated without disturbing the water movement for ember tetras.

Can Neon Tetra And Ember Tetra Live Together?

Yes, definitely Neon tetras and ember tetras can live together in the same aquarium. However, you should be a little careful when neon tetras breed. Put in a separate fish tank if any of the tetras are going to breed as they can show aggressive nature in such cases.

If you take care of these facts, neon tetras and the ember tetras can live peacefully in the same tank. In fact, they are good tankmates for each other.

Things To Consider When Neon Tetras And Ember Tetras Live Together

Here are certain things that you might need to consider to keep the neon tetras and ember tetras together. Check them out so that you can avoid mistakes that most aquarists do.

Water Conditions

Water quality is not much of an issue for both neon and ember tetras. These both do well in a wide range of water parameters but make sure you do not push them to the limits. Both are colorful fish that can live in fresh blackwater without any difficulty.

Water Temperature

The perfect water temperature for neon tetras is 70° F to 81 °F (20° C to 28° C) and for ember tetras is 68° F to 82 °F (19° C to 28° C). So basically, you have to maintain the water temperature that will be best for both of them, that is, the temperature 70° F to 81 °F (20° C to 28° C) as neon tetras do not live in cold water.

For this, you can use a heater which can be submersible in water and also a thermometer to check on the water temperature. I would suggest AQQA Mini Submersible Aquarium Heater for your aquarium without a doubt.

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Ph Of Water

The ph of water can also affect the health of the tetras. The ph level of 6 to 7 is perfect for both ember and neon tetras.

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Hardness Of Water

The hardness of water is a little different as neon tetras require 2 to 10 degrees of hardness while the ember tetras can cope up with 5 to 17 dGH. You have to find a water balance of between 5 to 10 degrees to keep both of the fish away from danger and stress.

School Size

The neon tetras and ember tetras must be kept in schools of their own to keep them safe from each other. Keep neon tetras in the school of 6 to 8, and the same goes for the ember tetras.

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Both neon tetras and ember tetras are quite likely to stay in the darker water. They do not like bright lights in their tank. The bright lights only invite problems in their health. So, find yourself an adjustable lighting system so that you can keep these tetras safe.

Tetra Hidden LED Stick Light for Aquariums, and Brilliant White is the best for a tetra aquarium!

Tank Size

The tank size to keep neon tetras and ember tetras is a minimum of 20 gallons. Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit, Includes LED Lighting and Decor is the easier one to get your hands on as it is both affordable and qualitative.

Both of the tetras require their own space. Neon tetras can show fin nipping behavior if they are kept in a smaller tank. Besides, Ember tetras are smaller than neon tetras. Hence, a larger tank is always a better option.

I have also written an article about Best Tank Size For Tetra Fish? Neon, Cardinal, and Other Similar Tetras. Check it out!


Neon tetras and ember tetras love plants in their tank. The plants are a better option for these tetras because:

  • It creates hideouts for the tetras to be safe from predators.
  • Similarly, it assists in keeping the tetras away from stress.
  • Block lights and create the perfect environment
  • Imitate the natural habitat of fresh blackwater.
  • Oxygenate the tank properly.

Clean Your Tank/ Filtration

Maintaining water quality is pretty essential for any fish. But, in the case of neon tetras, if proper water parameters are not met, they become stressed. This can result in harmful behavior towards ember tetras.

So, make sure you clean your tank often and also change 25% water of the tank frequently. You can use filters in your tetra aquarium to clear your tank water. Tetra Decorative ReptoFilter, Terrarium Filtration works pretty well with a tetra tank!

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Neon tetras and ember tetras love hideouts. Hence, put in some hiding spots to make the tank perfect for both neon and ember tetras. You can add driftwoods, woods, etc.

Are Neon Tetras Aggressive To Ember Tetras?

Neon tetras can be aggressive under some circumstances. The major times that they show aggressive behavior are:


If you are not feeding your tetras sufficiently then, you may be up for some fighting in your tank. In the wild, neon tetras and ember tetras eat as much as they can since they are opportunistic feeders.

Thus, if you do not feed them properly, they will fight for the food that you are providing. The general rule here is to feed your tetras 2 to 3 times a day. Additionally, just put in food that the tetras can eat in 2 minutes.

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While the tetras breed, they can show some aggressive nature. Hence, it is better that you set up a new fry tank instead of keeping the breeding pair in the same tank.

Tank Size

If you decide to keep neon tetras as well as ember tetras in a small tank, you will definitely get to see some action. Neon tetras are quite territorial when it comes to where they live.

So having a small tank will trigger their aggressive behavior. They are just protecting their territory by showing aggressiveness.

What you can do is increase the tank size so that both of the fish are comfortable in their own schools without disturbing one another.

Marking Territory

Similarly, if you introduce new fish to your tank, neon tetras may show aggressive behavior. The case is the same with ember tetras as well. The tetras are just marking their territory by showing aggressive behavior to the new fish.

Find out more about the aggressive behavior of tetras from here:


Neon tetras will also start nipping fins if they are stressed. These stresses may be caused due to the change in water parameters. So, check if your heater is working properly. Also, do a routine water checkup with a water testing kit. API Aquarium Test Kit will work well in this case.

Similarly, check if the Neon tetra/ ember tetra has any kinds of diseases. If so, quarantine the fish as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

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Are Neon Tetra And Ember Tetra Good Tankmates?

I must say that both my neon tetras and ember tetras have been living in the same tank for quite a while now. So what they say online is actually true. The neon tetras and ember tetras are the absolute best tank mates for one another.

You just have to consider some of the points that I have mentioned in the previous heading to keep them happy and healthy, and you are good to go. There are rare cases of neon tetras and ember tetras schooling together too.

In contrast, I would suggest you keep 6 to 8 neon tetras and 6 to 8 ember tetras in the same tank so that they do not have to stress over forming a school out of their comfort zone.

Do Neon Tetra And Ember Tetra Form A School?

Generally, neon tetras and ember tetras do not form a school. They do perfectly well in the same tank but in different schools. Similarly, forming a school and being a good tank mate are two separate things.

Tetras form a school to be safe from predators as well as show functionality in the tank. Moreover, the tetras seem to have lower stress levels and diseases when they are often in school. This helps to elongate their life.

It explains that neon tetras and ember tetras form a school only if they have to!

When Do Neon Tetras And Ember Tetras Form A School?

Like us, tetras also tend to form groups among the fish of the same kind as they are more comfortable with their own skins. Yes, the neon tetras and ember tetras can form a school but only in these cases:

  • When both of the tetras have similar size and color.
  • When the tetras are scared of predators with no other tetras of their own kind around.

Just remember that if the neon tetra and ember tetra do form a school together, larger fish will still stress them. This is exactly why you must be careful of what tank mates you place next!

Learn more on Can Different Types Of Tetras Live Together or form a school?

What Are The Other Tankmates Suitable For Both Neon Tetras And Ember Tetras?

The presence of other tank mates is also equally essential to determine the behavior of neon and ember tetras towards each other. You shall not put in any boisterous fish with them.

Aggressive fin nippers will also cause them stress. So, what you can do is put in some peaceful small schooling fish with them. It is an easy option, and you can never go wrong with it.

However, if you like to mix it up, you can always increase the number of neon tetras and ember tetras in their school and put in one or two aggressive fish in the tank to balance it all out!

Some of the best tankmates suitable for both neon and ember tetra tank are mentioned below:

  • cardinal tetras
  • galaxy danio
  • Guppies
  • Red cherry shrimp
  • Chilli rasboras
  • Dwarf gourami
  • Discus

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do Angelfish Eat Neon Tetras?

Yes, Angelfish do eat neon tetras as a tasty snack. If you want to avoid such things from happening, keep them in separate tanks. It is practically impossible to keep both of them in the same tank!

What Tank Mates Should You Avoid With Neon Tetras And Ember Tetras?

You should avoid any aggressive and boisterous fish with the neon and ember tetras. This can include the following:

  • Angelfish
  • Red Devil
  • Bucktooth Tetra
  • Oscar

Last Words

In conclusion, Neon tetras and ember tetras can live together, and they are awesome tankmates for each other. However, you do have to take care of certain things like the water parameter, lighting, filtration, etc., to create a happy and healthy tetra aquarium.

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