10 Great Black Neon Tetra Tank Mates & 9 To Avoid

Last Updated on 2024-05-25

Black neon tetras are great freshwater aquarium fish for people who like things to be simple. They are active little fish that will stand out around green aquarium plants and light-colored substrate. They are also calm and active, which makes them easy to pair with other fish and a great addition to a community fish tank. However, not all fish can live with black neon tetras, so you must be careful about which fish you put with them. That’s why we made this article to help you choose the best black neon tetra tank mates!

What Are The Best Tank Mates For Black Neon Tetras?

Putting together groups of fish that get along is hard for every aquarist because there are so many things to consider. Instead of experimenting with fish combinations that may or may not work, so here are our recommendations.

1.  Zebrafish

  • pH: 6.8 to 7.5
  • Temperature: 70°F to 78°F
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons minimum for 5 fish
  • Fish Size: 1.5 to 2.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 3.5 years
  • Difficulty Keeping: Easy

Zebrafish are naturally thin little fish that look like black neon tetras from the side, apart from the fact they have more stripes. They are peaceful and calm, so they can live together with your tetras.

They both like almost the same water conditions and can eat the same food, so taking care of zebrafish with your Tetras is like caring for a single fish species.

2. Cory Catfish

  • pH: 5.5 to 7.0
  • Temperature: 70°F to 78°F 
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons minimum for a pair
  • Fish Size: 1 to 4 inches
  • Lifespan: 3 to 5 years
  • Difficulty Keeping: Easy

Corydoras are bottom-feeding, non-territorial fish that don’t like to mess with black neon tetras. These catfish like to stay still at the bottom, but they get along well with other fish and are easy to care of, so they are a great friend for your tetras. They also need the same conditions in the tank, making keeping them together easy.

3. Guppies

  • pH:  6.8 to 7.8.
  • Temperature: 72°F to 82°F
  • Tank Size: 5 gallons minimum for 5 fish
  • Fish Size: 0.6 to 2.4 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 years
  • Difficulty Keeping: Easy

Since black neon tetras and guppies are calm and friendly fish, keeping them in the same tank is easy. They also need almost the same water conditions, making keeping them together easier. Make sure your fish tank is big enough for at least six black neon tetras and six guppies.

4. Honey Gourami

  • pH:  6.0 to 7.5
  • Temperature: 71°F to 82°F
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons minimum
  • Fish Size: 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 4 to 8 years
  • Difficulty Keeping: Beginner

Like black neon tetras, honey gouramis like slightly acidic water. These fish will also eat the same things as the black neon tetras, so you can feed them the same food together. Honey gouramis are shy and peaceful fish, but it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t keep them in large groups, so they don’t pick on each other.

5. Cardinal Tetra

  • pH: 4.6 to 6.2
  • Temperature: 73 °F to 81°F
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons minimum for a pair
  • Fish Size: 2 inches
  • Lifespan: 4 to 5 years
  • Difficulty Keeping: Intermediate

If you want to add another fish to your black neon tetra tank, you should put another tetra, specifically, cardinal tetras. They are tough, can get to a wide range of water parameters, and are easy to care for, making them an excellent pair for your cardinal tetras. Both fish live in groups, so make sure your fish tank is big enough to hold groups of both.

6. Dwarf Gourami

  • pH:  6.0 to 7.5 
  • Temperature: 72°F and 82°F
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons minimum for 3 fish
  • Fish Size: 4 to 4.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Difficulty Keeping: Easy

Most gouramis are known for being aggressive, but dwarf gouramis are shy and peaceful, so they can live with your black neon tetras. They also need the same amount of water as black neon tetras, which makes it easy to keep both of them. Both fish need a lot of places to hide, so make sure to give them a lot of hiding spots so they can feel safe and avoid fighting.

7. Kuhli Loaches

  • pH: 5.5 to 6.5 
  • Temperature: 73°F to 86°F
  • Tank Size: 20 gallons minimum for a pair
  • Fish Size: 3 to 4 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 10 years
  • Difficulty Keeping: Easy

Because they are peaceful, Kuhli loaches and black neon tetras can live together without much trouble. Also, neon tetras and kuhli loaches like the same kind of water, so you can meet both of their needs at the same time. Just make sure the fish have enough space to swim around because kuhli loaches are big and black neon tetras need to be kept in groups.

8. Clown Pleco

  • pH: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Temperature: 73°F to 82°F
  • Tank Size: 20 gallons minimum
  • Fish Size: 3.5 to 4 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
  • Difficulty Keeping: Easy

Clown Plecos are one species of pleco fish that maintain their small size even after reaching adulthood, making them an excellent companion in the tank for neon black tetras. They are very shy fish who hide during the day and only come out at night to eat the algae off the tank’s glass and other surfaces.  Plecos like to hide, so make sure you give them a cave or tank decorations they can hide into.

9. Bristlenose Pleco

  • pH: 5.7 to 7.8
  • Temperature: 73°F to 81°F
  • Tank Size: 30 gallons minimum
  • Fish Size:  4 to 5 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Difficulty Keeping: Easy

Bristlenose plecos are a great fish to add to an aquarium with black neon tetras because they are peaceful and can get used to the water your black neon tetras like. They are so calm that they don’t care about other fish and may spend the day hiding under a decoration or some driftwood, only coming out at night to eat algae on the tank’s walls. You should remember that if you let this fish go hungry for a while, it might also eat the plants in your aquarium.

10. Harlequin Rasbora

  • pH: 6.0 to 7.8
  • Temperature: 72°F to 81°F
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons minimum for 6 fish
  • Fish Size: 2 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Difficulty Keeping: Easy

Rasboras and black neon tetras get along great because they like water conditions that are similar to each other. Also, they are easy to care for and eat the same things as the black neon tetras. Rasboras are also peaceful fish and live in the tank’s middle and upper levels, so they won’t bother your black neon tetras.

What Tank Mates Should You Avoid With Black Neon Tetras?

Black neon tetras are peaceful fish that can do well with many other species, but some tank mates may also not get along. Before you choose a companion for your black neon tetras, it’s essential to be aware of which ones should be avoided. Here is a list of fish you should avoid when choosing tank mates for black neon tetras.

1. Large Cichlids

Large cichlids are known to be aggressive and territorial, so they should not be kept in the same tank as your black neon tetras. These fish may chase, harass and even kill smaller fish like neon tetras which can cause stress and eventually lead to disease.

2. Large Barbs

Large barbs like Tiger and Tinfoil barbs should be avoided when picking tank mates for black neon tetras. These fish are very active and can out-compete the small neon tetras for food and chase them around the tank. This type of activity may cause undue stress to the black neon tetras.

3. Gourami

Gouramis are known for their aggressive behavior and can harm your neon tetras. The size difference between gouramis and black neon tetras makes them vulnerable targets, so it is best to avoid housing them together.

4. Betta Fish

Bettas are known for their aggressive nature and will not get along with other fish in the same tank. Black neon tetras could become targets of aggression due to their small size and bright colors. So, it is best to avoid keeping betta fish with black neon tetras.

5. Catfish

Some catfish, like Pictus and Synodontis, can be too giant and aggressive for neon tetras, so it is best to keep catfish of a smaller size. Catfish also like to hide in the substrate, making it difficult for neon tetras to find food. 

6. Cherry Shrimp

It may not be the best idea to put cherry shrimp with black neon tetras because of the size difference. In some cases, your black neon tetras may be aggressive or hungry and end up eating your red cherry shrimp!

7. Freshwater Sharks

Freshwater sharks are territorial and aggressive, so they can’t live with a black neon tetra. The black neon tetra will always be stressed out because these fish will pick on and chase it.

8. Black Widow Tetra

Black Widow tetras are mean to other fish, so they are not a good choice for tank mates. The Black widow tetra will only stress out your black neon tetra, which will cause them to get sick or die in the long run.

9. Golden Wonder Killifish

Golden Wonder Killifish are big fish that used to eat other fish. As I’ve said, the bigger fish in the tank tend to eat the smaller ones. So, your black neon tetras won’t be safe in your tank with these fish.


Black neon tetras are a peaceful and beautiful species of fish that can thrive in various aquariums. When choosing tank mates for black neon tetras, go for fish of similar size and temperament. Species such as Bristlenose Pleco, Harlequin Rasbora, and other small peaceful fish can make good tank mates. Avoid large cichlids, barbs, gouramis, betta fish, and larger catfish, as they may be aggressive toward the black neon tetras. Your black neon tetras will live long, happy lives with proper care and compatible tank mates.

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