Can Angelfish And Neon Tetras Live Together?

Quite a crowd-pleaser, Angelfish are freshwater fish that are renowned for their sizable bodies and variation in color. Their personalities are also quite something else and make for an excellent addition to any aquarium.  

Neon Tetras, on the other hand, are quite small in size with a remarkably lustrous blue body and vivid red colored tail.  

Hellboy betta fish
Hellboy betta fish

In this article, we will be discussing whether Angelfish and Neon Tetras may be paired together in an aquarium. We will specifically be reviewing their temperaments, habitat and tank requirements, diets, and exactly how to make this living arrangement work. 

Can Angelfish And Neon Tetras Live Together?

So if you’re wondering whether angelfish and neon tetras can live together then here’s the answer. YES! As long as the conditions for both fish are met, then they should get along peacefully. Some of the most important things to watch out for are making sure the tank is big enough for both of them, and giving them places to hide!

Fish Temperament 

For a tranquil environment in your aquarium, compatibility is key. Different fish temperaments can dictate whether your aquarium is harmonious or unruly.  

Aggressiveness in some fish can increase stress in other fish with more docile temperaments. Increased stress can also result in wounded fish, disease, and loss of fish. 

While it is crucial to house compatible fish together, fish are unpredictable at times. Monitoring fish for aggressive behavior is important even though they may be classified as compatible. 

Angelfish Temperament   

Angelfish are capable of being territorial even though they are known to be placid. Aggression and territorial behavior are lulled when Angelfish are raised together in groups of six.  

Biting at fins and harassment of other fish species is prevalent in Angelfish as well. Other fish species such as Betta splendens, guppies and goldfish who boast lengthy, free-flowing fins are commonly harassed by Angelfish.  

Angelfish sometimes also exhibit predatory behavior, hounding and demolishing smaller fish like Neon Tetras. Not to worry, though, as later we will look at exactly how they can peacefully co-exist. 

Neon Tetras Temperament 

Neon Tetras are mellow schooling fish recommended to be kept together in schools of about fifteen or more fish. 

Neon Tetras are perfect for adding to a community tank due to their exceptionally peaceful nature. They should, however, not be housed together with other larger or domineering fish species as they are exceptionally submissive and maybe attacked or eaten whole.   

Neon Tetras prefer swimming together in the center of the water column for the simple purpose of safety. 

Do not be too fooled by their calm nature, because they can be a bit riotous during the mating season. 

(Interested in more tank mates? Check out whether gouramis and angelfish can live together.)

File:Cardinal tetra & neon tetra.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Habitats and Tank Requirements 

Natural habitats should always be simulated in a fish tank in order for fish to thrive and lead healthy as well as happy lives. 

Angelfish Habitat  

Across a large area in the South American tropics and in the Amazon River system is where Angelfish originate.  

Exclusively found in serene, peaceful, and slow-moving waters and areas where light is faint, angelfish dwell beneath looming plant life or amidst trees that fall into the water. The setting allows them to prey on other fish and hides from potential predators. 

Angelfish Tank Requirements 

Full-grown Angelfish require large aquariums measuring at 55 gallons as they grow up to be substantially large. The aquarium should allow sufficient room for their tall bodies. 

Aggressiveness in Angelfish will be lulled if an incredibly large tank is provided for them to roam around in. The large space will minimize stress, and combative behavior is also reduced. 

Gentle water flow should be mimicked while broadleaf plants and driftwood should be included in the tank as décor. Décor should be placed vertically in the tank to replicate trees and branches which have fallen down as in the wild. Areas of shade and covering should be provided in the form of some floating plants.  

Angelfish enjoy foraging for food along the bottom, and therefore smooth-surfaced, medium grade gravel can be placed in the tank as substrate along. Provide light for 8 – 10 hours with an aquarium light that simulates the sun. 

Angelfish require the following water conditions: 

  • Water temperature should be maintained at between 78°F to 84°F. 
  • pH levels should be maintained at between 6.8 and above 7.8. (Here’s everything you need to know about angelfish pH levels.)
  • The hardness of the water should be maintained between 3° and 8°  dKH and 3° and 15° dGH.  

Find out about whether you can keep guppies and angelfish together.)

Neon Tetras Habitat 

Like Angelfish, Neon Tetras also originate from pleasantly warm waters of South America, including the Amazon River. With rivers generally flowing through dense, thick forests and shutting out natural daylight, huge amounts of fallen leaves, tree roots and vegetation can be found amongst these dark waters with pebbles and small rocks as the riverbed.  

Neon Tetras Tank Requirements 

The aquarium should be densely covered with plant life such as driftwood to offer shade and murkiness. You can use small, dark rocks and pebbles to simulate a riverbed. 

The size of your tank depends entirely on the number of neon tetras you intend to keep. For a school of a minimum of 6 fish, you require a tank of least 20 gallons.  

Neon Tetras require the following water conditions: 

  • Water temperature should be maintained between 70°F to 81°F.  
  • pH levels should be maintained between 6 and 7.  (Everything you need to know about the ideal pH for neon tetras.)
  • Maintain soft water at below 10 dGH and ranging between 3° and 8°  dKH. 


Diet is important to ensure that fish are not stressed due to not receiving adequate sustenance from their food. Stressed fish may start to nip at other fish’s fins, and this is an unhealthy habit to form as it results in injury and infection. 

Angelfish Diet 

Angelfish are omnivorous and in the wild feed along the bottom of the river, searching for crustaceans and worms. In captivity, they feed on tropical flakes, color flakes, tropical granules, and shrimp pellets at the surface of the water or mid-water. 

Angelfish can be treated to frozen and live foods to incite spawning. Additionally, they should be fed what they are able to finish in 2 – 3 minutes at least twice a day for a well-balanced diet.  

Neon Tetras Diet 

Omnivorous Neon Tetras in the wild feed on both meat and vegetable or plant-based matter. They can be found feeding on algae, insect larvae as well as other minuscule invertebrates.  

Neon Tetras are not finicky eaters, so you can provide them food in the form of flakes, pellets, live and frozen food to make sure that they are fed a well-balanced diet. 

The core diet should consist of superior quality pellets or flakes. To enhance the diet, you may offer living or frozen foods such as blood worm, brine shrimp, Daphnia, Tubifex. Additionally, you may also use guides to prepare your own fish food if you would like to increase their vegetable intake. 

Only very small pieces of food should be fed to Neon Tetras as they may have issues with swallowing shrimp/worms. Young adult Neon Tetras should be fed twice a day while more matured Neons may be fed once a day. They should be precisely fed as much as they can eat in about 3 minutes. 

(Check out whether angelfish and mollies make good tank mates too!)

How to Make It Work? 

Angelfish are generally calm and non-aggressive fish, although they are inclined to hunt and devour smaller fish, which stems from their opportunistic tendencies. If you want to house both Angelfish and Neon Tetras, then you need to make sure you find a larger breed of Neon Tetras so that Angelfish do not dominate them.  

As both Angelfish and Neon Tetras hail from the same habitats, it will be easier to cater to the tank requirements of both types of fish.  

The checklist below provides you with some of the basics: 

  • Maintain water temperature at 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Keep the pH levels at 6.8–7. 
  • Maintain soft water between 3° and 8°  dKH and 3° and 10° dGH. 
  • Smooth-surfaced, soft, medium grade gravel can be placed in the tank as substrate for allowing Angelfish to dig. 
  • Provide light for about 8 – 10 hours per day with a typical aquarium light.  
  • Low levels of lighting are required for Neon Tetras, so provide floating broadleaf plants and driftwood for them to hide in. 
  • Use a large tank of 55 gallons or more for a ratio of six Angelfish to 15 fifteen Neon Tetras. 
  • Use superior quality fish flakes for both species and enhance the diet with living and frozen foods.   

As long as you are making sure that there is enough food to go around for both Angelfish and Neon Tetras and monitoring them for any aggressive behavior, the living arrangement should work out excellently.  

Emphasis should be placed on providing an incredibly large tank so both species of fish can swim around freely without a care and without inducing any stress. Anything smaller will compromise their health and wellbeing and lead to more aggressiveness. 

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Take care to look out for both fish species and make sure their needs are being met. The result is content and healthy group of fish you can care for and continue to enjoy for a prolonged time. 

As their keeper, your job is made simple as both species of fish originate from the same natural habitat. Their tank requirements overlap, and diets are similar, so it’s not a complicated task caring for this community. 

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