Can Guppies And Neon Tetras Live Together? (How-To Guide)

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Last Updated on 2023-11-24

Wondering if guppies and neon tetras can live together? Check out this article for the answer and ideal conditions for success!

In this article, you’re going to find out whether they can live together or not, and more importantly, the ideal conditions you need for it to work!

So keep reading to find out!

Key Takeaways:

  • Guppies and neon tetras can coexist as tank mates under proper conditions.
  • Understanding the temperaments of both species is crucial. Guppies are peaceful but may experience aggression among males, especially when there’s an imbalance in male-female ratio. Neon tetras are peaceful but might nip at other fish if their needs aren’t met.
  • Both species require specific habitat conditions. Guppies prefer freshwater with adequate vegetation and suitable temperature and pH levels. Neon tetras also need similar habitat settings but prefer slightly murkier water with dark substrates and ample hiding spots.
  • Diet-wise, both guppies and neon tetras are omnivores. A varied diet including high-quality flakes, live or frozen food (like mosquito larvae, daphnia), and occasional vegetable supplements (cucumber, peas) is ideal.
  • Ensuring enough hiding places, keeping them in adequate schools/shoals, and providing a sufficiently large tank are key factors for their successful cohabitation. A minimum of 20 gallons is suggested for keeping both species together.

Can Guppies And Neon Tetras Live Together?

YES! Guppies and neon tetras make excellent tank mates when the conditions are right. However, if the conditions are wrong there may end up being some trouble in the aquarium.

So before you put guppies and neon tetras together, make sure you read the rest of the article to make sure you’re doing it in a safe way for them.

AspectGuppiesNeon Tetras
Natural HabitatFreshwater streams in South AmericaSlow-flowing streams in South America
Water PreferenceFreshwater, adaptable to brackish waterMurkier and darker water
Ideal Tank ConditionsAdequate vegetation, less strong currentDense vegetation, dark substrate
Recommended Tank SizeMinimum 5 gallons, better in 10 gallonsMinimum 15 gallons, 20 gallons for 6 tetras
Additional RequirementsDriftwood, rocks, good hiding placesIndian almond leaves, driftwood, horizontal tank
pH Range6.8-7.86.0-7.0

Guppy And Neon Tetras Temperaments

Before you add them together you should be aware of each fish’s temperament. Knowing the temperament of each fish will help you better understand what they need in the tank to remain happy.

Guppy Temperament

Guppies are extremely peaceful fish that aren’t going to cause any trouble in your tank. In fact, they can occasionally end up being picked on depending on the tank mates they have. After all their long tails are a prime target for fin nippers.

While it’s extremely rare that they’ll be aggressive towards other fish, it’s not uncommon for male guppies to be aggressive amongst themselves. Especially when there aren’t enough females in the tank.

Ideally, you want to have 1 male guppy for every 2 females to reduce the chances of aggression.

You should also be aware that breeding is extremely common in guppies, and they give birth to live fry. While most of the fry will be eaten by the other fish in your tank, there are times when they could survive until adulthood.

This means you may end up with more guppies than you planned.

Neon Tetra Temperament

Neon tetras are also peaceful fish, especially when the right conditions are met. However, there are occasions when they may end up nipping the fins of other fish in your tank (including guppies). This is a lot more common when their needs aren’t met.

The two main needs they have are to be kept in a school of at least 6. That they have adequate room to swim (at least 15 gallons), and that there are plenty of hiding places for them.

If you keep all of this in mind, then you’re going to have happy neon tetras that will live peacefully in your tank!

Remember: With both guppies and neon tetras, it’s extremely important that you never keep one fish on its own, but instead keep them in a school or shoal.

(Find out whether guppies can live with angelfish.)

File:Neontetra tmy.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

Guppies and Neon Tetras Habitat And Tank Requirements

Next up you ‘ll need to consider the habitat and tank requirements of both guppies and neon tetras. After all, if the tank is designed for one and not the other, it could result in one group becoming unhappy and even sick.

Guppy Habitat And Tank Requirements

Guppies come from freshwater streams in South America, however, they can be found in other locations, as well as in brackish water.

Luckily, there are only a couple of things you need to know about their tank requirements. First of all, make sure the tank is thick with vegetation that gives them plenty of places to hide. Some great beginner plants include anubias nana, java fern, and java moss. Secondly, make sure the current in the tank isn’t too strong either.

And lastly, if you want, you can also include driftwood, rocks, and a nice substrate to help them feel more at home.

Lastly, guppies will need to be kept in a tank that’s a minimum of 5 gallons in size. But if you plan on keeping the recommended amount, then 10 gallons will be a lot better for them. The temperature should be between 74-82°F and the pH should be between 6.8-7.8.

Neon Tetra Habitat And Tank Requirements

Neon tetras are very similar to guppies when it comes to their habitat. They too are most likely found in slow-flowing streams and rivers in South America. However, unlike guppies, the water neon tetras are used to tend to be a bit murkier and darker.

This is due to the canopies that hang overhead as well as the leaf litter, tree roots and dense vegetation found in the rivers they swim in.

When you’re setting up your tank to keep your neon tetras happy you should keep this in mind. So as well as filling it with lots of plants for your guppies, try adding some Indian almond leaves and driftwood as well.

It’s best to use a dark substrate and to make sure your tank isn’t too bright as well. Lastly, you shouldn’t add neon tetras to a new tank. They can be sensitive to changes in the tank’s water parameters which means they could end up dying if the conditions change too much.

Neon tetras need to be kept in a tank that’s at least 15 gallons in size. But if you’re housing 6 neon tetras then you should go for a minimum tank size of 20. As well as this, neon tetras are horizontal swimmers, so make sure you’re using a tank that has length over height.

The water temperature will need to be between 70°F-81°F and the pH between 6.0-7.0.

(Find out whether guppies and platies can live together.)

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Now you can see that Guppies and Neon Tetras can live together exceptionally well. The next step is figuring out what to feed them.

Guppies and neon tetras are both omnivores so it’s important that you feed them a mix of meat and plant matter. Normally high-quality fish flakes and pellets will contain both. However, you shouldn’t rely completely on these.

You should also be balancing their diet with live food, and if you can’t get live food often, then freeze-dried or frozen.

Some of the best live food to feed them is mosquito larvae and daphnia. You can also use blood worms on occasion just remember that they’re extremely fatty and should only be given to them sparingly.

You can also supplement their food with vegetables as well. Just make sure you cook them a little bit first. Cucumber, peas, and lettuce are all great choices.

When you’re feeding your neon tetras, make sure you’re not doing it more than twice a day, and also don’t overfeed them. Fish are gutty and they’ll keep eating no matter what.

TetraMin Plus Tropical Flakes, Cleaner and Clearer Water Formula 7.06 Ounce (Pack of 1)
  • TROPICAL FORMULATION: Highly digestible flake blend for use as staple food for all tropical fish.

(Find out if guppies and gouramis can live together.)

How To Increase Your Chances Of Success in Keeping Guppies and Neon Tetras

If you’re going to add two different species together, then you should do everything you can to increase the chances of success. Here are a few ways you can improve the chances.

Make Sure There’s Plenty Of Hiding Places

Hiding places are ideal for making your fish feel safe. And the safer they feel the less likely they are to become aggressive. While aggression isn’t common, fin nipping can be. And you can reduce the chance of fin nipping by using plants, driftwood, and ornaments to create hiding places.

emours Aquarium Driftwood Fish Tank Decoration Varies Shape and Size (Medium)
  • Made of high grade driftwood, solid and durable, long lasting in underwater or arid environments

Keep Them In Big Enough Schools/Shoals

Secondly, you should make sure they’re being kept with enough of their own kind. If they’re not with their own kind then they’re going to become stressed. You should be keeping a minimum of 6 tetras together, or 3 guppies.

If you don’t do this, not only is their lifespan likely to drop, but it’s more likely they’ll begin to fin nip.

Make Sure The Tank Is Big Enough

And lastly, make sure your tank is big enough to hold all fish. As a very general rule of thumb, you should only keep 1 inch of fish per gallon of water. So if you have a 2 inch fish they’ll need 2 gallons of water.

If you don’t keep them in a big enough tank, not only will the bioload become too much for the filter, but they’ll also be more aggressive to each other.

(Guppies and cherry shrimp can also make great tank mates! Find out how to make it possible!)


Now, check out this video by Lionfish Lair on whether Neon Tetras and Guppies can live together!


Do Neon Tetras Eat Guppy Fry?

While neon tetras primarily feed on small insects and zooplankton, they may eat guppy fry if the fry are small enough to fit in their mouth. Therefore, it’s important to provide hiding places for the fry if you want them to survive.

Can Tetras School With Guppies?

Guppies and Neon Tetras have different social behaviors and preferences, so they may not always school together. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the tank conditions are suitable for both species and that they are compatible in terms of temperament and size.


So can guppies and neon tetras live together? As you can see, not only can they live together, but they actually make fantastic tank mates. However, if you are going to keep them together make sure you add plenty of hiding spaces, and that you’re giving them enough space.

Neon tetras should be kept in a school of 6 and guppies should be kept in a shoal of 3. They both have the same diet just make sure you’re keeping it varied and you’re using high-quality food.

Personally I wouldn’t keep them together in a tank smaller than 20 gallons, and make sure that the tank has more length than height!


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