15 Best Neon Tetra Tank Mates

Disclosure: I may earn a commission when you purchase through my affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. – read more

The neon tetra is a freshwater fish that is native to South American freshwaters. It is, in fact, one of the most popular species around the world. There are many reasons why these lovely little fish might be so popular.

First of all, it has a very peaceful character in relation to other fish, and you can expect absolutely no trouble from this fish. You just need to make sure that you get the right tank mates for it. For this reason, this article was composed to help you choose some of the best tank mates for the neon tetras.

Neon Tetras

Neon Tetras

The neon tetras are very small fish. Their maximum size once they reach full size is 1,5 inches.

That is why it is advisable that you do not put big fish next to it, but rather some smaller fish species that are similar to the neon tetras in terms of temperament and behavior.

You do not want to have larger species there or species that are too aggressive. That would cause the neon tetras to lose their space.

Another positive feature of the neon tetras in the fact that they do not require too much maintenance and time. They have simple dietary needs, and you do need too much to satisfy their hunger.

They live up to 8 years in total if they are cared for properly, so that is the only thing that you need to care about. And, of course, they are very beautiful to look at.

They transmit very bright and interesting colors – shades of metallic blue and red, and the colors blend together beautifully.

Let us take a look at some of the best possible tank mates for neon tetras that you should consider if you have neon tetras in your tank.

1. Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin rasboras are great shoaling fish that will suit the neon tetra-populated tank perfectly for many reasons. If you want to create a tank that is sustainable for the long-term, then you want to have species that are similar to each other in it.

And harlequin rasboras are deemed as perfect candidates to be tank mates with the neon tetras. Firstly, they are very peaceful towards other species and do not harass other fish. That is very similar to the neon tetras.

There are some other benefits of having the harlequin rasboras in the tank; firstly, they are easy to care for and do not require too much maintenance. A simple diet will satisfy these fish, which is similar to the neon tetras.

In general, they are similar to the tetras and besides all that, they look great. These reasons are enough to convince you that they are good tank mates for neon tetras.

2. White Cloud Minnows

White Cloud Minnows

White Cloud Minnows

White cloud minnows, or white cloud mountain minnows, also known as the working man’s neon, make for good tank mates for the neon tetras.

Why are they called the working man’s neon? Because they are very similar to neon tetras, but less expensive, which is why they were deemed as the more affordable option.

Not only they are similar to neon tetras in terms of looks, but also in terms of behavior. They are like them in many ways, but especially because they are so peaceful and will not disturb other fish in the tank.

They go well together with peaceful fish, which the neon tetras certainly are. They would get along very well. Also, the fact that they are not demanding makes them an even better choice.

3. Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios

Zebra danios are very hardy fish, and they are especially appropriate for beginners.

They are very social species, in terms of getting along with other peaceful fish well and they are also schooling fish. They grow up to about 2 inches in size, which makes them appropriate for smaller, 10-gallon tanks.

In terms of appearance, they would make good companions to neon tetras because they offer a different appearance and colors from the other end of the spectrum; they have black vertical stripes all over its white body.

They would be a good addition to the neon tetras in all aspects, and you should consider them as tank mates.

4. Guppies

Guppy Fish

Guppy Fish

Another very small fish, appropriate for especially small tanks, the guppies would make ideal tank mates for the neon tetras.

As we all some other species on this list, they have some interesting qualities that would make them great companions to the tetras.

Firstly, they are very peaceful towards other smaller fish. For this reason, you need to make sure that you pair the guppies with small fish in order for them to get along well.

The qualities they possess make them one of the most popular fish species for beginners and experts alike.

The guppies will breed at an amazing rate, so they make for great breeding species as well if you are more into that aspect of breeding your own fish.

5. Mollies

Molly Fish

Molly Fish

The mollies are considered to be in the same family group as the guppies. They thrive in brackish waters of America and Mexico. They are tropical fish and prefer more tropical settings, but they can adapt, too.

They grow to up to 3 inches when they are in an aquarium, but significantly more in their natural habitat.

Their looks will definitely appeal to you and they complement the looks of the neon tetras well. They are black with white marks all over its body.

They are a bit larger than neon tetras, but they are absolutely not aggressive towards other fish; they can be aggressive when they are fighting for their own territory, but against smaller and peaceful fish, they are not.

They eat algae growth in your tank, but they are not restricted to that in any way. They will eat anything, really.

6. Platies

Platy Fish

Platy Fish

Platy fish are perfect for beginners. Why? It is so for many reasons. Firstly, they are very peaceful.

That is a great feature of the fish that you want to keep with neon tetras because they demand peaceful fish as well.

They can grow to up to 3 inches, which means that they would find it hard to live in a 5-gallon tank, but a 10-gallon tank will do well.

There are more variations of the platy fish. They can in many different colors; most commonly they come in orange color, but also white or a combination of many colors.

The platy fish are native to Central and South America, and they prefer to live in warm waters with a weak current. But they are not at all demanding in other aspects and are quite peaceful.

7. Swordtails

Swordtail Fish

Swordtail Fish

The swordtails are very interesting and unique-looking aquarium fish that are very popular among tank keepers. They have become known as great-looking fish that are fantastic to keep in a community aquarium due to their low demands and because of their peaceful character.

They prefer to live in groups, and are also quite larger than the neon tetras – they grow to up to 5 inches, and even more, if they are female.

They like to eat a varied diet, but will not be fussy about food; they will do fine with flakes and would not require a specific type of diet. That along with its unique look, the friendliness, and their character makes it a perfect companion for the neon tetras.

8. Corydoras

Cory Catfish

Cory Catfish

There are more than 150 recognized species of the corydoras, but we will focus on them in general. Let’s take a look at why they are perfect tank species for the neon tetras.

Their natural habitat is rivers and smaller streams throughout South America.

They are actually bottom-feeders, which means that they like to stay near the bottom of the tank and collect food from there.

The size of the tank depends on the subspecies of the corydoras, but the majority of them can live in 20 or 30-gallon tanks.

They are shoaling fish. But above all, they are sociable creatures that will get along well with the vast majority of the fish, especially if they are peaceful.

They tend to swim to the surface a lot, and this is due to the fact that they need oxygen to strive.

9. Gouramis

Gourami Fish

Gourami Fish

Gouramis are a very interesting species. They have the labyrinth organ, which makes them able to breathe air at the surface level of the water. Again, there are more subspecies of the gouramis, so they actually come in different sizes. The majority of the gouramis are appropriate for 30-gallon tanks, but some are smaller and some are larger.

One thing you need to know about the gouramis is that males which are put together tend to be aggressive towards each other, so make sure that you don’t put two gourami males in the same tank, or you might experience carnage in your aquarium.

But towards other peaceful fish, they do not cause problems and are actually quite peaceful. The gouramis will do just fine if they eat flakes and pellets.

10. Angelfish

The angelfish look spectacular. Their fins are of unique shape, and they come with interesting colors and patterns – black stripes on the white-grey body. Their eyes are red (bright red).

They belong to the Cichlidae fish family; they are an exception in their family in the sense that they are not aggressive like other fish from this family. It is quite the opposite – they are very peaceful.

They are only aggressive when they are in defensive mode, and what will happen if they will be pressed out of space or if their eggs are in danger. Towards smaller, peaceful fish, they will cause no problems and would still make great companions for them.

11. Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

The kuhli loach is a very interesting fish. They are bottom-dwellers, which means that they will live near the bottom and collect leftovers on the bottom.

They also tend to operate at night – they are nocturnal fish, unlike most on this list. They would represent a contrast to the neon tetras, which are active throughout the day.

The kuhli loaches are appropriate for smaller tanks as well, as they grow to up to 4 inches, which makes them good for tanks of 20 gallons or more.

They are a very beautiful – black body with golden stripes all over it. They make great companions for friendly fish as they are peaceful towards those species.

12. Betta Fish

Betta Fish

Betta Fish

Ah yes, the betta fish. One of the most popular fish in the world. Their mesmerizing appearance with stunning colors makes them one of the most beautiful fish out there.

There are some facts that you need to know about betta fish and their behavior.

You need to realize that betta fish are primarily more aggressive, especially towards other male bettas and gouramis.

But if they are put together in an aquarium with more docile and smaller fish, and they have enough space, then it should not be an issue.

Female bettas would do even better in such conditions. As for the diet, try to keep it varied and try to feed them insects and larvae.

Try to not overfeed them. Other than that, you can keep them together with other fish provided that you care for them properly.

13. Celestial Danios

Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestial danios are exquisite-looking fish. They have a very interesting body – they have pearl-like shapes all over the body and also the body itself features some interesting colors.

They will add life and colors to your tank. Celestial danios live to up to 5 years if cared for properly. They tend to move around the lower parts of the tank.

Another thing about celestial danios is that they need plenty of vegetation to live. But in general, they are quite peaceful fish and if you keep them together with other peaceful fish like the neon tetras, then it should not be a problem. Their size makes them appropriate for tanks of at least 10 gallons.

Apart from the neon tetras, they will go well together with some other peaceful fish, like guppies, corydoras, and killifish.

14. Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus catfish are known as algae eaters. So if you have too many algae in your tank, then consider getting these little fellows in. These small fish of about 2 inches will make your tank a cleaner place.

Best of all is that they don’t demand too much in terms of maintenance and feeding, but they will also get along very well with your neon tetras.

Their appearance is also very interesting – they have grey bodies with a black stripe spread horizontally all over its body.

You need to consider one thing about these fish: they are bottom dwellers, which means that they will look for food on the bottom of the tank. This is why you should make sure that a sufficient amount of food reaches them.

15. Other Tetras

Rosy Tetra

Rosy Tetra

The best companions for tetras are – more tetras! They will get along very well with other tetras because they are actually all quite similar in terms of character and behavior.

The different species come in different colors and sizes, which would keep the variety in your tank. But also the fact that they do not need too much maintenance and time, which is similar to the neon tetras.

You can keep tetras in groups together, and tetras tend to get along well with other species of tetras.

How to Care for Neon Tetras?

Neon tetras are in general not very demanding fish. If we look at the dieting demands of the fish, we will find out that they are omnivorous; they tend to eat just about anything, from algae matter to meaty foods like insects and invertebrates.

They will also feed on flakes and pellets, too. Only keep in mind that you feed them smaller pieces of food and not large pieces because it would make it hard for them to digest.

Other than that, make sure that you clean the water as often as possible and also that you do not overfeed them. If you do overfeed them, they will suffer from obesity quickly.

They don’t require too much of your attention and require a relatively simple diet, too. For this reason, they are some of the best fish for your tank if you are a beginner.


To conclude, we can say that the neon tetras are great species for your tank as a beginner. But, they are actually small and do not fit the whole aquarium themselves.

This is why you need tank mates for the neon tetras.  They tend to get along well with a majority of other fish species, and they especially go well with peaceful fish in your tank.

Rasboras, guppies, mollies, danios, betta fish, gouramis and angelfish are just some of the species that go well with neon tetras. Hopefully, you have learned about ideal tank mates for neon tetras after reading this article.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *