Betta Fish and Neon Tetras in 10 Gallon Tank – Is it Possible?

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Neon Tetras are one of the most recommended tank mates for Betta fish, and keeping the two together is not exactly for beginners. If you are not sure how to set up the tank for them, then just keep reading this article.

There are a few rules you will need to follow. In fact, there are always rules to follow when you try to keep an aggressive and a peaceful fish species together. The point is to prevent the aggressive one from bullying its tank mates.

Constant chasing and conflict can be fatal for these little pets on the long term. Next up, we are going to discuss how to keep Neon Tetras and Bettas together in a 10-gallon aquarium.

Water Parameters for Betta and Neon Tetras

It turns out that a 10-gallon tank is more than enough for a Betta fish and 5-6 Neon Tetras or even more of them. But what about the water parameters? Fortunately, these two species are compatible when it comes to tank setup and they are easy to take care of as well.

The pH should be around 7, while the water temperature between 76- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit. This is pretty good for both species, with the Neon Tetra being even more flexible, feeling great in the 68 to 82 range. Neon Tetras can also live in more acidic waters, which is also tolerated by Bettas to a certain point.

In summary, Bettas are certainly less flexible when it comes to water conditions. Taking a look at the ideal conditions for them is usually what works for both species.

How Many Neon Tetras Should You Keep with a Betta?

Neon Tetras live in schools in their natural habitat and that is how you should keep them at home as well. You need 5-6 of them so that they can form a group, move together and feel safe. However, you can’t keep more than 10 Neon Tetras in a 10-gallon tank.

Keeping them in schools will also play a huge role in reducing aggression in the aquarium. Aggression can result in fin nipping as well, which is better to be prevented.

Can Betta Fish Eat Tropical Flakes?

The Betta fish is a carnivorous species that eats brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, bloodworms and daphnia out in the wild, just to mention a few. They thrive on a meat-based diet that provides them with the protein they need throughout the day.

Since they are strictly carnivores, you should not feed them something like tropical flakes. For Neon Tetras, it is a great choice but for Bettas, you need to buy food separately. In pet stores, there are pellets that are specifically made for them but you can also buy some live foods.

Therefore, you can give Betta food to your Neon Tetras but it won’t work the other way around. Another great idea is to buy frozen or freeze-dried foods and feed it to your pets. For Bettas, it can be the main course but for Neon Tetras, it is rather just a treat or a part of their diet.

Feeding your Tetras separately is not going to be a problem. After all, your Bettas are not going to touch the blanched vegetables that you throw in anyway. No matter what you feed to your fish, make sure to remove leftover foods after they have finished eating. Otherwise, those can completely ruin the water conditions.

Can Neon Tetras Eat Betta Food?

Since Bettas are carnivores, in an ideal diet, they either eat pellets made for carnivores or other meat-based foods. It is acceptable to feed these to your Neon Tetras since they are omnivores. However, it should be balanced out with an appropriate amount of plant-based food.

It is also important not to feed too much meat to them since they don’t need as much as the Betta. But still, your best option is to buy foods for them separately such as commercial ones made for Neon Tetras. After all, you don’t want your fish to suffer from digestive problems.

As we mentioned above, you need to prepare some blanched vegetables or to throw in some veggie pellets. Your Betta is not going to eat those foods anyway while they are great for the digestion of your Neon Tetras.

Will Neon Tetras Attack Betta Fish?

While Bettas are called Japanese fighting fish for a reason, Neon Tetras are completely peaceful. If your Betta attacks them, they will quickly swim away and hide. This is why you need to provide them enough places to hide in the form of plants and maybe a few other decorations.

If that Neon Tetra would be alone, it would be a lot of stress for it to handle as it gets bullied by the Betta. By keeping them in schools, you will also ensure a sense of safety for them. Once they are in a 5-6 fish group, they are suddenly not as afraid from the dangers lurking out there.

However, they are still not going to attack your Betta. In fact, they would not attack any other fish species thanks to their peaceful temperament. If you follow our advice on using a lot of plants, there won’t be any conflicts in your home aquarium for sure.

Can Betta Fish Kill a Neon Tetra?

Keeping a schooling fish such as the Neon Tetra alone in the tank is a huge mistake. This way, you would expose it to a lot of stress and it will become sick as a result. Being alone is already a stressful experience for a Tetra, while keeping it with a Betta fish is even worse.

Your Betta would simply not leave the Neon Tetra alone, chasing it around in the tank and causing a lot of stress. This stress can literally kill the Tetra in the long run. It is worth mentioning that Bettas would not cause any physical damage, although stress can be lethal in of itself.

Some fin nipping can surely happen, but this is rather the case when you keep only one or two Neon Tetra in the tank. Together, Tetras are not so helpless and your Betta is also going to be less likely to attack a school of them.

Add Live Plants to Your Betta Tank

A great method to make use of when it comes to dealing with aggression between fish is to use an abundance of plants. This way, you can break the line of sight of your pets. If your Bettas and Neon Tetras can’t see each other, they won’t bother each other that much.

You don’t have to use some fancy plants, as the low-maintenance ones are going to be more than enough. This will also provide escape routes for your Neon Tetra, allowing it to quickly get away and hide. There are a few plants that we can recommend, such as the Elodea, Java Fern, Anubias, Guppy grass and Hornwort.

While keeping Neon Tetras in a school is the first important thing, using plenty of plants is the other crucial factor that can minimize aggression.

Wrapping Up

Neon Tetras and Betta fish can live a peaceful and happy life together if you set the tank up the right way. Remember to break their line of sight because Bettas enjoy attacking and bullying similar sized fish. They are double the size compared to Neon Tetras, which is also why it is essential to keep them in schools.

All in all, there is really not much to worry about once you have a 10-gallon tank and a lot of plants. You are going to end up with an amazing-looking tank that is full of energy. Both Bettas and Neon Tetras are active fish and it is going to be a delight to look at them while they are swimming around in the tank.

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.
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