Can Neon Tetras and Guppies Live Together?

The answer is yes, neon tetras and guppies make for wonderful tank mates. However, the aquarium conditions must be right for both fish species, otherwise, neither your tetras nor guppies will live a happy and healthy life. By following this guide you will be able to keep both of these incredibly beautiful and popular freshwater fish together, let's dive in!

Guppies and tetras

Neon Tetra With Guppies - How Does It Work?

There are several factors that you must consider and then implement in order for your tetras and guppies to live together in the same aquarium. Temperament, environment, and diet all play massive factors in the compatibility of these fish.

Before diving into this guide, you can check out my very own video covering this topic:

Guppy Temperament

Guppies are one of the most peaceful fish in the hobby and they typically keep themselves to themselves and will not cause any trouble within your tank. Sometimes they will even be picked on by a bully due to their passive nature. So, whilst it is uncommon for guppies to go after other fish types, they have been known to battle amongst each other, especially the males if there are not enough females around. The rule is usually 1 male guppy for every 2 females to keep the peace.

Another important consideration is that guppy pregnancy is incredibly common as they breed very frequently. They are also livebearers, meaning that they do not lay eggs, instead, they give birth to live guppy fry, which are immediately vulnerable and could easily become a tasty snack for larger fish. If they do not die as fry, they will grow into fully mature guppies extremely quickly, meaning you could have your hands full with a lot more guppies than expected.

Neon Tetra Temperament

Just like guppies, neon tetras are also incredibly peaceful fish, and even more so when all of their tank requirements have been met. They can still (although it is rare) nip at the fins of other fish in your tank, including guppies. However, this is unlikely, unless you do not set them up properly.

The requirements neon tetras need to thrive and live healthily are to be kept in a school of no less than 6 other tetras. They must be housed in an aquarium that is at least 15 gallons (69 liters) so that they have the hiding spaces needed and overall swimming space required. By ensuring that you follow these steps you are well on your way to creating an environment where both guppies and neon tetras can live in harmony with one another.

Guppy Tank Requirements

Guppies originate from South America, and more specifically the freshwater streams that run across the continent. They also reside in brackish water when in the wild. When it comes to setting up your guppy tank, fortunately, they are very adaptable, so, nothing super specific needs to be done in order for your guppies to thrive healthily.

The first step is making sure that your guppy tank has plenty of vegetation, providing them with many places to hide. Good low-maintenance plants are anubias nana, java fern, and java moss. Additionally, driftwood, rocks, and substrate will help to create a similar environment to what they are used to in the wild.

Guppies and tetras

Finally, your guppies will need to be housed in a tank no less than 5 gallons in size. However, it is strongly recommended to keep them in a 10 gallon or larger fish tank. If you are going to be housing them with neon tetras, then the minimum tank size should be 20 gallons. The temperature of the water in their tank should be between 74-82°F (23-27°C), with a pH level of 6.8-7.8.

Neon Tetra Tank Requirements

Fortunately, neon tetras and guppies have incredibly similar tank requirements due to their natural habitats being almost identical - slow-flowing streams and rivers in South America.

The main difference between both of their natural habitats is that neon tetras prefer darker, murkier waters. This is due to overhanging canopies and various other vegetation that grows over their streams in the wild.

So, you should certainly try to replicate something similar in your own tetra tank, by adding some Indian almond leaves and driftwood too, in addition to plants and moss. Using a dark-colored substrate is a brilliant idea too as it will keep the tank nice and dark.

Tetra and guppy hiding spots

It is also not a good idea to add your tetras to a brand new tank, they can be incredibly sensitive to changes in water parameters, especially sudden ones. They can end up dying if the conditions change too much.

In terms of their water requirements, they need to be kept in a tank no smaller than 15 gallons, however, 20 gallons or higher is most certainly recommended. Their water temperature must be between 70-81°F (21-27°C) and their pH level should be between 6.0 and 7.0.

Fortunately, both of these fish species can live together if you can house them at a temperature (74-81°F or 23.3-27°C) that is compatible with both, making them both perfect tank mates. If you are looking for other ideas regarding tank mates for your guppies, we have compiled a top 10 list of them.


Now that we understand both neon tetras and guppies are more than compatible, and both can live within the same tank provided you have implemented the correct tank setup, let's check out their diets and see if they are also as similar.

Fortunately, both guppies and neon tetras are omnivores, so, you will need to feed them both a mixture of meat and plant-based foods. High-quality fish flakes and pellets containing both will be perfect. Additionally, adding more variation to their diets is tremendously beneficial for both. Balancing their diet with live, frozen, and dried foods will ensure they are intaking enough nutrients. Something important to keep in mind is that, although both tetras and shrimp can live together, your guppies might end up eating the shrimp if they are too small.

Strangely enough, mosquito larvae and daphnia are brilliant options for both of these fish, with the addition of bloodworms on occasion too! They are packed with healthy proteins and fats, the only problem is that over-consumption can lead to health problems, so it is recommended to use them as "treats" rather than meals. Vegetables are highly recommended too, it is good to cook them and ensure they are soft before feeding them to your fish.

Overfeeding is incredibly common and can cause an abundance of issues for your aquarium, so, feed your fish twice a day with small amounts. If you notice leftovers floating around, feed them less until you find out the optimal amount.

Additional Tips to Increase Compatibility

There are always going to be hurdles when you are trying to house two different species of fish, fortunately for these two, the housing process is much easier than others due to their similarities. Despite the advisories provided earlier, there are a few more ways of ensuring both your neon tetras and guppies live a happy life together.

Guppies and tetras

Hiding Places

Hiding spaces are essential for most aquariums as it makes your fish feel super safe and secure. The safer your fish feel, the happier and healthier they will be, also, they tend to act much less aggressively if they feel safe and secure.

Keeping Them In Large Groups (Schools)

It is incredibly important to keep your fish, especially guppies and tetras in groups and not on their own. They tend to become very stressed out if they are not with their own kind, especially in large, secure groups of their own kind. By keeping a minimum of 6 tetras and 3 guppies together, you will ensure this.

Big Enough Aquarium

Your tank must be large enough, the bigger the better is certainly the case when it comes to housing these fish species. A good rule is the 1x1 gallon to inch rule, meaning that for every inch of fish, you will need a gallon of water. If you have five fish that are 3 inches in length (fully grown), then 15 gallons of water is required.

Final Thoughts

Guppies and neon tetras are incredibly popular and beautiful freshwater fish, and the great thing is that they most certainly can be housed together in the same tank. By following these guidelines, as well as the correct tank and water setup, you will be ensuring that your neon tetras and guppies live a happy and compatible life together for many years.

Something important to keep in mind is that just because you can have an inch of fish per gallon doesn't mean you should. The bigger the tank for your guppies and tetras, the better. 20 gallons should really be a minimum, particularly if you have at least 6 tetras and 3 guppies in the tank together.