Both freshwater angelfish and neon tetras are incredibly popular and fun freshwater fish to keep. Due to both species being hardy, they are a great option for beginners too.
What many people want to know is whether or not they can live together in harmony, or will the larger angelfish make light work of the small and edible neon tetras? Read on to find out in our extensive compatibility guide.
You'll be happy to know that both of these fish can live together in relative harmony, but from our own experience, and a few missing tetras later, it is difficult and also time-consuming to get it right as there is a lot that goes into making this compatibility work.
Reasons for Neon Tetra and Angelfish Compatibility
Both angelfish and neon tetra can live together thanks to neon tetras and their incredibly peaceful and shy personalities. They will swim around in schools, minding their own business and importantly staying out of the way of larger fish, such as angels.
Some small fish, similar in size to neon tetras will nip at the fins and just be a complete nuisance towards angelfish, which will obviously annoy them and end up creating a casualty.
Fortunately, neon tetras do not do this, and from our experiences with these awesome fish, they become pretty well-liked by their tank mates, regardless of them being much larger in size.
Not to mention, they both have almost identical temperature, pH, and general tank setup requirements, but more about that later.
Reasons for Neon Tetra and Angelfish Incompatibility
These two fish species are not compatible when neon tetras are young and small, as well as if they are weak or ill. A sick fish will be made light work by angelfish, this is because they will typically swim very slowly, allowing angelfish to pick at and bully them.
They are only compatible with healthy adults too, as, again, small and vulnerable neon tetras will become a snack for angelfish due to them being the perfect size to fit in their mouths.
How Can Neon Tetras and Angelfish Live Together?
So, both neon tetras and angelfish can live together, but only when certain requirements have been met. They are as follows:
Increase the Number of Neon Tetra
The first tip that we recommend is that you ensure you have a school of at least 6 neon tetras, but ideally more.
Depending on your tank size, try and aim for between 8 and 10 neon tetras because the larger the group, the more overwhelmed/intimidated your angelfish will be to eat or attack them.
Increase the Number of Hiding Spots
You will need to add plenty of hiding spots for your tetras when they wish to rest, which is typical during the night. Rocks, freshwater neon tetra plants, and unique decor found in fishkeeping stores and online are all great options.
Ensure your Angelfish are Being Fed Correctly
Something else you should certainly do if you wish to keep your angelfish from eating neon tetras is ensuring you are feeding your angelfish the correct amount of food, 2 times a day.
This way you will reduce their hunger, making them less likely to eat your awesome little tetras.
Both fish species are omnivores, meaning that they require a balance of both meat and vegetable matter to achieve a healthy diet.
So, you should be feeding them as much as they can eat within a 2-minute and 30-second window, twice a day. We would suggest feeding a mixture of flakes and pellets, as well as frozen or live bloodworms and brine shrimp.
Add an Adult Neon Tetra to an Angelfish Tank
If you want to see your tetras live a long life whilst residing with an angelfish, we'd recommend that you add adult neon tetras to an established angelfish tank. Due to their size and adult stature, the angelfish should leave them alone.
However, if you add a juvenile or a group of them, things could get messy very quickly. The good thing about neon tetra is their peaceful nature, so, if you were to add a group to an established aquarium, they would not stress out any of the occupants.
Provide your Angelfish with a Territory
It is always good when dealing with aggressive or semi-aggressive fish to provide a territory within their tank. Typically, with angelfish, they will establish their own quickly after being introduced.
Having their own territory is great for angelfish as it will reduce stress and the need to chase and harass other fish, like neon tetras. Territories for this kind of fish, make them feel comfortable, and far less irritable.
Angelfish and Neon Tetra Tank Setup
Something else that is incredibly important in ensuring the compatibility of both angelfish and neon tetras is their tank setup.
Fortunately, both fish have pretty much identical requirements, but you should follow our advisories below for the best possible angelfish and neon tetra aquarium setup.
Temperature and pH Level
The perfect temperature for both fish to live comfortably should range between 72 - 82°F (22 - 28°C), with a pH level ranging between 6 and 7.
Both species reside in warm tropical waters and therefore need this replicated when housed together in an aquarium.
The minimum tank size for keeping both angelfish and neon tetras together should be no less than 40 gallons. This is from our own personal experience with keeping freshwater angelfish.
Sure, they are not the largest freshwater fish species, they will grow to around 3 inches (7.6 cm) in length and 6 inches (12 cm) in height. However, due to their somewhat aggressive nature, they require large spaces and territories.
Many people say that you can keep them in a 20-gallon aquarium, and, whilst certainly possible, for angelfish to live their healthiest life, whilst providing more space for your tetras too, our advice is to aim for 40 gallons or more.
Aquarium Filter and Aquarium Decor
A good filter is incredibly important for keeping both of these fish together. Make sure you do not go and purchase the cheapest one you can find online or in a store, the chances are it is cheap for a reason.
We recommend using a specific tetra filter, and if you can find a silent filter, that would be even better. But if you have a silent tetra filter, you are on to a winner! You will also need one compatible with the size of your fish tank, which, as mentioned earlier, should be at least 40 gallons for the angelfish.
Both of these fish need gentle to light water flow, which can be provided by their filter. They should also have plenty of driftwood, rocks, and plants to create a realistic environment, as well as provide an abundance of hiding spots and possible territories.
In conclusion, both angelfish and neon tetras certainly can live together, as long as everything is set up correctly and you know what you are doing after following the tips in this article.
Admittedly, they are certainly not a match made in heaven, however, they can become very compatible tank mates if you do things correctly.
If you do think that it all sounds too much, and a lot of effort just to ensure that your angelfish won't eat your neon tetras, we totally understand and have a helpful neon tetra tank mates page as well as an angelfish tank mates page if you are looking for less effort when trying to house your Neon Tetras or Angelfish with other fish.