Guppies and Neon Tetras – Can They Live Together?

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Guppies and Neon Tetras are a popular combination of fish for community tanks as they’re super compatible.

Although any tank can have problems if conditions aren’t right, Neon Tetra and Guppy tank mates have similar requirements for temperature, water parameters and diet, and their calm, peaceful temperaments mean aggressive behavior is extremely rare.

Read on to find out why Neon Tetra fish and Guppies make such good tank mates, and how to set up a tank to keep both species happy and healthy.

Can Neon Tetras live with Guppies?

Neon Tetras can live in the same tank as guppies with no problems whatsoever. Both of these fish are found in the same natural habitat so they require similar water parameters, and they’re both low maintenance fish who are great for beginners.

Neon Tetras and Guppies will both thrive in freshwater tanks heated to around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 27 degrees Celsius). Ideally the water hardness should be under 10 dGH with slightly alkaline pH (between 6.0-7.0).

For this reason, they’re the ideal species to live together in the same tank. Both are beautiful, colorful species of fish so keeping Neon Tetras with Guppies means your aquarium will always pop with amazing color.

Neon Tetra care

Finally, both species have a similar diet. Both are omnivores who feed on whatever they find in the rivers of the Amazon basin where they’re found in the wild.

They also need a varied diet to ensure they have all the nutrients they need, so a mixture of plant and animal-based foods like flakes, insect and/or fish-based micro-granules and fruits and vegetables will keep both species healthy. To find out more, read this guide to Neon Tetra feeding.

Do Neon tetras and Guppies get along?

Neon Tetras and Guppies will get along fine in the same tank. Both are peaceful fish, and they stay out of each other’s way at feeding time, with Guppies feeding at the surface while Neons wait in the middle levels of the tank for food to float down.

Guppies have been known to be aggressive with each other, but rarely with other fish. It goes without saying that you should always be sure that you have enough space in the tank for the amount of fish you’re adding, otherwise any fish can become territorial.

A word of caution – if your tank is too small for the number of Neons in your school, you may find that they start to display aggressive behavior to the Guppies, and may even find nip. More on that below…

Assuming there’s enough room for your Neon Tetras and Guppies together, all you’ll need to watch out for is male Guppies fighting amongst themselves. This happens when there are too few females and the males get competitive, so ideally aim for two female Guppies to every one male.

Read more:

Will Neon Tetras eat Guppy fry?

Neon Tetras will eat Guppy fry if they’re left to find the newborns in the tank. Neons eat anything that will fit in their mouths and Guppies reproduce frequently, which means there can often be an unexpected source of food for the greedy Tetras.

Guppy by William Warby is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

If you’re looking to breed Guppies, a community tank that’s home to Neon Tetras isn’t the best place to keep fry alive long enough to reach adulthood. Even if they do survive in decent numbers, you’ll then find your tank is overpopulated which will make the Neons more likely to become aggressive and fin-nip the Guppies.

Instead, invest in a breeding box for your tank for any pregnant Guppy females and move the fry to a separate aquarium once they appear. This way there’s nobody looking at them as a snack, and the community tank won’t become overpopulated.

This breeding box is ideal – buy on Amazon. Notice the holes in the floor to allow the fry to escape being eaten before you get a chance to rescue them!

Read more: How Can You Tell If A Neon Tetra Is Pregnant?

Do Guppies eat Neon Tetras?

Guppies will only eat Neon Tetras when they are small enough to fit in their mouths, usually when the Neons are newly hatched fry who are kept in the same tank. Otherwise, Guppies are peaceful fish who won’t attack or try to eat Neon Tetras.

As mentioned above, the only issue you might have is when too many male Guppies compete for the attention of the females in the tank, so always be sure there are more female Guppies than males.

Will Neon Tetras nip Guppy fins?

If your tank is adequate, Neon Tetras won’t fin-nip Guppies. If there isn’t enough room for the number of fish in the tank, you may find Neons nipping at the flowing tails of your Guppies, which are an obvious target if Neons are stressed by lack of space.

There’s no perfect way around this other than to ensure your tank is the correct size. If you try to choose a smaller school your Neons will become stressed as they’re natural schooling fish and find safety in numbers. Kept in groups smaller than six they’re more likely to feel threatened and start to fin nip your guppies.

However, if your aquarium is big enough to comfortably accommodate a decent school of 10 or more Neons as well as their tank mates, you won’t have a problem with fun-nipping.

Neon Tetra and Guppy tank requirements

A good Neon Tetra and Guppy tank will have enough room for a decent-sized school of both species first and foremost, but there are a number of other things to consider, too. 

Both require a heater to keep the water temperature between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 27 degrees Celsius), and a filter to keep the water clean, although neither have a particularly high bioload which makes them good starter fish.

Read more: Do Neon Tetras Need A Heater?

A tank for Neon Tetras and Guppies should also have lots of plants, which provide shelter and somewhere to hide if they feel threatened. Being able to find shade from the tank lights when needed and to hide amongst the leaves and stems will make your fish feel safe and secure, which keeps them healthy.

My community tank is quite heavily planted, and I notice that the Neons in particular often lurk around the broad leaves of the Amazon Sword plants that dominate the tank. Because these leaves are so big, they mimic the darker waters of the Amazon rivers these fish come from, where overhanging vegetation shades the water from the sun.

Read more: What Plants Do Neon Tetras Like? Tetra Planted Tank Ideas

Another way to darken the tank is to add blackout window film to the back and sides of the tank, which creates a much nicer visual effect than a transparent back wall. If you can use dark substrate on the tank floor, this is even better.


1. Are neon tetras and guppies compatible?

Neon Tetras and Guppies are absolutely compatible. These two fish require similar water conditions and diet, and both are extremely peaceful fish.

2. Will Guppies school with Neon Tetras?

While it’s common for different species of Tetras to school together, I’ve never seen my Guppies school with my Neons. They have quite different swimming patterns, with Neons schooling horizontally across the middle of the tank, while Guppies are more erratic.

3. Can Guppies get Neon Tetra Disease?

While it’s rare for Guppies to contract Neon Tetra Disease, it is possible for the illness to be passed on if your Guppies eat any infected Neons that have died from NTD.


Whether you’re a beginner looking for a couple of low-maintenance starter fish or an expert fishkeeper looking to create a colorful aquarium, Neon Tetras and Guppies are a great choice to be kept together as long as your tank provides shelter and is big enough for all your fish to be comfortable.

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