Guppies And Tetras: Are They Made For Each Other As Pals?

guppies and tetras
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Last Updated: August 31, 2023 by Flora Gibbins

Guppies and tetras are two of the most popular aquarium fish in the game today, and it is not difficult to see why; both are peaceful fish species, easy to keep, and remarkably beautiful. As such, it does not come as a surprise that most fishkeepers wonder whether they can house guppies and tetras in the same tank.


Yes, you can keep neon tetras and guppies in the same aquarium. However, there are a few things you need to know before embarking on this endeavor. Read on.

Should You Keep Guppies and Tetras in the Same Tank?

guppy and neon tetras in fish tank

Before you decide to make two fish species tank mates, it is crucial to understand how that arrangement will affect their overall quality of life.

This article will use neon tetras as representatives of the tetra species, as they are the most common tetras.

Since both the neon tetra fish and guppies are peaceful fish, a brawl is unlikely to break out upon being introduced to one another. However, that is not the best indicator of compatibility, as they could simply be tolerating each other, raising the risk of stress.

The best way of determining species compatibility is by understanding each fish’s inherent temperament, tank requirements, and dietary needs.

We will be looking at those factors in detail in the following sections.

Guppy Fish vs Neon Tetra: Behavior Profile

Understanding a fish’s base temperament allows you to know whether it will be comfortable being tank mates with another species. Let us look at how the innate behaviors of guppies and tetras affect their compatibility.

Guppy Behavior/Temperament

guppies in fish tank with plants

One of the main reasons guppies are such a beloved species is their peaceful nature. Not only are guppies easy to care for, they can get along with just about all fish and non-fish aquatic animals, making them the ideal candidates for community tanks.

While guppies rarely instigate fights, they are often bullied by aggressive fin nippers for their beautiful long tails. Therefore, avoid keeping your guppies in a community tank containing notorious fin nippers such as bettas, barbs, cichlids, and loaches.

Fortunately, guppies are schooling fish, allowing them to enjoy the safety of numbers. Schooling or shoaling fish are those that need to be part of a group to survive. Therefore, keep that in mind if you do decide to keep these fish.

Despite their peaceful temperaments, guppy males often fight over females. Therefore, to prevent that from happening, ensure that there are at least two females for every male you have in the tank.

Neon Tetra Behavior/Temperament

neon tetras in fish tank with plants and driftwoods

Much like the guppies, neon tetras are also peace-loving fish. Nevertheless, neon tetras are also renowned fin nippers, meaning there is always the underlying risk that they could attack your guppies.

The good news is that neon tetras rarely display such aggressive behaviors unless they are under stress. For example, if you put neon tetras and guppies in a tiny tank, fin-nipping is bound to occur due to space constraints.

With that said, the neon tetra is also a schooling fish, meaning it prefers to spend most of its time with members of its kind.

In light of the above, it is clear that the temperaments of both neon tetras and guppies make them ideal tank mates in a community tank. However, can they thrive under the same tank conditions?

Fun Fact: Talking about community tanks, we have another potential occupant that you might want to consider adding — cichlids! Learn more about their coping abilities with other fish species here: Cichlid Tank Mates: 13 Best Friends Your Pet Desires To Have.

Guppy Fish vs Neon Tetra: Tank Requirements

After temperament, the next most important factor affecting species compatibility is the habitat requirements of each fish. After all, how well neon tetras and guppies can get along won’t matter if they can’t share the same aquarium environment.

Let us look at the kind of tank conditions each of these species requires to thrive.

Guppy Habitat and Tank Conditions

guppies in fish tank with plants

Guppies are tropical freshwater fish originating from South America. As such, they are accustomed to living in warmer waters with temperatures of between 76 and 80°F and pH levels of between 6.8 and 7.8.

Additionally, since their natural habitat consists of heavy vegetation that is typical of the Amazon rainforest, guppies love having lots of floating plants in their tank, as they give these shy fish places to hide. As such, consider planting guppy-friendly plants such as java moss, java fern, and anubias nana inside your guppy aquarium.

Regarding tank size, guppies require quite a bit of space since they are shoaling fish that are always on the move. The minimum number of guppies you can keep is three (one male and two females), meaning the minimum tank size for a school of guppies is 10 gallons.

Most rivers in the Amazon are slow-moving.

Which is why you should avoid using a filter that causes strong currents in the tank.

Finally, you cannot go wrong with substrate since it makes the tank environment feel more natural to your guppies, thus making for happier fish.

Neon Tetra Habitat and Tank Conditions

fish tank with plants and rocks

Fortunately, just like guppies, neon tetras are also tropical freshwater species native to South America. This means that they have the same habitat requirements as guppies. However, the natural habitat of neon tetras tends to have darker and murkier waters, thanks to life litter from the dense canopies that hang over the waters neon tetras reside.

As such, neon tetras also love having lots of vegetation in their tank.

Nevertheless, neon tetras require a slightly larger tank size than guppies. This is because the minimum number of tetras you can keep is eight, meaning you will need at least a 20-gallon tank to keep your guppies and tetras happy.

Regarding water temperature and pH levels, neon tetras have the same requirements as guppies.

Guppy vs Neon Tetra: Diet

Diet is another critical factor to consider before keeping two species in the same tank. Ideally, they should have a similar diet, as it will make the process of feeding them a lot easier.

guppies and tetras in fish tank

The good news is guppies and tetras are both omnivorous fish. Therefore, they can share food.

Omnivores derive nutrition from both animal and plant sources. Hence, aim to give your guppies and tetras a rich and varied diet consisting of both plant and animal matter. If you don’t want to go through a lot of hassle looking for different types of food, simply buy high-quality fish flakes designed for tetras and guppies.

Nonetheless, you’ll still need to feed them live food and vegetables occasionally to break the monotony. Some of the best vegetables for neon tetras and guppies include lettuce, peas, and cucumbers. As for live food, you cannot go wrong with brine shrimp, daphnia, mosquito larvae, or blood worms.

Portion control means everything when feeding these fish, especially the tetras. Tetra fish are gluttonous, eating to the brink of death. As such, be careful not to overfeed these fish. The rule of thumb is to give them just enough food to eat in two minutes or less, twice a day.

Fun Fact: What if we pair tetras with bettas? Read our post and find out: Neon Tetras With Betta: Would These Two Be Good Tank Mates?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do neon tetras eat guppy fry?

Yes. Neon tetras and adult guppies will feed on guppy fry upon the slightest opportunity. Therefore, if you are looking to breed guppies, you will need to put your pregnant female guppies in a separate breeding tank to protect your fry from predation.

What other fish make good tank mates for tetras and guppies?

As mentioned, both the fish can get along with other fish. However, the reverse isn’t always true. The ideal tank mates for neon tetras and guppies are fishes with similar temperaments and needs. A few examples include corydoras, mollies, and platies.

Can tetras school with guppies?

While tetras don’t mind sharing a tank with guppies, it is highly unlikely these species will school together. Shoaling fish tend to stick with their kind.


There is nothing quite as beautiful as a tank with healthy and vibrant guppies and tetras. However, it will take quite a bit of knowledge and expertise to create a tank environment that is conducive for both fish species.

Fortunately, this article has you covered. Do you have any pressing questions regarding this topic? Do not hesitate to reach out!

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