Can Neon Tetras Live With Guppies?

Neon tetras with guppies? You’re probably concerned about how the interaction will turn out, and the good news is that they’re a compatible pair. Neon tetras can live with guppies! That’s because both freshwater fish are peaceful by nature and live in similar conditions.

So, if you’re thinking about introducing your new neon tetras to your lovely guppies (or vice versa), go for it!

But there is a lot further to know about their compatibility beyond their non-aggressive behavior and what may even be the risks to this compatibility. So, read on to find out more!

How Can Neon Tetras Live With Guppies?

To better understand how neon tetras can live with guppies, you have to get to know each fish better. You’ll come to find they have a lot in common.

Neon Tetra Profile

  • Scientific name: Paracheirodon innesi
  • Origins: Northern South America
  • Life expectancy: 5 to 10 years
  • Size: 1.5 inches (4 cm)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Water pH: 5.0 to 7.0
  • Water temperature: 68 to 80°F (20 to 26 °C)

Guppy Profile

  • Scientific name: Poecilia reticulata
  • Origins: South and Central America
  • Life expectancy: 2 to 3 years
  • Size: 2 inches (5 cm)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Water pH: 6.8 to 7.6
  • Water temperature: 75 to 85 °F (24 to 29 °C)

The two fish show clear compatibility not only in their peaceful temperament but also in their omnivorous diet and size. Plus, they’re alike in swimming behavior, not to mention that they’re adapted to similar tropic habitats and water conditions.

To better understand how compatible they can be with each other, the following points address this in more detail.

Swimming Guppy

Both Are Tropical Fish of Similar Origins

The neon tetra and guppy are fish species with similar origins in the tropical waters of South America.

You can naturally find neon tetras in rivers and streams along Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. Guppies, on the other hand, are found in northern regions of South America, namely Surinam, Guyana, and Venezuela.

As natives of identical tropical waterways, neon tetras and guppies will fit right at home with each other in one community tank.

Both Are Schooling and Shoaling Fish

Schooling is a behavior especially adapted by smaller fish species to avoid predation in the wild. As smaller fish species, neon tetras and guppies will be familiar with the same defense behavior and won’t view each other as threats.

Meanwhile, shoaling specifies the behavior of different fish swimming together for social reasons. Neon tetras and guppies are known to exhibit this habit, too, making them ideal tank mates.

Both Fish Enjoy the Same Diet

Neon tetras and guppies are omnivores and have a large menu of plant and animal matter to feed on. Having a comparable diet and eating habits makes it easier for them to live in the same tank.

You can provide them with a flake-food diet supplemented with the following live food they will enjoy:

  • Freeze-dried brine shrimp
  • Bloodworms
  • Micro worms
  • Fruit flies
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Daphnia
  • Chopped up earthworms

Both Are Blackwater Fish

Blackwater is the perfect water condition for freshwater fish like neon tetras and guppies. They’re adapted to acidic and warm waters full of aquatic plants, and simulating these conditions in your tank makes neon tetras and guppies easily settle in.

They’re accustomed to tropical temperatures ranging from 70 to 80°F and acidic waters with a neutral average pH of 7—but a pH of 5 or 6 will also do well.

Also, a tank with lots of live aquatic plants introduces hiding spots and the right amount of light to seep through the water. These are blackwater conditions that neon tetras and guppies will both likely appreciate.

Neon Tetra

What Risks the Compatibility of Neon Tetras and Guppies?

Although both fish types are normally docile, they can exhibit aggressive behavior if living conditions become too unfit.

Therefore, it’s better to become aware of the specific conditions that may risk the compatibility of neon tetras and guppies as tank mates.


It’s true that fish get stressed, too, and they find several things stressful. A filthy tank is a major stress factor for them. After all, what fish would be happy in an unsuitable environment?

Food scarcity, diseases, mating, isolation, and aggressive tank mates are also stressful factors for your fish.

Moreover, neon tetras and guppies must be in a group of six or more as they’re schooling and shoaling fish. This type of fish, if kept alone, will show signs of stress.

Lack of Space

A lack of swimming space becomes a problem for schooling and shoaling fish like neon tetras and guppies.

They must have as much space to swim around as possible or they’ll feel crowded and start to take out their frustration on other fish.

The general rule is that you must provide one gallon of water per one inch of fish in length.

A group of six neon tetras, each averaging 1.5 inches in size, will need a 10-gallon tank. Guppies, in a similar estimation, will also need 10 gallons. When combined, they could do well with a 15 to 20-gallon tank.

Food Shortage

You must have an adequate amount of food supply equal to the fish in your tank. Shortage of food will put pressure on your fish, particularly for schooling fish, and competition for it will likely increase.

Food shortage also worsens with a lack of aquarium space.


Male fish will likely be aggressive when they’re mating, fighting for dominance in pursuit of a female fish.

The presence of eggs or fry may also encourage conflict between fish protecting their spawn and other fish seeing it as food.


Bullying occurs if non-aggressive fish, like neon tetras and guppies, are in the same tank as aggressive fish.

Larger aggressive fish will most likely dominate over smaller fish and will hunt them as food. Smaller fish can also be victims of bullying if they’re the only one of their kind in the tank.

Bullying can also happen within the same species. Neon tetras and guppies may bully their own if improperly introduced into the community tank.


Neon tetras and guppies are two fish species that can live together peacefully in a community aquarium. They share many similarities, like tropical origins, schooling and shoaling behavior, and food plans.

However, there are chances that they might become stressed enough to risk their compatibility as tank mates. These include poor tank conditions, food competition, and conflicts with mating and bullying.

Thankfully, these conditions are rare and, once familiarized, can be easily countered with proper care and maintenance.