Can You Keep Neon Tetras With Angelfish?

Neon tetras and angelfish can live together if your tank is large enough to accommodate them, and the angelfish are added after the neon tetras. Larger tetra species may be a better choice. Fish with similar tank needs that will not harass or eat each other are good choices for tank mates.

When stocking your community tank, a big question is which species can live well together. Fish of a similar size and with unaggressive natures are usually good choices. While both these freshwater fish come from the Amazon basin, can you keep neon tetras with angelfish?

Can You Keep Neon Tetras with Angelfish

Angelfish and neon tetras share much of the same tank requirements and can share a large tank. They eat similar food, so ensure they each get enough at feeding time.

We’ll look at the different tank requirements for angelfish and neon tetras and how to create a community tank that suits both.

Some fish keepers have had docile angelfish who live happily with schools of neon tetras, while others have had difficulties. Some fish have more aggressive personalities, so if you have a problem, you may have to rehouse a troublemaking angelfish in their own tank.

Angelfish and Discus in Large Planted Aquarium

Prevent Angelfish Eating Neon Tetras

Sometimes angelfish will try to eat neon tetras; this is especially a problem in overcrowded tanks and if there is insufficient plant cover for the tetras.

Angelfish shouldn’t be kept in a tank smaller than 55 gallons; if you plan for it to be a community tank, bigger is better. They should also be kept well-fed at least twice a day. With a large tank and lots of space, the angelfish should not feel the need to nip at your tetras.

Plant this tank well, especially with bushier plants that will give your tetras somewhere to hide.

It’s better to introduce neon tetras to a tank with angelfish when the tetras are fully grown. Another option is to add young angelfish to a tank where the neon tetra school is already established.

Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are small characin easily recognizable by their iridescent blue horizontal stripe. The lower back half of their body has a vibrant red stripe, and their bright coloring makes them a firm favorite among fish keepers.

They come from South America and grow to a full adult size of 1.5”. These active fish are best kept in small schools of no less than six. Keeping them in shoals that are too small will leave them stressed and shorten their lifespan.

Neons kept in too small a shoal will become aggressive and bullying; the larger your school, the happier these tetras will be.

Because neon tetras are relatively peaceful fish that do well in community aquariums, live a long time, and are easy to breed in captivity, they have become an incredibly popular choice for many hobbyists.

Two Neon Tetras


Angelfish are among some of the most striking aquarium fish commonly kept. Their flat, round bodies and trailing fins make for distinctive additions to your tank.

Freshwater angelfish come from the Amazon basin, and the species most commonly kept in the home aquarium is Pterophyllum scalare.

These cichlids are relatively easy to care for and are generally quite a hardy aquarium species. They grow to 4” and can live up to 12 years. They are bred In captivity and come in several color varieties, but the most common type is silver with black vertical stripes.

They tend to swim in the middle reaches of the tank and are quite active fish. They are generally peaceful but can have aggressive bullying outbursts and may attempt to eat smaller fish species.

While angelfish aren’t schooling fish the same way neon tetras are, they tend to stay in groups when younger. As they mature, angelfish can become territorial and aggressive.

Neon Tetra Tank Requirements

Neon Tetras’ environment in the wild is acidic blackwater streams from the western and northern Amazon basin, and their tank setup should emulate this as much as possible.

They prefer densely-planted tanks and should never be kept in anything smaller than a 10-gallon tank. Larger tanks are better, as they need to be kept in schools of no less than six, with ten-twelve being a better number.

Adding driftwood to your tank can help improve the acidity of the tank and keep the water soft. Tannins from the wood can also help darken the water the way neon tetras prefer.

You can use any substrate, but one that supports healthy plant growth will be best. If you’re going to keep them with angelfish, choose a soft, sandy, or muddy substrate.

Neon Tetra Water Parameters:

  • Soft, acidic water
  • Water hardness – <10dGH
  • pH: 6.0-7.0
  • temperature range 72–76 °F
  • filter that mimics slow flowing river – not too strong
  • tank light sufficient to grow plants and mimic sunlight.

Neon Tetra Food Requirements

Neon tetras are predatory fish that do best on protein-rich pellets and benefit greatly from additional live-food sources.

Good choices for feeding tetras are tubifex worms, daphnia, and brine shrimp.

Feed your tetras 2-4 times a day, and only give them as much as they eat in a minute or two.

If there is leftover food, clear it out of the tank to avoid building up excess ammonia.

Angelfish Tank Requirements

Also hailing from Amazon basin rivers, angelfish also prefer soft acidic water, which helps if you want to keep them with neon tetras.

Angelfish require a lot more space than neon tetras. Not only are they larger fish with trailing fins, but they are also territorial. Keeping them in a too-small tank will make them more aggressive and bullying.

In a tank that isn’t big enough, your mature angelfish may end up bullying and fighting each other.

Aim to provide at least a 55-gallon tank for a pair of angelfish. Due to their nature, taller tanks may be more suitable than shallow tanks.

Angelfish Water Parameters:

  • Soft, acidic water
  • Water hardness – 4-12 dGH
  • pH: 6.8-7.0
  • temperature range 75–82 °F
  • filter that mimics slow flowing river – not too strong
  • tank light sufficient to grow plants and mimic sunlight.

Angelfish Food Requirements

Angelfish are mainly carnivorous; they eat smaller fish, fish fry, insects and grubs, and other small live prey in the wild.

You can keep them properly fed in the aquarium by providing a high-quality pellet supplemented with tubifex worms, live daphnia, and brine shrimp.

Feed angelfish 2-3 times a day; this will ensure they don’t chase or nip other fish in your aquarium.

Ideal Water Parameters For Community Tank:

  • Soft, acidic water
  • Water hardness – 6-9 dGH
  • pH: 7.0
  • temperature range 75 °F
  • filter that mimics slow flowing river – not too strong
  • tank light sufficient to grow plants and mimic sunlight.
  • Aim for 10-12 hours of light a day.
  • Use a soft substrate that will support plant growth. You can add driftwood to decorate the tank and keep the water darker and more acidic.


Angelfish and neon tetras can be kept together as long as there is enough space for both, and they are fed several times throughout the day on a protein-rich diet. Neon tetras are small enough that larger angelfish may try to eat them, so lots of space and sufficient plant cover will help.

Avoid overcrowding your tank, especially with angelfish who need lots of room and may turn aggressive and territorial in a smaller tank. Keeping them with larger tetras like glowlights or cardinals may be better.