What Fish Eat Neon Tetras?

Neon tetras are quite small and easily chomped by any fish with a big enough mouth, like larger tetras and cichlids. One of the most commonly reported predators of neon tetras is angelfish, known for its aggressive streak. 

These adorable South-American fish are a favorite addition to many modern aquariums. They’re easy to care for, can live for a long time, and come in bright colors. Even better, the fact that neon tetras live in groups adds more shine and glamor to any aquarium.

In this article, we’ll talk about what fish eat neon tetras and provide some helpful tips to keep them thriving.

What Fish Eat Neon Tetras?

The rules of the aquarium dictate that large fish eat smaller fish, or at least bully them around. Therefore, when choosing companions for your neon tetras, try to avoid larger fish in general.

That said, some big-sized species make great companions to neon tetras, but only in the early stages of their lives. Once they grow and mature, you’ll need to move them or separate them from neon tetras.

Here are some common aquarium fish that pose a threat to neon tetras.

Neon Tetra Close Up


Angelfish are the tetras’ natural predators. That’s why we recommend not having them anywhere near each other.

Also, remember that moving prey is still more tempting to angelfish than the flakes you feed them. So, even if they seem satiated and happy, you still have to monitor them to ensure the tetras aren’t being eaten.

However, if you’re still adamant about putting them together, here are some tips to follow.

  • Make sure the angelfish are always well-fed, so they’re not interested in the smaller fish.
  • Add rocks and plants to the tank to provide as many hiding spaces as possible for neon tetras.
  • If you want to take a safer route from the beginning, use a tank divider to keep each species on its own.
  • Once your angelfish grow, transfer them to another tank.Silver Sharks

Sharks are generally aggressive in the wild. Still, some freshwater species are more docile, making them better suited for aquarium settings.

Silver sharks are much more tolerant of other tank mates compared to the ruby and red-tail black sharks. However, they can grow to more than a foot in length.

So, move them to a bigger tank once they start growing to give them more room to swim and to keep them away from your neon tetras.

Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey is one of the most popular freshwater aquarium cichlids. Named after the renowned boxer, this species poses a threat to small fish varieties.

Their grumpy faces say a lot about their aggressive behavior. So, it’s better to avoid pairing them with a peaceful fish species like the neon tetras.


Goldfish are known for their easy-going, peaceful demeanor. However, when it comes to neon tetras, they can be difficult to live with.

You might find some success with young goldfish, but they grow pretty fast. So then, once they’re about six months old, you can expect your goldfish to start preying on neon tetras.

Besides, neon tetras and goldfish don’t live in similar tank conditions. Neon tetras are tropical fish that thrive in higher temperatures.

Additionally, goldfish produce a lot of waste, and neon tetras prefer clean, distilled water.

Boesemani Rainbowfish

Several factors can affect whether rainbowfish and neon tetras make good tank mates. For starters, rainbowfish have narrow throats, so they’ll unlikely be able to consume neon tetras.

Yet, rainbowfish can still act somewhat aggressively towards the little swimmers. They’ll chase after them, nipping and biting them.

It’s true that there are some cases where you might see them thrive together in one aquarium. Yet, it’s generally a risky match.

So, here are a few factors to consider before pairing these two species.

Which Fish was Introduced First

If rainbowfish were introduced first to the tank, they’ll be more likely to be aggressive toward intruders, tiny fish like the tetras.

So, try to add the tetras first and give them a couple of days to adjust. Then, introduce the rainbowfish afterward.

The Size of the Rainbowfish

Neon tetras can live in peace with rainbowfish when they’re young. That’s usually when they’re around two inches in size.

Then, when they get to be four inches long, that’s when they become a risk to your school of neon tetras. This would be the perfect time to transfer your rainbowfish to another tank.

The Size of the Tank

Nobody loves cramped spaces, and the same applies to fish. Keep your neon tetras’ mental health in mind, and give them ample room to swim around freely without stressing out at every turn.

Similarly, you can also expect rainbowfish to be more aggressive when confined to tight quarters.

What Fish Live with Neon Tetras?

Neon tetras are one of the most fragile members of the tank community. They barely grow to an inch in size, and that’s when they’re fully grown!

Additionally, stressful partners can make them sick. Although neon tetras are comparatively easy to keep, it’s what fish you pair them with that you need to worry about the most.

Group of Neon Tetras

The most important members of a neon tetra’s tank community are more neon tetras. This species loves being in groups, so you need to get at least a dozen of them for your tank.

Schools of Neon Tetras

Other Species with Neon Tetras

Other members are welcome to join the neon tetras in their tank as long as they share a similar size and non-aggressive temperament. Even though larger tetras share some traits with neon tetras, we don’t recommend you group them in a tank because they’ll end up bullying the small fish.

That’s why it’s best to stick to small, peaceful fish varieties, like rasboras, cory catfish, and other small tetras. Here are some specific names to look for at the pet shop.

  • Fancy Guppy
  • Fancy Guppy
  • Zebra Danio
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Harlequin Rasbora

Wrap Up

Finally, what fish eat neon tetras? Natural predators of neon tetras include crustaceans, eels, and larger fish.

More specifically, angelfish are one of the best-known neon tetra predators. Other fish species to avoid are Jack Dempsey, goldfish, and the Boesemani rainbowfish.

Yet, there are numerous other varieties that make hospitable companions to your neon tetras. Yet, whether they’re with a buddy or on their own, neon tetras will make your tank pop with their vibrant colors and high-powered energy.