When setting up a community tank, it is essential to pick your fish species correctly, to avoid conflicts between your pets but also any of them suffering because of inappropriate water conditions.
Neon tetras are known to be really peaceful fish and great tank mates, but they obviously cannot function well with any other fish.
When it comes to similar-sized species as zebra danios, the result should be a life in harmony. Indeed, not only neon tetra and zebra danio can live together, but they also make an amazing combo.
Habitat and Water Conditions
Although the water requirements of these two species vary slightly, there is still good news when forming their community tank. Indeed, zebra danios are much more resistant to water parameter oscillations than neon tetras are, so they can adapt perfectly and still have a healthy and happy life in there.
Neon tetras are tropical fish and thrive in warm water. This is extremely important to them, or they will otherwise not be able of digesting their food or absorbing heat from the water.
The ideal levels for them are anywhere between 75- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit. Zebra danios, on the other side, are considered to be sub-tropical fish and they prefer slightly lower temperatures, between 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.
However, they can adapt perfectly to tropical temperature levels and they certainly will not mind living under a couple of degrees more than usual.
Next, the best pH level for neons is between 6.8 and 7.8 while the most suitable for zebra danios is from 6.5 to 7.0.
Therefore, this is easily adjustable to suit both species amazingly, as there is a decent range that overlaps.
Same goes for the water alkalinity. Indeed, keeping it around 8 dkH should work amazing for both fish.
Finally, both neon tetras and zebra danios will appreciate having plenty of greenery around their tank.
Even if zebra danios are just slightly larger from neons and there is actually no big danger of them becoming a meal, it is good for their wellbeing to have plenty of natural hiding spots around.
Diet and Feeding
This comes as a great advantage, as you basically have to do no alterations here. Indeed, both species are omnivorous which requires apposite flakes or pellets as the core of their daily diet.
Additionally, they both enjoy tasty meaty snacks like bloodworms or brine shrimp as well as healthy vegetables like cucumber or peeled peas.
On top of that, they are all schooling fish and fast swimmers, meaning there is basically no worry of one species remaining hungry after the other eats up everything on its own. Therefore, feeding is super-simple in such a community tank.
How Many Fish to Keep Together?
In order for your fish to feel safe and with no need or becoming aggressive towards others, it is essential to let both species forming functional schools.
To achieve that, you will need to house at least 6 neons as well as 6 zebrafish. This is vitally important, so please do not disregard the advantages of having happy schools.
If you adopt less than 6 specimens of each species, they will feel unsafe and threatened. This will quickly increase their stress levels and can trigger aggressive behavior among your fish.
And, in worst case scenario, you may lose several of your tiny pets due to serious health complications.
Ideal Tank Size
Neon tetras usually grow up to 1,5 inches only while zebra danios are half inch larger. Therefore, these fish do not really require lots of space per se. However, you will have to keep them in groups of 6 (per each species), so this certainly leads to the necessity of an increased tank size.
20 gallons is what we recommend for two smaller but functional schools. If you wish to increase the number of your fish, you should increase the tank size proportionally.
Allowing enough space for schooling is extremely important, especially when keeping two schools in a single tank. If they happen to bump into each other because of inappropriate space parameters, this can quickly trigger hostile behavior and fights.
Other Tank Mates
If you own a tank large enough to house some more fish species inside it, there are several of great matches which can function very well both with neon tetras and with zebra danios.
You can either choose small and fast fish like guppies or some other tetra types, or you can try with calm bottom feeders like kuhli loaches or Corydoras catfish. Amano shrimp are also a good fit for community tanks like these.
Avoid choosing fish that are famous for their aggressive behavior as this will certainly lead to complications. Also, peaceful fish which are significantly larger than neons and zebrafish can simply mistake them for food and decide to eat them.
And obviously, always be aware of the water requirements which all of your fish need to live happily before placing them into a community tank.
Will Neon Tetras and Zebra Fish School Together?
No, fish never school with fish of other species. Or even of other kinds. For instance, neon tetras cannot school with cardinal tetras, even if they belong to the same family.
In order to allow your fish pets forming a functional school, you need to ensure there are plenty of specimens around.
Neon tetras and zebra danios make an amazingly fitting match for community tanks.
They are both very peaceful and docile, so there is basically no risk of them getting into conflicts. Also, with zebrafish being just slightly larger from neons, there is no big danger of them being mistaken for food. And, on top of that, they can share water requirements as well as feeding routines.
If you ensure that your pets have an adequately sized home and that there are enough specimens to form schools, your pets should be living in harmony. And you may even decide to add some more tank mates eventually.